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02-09-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
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Which AF film body?

I currently have a k1000 for full frame goodness but AF is really handy at times and am looking to get a film body that also supports AF. Which body would you guys recommend? I heard there was one that offers 4 FPS? Also is there a TTL one that I can use my AF280t flash with?

thanks in advance

02-09-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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The Pz-1p supports 4 frames a second (so in 6 seconds you'll shoot through a 24 exp roll of film). I've got one and it's great. Eats batteries though. Supports TTL too.
02-09-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by VF-19 Quote
The Pz-1p supports 4 frames a second (so in 6 seconds you'll shoot through a 24 exp roll of film). I've got one and it's great. Eats batteries though. Supports TTL too.
you beat me to it. PZ-1/PZ-1p.

got to be the best film body. even works with those crippled FA-J lenses.

only eats batteries if you use the flash. And I have found a NiMH battery for them, thinking about this because I only use mine infrequently hence re-chargeable might be the way to go
02-09-2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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Bookmark this site. It is the Bible of Pentax
Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page

If you click on the Body, they will list all of the Pentax bodies ever made and give you the specs on each body.
According to the site, the Z-1p/PZ-1p and the Z-5p are the two bodies that are 4fps.

As far as which film AF pentax body you should buy? I can't answer that because I don't know. I don't know much about the film days of Pentax but I am learning as much as I can about it.

The film AF body that I have is the MZ-6/ZX-L model. I can't tell you much about it because I only had it for a few days and I've only shot one roll of it.

K100d, did a really great comparison between 3 popular pentax film bodies, including the MZ-6/ZX-L.

02-09-2009, 06:48 PM   #5
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Z-1p's are the most full featured, but they look kinda ugly. if you can afford it, the MZ-S+grip is sweet.
02-09-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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I'm putting a vote in for the SF1n, Pentax' top AF body from 1988 to 1992.

I know the SF series is the ugly duckling of the entire Pentax film range; they're comparatively low-tech and were quickly overshadowed by the PZ series. But they're not bad cameras... far from it. They feel good in-hand and offer TTL flash. Only 2.2 fps motor drive, but honestly do you need much (anything) more? I haven't. Only one focus point and it's only sensitive to vertical detail, but it's accurate and actually not that slow. Unfortunately there's no hyper-manual, so no manual control of (say) FAJ and DA lens apertures. Aperture rings work just fine and you get focus confirmation from the AF system using K and newer lenses. The manual rates it for upwards of 200 rolls of film on a single 2CR5 battery without using the internal flash.

Oh, and the best part? You can get 'em for less than $40 without a lens!
02-09-2009, 07:09 PM   #7
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I had a ZX-5

I just sold mine, I decided that if I needed AF I'd do fully digital.

Coming from the K1000 you might love it. Want to shoot totally programmed? Put both the shutter and aperture on "A". Want shutter priority? Just set the shutter where you want. Aperture priority? Move that off A, keep shutter on A. Want fully manual? Just take them both off A. And it does TTL, I got some great pics with the 400FTZ flash.

I'd pay an extra $800 to get a digital camera that worked that simply, without 3-4 layers of menus. Call it my wish list for the K30D - a digital back for my K2.
02-09-2009, 07:43 PM   #8
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If you got money, get a MZ-S. It's probably the best AF film camera by Pentax (although some would prefer cameras w/ on-body Av adjustment).

If you want features, get a *ist or MZ-6/ZX-L, these cameras probably have the most features (other than the MZ-S) for the money.

If you want robust and fast fps, the Z1/Z1p is a good choice, especially its price is really low nowadays.

If you want an AF film camera w/ some classic look and feel, the MZ-5n/ZX-5n or MZ-3 is the one to go. These are probably the best combination of MF and AF cameras on the same bodies, that's why Pentax even made a MF camera out of the same body - the MZ-M/ZX-M.

I myself have had MZ-S, MZ-5n, MZ-3, MZ-6, Z1, and an earlier SFXn, the one I'm keeping is the MZ-3, for its AF capability and classic look

02-09-2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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MZ-S isn't as fast as PZ1p, but is much more elegant (if that's the correct term). I have a PZ1p listed in the marketplace and an MZ-S and grip that I could be convinced to sell. Shot a low-end SF10 for several years back in the late '80's I think it was, and as Stevopedia says, the SF series is underappreciated.

For my money, the near giveaway pricing of the SF and PZ series makes them hard to overlook...and no, I'm not giving mine away, but prices are way lower than MZ-S values...
02-09-2009, 08:24 PM   #10
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if you look at mid-high-end AF bodies, the Nikon F100 can be got around $300, EOS 3 probably lower, and the MZ-S is peculiar as it still costs +$400, or $500 w/ the grip
02-09-2009, 09:37 PM   #11
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I will second the zx-5

I have had mine for just over a year now and am loving it. Now you won't get your 4 fps more like 2. You can go totally manual or fully automatic. I found out this weekend that my new Sigma 50-500 works fantastic with it. I also looked it up and I think I saw where your AF280t flash works with it.

02-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #12
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Part of the MZ-S value is likely its rarity. It came out on the cusp of the digital revolution and only stayed on the market for a couple years (I think), so there aren't a bizzillion of 'em out there. In fact, you don't see many on the used market at all. As arguably Pentax's most professional film camera since the LX, it has value as a collector's item for any Pentax lover, plus it's fairly rare or at least scarce. Thus, the price has held.

For my hands, it is by far the most ergonomic camera Pentax has ever produced. Not all grip surfaces are rounded, some even seem somewhat angular or edgy, but those edges make it easier to hang on to--the angles fit the crease of your knuckles--I never use a strap, so security in hand is quite noticeable to me. Yes, I'm a fanboy and have continued to find reasons not to sell mine. Best grip ever btw, small and excellently contoured, easy to install or remove with one lever, AA batteries for convenience out in the field, way better vertical release placement than current digi grips...enough already...
02-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #13
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Original Poster
thanks for the great feedback guys. I'll admit the 4 FPS isn't terribly important but I thought it was neat that an old film camera is faster than Pentax's current DSLR's. The zx-5 seems to have the look and price range I was going for so I think I will pick one of those up. The MZ-s seems great but is waaay more than I was looking to spend. Can't wait to try out my FA 50 and FA 31mm ltd on it
02-10-2009, 10:50 AM   #14
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02-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #15
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PZ-1p Notes

Just a couple of notes on the specs of the PZ-1p.
  • I tested the frame rate of mine and it actually clocked at 4.4 fps in manual focus and manual exposure.
  • At 1/250th second, the flash synch is significantly faster than any other Pentax camera ever.
  • It is farily big and heavy.
  • It is my favorite AF body, the only one I have kept, but have not owned the MZ-S.
  • Autofocus is really good, better than my K100D as long as you aren't just trying to focus on a horizontal line (no cross AF sensors). If the camera locks focus, my pictures come out if focus every time.
  • TTL flash mode is flawless.

Yes, I am a fanboy of the PZ-1p but not blindly. I have owned and used the ZX-5n, ZX-7, SF-1n and multiple MF bodies. None of them are nearly as responsive or fully featured as the PZip. The PZip is my main film body because I just like it better than any of the others. It is a really great camera.

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