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03-12-2009, 02:46 PM   #1
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Anybody around here use a ZX-M?

In my quest for a simple-to-use film body, the ZX-M is one of the bodies I'm considering. I like the fact that it works like the older manual bodies, but is auto when it comes to loading and rewinding film--such a pain on the older manual bodies.

What do you think?

Thanks!
Heather

03-12-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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i say get an older body. loading and winding film isn't as big of a pain as you would think.
but the bigger viewfinder and more solid build make it much more enjoyable.

Last edited by k100d; 03-12-2009 at 03:37 PM.
03-12-2009, 05:04 PM   #3
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Picked up a MZ-M from Andi-lo (thanks!) not too long ago. Overall, I like it, despite the plastic lens mount. It's easy to use and nicely functional. I might consider actually cannibalizing a metal lens mount and associated contacts to make a one of a kind MZ-M.
03-12-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
In my quest for a simple-to-use film body, the ZX-M is one of the bodies I'm considering. I like the fact that it works like the older manual bodies, but is auto when it comes to loading and rewinding film--such a pain on the older manual bodies.
What do you think?
Heather:

I use one. I keep my M42 adapter on it at all times. Been shooting everything from 50 year old preset Takumars to Super Takumars to the SMC variety and back again.

The controls are basically just like a Spotmatic. In fact, everything about it is like a Spotmatic with some very nice bonuses. If you can use a Spotmatic, you can use this camera.

I like it. A lot.

In Auto exposure mode with a manual lens it behaves much like an Electro Spotmatic or ESII in that it will do Aperture Priority. The only difference is that you have to stop down and can't do open aperture metering. No big deal. We all know about bright field focusing first and then metering, right?

With the preset lenses in the Auto exposure mode you can get very precise metering since basically you have the entire continuous range of f/stops at your finger tips. This is one of the reasons I have always loved preset lenses. Yet it works very well with Super Taks and SMC Taks as well... just something about preset that is particularly nice. Again, with all types, the best way is to perform bright field focusing and then stop down. The Super/SMC Taks add another possibility by virtue of the Manual/Auto switch. It is possible to meter a scene in the lens's Manual switch setting, then switch to the lens's Auto setting to focus wide open, then switch it back. I actually alternate between the two techniques.

In the shutter priority mode, the meter is a nice sort of match needle digital and works great as well. Very similar to the K10D, but vertical along the right hand side. Reminicent of... well... a Spotmatic.

When metering NON F/FA lenses the meter is center-weighted... just like... a Spotmatic. With F and FA lenses it switches to multi-segment metering. Both appear quite accurate as seems generally to be the case with the MZ/ZX series. No complaints there. At least as good as my PZ-1. I enjoy using my F 50mm f/1.7 and my FA 28-70mm f/4 on this camera. The additional data and automation that is rendered with these lenses basically makes this a fully automated camera with the twist that it is manual focus only.

The viewfinder has a very nice split prism with micro-prism collar focusing screen, which works great for me. This is a nice departure from the Spotmatic. The grip can be had for about $19.00. Well worth the trip. It makes the camera feel quite substantial and is much better ergonomically.

The camera is exceedingly small. Smaller than a Spotmatic. Very, very light. Even with the grip. However, the other side of this is that I am pretty sure it would survive a drop. I used it this winter without the grip as an "under the jacket" camera whilst teaching my kid to ski and during some pretty rough sliding episodes.

You can use a TTL flash on this camera. There's a huge bonus over a Spotmatic. That means if you have a 360 or 540, it WILL work in TTL mode. From my limited testing here it works quite well.

I don't know what else to say other than that I'll post pictures of my setup if anyone cares. I'll post pictures taken with the camera recently as well if anyone wants.

I been thinking about selling one of my two ZX-M's (the less used one). If you are interested, please feel free to PM me.

Seaain


Last edited by woof; 03-12-2009 at 05:13 PM.
03-12-2009, 05:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by VF-19 Quote
Picked up a MZ-M from Andi-lo (thanks!) not too long ago. Overall, I like it, despite the plastic lens mount. It's easy to use and nicely functional. I might consider actually cannibalizing a metal lens mount and associated contacts to make a one of a kind MZ-M.
Heh. I've thought about doing just this. Find an old broken SF-10 for less than 20.00 shipped on eBay. That should work.

woof!
03-12-2009, 05:38 PM   #6
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Seaain,
Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure of using a Spottie, but it sounds like a great camera nonetheless. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot of money at this point, so this would fit the bill. If I were to really get into film, I might upgrade the film body later on, but for now, this should do the job.

Not that I'm that great at fixing stuff, but if anybody tries something like that and it actually works, I'd be curious to know about it.

BTW, I've sent you a PM.

Heather
03-12-2009, 09:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by woof Quote
Heh. I've thought about doing just this. Find an old broken SF-10 for less than 20.00 shipped on eBay. That should work.

woof!
I happen to have most of a ZX-M here with the lens mount removed. I notice that the plastic chassis behind the mount has a place for the power zoom contacts, though no contacts of course. I think that a plastic-chassis camera from the power zoom era would definitely work. There will be a lot of tiny parts to keep track of.
03-13-2009, 12:41 AM   #8
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I'd advise going for a MZ-6, then change its focus screen for a mz-m split screen...
This way, you'll have:
- a metal mount,
- AF & focus help,
- a faster shutter speed (1/4000 instead of 1/2000),
- full TTL/PTTL (beware: MZ-M is NOT TTL!), so you can share your wireless flash with a digital body,
- some custom function (not fully rewinding the film is useful if you're into developping them yourself).

And all this for about the same price as a mz-m!
The mz-6 (zx-L) is about the most advanced mz film body, behind the mz-s, IMHO...

03-13-2009, 01:35 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
I'd advise going for a MZ-6, then change its focus screen for a mz-m split screen...
This way, you'll have:
- a metal mount,
- AF & focus help,
- a faster shutter speed (1/4000 instead of 1/2000),
- full TTL/PTTL (beware: MZ-M is NOT TTL!), so you can share your wireless flash with a digital body,
- some custom function (not fully rewinding the film is useful if you're into developping them yourself).

And all this for about the same price as a mz-m!
The mz-6 (zx-L) is about the most advanced mz film body, behind the mz-s, IMHO...
You sure you can use the split screen from MZ-M in MZ-6? Their specs are a bit different, MZ-M's viewfinder is 0.77 x [92%] while MZ-6 is 0.7 x [92%]. I'd love to see a brighter and clearer screen in my MZ-6 too
03-13-2009, 02:21 AM   #10
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They are fully compatible (I made the swap 2 years ago and never went back!).
The different viewfinder magnification only depends on the pentaprism(mz6)/pentamirror(mz-m).
The coverage is dependant on the focus screen, but as you stated yourself, it's the same for all the mz line...

That's the most understated features of the mz line, IMHO : they all have interchangeable screens!!!

Also, I still don't understand why Pentax has not sold the split screen separately... They would have made all the mz line hugely appealling for old-lenses users...
03-13-2009, 08:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
TTL/PTTL (beware: MZ-M is NOT TTL!), so you can share your wireless flash with a digital body,
Sorry about that. I confused it with my ZX-5n.

Correct. Dedicated Pentax flashes other than FTZ series can be used. Detailed in the manual here: http://www.cameramanuals.org/pentax_pdf/pentax_zx-m.pdf see Manual Pg. 40. I did test using my 360 a couple of times and it seemed to work, but perhaps that was luck.

Seaain
03-13-2009, 08:28 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
They are fully compatible (I made the swap 2 years ago and never went back!).
The different viewfinder magnification only depends on the pentaprism(mz6)/pentamirror(mz-m).
The coverage is dependant on the focus screen, but as you stated yourself, it's the same for all the mz line...

That's the most understated features of the mz line, IMHO : they all have interchangeable screens!!!

Also, I still don't understand why Pentax has not sold the split screen separately... They would have made all the mz line hugely appealling for old-lenses users...
Thanks for the clarification. Sounds really interesting.

But I feel the viewfinder on MZ-6 is pretty small and dark It's the only complain I have for this nice little lens
03-13-2009, 09:52 AM   #13
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Woof: I think the AF360 will switch to Auto when used with a MZ-m body...
That's why it worked ok for you.
03-13-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Woof: I think the AF360 will switch to Auto when used with a MZ-m body...
That's why it worked ok for you.
I'll check that tonight. I'm sure you are right. I have my issues keeping up with flash compatibility with all my bodies... especially since I rarely use flash.

woof
03-13-2009, 06:19 PM   #15
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Some pics of/from my setup:

1. Comparison of size with 1957 Asahi Pentax "AP." Lens on ZX-M is a Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5; lens on Asahi AP is a rare 1957 58mm f/ 2.0. It is clear from the photos that the size is close to being the same. The ZX-M is actually just a little smaller overall than the Asahi Pentax. This means it is actually quite a bit smaller still than a Spotmatic.





2. This is how I tend to use it most. Here it has the grip in place and has the '57 58mm f/ 2.0 Takumar mounted. This lens is a preset, and this makes for very accurate metering.



I tried to find photos that demonstrate how well this camera meters. Difficult or mixed situations. Really did not perform any post processing on these, thought the scans could have been better. The photos seems a little better than these. Anyway, these should suffice.

3. Photos taken with the 58mm f/ 2.0 Takumar mounted:







4. Photos taken with Pentax 28-70mm f/4





As for follow-up on the flash, what I found was the my 360 does not automatically switch to Auto mode. I must have gotten lucky... However, it does switch to auto mode manually and in this mode there is nothing difficult about taking flash photos. I'll have to play with it a little...

woof!
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