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05-23-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 4,100
Pentax MV1

Year introduced
Meter range
3 - 19 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
25 - 1600
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Av, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
1/100s, B
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
External winder 1.5 fps
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.85x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x S76
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
132 x 84 x 49.5 mm
425 g
Like the MV but accepts a winder

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Last edited by Ole; 05-23-2009 at 05:01 PM.
05-16-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
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Posts: 653
Pentax MV1 Camera Review

Pros lightweight; uncluttered viewfinder; quiet operation
Cons lacks shutter lock, DOF preview, exposure compensation
Rating 6
Price $25 including M50/1.7 lens
Years Owned just a few days

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Small, basic aperture-priority camera.

Camera Review
If the K1000 is Pentax's baseline, no-frills manual camera, then the MV could be considered their baseline, no-frills automatic camera. The MV-1's advantages over the MV are a self-timer and the ability to attach a power winder. Neither of these features gets in the way if you don't use them.

There are three exposure modes: auto, 100x (flash sync), and bulb. Users are expected to leave it set to auto almost all the time. When a Pentax-dedicated flash is attached and charged up, the shutter speed will switch to 1/100 automatically and an indicator in the viewfinder will tell you it is ready.

In my short time shooting with the MV-1, what has impressed me most favorably is the simplicity of the viewfinder. There are many photographers who feel differently, but I prefer that a viewfinder let me concentrate on composition only, and present no inessential information to distract me; and in my opinion, almost all information is inessential! That is one of my favorite things about the K1000/KM/Spotmatic as well -- no numbers, just a needle -- but the MV1 seems to go a step further. It has a small LED bar on the left edge of the window that forms a very simple quasi-meter. The bar does not intrude on the composition frame.

When the light is green and centered in the bar, it means the camera can make a proper exposure at a shutter speed suitable for a hand-held shot. It doesn't tell you what that speed is. Do you really need to know? Well, maybe, and maybe not (more on that in a moment), but if you don't need it, then by withholding that information, the camera stays one step back from getting between you and your subject.

When the light is red and appears at the top of the "meter," then the aperture is too wide, and a proper exposure would need to be faster than the 1/1000 second limit. If it's yellow and appears at the bottom, the aperture is probably too narrow, and the shutter will be slow.

This is a similar scheme to the one found in old Yashica Electro rangefinders, which showed colored arrows in the viewfinder to direct you in which way to turn the aperture ring. Also like the Yashicas is the MV-1's lack of exposure compensation. The only way to adjust exposure is to temporarily change the ISO setting; afterward you need to remember to put it back where it was, and that's easy to forget.

Since the camera does not know what lens is attached, it can't really know what a safe shutter speed is. 1/60 second is okay for the 50mm lens that came with the MV-1, but when you're shooting a 200mm telephoto, the same speed is too slow for handholding, and you risk blur. So if you spend much time shooting telephotos or long zooms, you would probably be better off with an ME or MG, both of which tell you the shutter speed it is about to use.

The MV-1's 0.85x/92% viewfinder is bigger and more involving than those in the Super Program and P30n/t, and much better than those in the ZX-M and other pentamirror-equipped models, but still a little less generous than the exceptional viewfinders in the ME, ME Super, and MX.

The shutter/mirror sound, just as with all M series bodies, is very unobtrusive.

A relatively minor complaint: there is no shutter lock, so you will want to get in the habit of winding before each shot instead of immediately afterward; this helps avoid accidentally firing off a shot while, say, pulling the camera out of a bag.

In summary, the MV-1 is quite basic, but basic can be a good thing -- depending on what the limitations are, and what you need to do. It's easy to recommend that a Pentax collector have one of these on hand, but you probably won't want it to be your only film body. I expect it will be a good one to grab when I know I will be shooting a 40mm or 50mm lens outdoors, hiking or camping; it could also be expected to work well with a 28-70mm zoom. I've never been able to stand using point-and-shoots (mostly because of their lousy viewfinders), and the MV-1 is an apt replacement for that role; hence my somewhat qualified recommendation.
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