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05-23-2009, 07:38 PM   #1
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Pentax MZ-5/ZX-5

Year introduced
Meter range
0 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m c s
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
2 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in 2 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 11
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Yes (3 points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 - 18 EV
Power zoom
Yes, limited
0.8x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Yes, 13 x 36 mm
2 x CR2
Battery grip/pack
Grip FG, 4x AA
Size (W x H x D)
135 x 90 x 61.5 mm
400 g
With this camera Pentax initiated a line of compact autofocus cameras.
Extra flash functions: Contrast control

Attached Images
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Last edited by Ole; 05-06-2010 at 10:11 PM.
07-04-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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The ZX-5 packed a lot of sweet stuff into a rather compact body. There's the typical 90's era AF/winder/multi program/pop up TTL flash built in and like it's rivals the body is plastic,ergonomic,fairly light.

The NEAT stuff? The ZX-5's retro shutter speed dial was brilliant and also simplified chosing modes. You can set the shutter or aperture or both to A...or neither.

The ZX-5 has spot meter,has multi-exposure,has built in diopter adjust...all very important to me. It can be had with a power pack/vert grip that lets it use 4 AA's...NIMH works great. The little flash is very auto,and it's easy to slave my 283 Vivitar when I need the extra lighting. Like every Pentax,it's happy to use older glass. I don't much LIKE usually it's using "A","K" or M42 glass.

The flaws? Most obvious is the chronic matter of the spring on the pop up flash.
Of the units for sale,at least half seem to have a busted spring,so you need to use a spare finger to hold the flash up. I did,eventually,get one that,so far,has a good spring. The viewfinder display almost is invisible in strong light. It tried to be detailed,but went too far. The SF-1 had a much better finder.

The ZX-5n added depth of field preview. Given all the features on the ZX-5,it's odd that wasn't on the original. now, that minor detail meals a used "n" goes for quite a bit higher $.

The ZX-5 gets points for sheer bang for the buck. While a PZ-1 has some advantages,so does the ZX-5...and at less $ typically.
10-27-2009, 08:12 PM   #3
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To the review above, I would add the following three points:

1. It has the KAF2 mount.

Here's the page on Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page (the "KMP") that explains the evolution of the Pentax K mount: Summary of the K-Mount Evolution, Names, and Features The net of Bojidar's essay is that the pinnacle of Pentax k-mount development in the film camera era was the KAF2 mount. The MZ-5/ZX-5 is a very cost effective way to get a Pentax film body with the KAF2 mount.

2. It beats the pants off my K10d as a travel camera.

One of the issues with having a nice digital camera is that you tend to baby it. It's not hard for the investment in a digital body and a nice lens to push into the $750 - $1000 range. No way around it---as a travel camera a nice digital rig is a tempting theft target. But the sleeper ZX-5? Earlier this year I took my ZX-5, an FA 50mm f1.4 lens, and several rolls of Portra NC 400 film on vacation with the family. Couldn't be happer with the results--both while I was shooting and at development time back home. Op/Tech USA makes a neoprene cover which fits the ZX-5 and a normal lens perfectly. Everything you need in one little, but stunningly effective, package.

3. The panorama mode.

There is a switch on the camera back that toggles between normal photo dimensions and panorama mode. In panorama mode, you end up with prints that are approx. 4" x 10". A very cool feature.

Last edited by barryroad; 01-01-2010 at 01:18 PM. Reason: more content
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