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05-23-2009, 07:50 PM   #1
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50

MZ-50/ZX-50
Year introduced
1997
Mount
KAF with limitations
(see comment below)
Meter range
1 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m c
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure lock
No
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
None
Self timer
Yes
Mirror lock-up
No
Auto bracketing
No
Multiple exposures
No
Winder
Built-in 2 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 11
TTL flash
Yes
P-TTL flash
Yes
Sync speed
1/100s
Flash exposure comp
No
Autofocus
Yes (3 points)
Autofocus sensitivity
0 - 18 EV
Power zoom
No
Viewfinder
0.77x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Pentamirror
Diopter correction
No
Exchangeable screen
No
Depth of field preview
No
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
No
Battery
2 x CR2
Battery grip/pack
Grip FG, 4x AA
Size (W x H x D)
135 x 90.5 x 62.5 mm
Weight
345 g
Comment
Program modes: Green, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, Night scene.
Extra flash functions: Contrast control.

M, K lenses can be used with these limitations:
1) They will always be set to full-open aperture
2) The meter will not work in Manual exposure mode
3)Tv mode will give incorect exposure
4) Porgram modes and P-TTL flash mode cannot be used


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Last edited by Ole; 09-18-2010 at 07:05 PM.
08-31-2010, 05:31 PM   #2
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 Camera Review

Pros Light weight, good user controls
Cons No AE lock, DOF preview, crippled mount
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 34
Years Owned 6 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
A good value camera with a decent feature set including full manual control.

Camera Review
This is a very inexpensive and approachable film camera in the autofocus class. It lacks the full capability with older Pentax glass, but can handle all F/FA/FA-J lenses admirably.

The body has a nice weight and balance, the VF is a little cramped but perfectly usable. AF is limited but quite quick.

This is a mid-range body that lacks some more advanced features, but has full manual controls, including an MF/AF switch, EV adjustment, Auto features in PICT mode, built-in flash at a decent sync speed, and a self-timer. All in all a pretty good feature set without burdening down the system with too much, keeping the weight down and the price down as well.

The ergonomics are Pentax, so excellent. It's a plastic body, but feels very well-built. The film box is very robust--no light leaks here.

Mine came with a stunning lens set, so the camera was just a throw-in, but I've grown to like it a lot.
10-23-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 Camera Review

Pros Can use lenses with aperture set any position, nicer grip than the ZX-30
Cons No memory lock or multiple exposures
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1
Years Owned about 6 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Great value 35mm
Nice build quality
Front lever for adjusting shutter speed
Can uses use lenses with aperture ring set to any position
Nicer hand grip compared to* the ZX-30

Camera Review
The Pentax MZ-50 (ZX-50) is a nice and easy to use SLR with a nice build quality.

It's quite similar to the MZ-30, except the MZ-30 has multiple exposures and memory lock (the MZ-50 doesn't) and the audible signal isn't set via the mode dial-it's set using the flash mode button (near the MF/AF switch) .

What I like about it is its front mounted lever (that looks a bit like a digital camera's zoom lever) which is used for adjusting shutter speed-I find this to easier to use than a rotating dial. Also the drive mode is selected via switch under the the mode dial, rather than a button (as on the MZ-30).

It's also got a nice hand grip compared to the ZX-30-the grip has "PENTAX' on it is very comfortable to hold.


Autofocus speeds on the MZ-50 seems to be quite quick.

This Pentax camera works best with Pentax's own flash units obviously but I found the MZ-50 will work nicely with my Sunpak Auto 36FD flash.

One difference compared to ther MZ-30 is that the aperture ring on most lenses don't have to be set to the "A" position-the shutter will release.

This is different from the MZ-30, where the aperture ring on a lens has to be set to the "A" position -otherwise the shutter will not release with it set to any other position on that camera.
12-05-2010, 02:12 AM   #4
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 Camera Review

Pros Lite to carry, good features, cheap to buy
Cons very plasticy
Rating 6
Price (U.S. Dollars) 20
Years Owned .3

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
When working this camera can deliver very good images and handles well. Logical layout of the controls make it straightforward for new users to pickup and start shooting.

Camera Review
The era that this had come out was when manufacturers seemed to want their SLRs designs to be more like advanced point-n-shoots. The AF tech for its day was very solid and fast even with the sometimes dim FA 28-80mm. The pentamirror was my only real bummer... I am spoiled with true pentapisms. If you can find one still working or freshly repaired today, it is a good shooter.

However, I picked mine up as a as-is on the bay and it was with a familiar "stuck mirror". This is a common issue that crops up from what I've been hearing as all of the Z/MZ family. It is the all plastic parts inside and the worst is the motor that drives the most important and high stress function. It is the drive motor that moves the mirror and resets the advance as well as helps to fire the shutter. A very tiny motor with a very plastic gear that is pressure fitted to the shaft. When is dries and shrinks with age, it will crack. Then your camera does this anemic action with the mirror. Buried deep in the camera under three layers of flexible circuits and many screws and spring, this is not an easy fix for the casual tinkerer.

If you are combing for this or any of the MZ/ZX family, it is a plus if it had been recently repaired with the upgraded metal geared motor.

12-05-2010, 07:32 PM   #5
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 Camera Review

Pros light, simple, reliable
Cons lack of advanced features, flash
Rating 3
Price (U.S. Dollars) 300
Years Owned 9
I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Good, compact size. Light.
Great feel in hand
Lacks advanced features
Simple design to use
Shutter button has good feel
Needs grip! (see review)
Struggles with red-eye reduction
No dioptre adjustment in VF

Camera Review
So, i bought this SLR brand new in 2001 with a "kit" Sigma 28-80mm lens. It was pretty much the bottom-of-the-range SLR at the time, so it was pretty good value back then!

It served me well. I retired it in 2004 when a young girl opened the back and stuck her finger through the shutter!!! But I got a LOT of use out of it, in all sorts of circumstances in those years. By that stage I was itching for a digital camera anyway.

I started shooting AGFA film until I discovered Fuji Reala 100. I ended up using Reala and aged Superia 800 as I improved in my skills and knowledge.

One thing about this camera: YOU NEED THE GRIP! Otherwise you're constantly buying those CR2 lithium batteries... Although you can get rechargeable ones now instead. I don't know how well they last though. (Pentax FG Battery Grip - AKA Battery Pack)

The good thing about the grip is that it allows you to use 4 common AA's, so you can buy more almost wherever you are in an emergency. The AA's will last for ages. With the grip the camera still doesn't feel too bulky. Unfortunately the grip does not have vertical controls. Also, it moves the tripod mount to the left (when seen from behind as you hold the camera), meaning it no longer lines up wit the lens.

The camera stood up to my use/abuse quite well. However, at one stage toward the end of its life I got some sand in the back somehow (maybe while changing film). I ended up with horizontal scratch marks on almost all my photos!

This camera is quite basic. It does not allow you to rewind the film mid-roll and leave the leading edge out. I don't think you can get a Date Back for it. As previously mentioned, the grip doesn't have a vertical shutter button. You can't stop the film from advancing, making it impossible to do two exposures on a single frame of film. It has no mirror lock-up function, even on timer mode.

The viewfinder is a bit cramped. I found myself moving my eye around in front of the viewfinder in order to read the information on the right-hand side. Also, it is not 100% view. There is no dioptre adjustment.

The in-built flash isn't very powerful. It also struggles with cancelling red-eye (1 pre-flash is emitted). The red-eye preflash is also emitted quite a long time before the actual exposure, so I often had people turning away before the shot was actually taken.

The camera handled well on a tripod. The mount is in line with the lens.

The camera can take a wired 2-stage shutter release cable (The Pentax Cable Switch F) which includes a bulb-lock switch. Note: This is an electrical (not mechanical) switch.

The AF "beep" can be turned on/off. The AF is a bit slow and hunts a bit when use with long lenses, or in low light. Otherwise it's very accurate.

The strap lugs are VERY sturdy, made of metal and are part of the frame of the body. The strap has a couple of handy pockets to keep the hotshoe cover and VF cover (if you have one! ) in. The strap also has a knob which is used to press the mid-roll film rewind button on the side of the camera.

The camera reads film ISO information automatically, but this can be changed manually as well.

Conclusion: If you're looking for a film camera I would recommend going for a higher-spec one with a few more features. Either that or go for a fully-manual classic. This is why I am only giving this camera a 3. It has nothing to do with how well it takes photos. I have no problems with the photos it took.

Last edited by secateurs; 12-05-2010 at 08:00 PM.
02-17-2011, 04:05 PM   #6
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Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 Camera Review

Pros lightweight, manual focus confirm
Cons poor reliability
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) 30
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
poor reliability

Camera Review
E-bay second hand, the mirror locked up after few rolls - this model is susceptible to those kind of failures.

Not worth the time spent - other users are recommending getting MZ-5 instead as it is richer in functions and hopefully more reliable.

see thread related to the issue -
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-film-slr-discussion/75508-strange-...-new-body.html
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