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05-23-2009, 07:53 PM - 1 Like   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Pentax MZ-7/ZX-7

Year introduced
Meter range
0 - 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 memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
30 - 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
0.7x, 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)
135.5 x 92 x 63.5 mm
380 g
Program modes: Green, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, Night scene.
Extra flash functions: Contrast control
Also pictured: FG Battery Grip add-on

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K200D  Photo 

Last edited by Ole; 05-06-2010 at 09:44 PM.
05-28-2009, 01:22 PM   #2
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My mini-review (previously posted)

I wanted to share my first impressions of the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7.

I have been considering a modern Pentax SLR for a while. What I would love is the MZ-S. But I'm not a pro earning any money from photography, and can't justify the high cost of that lovely camera. The MZ-7 is available now for peanuts, and delivers most of the functionality I want in a modern AF camera. Having had a chance to play with it, I can say that the MZ-7 is like the film equivalent of my *ist DL digital SLR.

When considering the MZ-7, there wasn't a lot of information about it. I think most MZ-7s were purchased and forgotten by their owners as the tide of digital cameras washed in. As a result there are a lot of like-new MZ-7s out there waiting to be put into service.

Here are the salient features which I like:
Quality of construction - feels better/more substantial than the bottom of the line MZ-M
Full manual control, including on-body control of FAJ lenses
Availability of a few auto-modes, easily available from a single dial
Exposure lock
Exposure compensation
TTL flash control
Readily available/inexpensive batteries
Low-light focus assist (strobing the flash)

The MZ-7 matches the style of the rest of the MZ line, and is a plastic-fantastic camera. The build quality seems improved however. Compared to the MZ-M, the plastic looks and feels better. The grip is also looks and feels better with a full molded rubber grip for the right hand. The fit of the parts seems tighter, and loading film in the camera inspires confidence. The film takeup assembly and pressure plate are well built, and the rear door seems to have less flex than in the MZ-M.

One of the primary reasons to want the MZ-7 is to take advantage of the Pentax 18-35 FAJ. To achieve the same field of view with the APS-C sized *ist DL, I would need a 12mm lens. Far cheaper to put the FAJ onto a fullframe film body, than to buy an expensive exotic superwide lens! The MZ-7 offers on-body control of aperture, which means the FAJ lenses are a great option with no compromises.

My first modern SLR was a Nikon F80. While I abandoned the Nikon for a number of reasons (scratching film, expensive lenses, and an interface that I found counterintuitive) there were some things I loved about that camera. One of them was slow-speed sync for night shooting. Veteran shooters would call it dragging the shutter. While it is easy to manually drag a shutter, having a "night portrait" mode makes it a no-brainer. I often use my cameras in social settings, and having some flexible automatic modes like "night portrait" can make for hassle-free shooting. The Nikon also offered low-light AF assist, with a seperate light. The MZ-7 strobes the flash to provide focus assist. Both work well in close quarters, and I'm glad to have the feature.

You can easily spend as much on flashes as on your camera. The MZ-7 offers TTL flash, which means that much cheaper flash options are available. I like true TTL flash. Not only is P-TTL expensive, but it's also not my favourite technology. I have actually considered adding an *ist D or DS to be able to use TTL flash with my DSLR.

Power sources for the MZ-7 are either two CR-2 lithium batteries (conveniently available at the Dollar Store for a dollar) or the ubiquitous Pentax FG battery grip loaded with AA batteries. Compared to other camera makes/models, the FG battery grip is the world's biggest bargain. They are regularly available used for under $20. The battery grip gives long-lasting power, provides a nice balance to heavier lenses, and gives the MZ-7 a bit more serious look. Powering from the CR-2 batteries is conveniently light weight and compact. With a lighter lens (like a 28-90 or a prime) the CR-2 batteries make for a very portable and low-profile camera. I like having the option.

General performance of the camera is good.

The viewfinder is bright and informative, featuring the sensible Pentax vertical bar graph showing over/under exposure in half stop increments.

Autofocus is quick and sure. Like other Pentax cameras, AF will usually do a "double check." That's a good thing -- my F80 was less accurate on focus because it didn't double check.

Controls are laid out slightly differently than my *ist DL, but everything important is easily accessible, including exposure lock and exposure compensation buttons.

The motor drive is fast -- I don't shoot anything that needs more than 2 or 3 frames per second.

The bottom line? The MZ-7 is a highly recommended camera, and a great modern 35mm Pentax.

06-03-2009, 10:17 PM   #3
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I acquired a ZX-7 as the cheapest way I could learn about the "modern" Pentax models. I was contemplating the move to the then new *istDS in 2004 but I hadn't ever even touched an auto-focus body or one with fancy AE modes. Shortly after finding a used copy of the Magic Lantern Guide I saw one of these on eBay with a Tamron 28-80 for $45!! OK, life's tryin' to tell me sumthun!

That was a significant upgrade from a Spotmatic-mindset but it was a great school lab for the *istDS and made that transition easy. I don't think the film *ist could have taught me any more and it would have cost quite a bit more then. This body came to me late in life and was too soon replaced with the digital bodies to have earned the respect I believe it deserved and would have eventually acquired. I carried an MG as a travel companion for years but this might have been a suitable replacement.

The most important thing I learned from it was that I could totally ignore those confusing Scene modes and treat it like the Spotmatics and P3n's I'd been using in manual or AV mode. AND that there just might be an advantage in auto-focus for aging eyes and the compromised view finders that came with the auto-focus bodies.

What I thought I wanted at the time was an MZ-M but ultimately this better taught me what I needed to learn to move into the AE/AF digital bodies with some degree of confidence. I promised myself I'd run a roll of film through it once a year -- another broken New Year's promise. Some day soon though. Really! I just picked it up and dry snapped it. It'll happen. Hey, maybe I'll try it with a DA 16-45 -- might be fun.


Last edited by pacerr; 06-03-2009 at 10:22 PM.
06-06-2009, 11:10 AM   #4
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I want to say that while many people say panorama mode is a gimmick, I find it a wonderful way to refresh your composition. I've made several photos that simply wouldn't work without using the panorama mode. Works much better with a 35mm or wider than a fifty, though I wish future digital bodies would be able to crop its viewfinders (to 1:1, panorama, vertical crop, etc) like these panorama cameras. It's no gimmick!

The only thing I find annoying with it is the focus point, which you can't set to centerpoint but will always be on the large box on automatic selection. Maybe the rather dim viewfinder as well but imo that's a minor thing.

Great camera and highly recommended

10-06-2009, 08:13 AM   #5
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I like this camera, have had it for over a year and it was my 1st autofocus camera.
Exposure is generally spot-on and the modes are good, viewfinder is fine with me, the LED-/+ indication of exposure is very good
AF is generally good, however I switch it off in low light or when taking picutres in "crowded" places
It can use the ring-less modern lenses (kit lenses from digicams) as well as the old mechanical K and M lenses which is really a big plus for me.

The battery pack helps in having AA batteirs but makes the camera bulkier and heavier for walking/trekking. Now, if you like big cameras that would be good for you

Panorama mode is quite useful, specially with Wide Angles that may vignette and also gives a fresh prerspective

Highly recommended camera, if you can get one or 2 and also a replacement film-advance gear just in case
08-11-2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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Pentax MZ-7/ZX-7 Camera Review

Pros Very lightweight, great IR shutter releasae system
Cons Uses mirror not Pentaprism, no focus preview
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) don't recall
Years Owned 9

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Small light-weight. IR release system works wonderfully. Uses different modes, but since the modes (done in character style make the camera feel a little amateurish. The camera is spot on even with slide film. A great little camera

Camera Review
I got this to be an underwater camera (in a housing) , it was also my first autofocus camera. I found this to be my perfect camera for a long while. It is very light. What I found is that I could bring a light weight monopod with spikes in the legs set it up use the IR release and could get razor sharp night shots with the setup.

I wasn't crazy about the mirrors rather than the pentaprism as so manually focusesing a lens isn't as easy as the older manual Pentax bodies. Still I was quite happy with the purchase.
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