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05-23-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Pentax MZ-6/MZ-L/ZX-L

Year introduced
Meter range
0 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m s
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
AutoPict, P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/4000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
30 - 1/4000s
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
2 x CR2
Battery grip/pack
Grip FG, 4x AA
Size (W x H x D)
135.5 x 92 x 63 mm
400 g
Program modes: Green, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, Night scene.
Extra flash functions: Wireless, High-Speed, Contrast control

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K100D Super  Photo 

Last edited by Ole; 05-06-2010 at 09:43 PM.
05-25-2009, 10:35 AM   #2
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Original Poster
This is a very capable camera with a control layout much like Pentax' DSLRs. It makes a good companion for shooters who started out with a DSLR. Old schoolers may prefer the MZ-5/5N,ZX-5/5N with their classic control layout.

The mount is a fully functional KAF mount so all exposure modes are retained also with K and M lenses.

The viewfinder is on the small side with just a magnification of 0.7x.

05-25-2009, 11:51 PM   #3
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Small in size but packed with features, the MZ-6 is a joy to use. It has very nearly every feature most users will ever need, while being easy and simple enough that nothing ever gets in your way.

The body is plastic but feels sturdy and well made. It is very small and light, and fits well in the hand with the nice rubber grip. Coupled with a small lens such as a DA 40 or DA 70, it easily fits into a jacket pocket.

The MZ-6 is a very good fit for Pentax DSLR users wanting to try a Pentax film camera. The controls are similar, with many controls (AE-L, MF/AF, mode wheel) being in familiar places. Its "uncrippled" KAF2 mount means that unlike Pentax DSLR cameras and some later film bodies, it has mechanical aperture coupling with K and M series lenses while working perfectly with later autofocus lenses as well. The on-body aperture control means FA J and DA lenses will work great (assuming the image circle of the DA lens is large enough.)

Like the lens mount, the flash system is also very flexible, being compatible with both newer P-TTL Pentax flashes as well as the older TTL flashes that do not function well on newer DSLRs. There is a built-in flash. I have never used it, so cannot comment on its usefulness. It looks very similar to the one on my K100D Super.

The three-point autofocus is decisive and snappy in most situations. One cannot explicitely choose which AF point to use, although a "center point only" mode is available via a dedicated switch. Like Pentax DSLR bodies, it will want to use flash pulses to assist AF in very dark situations. With manual focus lenses, the "green diamond" will light up in the viewfinder and the camera will beep to indicate that the subject is in focus.

In conclusion, this is very likely one of the finest Pentax film AF bodies available. I would without hesitation recommend it to everyone interested in a compact but full featured allround camera. The only potential gotcha is the viewfinder, which could be larger, but is still okay and better than most Pentax DSLRs.

+ All K-mount lenses 1975-2003 work 100% in all respects, some DA lenses too
+ Size
+ Handsome design, sturdy build
+ Handles very well, with dedicated controls for most functions
+ Focus confirmation with MF lenses
+ Quiet shutter/film winding sound
+ Backlit LCD display automatically lights up in the dark
+ Depth-of-field preview
+ AE lock
+ Useful, informative viewfinder display
+ Highest shutter speed 1/4000
+ Price (this is worth nearly nothing on the second hand market nowadays)

- No mirror lockup
- Viewfinder smallish
- No explicit AF point selection
05-26-2009, 06:04 PM   #4
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05-06-2010, 05:42 AM   #5
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Quite possibly the biggest bargain in camera bodies in the U.S. at present. These bodies have been going for around $50 from dealers in used camera equipment. It is the perfect transition body between digital and film. Unlike many later models, it is fully compatible with older M and K mount lenses. It is also fully compatible with newer digital lenses which lack aperture (however, there may be vignetting) and require autofocus to use easily. It is also fully compatible with both new and old Pentax flashes. Its built-in flash will even operate the newest Pentax flashes in wireless mode. It allows both auto and manual ISO, auto and manual exposure, auto and manua focus, and it is feather-light. Feature for feature, this body really does it all. It is the perfect body for those who want to add film to a digital kit.

Now, for the aspects that probably keep it cheap. It is plastic and feels like plastic. Exposure adjustments are made by moving the little lever around the shutter release (where the shutter lock is on the M-series manual cameras) as part of an interface with menus and not much of a screen that somehow feels like first-generation electronics. It also needs batteries to live. It just does not have the charm in hand of many other Pentax bodies. I can live with that.
07-23-2010, 07:36 AM   #6
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Pentax MZ-6/MZ-L/ZX-L Camera Review

Pros flexibility, control
Cons metering
Rating 8
Price 100
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
I can't really add to what's already been said: this is a nice, light weight and versatile body.

Camera Review
I'm in agreement with what's already been said about the ZX-L, so will just add a few additional observations.

The battery grip is a nice addition, though it makes the camera bulkier and heavier. Some like this.

The one problem I've experienced is the metering can be foolish. This seems to be a general Pentax trend as they went to matrix and other such fancy metering. Maybe it's just that I'm used to center weighted metering in the older cameras, but I get more consistent results with these than with the Zx-L.

Autofocus as well has the modern Pentax foibles, though the ZX-L is better than the ZX-10.

All in all, an excellent Pentax autofocus camera, though I can see why Pentax was losing ground to Canikon in the AF / matrix metering era.
08-24-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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Pentax MZ-6/MZ-L/ZX-L Camera Review

Pros light, cheap, lens compatibility
Cons obsolete electronics, requires batteries to function
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) -
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Can be bought for $50-$100 - great value for what you get. Other features, as described above.

Note on small size: people with large hands might find this hard to hold properly, but the battery grip helps.

Camera Review
I agree with earlier points about the suitability of this for people who already use Pentax DSLR due to buttons & dials placement, and the light weight and small body with a small lens would be easy to carry around in a pocket or small bag.

I also agree with previous comments on metering and AF, as I find that this is irritatingly crude compared to modern DSLRs, whereas with older cameras the lack of AF and simple centre weighted metering I can still use without feeling that Iím being let down by technology Ė here it feels like the technology wasnít yet enough to deliver what they wanted, and is therefore lacking. Just a personal opinion.

I donít own one of these bodies, preferring the older film bodies like the k1000. The electronics in the ZX-L feel unsophisticated and obsolete, whereas the older cameras, lacking any electronics, feel simple and mechanical. Again, preference but something to watch out for depending on your background and what you want from the camera.

Despite saying all this, it is a perfectly solid camera with a good set of features and can be bought now for $50 to $100.
12-07-2010, 04:03 PM   #8
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Pentax MZ-6/MZ-L/ZX-L Camera Review

Pros reliable, intuitive, and solid build
Cons unneccesary modes like action and landscape clutter up the mode dial
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) unknown
Years Owned 5

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
great value, interface similar to digital, P-ttl flash, compact and light weight.

Camera Review
It is a very good film camera, especially if you are use to more of a digital interface. It is light and compact, but has a decent build quality. The mode dial seems a little plasticy to me but beyond that, itís a very solid felling camera. I also find the grip to be slightly to narrow, beyond that all the controls are laid out in a intuitive manner. Iíve had mine for about 5 years now, and itís never given me any problems at all. Always starts up and shoots, even in very cold (-12ļF) weather. I donít use auto focus, or auto exposure modes very much so I can not comment on those features, but I do find the matrix metering mode to be very reliable (with some common sense applied). The camera has a good, but not stealer viewfinder. In the viewfinder, your meter and shooting info show up on the right of the frame, and protrude into the picture are a little bit, this has never hindered my ability to compose pictures, but I personally prefer my meter on the bottom of the viewfinder window where it is completely out of the way. Exposure is adjustable in halve stop increments, this is not a problem for me as I primarily use it to shoot black and white negative film, but could be a consideration to someone who shoots slides. I use this camera to shoot B&W film when I donít want to haul around my MF camera and another set of lenses in addition to my digital system, and also as a back up for my K10. the ZX-l is a good counterpart to a digital SLR, it has a similar style interface, uses the same 2.5mm plug cable switch, and also has P-TTL flash support. This camera has served me well and never let me down, I defiantly can recommend it to any one looking for a 35mm film camera, especially at its very low price on the used markets.

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