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05-23-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
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Pentax MZ-S

The Pentax MZ-S was introduced in 2001 as Pentax’ top-of-the-line SLR with a study body of magnesium alloy. It reintroduced analog dials and had a slanted top panel as a distinguishing feature. It had high speed flash synchronization up to 1/6000 sec with the internal flash as well as with the AF360FGZ wireless TTL flash unit. The MZ-S also featured imprint of exposure information on the edge of the film.
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 lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/6000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/6000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in 2.5 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 12
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Yes (6 points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 - 18 EV
Power zoom
Yes, limited
0.75x, 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 BG-10, AA batteries
Size (W x H x D)
136.5 x 95 x 64 mm
520 g
Program modes: Normal, Action, Depth of field, MTF.
Extra flash functions: Wireless, High-Speed, Contrast control

Attached Images
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 
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PENTAX K20D  Photo       

Last edited by Ole; 01-18-2010 at 09:08 PM.
07-12-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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Location: Bedfordshire, UK
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I bought an MZ-S + BG-10 grip cca. a year ago for about 200 GBP (and a second body for 165 GBP some weeks ago). I can say it's worth the money I paid. Small, versatile and (contraty it is packed with features) very easy to learn how to use... as usual with Pentax. Even if you just put a lens on it and switch it on you are ready to shoot.

AF does hunt in low light situations, but you cannot see properly anyway what you shoot at so it does not really matter. Not to mention that I personally rarely use AF in low light and if I use I use a flash as well.

The only big drawback might be that you cannot use FAJ type (aperture ring-less) lenses on MZ-S in every exposition modes. Not that FAJ Pentax lenses were the league of lenses for this camera, but my Sigma EX DG 24-60mm is, and is a bit of disappointment that I can only use it in P and Tv modes. But I have learnt to live with the fact. And yes: the plastic film door is a shame for a camera like this. Damn price cutting policy.

What compensates its minor weaknesses well is the fact, that you can use the Pentax MX's custom focusing screen (split image/microprism collar) with the MZ-S after a small adjustment. In a couple of minutes you can turn your MZ-S into a manualfocus top spec camera. I compared my two MZ-S bodies (one with the MX screen and one with its original AF screen) if there is a difference in measuring the light but I found no significant change. In fact they showed the same values with identical lenses fitted and apertures set. Kudos Pentax!

Last edited by Zivelot; 07-30-2009 at 11:20 PM.
08-29-2009, 07:14 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ontario
Posts: 744
I sold mine finally last year in order to get the 16-50 lens as I hadn't run film through it since I went digital.

Having said that, when I switched from LF to 35mm, I was leaning towards an EOS 7E. Tried one out but it just didn't feel right in my hands. Nor did several other cameras in both Canon's and Nikon's stables at the time. I then picked up an MZ-S out of curiosity and was sold on the ergonomics. Because I wasn't shooting anything but landscapes at the time and was going to 35mm so I could take photos with my (then) young daughter, ergonomics won the day.

I think my only complaints about the camera were where the AF points were (that top point made little sense to me and didn't get used at all), and selecting the AF points by pressing up on the switch on the front of the body being a pain in the rump. Aside from those to gripes, this was a beautiful camera to work with and also to look at.

While I don't regret parting ways with my MZ-S, every once in a while I do miss that camera. It wasn't a speed demon, but everything about it (especially with an FA ltd lens) screamed class.
04-04-2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 103
Pentax MZ-S Camera Review

Pros Size, ergonomics, handling, data-edge printing
Cons focus point setting
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) $450
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Last of the best full-featured, automatic film cameras. Competes with Nikon F6 in features. Beats the F6 on size and weight. Desirable on used market. Occasional availability locally or on auction sites, but seldom inexpensive.

Camera Review
Handling, size, usage, are all wonderful. I love the quiet little hiss made by the shutter and motor when you trigger the shot. Data imprinting on the roll edge is very nice.

MZ-S makes it very logical and easy to change exposure mode: Tv by moving dial; Av by moving lens aperture ring; Manual by moving both. Hit Green button to reset back to automatic exposure mode. So the MZ-S has a very similar design philosophy to the 645N, even if the buttons look different. You can also see this same design philosophy carried through to the modern Pentax DSLRs like the K-5.

PF Menu [F12]: One useful feature is the ability to "Mid Roll Change" before the end of the roll. You have to set it up in Pentax Function menu setting [F12]:[3] "Leaves out the film leader and enables MRC frame advance". Write down the frame number on your film canister. When you reload: With the back open, press the "green button" (exposure mode) while turning the dial to set the frame number.

PF Menu [F2]: Auto exposure mode can be set to prefer Speed Priority, Aperture Priority or MTF Priority. In other words, hitting the "Green Button" resets exposure to auto, but you can choose whether the automatic exposure prefers Faster Shutter speeds, Wider Apertures for depth-of-field, or Best Lens Resolution.

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