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06-15-2009, 11:10 PM   #1
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Looking for a film body, lots of questions!

Okay, I have begun the hunt for a film body to try something new(lol) and to sate my CBA until I can afford a K7. I've done some research but there are still an insane amount of models to sort through. I have some criteria and would like some suggestions.

1. VF should be at least as good as my K10D

2. It must have manual mode, and preferably Av and a program mode or two as well.

3. A good metering system (preferably at least center + spot)

4. AF would be nice but not neccessary

5. Good build quality

6. Under $150 USD (so MZ-S and LX are probably out of the question )


So far I'm leaning toward the MZ/ZX-3 or 5n because they are newer and have good features.


Other models I'd like feedback or opinions on:

- The rest of the MZ/ZX series (Still trying to sort this mess of a series out on Dimitrov's K-mount page but its giving me a headache)

- PZ-1P

- SFX/SF1n (these seem to stir up little or no interest on eBay. Is there something wrong with them? It seems like a good model)

- ME Super

- KX, K2

- Super Program

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me, also feel free to suggest any other models!

06-16-2009, 06:11 AM   #2
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- The rest of the MZ/ZX series (Still trying to sort this mess of a series out on Dimitrov's K-mount page but its giving me a headache)
From teh MZ family I think the MZ-L/6 and the MZ5n are the best.
I have the MZ7 and like it.
I believe the 3 does not support old lenses, while the other ones do.

- PZ-1P
I rememebr wanting one of these bad when they came out but never got around to buy one.

- ME Super
Great camera, no Tv, no Program, manual focus, the brightest VF
06-16-2009, 09:37 AM   #3
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One thing to consider is whether the body allows you to manually set the film speed. Some rely on DX encoding and are hard to work with if you intend to do push processing.

Steve
06-16-2009, 10:59 AM   #4
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Well, any of your choices should give you a nice finder compared to an APS-C digital. In your position, I might go for the PZ-1P just to, err, be interesting, and it seems to be the most-similar in operation to what you're used to.

I like the Super Program as a backup to share lenses with the digitals, (Actually, I have the Super A, same thing in black) ...it's a bit more convenient for swapping lenses than an ME Super, since I can shoot with a lens on A with the Super Program type. The finder isn't as special as the ME Super, but they greatly improved the metering and convenience of setting shutter speeds, and it's basically just as small.

And, I haven't used one myself, but everyone seems to like the MZ-5n, nothing wrong with that choice.

06-16-2009, 12:49 PM   #5
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I will also put in a plug for the "other" K-mount camera. Ricoh bodies from the late 70s and early 90s are a great value, though it is something of a pain to wade through the various model designations to get the features you want/need. I have personal experience with the following models (currently own) and can vouch for their construction/performance/value.

Ricoh XR-2s (also similar XR-2)
  • Size and control layout similar to Pentax KX
  • Full information viewfinder
  • Diagonal split-image + microprism focus screen
  • Av plus full manual (match needle) exposure
  • Copal vertical metal shutter (4s - 1/1000s, X synch at 1/125s)
  • CdS meter (center-weighted averaging)
  • DOF preview
  • Self-timer
  • Construction: Polycarbonate top/bottom over metal chassis
Ricoh XR7
  • Size about the same as the Pentax ME Super
  • Traditional control layout
  • Full information LCD viewfinder
  • Diagonal split-image + microprism focus screen
  • SPD meter (center-weighted averaging)
  • Av plus full manual (up/down indicators)
  • Seiko vertical metal shutter (16s - 1/1000s, X synch at 1/125)
  • DOF preview
  • Self-timer
  • Construction: Polycarbonate top/bottom over machined aluminum chassis

Both are regularly available at auction for less than $50 regardless of condition. I paid $25 for my current XR7 with 2 zooms thrown into the bargain.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-16-2009 at 12:55 PM.
06-16-2009, 03:09 PM   #6
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I have a SuperProgram that I will put on sale (trying to prune off my film camera collection). But the SuperProgram is in storage and I can't get to it until July 1. Let me know if you are interested (I realize shipping cost from California to Taipei may be a hindrance).
06-16-2009, 06:40 PM   #7
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Depending on what lenses you have, the rest of the MZ series (ie: L, 7) have body aperture control and can use digital lenses with vignetting limitations. The 30,50,and 60 I don't recommended since they can only use lenses without aperture ring. I've been enjoying the MZ-7 + DA 10-17 + Panorama Mode. At 14mm it has no vignetting and is super wide My only gripe with the 7 is that the autofocus area is huge. I wish it has the spot center area like the L as the default AF area.

The AF response on my MZ-L is amazing. I don't know how much better the K10D is than K100D in AF but MZ-L just eats my K100D AF for breakfast.

Nothing wrong with the 5n/3, I'm sure they are really nice as well. I just went the L/7 path because of me owning the 10-17 and my reluctance to control the aperture in a different way that I'm used to.

ME super is my takumar machine now. It's a nice build and the viewfinder is enlightening... quite literally. My overall impression of this camera is really good, really compact and small. I'm actually getting a M40/2.8 to go with it so I can pocket it. My first gripe with it would be the lock button. I don't know why but I feel that it could be somehow better designed. And the M mode is a pain to use, I'd stay with Av mode when using the ME Super. The fact that it's fully mechanical with 1/125 shutter is nice, but it's not likely for me to use that feature. If you get an M generation body, I recommend a leather cover for it... it really improves the handling if you live in cold climate (metal is cold).

Last edited by Andi Lo; 06-16-2009 at 06:53 PM.
06-17-2009, 06:54 PM   #8
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me super or an me-f...Small bodies with very reliable metering.
I have 3 ME SUPERS and 1 ME-F and all meter exactly the same. 1/2000 shutter and are Aperture priority. Can also be used fully manual. Priced right. A mint one can be found for less than $150.00 bucks. The view finders will make you feel disgust for what u see through your DSLR.

06-18-2009, 04:57 AM   #9
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I second that. These Ricohs have features that rival more well-known brands and are very tough, reliable cameras. They serve as superb backups for competitive Pentax cameras. Plus, for maybe slightly better deals, look for the Ricoh made but Sears badged versions of the above:

Sears KS-2 is the Ricoh XR-7
Sears KS Auto is the Ricoh XR-2s


QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I will also put in a plug for the "other" K-mount camera. Ricoh bodies from the late 70s and early 90s are a great value, though it is something of a pain to wade through the various model designations to get the features you want/need. I have personal experience with the following models (currently own) and can vouch for their construction/performance/value.

Ricoh XR-2s (also similar XR-2)
  • Size and control layout similar to Pentax KX
  • Full information viewfinder
  • Diagonal split-image + microprism focus screen
  • Av plus full manual (match needle) exposure
  • Copal vertical metal shutter (4s - 1/1000s, X synch at 1/125s)
  • CdS meter (center-weighted averaging)
  • DOF preview
  • Self-timer
  • Construction: Polycarbonate top/bottom over metal chassis
Ricoh XR7
  • Size about the same as the Pentax ME Super
  • Traditional control layout
  • Full information LCD viewfinder
  • Diagonal split-image + microprism focus screen
  • SPD meter (center-weighted averaging)
  • Av plus full manual (up/down indicators)
  • Seiko vertical metal shutter (16s - 1/1000s, X synch at 1/125)
  • DOF preview
  • Self-timer
  • Construction: Polycarbonate top/bottom over machined aluminum chassis

Both are regularly available at auction for less than $50 regardless of condition. I paid $25 for my current XR7 with 2 zooms thrown into the bargain.

Steve
06-18-2009, 05:36 AM   #10
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I'd go for the MZ-6/ZX-L. Generally considered one of the best of the last Pentax film bodies to be released.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/k-mount-35mm-film-af/61281-pentax-mz-6-mz-l-zx-l.html

Last edited by K-9; 06-18-2009 at 05:54 AM. Reason: added link
06-18-2009, 12:52 PM   #11
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ZX-L are pretty nice. I think their VF's while on the smaller side for a film body are fairly bright and nearly indistinguishable from K10D/K20D. One small drawback on these bodies is that the spotmeter is only available with AE-L (enabled via pentax functions), and as far as I can tell, only in AE modes. To me, AF feels faster on these bodies than on the digital bodies. If you go for an MZ/ZX body you should also pick up a Fg AA battery back. Improves handling & allows use of cheaper batteries.

The SFX/SF1 are perhaps a bit underappreciated as they have some amount of charm. They are rather large, heavy, and brick-like. Their viewfinders are large enough but kind of dark. The shutter & motor drive are quite noisy. Batteries for these are a little pricey, and I've never seen the AA grips for sale. No DoF preview (other than the partially-dismount-the-lens trick). AF is on the slower side. On the positive side they offer exposure comp in 1/2 steps, AE-L, TTL flash, have 1/2000 or 1/4000 second shutters, electronic self timers, and relatively intelligent program modes that recognize AF zoom lens focal length.

If you want to save some coin, PZ-20 are very nice bodies that go for little money, usually considerably less than a ZX-L which isn't all that different...and the PZ may actually be a little more solidly built. One of the few things missing is DoF preview but you can (again) twist the lens in a pinch. They even offer hypermanual & program shift which the MZ/ZX bodies lack. I believe they may offer spotmeter in manual mode. I should try this when I'm at home.
06-18-2009, 01:08 PM   #12
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I believe there's a PZ-1P on the marketplace right now...
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