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02-21-2010, 04:08 PM   #1
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Pentax MG... any good?

Ok, so I'm quite young and have never really known anything about film photography. I bought a secondhand lens today on an online auction site (Pentax-A 50mm 1:1.7) and got an old SLR film camera thrown in with the deal, the Pentax MG. As far as I can tell it looks to be in a good condition, I just don't have any idea how it works. I'm about to spend a year on an sub-antarctic island away from all civilisation and bought the K-x recently to capture the beauty of the place. Of course being away from everything means being away from printing labs too. However, there is a dark room at the base...

So, I'd like to know: Is the camera any good? How steep is the learning curve for using a film camera like that for someone who's never used one before? How difficult is it to develop your own pictures.

Thanks

02-21-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
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Nice lens and a decent camera. Here's a link to the details about the MG, although you may still be benighted by technical information. Try downloading and printing a copy of the manual from Pentax-Manuals.com - its free and a very high quality scan. The password is "Pentax"

The learning curve is no worse than learning the Aperture Priority function of a DSLR. Av is the only function on the MG - there is no manual mode. That should make the learning process fairly easy.

Although you may not want to spend the money, may I suggest you consider having the camera inspected and brought to original spec.'s by this Forum's favorite Pentax technician, Eric Hendrickson? The link sends you to his website, where he describes his business and service - quite excellent and inexpensive for what he does, and no risk to you! Read the estimating information in the right frame.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-21-2010 at 04:53 PM.
02-21-2010, 05:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Although you may not want to spend the money, may I suggest you consider having the camera inspected and brought to original spec.'s by this Forum's favorite Pentax technician, Eric Hendrickson? The link sends you to his website, where he describes his business and service - quite excellent and inexpensive for what he does, and no risk to you! Read the estimating information in the right frame.
This may not be possible for kari. He seems to reside in South Africa. Maybe he has a friend here that he could send the camera to. But you are right, Eric is the best.
02-21-2010, 05:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlank Quote
This may not be possible for kari. He seems to reside in South Africa. Maybe he has a friend here that he could send the camera to. But you are right, Eric is the best.
Oops - my bad. Not really ethnocentric, but certainly a continent-o-centric error of a global Forum.

02-21-2010, 06:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Oops - my bad. Not really ethnocentric, but certainly a continent-o-centric error of a global Forum.
But at least he can download the MG manual. One out of two ain't bad. Babe Ruth never hit .500.
02-21-2010, 11:26 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot, guys. I'll definitely grab a hold of the manual for that camera.

I'm a 'she', by the way. ;-)
02-22-2010, 02:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Try downloading and printing a copy of the manual from Pentax-Manuals.com - its free and a very high quality scan. The password is "Pentax"
There's no password required through Pentax Canada, here's the link.
The free on-line manuals is sure a nice touch
I had the MZ-6's downloaded the day before I bought the camera, even knowing that I'd get the manual with it.
02-22-2010, 07:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kari Quote
Thanks a lot, guys. I'll definitely grab a hold of the manual for that camera.

I'm a 'she', by the way. ;-)
OK - so no more assumptive behavior by monochrome

FWIW, you'll enjoy the camera, especially the viewfinder!

02-22-2010, 10:40 AM   #9
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You didn't say if you were going to do color or BW. When I look back at my first several years of developing my BW film, they suck to what I do today. In other words, optium results take some practice. But if you expose well and follow the development recommendations, you'll get good results. Are you going to be in snow? Remember, your camera's center-weighted metering will place a really white snow scenes to a mid tone. You'll need to open the lens up several more stops depending on how white a scene is. Since the camera is new to you, I'd bracket all the shots you think are keepers.

Last edited by tuco; 02-22-2010 at 10:46 AM.
02-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #10
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The MG is one of my personal favorites: it's easy to use, was inexpensive, takes all the lenses you could ever want to use, and has been a "strong" camera, in that I can stash it in my tank bag or truck and not worry too much about it. It'll be quick for you to learn on too. The one thing (about all these Pentax manual film bodies) that I am not a fan of, is the method for loading the film. It takes some patience to correctly load the darn thing, whereas my auto-everything cameras make film loading a non-issue.
03-01-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
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*note* if at sub Antarctic temperatures, crank film advance slower than normal or else you risk the chance of images with lightening showing up "static" isn't film friendly
03-01-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
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MG?! Ick!! Must-have-manual-control...

If you shoot slide film, you're likely to find a camera without manual exposure capability to be mighty aggravating.
03-02-2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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Nice rugged camera
AE is generally spot on
check my comments on the other thread
03-08-2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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Hmm, I'm a huge fan of film but this sounds like you might really be better off with a digital. Bringing enough film, batteries, chemicals, paper for a year will be a shlep, and quite an outlay in financial terms, too.

OK, it had to be said.

Give your MG a good workout before you leave. I only ever put one roll of film through mine. It came back underexposed, for which I blame the ASA dial. It's plastic and doesn't feel anywhere near as robust as the metal one on the ME.

However, if yours is good and exposes correctly, I agree that it should do well. As has been said, you'll need to adjust exposure for snow scenes, and on the MG that can only be done with the ASA setting. Nothing wrong with that except you'll need to remember to set it back when not needed. Unlike cameras with a dedicated ASA override, there is no reminder in the viewfinder.
03-10-2010, 01:33 PM   #15
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The MG uses the same frame as the more manual ME and ME Super. My fiancee has one that I gave her for christmas. It has a self-timer and is Aperture-priority AE only. THe Aperture priority is one by twisting the aperture ring, so don't expect your DA or FAJ series lenses to work on it. No Exposure Compensation either, but you can change that by lying to it about what ISO film is loaded

The MG is very light and from what I can tell, not a bad entry level Pentax film SLR at all.
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