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05-01-2010, 07:02 AM   #1
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Cheap, light AF film SLR for travel?

I have the *ist DS, which is already a small camera by DSLR standard, but I'm after something even smaller/lighter. Whilst investigating the possibility of getting a m43 (e.g. Olympus Pen) camera, I suddenly realised that modern film SLRs are smaller and lighter than DSLRs as well, and of course I can use my existing lenses...at FF (I already have a KX)!

Just after a recommendation for a film body. It's going to be used for hiking and international travel, so I want small and light. I don't need it to be overly feature rich, but I do want AF. Other things like MLU would be nice, and so would a fast shutter (1/4000), but these are not really essential. I mostly shoot in Av.

I have read a few reviews of the AF bodies in the Cam Review section, but there are so many of them and it's a bit overwhelming for a newbie like me.

And yes, don't really want to pay too much for it either...

Thanks in advance.

05-01-2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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Something along the ZX-10 is nice, it isn't a complicated camera but it is tiny and light weight... and doesn't have the crippled Kaf mount, so you can use non A lenses... can't set aperture via the body, but you can be in program mode for aperture ring-less lenses.

The ZX-L I bought is fancier, larger and more complicated, but still a lightweight compared to the K100D
05-01-2010, 02:06 PM   #3
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The ZX-L or ZX-7 are great cameras and while being a little bigger/heavier than some other Pentax AF film bodies, they are small and light compared to any of the Pentax DSLRs.

There is a great comparison of the MZ-S/ZX-5n/ZX-L in the camera reveiw section and it shows the size of the 3 compared to a K100D and the three film cameras makes the K100D look huge.

Swift1
05-01-2010, 02:12 PM   #4
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I'd recommend the ZX-5n if you're after a light yet functional body. Please check its specs in our camera db

Of course the MZ-s is the cream of the crop, but it's in the $500 range.

05-01-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
iht
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Thanks for the recommendations so far.

I forgot to mention: does open aperture metering work with M or K series lenses on these bodies? Or do I need something like the green button to meter as in modern DSLRs? Most of my lenses are AF ones, but I might get a M wide angle.

As well, it'll be preferable if I can drive the aperture from the body, which I think rules out the zx-5n.

Thanks.

Last edited by iht; 05-01-2010 at 04:52 PM.
05-01-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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Any camera with a non-crippled KAF mount will support open aperture metering.

The ZX-5n, MZ-s, PZ-1, and nearly every other film SLR prior to the *ist support it. The *ist has a crippled mount and does not support open-aperture metering.

Again, refer to the camera fact sheets in our camera review database to check if a mount is crippled or not

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05-01-2010, 04:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by iht Quote
Thanks for the recommendations so far.

I forgot to mention: does open aperture metering work with M or K series lenses on these bodies? Or do I need something like the green button to meter as in modern DSLRs? Most of my lenses are AF ones, but I might get a M wide angle.

Thanks.
I believe if you look for a camera that doesn't have the crippled Kaf, you get what you are looking for. E.g. the ZX-10, ZX-L do not have this crippled mount, and looks like the ZX-5 also doesn't...
The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart
05-01-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd recommend the ZX-5n if you're after a light yet functional body. Please check its specs in our camera db

Of course the MZ-s is the cream of the crop, but it's in the $500 range.

Another vote for MZ-5 or ZX-5n - cheap and nice to use.
Of course if you have the money the MZ-S with grip and a set of Limited

Cheers,

Luc

05-01-2010, 05:10 PM   #9
iht
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Thanks guys for your quick responses.

Is there a quick way I can check if the body supports controlling the aperture in the specs? Or is it just a matter of looking at the top controls in the pics? I see Av could potentially mean turning the aperture ring with the shutter on 'A', or actually moving the aperture on the body dial in Av mode (for A, F, FA).
05-02-2010, 04:40 AM   #10
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On the compatibility chart I linked above, look at the column for DA lenses (which lack the aperture ring, and are mostly in yellow for the cameras you're interested in) and the ones for the aperture-ring-ful lenses (F, FA, D FA) ... Look for the little detail of is Av available for the DA lens. If so, the camera can set aperture, if not, the camera can't.
05-02-2010, 05:33 AM   #11
iht
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Thanks very much guys. It sounds like the MZ-6 is what I'm looking for.

Cheers!
05-02-2010, 06:49 AM   #12
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Here is a comparison table:
Pentax MZ/ZX-Series Film Bodies
05-02-2010, 11:12 AM   #13
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Here is a place where my heart and my head are in two different places. I bought the plastic ZX-L (MZ6) last year to be able to shoot my digital lenses on film, and it has performed very well. On paper, this is the perfect film body to accompany my K-x on an upcoming vacation in Spain. It will utilize my M20mm to its ultrawide full frame; it will use all of my DA ltd lenses (with cropping); it autofocuses, autoexposes, and it is even the lightest SLR body I own.

However, my MX body beckons after its recent CLA. This metal, mechanical old friend has made the trip across the Atlantic so many times.....
05-03-2010, 12:55 AM   #14
iht
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QuoteQuote:
Here is a comparison table:
Pentax MZ/ZX-Series Film Bodies
Thanks for that.

QuoteQuote:
Here is a place where my heart and my head are in two different places. I bought the plastic ZX-L (MZ6) last year to be able to shoot my digital lenses on film, and it has performed very well. On paper, this is the perfect film body to accompany my K-x on an upcoming vacation in Spain. It will utilize my M20mm to its ultrawide full frame; it will use all of my DA ltd lenses (with cropping); it autofocuses, autoexposes, and it is even the lightest SLR body I own.

However, my MX body beckons after its recent CLA. This metal, mechanical old friend has made the trip across the Atlantic so many times.....
Ah...I can understand as I have the venerable KX as well...
05-03-2010, 09:23 AM   #15
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A different view

Even a lightweight SLR outfit can be a real burden traveling.
In my experience a good pocketable viewfinder camera
(rangefinder, scale focus, or AF) is often more practical.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 05-03-2010 at 09:29 AM.
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