Help with the purchase of my next film camera please


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 20:36
Ive shot about four rolls with the MZ-6 and I love the camera. Its controls arent disimilar to a DSLR and despite the cheap plasticky look its quite durable and comfortable to hold. the one thing that does it an injustice is the viewfinder. Its not the best and I prefer something bright and wielding the best view possible.

Can someone recommend me another film camera to buy from Pentax that is keeping in with the look of the Z series but with better viewfinder etc?

Cheers in advance
Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.

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Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 20:43
The MZ-5 and MZ-3 are the obvious choices for me. Superb cameras and I guess you'll be able to pick them up quite cheaply.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 20:46
Thanks JOhn.... Are these cameras easy to use and compatible with my manual lenses?
Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.

Check out ones photographs on Flickr!


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 21:13
MZ-5n is and I suspect the 3 is as well


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 21:14
I should add that the MZ5n is fully automatic or fully manual and all shades in between


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 21:26
The MZ-3 is very rare and hence expensive. The only difference compared to the 5N is 1/4000s max shutter speed instead of 1/2000s.

I have two MZ-5Ns and they are very nice cameras to use, aside from being plasticky. The viewfinders aren't the best though - no focusing prism of any kind and not the biggest or brightest, but they are usable with manual lenses.

If you want the best viewfinder possible then get an MX. If you want something with a bit more automation or a bit cheaper then the ME, ME Super, P30 or P30N - all have viewfinders almost as good as that of the MX.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 21:38
If you want the full experience Alistair buy an MX and a separate lightmeter.

Not that you need a separate lightmeter, as there's one built into the camera. But you have to put the battery in to use it

The MX is a thing of beauty

Last Edited by Blythman on 17/11/2014 - 21:38


Link Posted 17/11/2014 - 22:49
Most film cameras are fully compatible with manual 'K' mount lenses, the exceptions are listed here: link. Some of the MZ series bodies have a 'penta-mirror' instead of a penta-prism (dimmer view and more distortion in the viewfinder). I'm aware the MZ-M uses this finder - not sure what else might use it (the cheaper options probably).

With manual lenses you may prefer a manual focus camera - the focus aids give more confidence than the green hexagon in my opinion. My choice would be either a P30n, ME Super, MX or K1000 because they use cheap readily available batteries and will shoot for ages on them.

PPG Flickr
Last Edited by johnha on 17/11/2014 - 22:57


Link Posted 18/11/2014 - 06:55
Cheers John
Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.

Check out ones photographs on Flickr!


Link Posted 18/11/2014 - 07:42
The MZ-5N is a joy to use, lovely bright viewfinder, really easy to access controls (manual dials for Shutter Speed, EV Compensation etc)
With the optional grip its a joy to use, I find it a little small without the grip, fingers fall off the bottom.

It works fine with all my FF lenses (K, M and FA) and will work with DA lenses although you can not shoot in Av mode, just Auto or Shutter Priority.

The main thing its so easy to use, leave all the dials in 'Auto' (and lens in 'A' mode) and shoot away, or go all out and shoot fully manual, no menus just turn the dials!

It is a bit plasticy, but seems solid and open to abuse, advantage is its really light, and balances well with the grip and big lenses (M* 300mm).

Mine was 50 with a Sigma 28-200mm lens off ebay, and has the well known fault of broken flash (works but the spring that holds it up has broken).

Pentax MZ-5N / FA 50mm f1.7 by RSdesignUK, on Flickr

Pentax MZ-5n + Voigtlander 90mm f3.5 APO-Lanthar by RSdesignUK, on Flickr

Some of my favourites with the MZ-5N/Voigtlander 90mm APO combo (I have since sold the VL 90mm)

Viv! by RSdesignUK, on Flickr

Pond in the Rain by RSdesignUK, on Flickr


Oxford Covered Market by RSdesignUK, on Flickr


Viv 1 by RSdesignUK, on Flickr
D-FA28-105 | FA43 | K55 | DA100 Macro | DA*300
Pentax K1 | Pentax K-01 | Pentax MZ-S | Pentax MZ-5n
Flickr Photostream
Last Edited by hoopsontoast on 18/11/2014 - 07:44


Link Posted 18/11/2014 - 18:29
Another vote for the Mz5n... Great camera... Come up regularly on ebay... Go for 10ish-50ish depending on condition, what they come with, and how long you're prepared to wait etc...




Link Posted 18/11/2014 - 18:39
I would recommend you to use the Z1. Prolly for me the best film slr that pentax produced during the 90's.
Save Pentax


Link Posted 18/11/2014 - 22:34
If you have owned and used an MZ/ZX series Pentax any length of time that old nagging
"when will that plastic gear that runs everything break and completely incapacitate my camera"
feeling will never leave you.
Better to avoid the sad "plastic Pentaxes" as my repairman calls them.

To truly appreciate Pentax quality, precision and user experience suggest you try a manual focus
model from the K or M series.

Bring back the latent image!
Last Edited by ChrisPlatt on 18/11/2014 - 22:35


Link Posted 19/11/2014 - 00:40
For many years my favourite was a Super-A - small, stylish and a superb finder. The Z-1 handles almost exactly like a K-5 and the LX simply feels better than anything else (and has several finder & screen options). Most film bodies go for peanuts, the only really expensive ones are the MZ-S & LX, the MX/K1000 can be moderately expensive but everything else can be bought for very little.

On old cameras condition is most important. Cameras with manual film advance levers are more reliable than 20yr old in-built auto-winders, mechanical shutters are more reliable than electronic and electronics degrade with age much faster than mechanical bits.
PPG Flickr


Link Posted 19/11/2014 - 11:42
I'd agree with John - both the Super-A and the Z-1 are the 35mm bodies you're most likely to find me out and about with! Either one will take fantastic pics
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