pentax autofocus cameras?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bob100684, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    I'm lost. A buddy has a pentax digital and now wants to break into film. He can't afford somethign top of the line, and I can't seem to find any real comparisons of the cameras availible. Help, please?
     
  2. TheDreadPirateRobins

    TheDreadPirateRobins Member

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    Is he pretty much set on Pentax autofocus? I have a Pentax Zx-50, which has an autofocus setting, but I have always been more pleased with my strictly manual focus only Pentax Spotmatic.
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    How about a used Pentax k1000?

    Jeff
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Why is auto-focus important? Unless he's looking to use the lenses he has from his digital system on a film body.

    First you must make sure his lenses will work properly on a film body. Does Pentax make digital specific lenses, and does he use them. If so, he'll have to buy lenses for the film camera he get.

    What I tell all my students to get is a used Pentax K-1000 body. A great camera, with superb optics.
     
  5. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    he is aware he can't use his Da lens on a film body, however autofocus is mandatory for him.
     
  6. MartinB

    MartinB Member

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  7. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    I have owned Pentaxes for nearly 40 years - some people swear by the K1000, I consider it to be pretty crude and totally obsolete. Its one virtue is that raw beginners are less likely to break it, its two major drawbacks are firstly that it takes quite a lot of skill to obtain accurate exposure with the (very primitive) full-field integrating metering, and secondly any example you may find second-hand is likely to be worn out. In this day and age, when second-hand prices are so low, a quite highly-specified modern Pentax like the MZ-5n can be acquired for no more than £50 and will work very much like your friend's digital. Once he has a film body, he will be able to acquire all the lenses he wants for very little money.
     
  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    The PZ1p is a great camera. The autofocus works pretty well (even in a cave once) and the rest is as easy to use as other Pentaxes. It might have features you'll never use, but it's easy to use it without going into the extras. I've had mine for 7 years and it's my go-to 35mm.
    I did have a ZX5, but I found it to be a little cheap feeling. I haven't tried their other newer ones.

    edited to add - B&H has a couple of PZ1p in their used department for about $200.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Mz-5n is a pretty good camera, I have no idea what it was called on the US market, though...
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    It would help if you gave APUGers a max that he can pay. All Pentax auto focus cameras seem to go for very little these days. The *ist seems relatively rare on the secondhand market but I recall that a few years ago it won a context when tested against the Nikon and Canon equivalents.

    The PZ1p fetches a little more than the rest but has a higher spec. If he can wait a few more months then I suspect there might be amazing bargains due to the economy resulting in a tightening of belts. I have noticed cameras prices in the U.K. dropping considerably in the last 6 months.

    I have a MZ7 which recently fetched, as a body only, just under £30. Ridiculous price really. If this fall in prices were to continue, the only problem will be that sellers will stop offering cameras. There comes a point when you may as well keep your camera if buyers are only willing to make insulting offers.

    pentaxuser
     
  11. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I would also suggest the MZ5n (ZX5n) or MZ3 (same, but with a higher top speed). You can use it fully manual or fully auto, it has multiple metering modes including spot metering, DOF preview, AA battery grip, plus little features like panorama mode and auto-bracketing that may appeal. It is fully compatible with all of the older lenses and the only ones you can't use are the FA-J (no aperture select on the lens) and the DA lenses which may vignette. As others have said they are dirt cheap: $130 - $160 at KEH for exc or LN examples and less on eBay.
    (note that the MZ5/ZX5 lacks a couple of useful features that you get with the MZ5n/ZX5n so is best avoided, given the small amount of money involved)
     
  12. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    he's willing to spend $275, the same he found a new *Ist DS for. Looking at keh I think the pz-1p would be the best for him I guess.
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    My answer is of little relevance given I can only talk of UK prices but this amount translated into GBP would certainly have got him a PZ-1P in an e-bay auction I followed a few months ago and should equally secure a MZ5n in the U.K.

    The *ist seems to be the one to go for in terms of matching and beating the equivalent Canon and Nikon cameras but either very few were sold so the secondhand market is almost non existent or they were so good that all the owners are hanging on to them.:sad:

    pentaxuser
     
  14. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    filmamigo. Interesting article you wrote. I have a MZ7 as well. It doesn't seem to be a very common camera. The two features I would have liked on it but don't have is DoF preview and a viewfinder screen that gives more help with focussing when using manual lenses. The matte screen is fine for autofocus and with the manual A lenses at least you can use the green focussing indicator but a manual diagonal split prism would help greatly for manual lenses.

    What did you mean by the Pentax double clicking when you said it made a better job of autofocus than the Nikon F80? Never had a F80 so have no means of comparing but nice to know that the MZ7 does a better job from someone who has used both cameras.


    It's an underrated camera, I feel, compared to its Nikon and Canon rivals.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  16. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I'm not sure how to describe it. Pentax autofocus cameras are noted for doing a "double check" of focus, sort of like you do when focussing manually. They find the focus, then they spin past a little, and come back into focus.

    The Nikon F80 didn't doublecheck. It autofocussed quickly, and stopped at the focus point. No double check. This makes it a little quicker, but sometimes I found that the focus was out a little.

    On both my *ist DL and the MZ-7, I have a higher percentage of in-focus shots. I attribute that (at least partly) to the "double check" style of autofocus.

    I believe the new Pentax K20D offers the choice to turn off the double-check, making autofocus work more like Canikon cameras.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    filmamigo. Thanks for that. I had noticed what I thought as slight "hunting". Focus is as you say always spot-on but it takes a split second to do it. It's also extremely sensitive. Move the camera even slightly from the focus point and it will re-focus. It's possible drawback is that in high speed sports action shots its pursuit of accuracy delays things a little more than Canikon cameras.

    Actually it reminds me of a third feature it lacks, namely focus points. All you have is the horizontal rectangle in the middle of the matte screen but this works well and I guess focus points belong to the next level up in tems of cameras, pricewise.

    pentaxuser
     
  18. redrockcoulee

    redrockcoulee Member

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    The SF1n goes for next to nothing and is not a bad camera. My wife and I used ours as the main cameras for over a decade but they have now fallen into disuse due to digital and MF and LF cameras being used. Still use my Mz5n which is smaller and more like a classic camera but in some ways the SF1n is easier to use especially for beginners or for those who will only use them occasionally. I tried to sell mine on ebay with a $60 reserve and the bidding only went up to 30 for which at that price I decided to keep it. They are also called SFXn in the States.
     
  19. ford prefect

    ford prefect Member

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    i love my zx-7/mz-7 i agree with the manual focus issue and lack of dof but i bought it in like new cond with the pentax smc 28-70 f3.5~5.6 lens so what do i have to complaim about right?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2008
  20. BigTed

    BigTed Member

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    I would also recommend the MZ5n. Great camera. I think the features missing on the MZ5 were the postbox format (but you could crop that afterwards) and the depth of field preview. I would also recommend one of the 'made in Japan' ones rather than the 'assembled Somewhere else' model - I had one of each and the second just didn't seem quite so sweet