Pentax MZ-10

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by addies, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. addies

    addies Member

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    Hey, so I'm just looking to get into 35mm SLR photography. I found, what I believe to be, a decent camera for a decent price. It's a Pentax MZ-10 for $40 with ten rolls of film and two lenses: a standard 35-80 lens and a zoom Pentax 28-200 (with lens hood). Would you guys mind enlightening me if this is a good deal?
    Also, has anyone every used this camera before?

    Tips for getting started with 35mm would be great too, as I mainly use a point and shoot digital right now.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2010
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Just my own take on the situation: If you want to use film and want different results from a P&S, avoid (most) zooms and, especially, something like a 28-200 (though some have the reputation of being almost decent).

    Again, Why do you want to use film? What kind of pictures do you want to take?

    If you want to enter a different world compared to your P&S, look for some good non-zoom lenses to start with...
    The rest, again, depends on the kind of pictures you want to take.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    While I don't have this particular camera, I am, as my name suggests, a Pentax owner. If the MZ-10 is in good condition then with the extras, $40 is a great price. I'd get it in a shot if it were me. You can pay the equivalent of $40 for 10 rolls of film here in the U.K. !

    pentaxuser
     
  4. addies

    addies Member

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    Well, my main interest with film photography lies in the darkroom. I really hope to get familiar with developing black and white film as it is a topic which really interests me. I just figured that this Pentax would be a decent way for me to get started with film, I really like the idea of experimenting with all the different features of an slr as my point and shoot is about ten years old now. Alternative processing and photography techniques also seem very interesting and a lot of fun.

    The first lens I listed wasn't a zoom though, right?
    I just figured two lenses, a camera and a ton of film was a pretty decent deal.

    Thanks.
     
  5. addies

    addies Member

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    My thoughts exactly. I figure just the film itself may be worth it, though I don't really know if it is a very good brand/type. If it matters, the film is as follows:
    1. 7 200iso Kodak GB
    2. 2 800iso Kodak GT
    3. 1 1600iso Fujichrome Super HG
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Both lenses are zooms.
    For $40. it's really a no brainer for someone just getting involved in the hobby. The advantage to a prime(not zoom) lens is they are smaller, lighter & usually sharper.
    I can pretty much guarantee you wouldn't see the difference in picture quality between them for a long time
    unless one of the zooms is really bad.
     
  7. addies

    addies Member

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    So a lens like this would be preferable?
     
  8. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    IMHO, yes.

    There are almost as many takes on preferable or ideal lenses as there are photographers.
    There are also two main schools of thought on what a "normal" focal length should be: Lenses around 50mm or wider lenses around 35mm (a third school likes the convenience of zooms which include 50mm).
    But start with the 50mm.... If after quite a while you feel constrained by it, then look further.

    About the film being offered: A lot of it seems to be pretty specialistic high-speed film. If long expired, could be practically useless.
    Also not B&W.
    If you are planning to shoot a lot, you could consider buying a bulk loader and the B&W film in rolls.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2010
  9. werra

    werra Subscriber

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    This is a very good lens and usually they go pretty cheap being 'slow' in 1.4/1.2 madness going a bit on with Pentax dslr people.
     
  10. addies

    addies Member

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    Ok, thanks for the helpful advice guys!
    So, I guess I'll pick up this camera and mess around with it for a bit. If I find that I really enjoy photography I'll probably invest a bit more into it. If not, well I guess I'll be able to get a somewhat decent resale value on the camera :tongue:
     
  11. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    Good call. I think the MZ-10 is a fine camera and a bargain with the film and lenses.

    I haven't used the Pentax 28-200. It's reputation is that it is OK -- but not the sharpest. Don't worry about that, it will be plenty sharp. On the other hand, I have experience with a couple of copies of the 35-80, and it is a terrible lens. I could see how soft it was in the viewfinder! But that's fine because you've got the 28-200. Eventually, I would recommend one of the Pentax 50mm autofocus lenses... the F or the FA, in any speed. Just buy what you can find cheapest. The focussing screen on the MZ-10 is optimized for slower lenses and not for manual focussing. I think you will appreciate having an autofocus 50mm.

    The best recommenation I can make regarding shooting black and white film is to buy a lens filter. Get a red, or at least a dark yellow. The effect reduces haze and improves the rendering of skies enormously. Ironically, a filter might cost as much as your camera! But it is worth it.

    If you want to shoot with flash, the MZ-10 can also take advantage of the last-generation of Pentax TTL flash. Since they have been deprecated by the advent of P-TTL flashes, the TTL flashes are often a bargain. Even the simple Pentax AF220T will give you a proper TTL flash with bounce. You could also add a no-name brand TTL flash cable and move the flash off-camera.

    Another recommendation for the MZ-10 would be the accessory battery grip. The FG battery grip works on most of the MZ-series of cameras. It allows you to use AA batteries. The MZ-10 is a small camera, and if it's too small for your hands then you will enjoy using it with the grip attached.

    Have fun with your new camera -- it is already a capable tool even without any of the other nonsense I have recommended!
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Both the lenses you're getting will work for you outdoors in sunlight. ,

    One of the biggest advantages to the prime lens is the ability to allow you to photograph in dimmer light, in the house, store, museum etc. It is also going to be smaller and lighter.
    You have the idea though, try these lenses & if it works for you pick up a normal 50/2 or the like & sell off one of the others. It will most likely pay for the normal lens.

    Regarding the image quality, I've sold hundreds of cameras with "kit" lenses and only a small handful of times was anyone displeased, but most people don't have a very sophisticated eye.

    Just for curiosity what country are you in?
     
  13. addies

    addies Member

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    Alberta, Canada :smile:
     
  14. brainsalad

    brainsalad Member

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    MZ-10 is one of the few Pentax cameras of that era that can properly use an M- or K-series lens; it's not one with the now-common "crippled" lens mount. But (if it's not too late) be sure it is a working sample before you give up your cash. These had a tendency for a plastic gear on the mirror motor to crack, resulting in intermittent stuck-shutter symptoms.
     
  15. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I have lots of prime lenses, ranging from 17mm to 300mm and everything in-between. I also have some zooms.

    It seems to me, there is a lot of snobbery about prime vs "zoom" lenses, forgetting that zooms can do what prime lenses are unable to (as well as vice-versa):smile:

    Sure, in general, primes of a given focal length have wider apertures than corresponding zooms: and that would appear to be their chief advantage.

    On the other hand, any zoom can cover a wide range of focal lengths and permits in-camera cropping without a change of perspective (a point rarely mentioned, if at all). People often say you can "zoom" (or crop) using your legs, what they forget is that doing so changes the perpective of the shot, and the resulting image so obtained looks quite different to one that would have been obtained obtained using a zoom lens from the original viewpoint.

    In any case, who wants to be constantly changing lenses (and carting them about all day, often not even needed).

    Actually, the two zooms you get with your deal are excellent for starters: don't listen to the knockers. :smile:
     
  16. addies

    addies Member

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    Would you mind explaining the best way of looking over a camera before buying?
    I'm planning on picking it up this weekend.

    Thanks.
     
  17. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I mention these points, because I've been caught out on them myself:mad:.

    First, don't listen to any "Oh, it's just got a flat battery" excuses: if it isn't functioning, battery or not, walk away -or bring a battery with you.

    Second, also bring a cheap film of any kind (to try out the auto-load, advance, shutter at all speeds- and rewind mechanisms). I have had various cameras showing the following faults after I paid good money and brought them home: mirror in lock-up (nothing would function, because the mirror stayed up and wouldn't respond to the re-set procedure; a clip was broken off (and removed from) the film compartment, thus disabling the auto film loading mechanism; the advance mechanism refusing to work after several exposures and going directly into the rewind mode; skipping frames, because the advance/shutter interlock worked only intermittently at best; the shutter freezing after a few shots, or refusing to operate at all at the slower settings (1/15th sec and slower).

    While loaded with your film, check the operation of the auto focus (if any) and the clarity (specks, mould) of the viewfinder. If on a clear day, between 10 am and 3 pm, point the camera at the the blue sky away from the sun (or onto green grass, with the sun behind you): it should indicate an exposure (equivalent) in the vicinity of f/16 at 1/film speed (ISO) +/- a stop.

    Remove the lens (with SLRs) and check the condition of the lens (look for spider-web like growths or mould-like splodges. If you see any, walk away. Also, check front and rear elements for scratches, grazes, smudges, chips. If the marks appear to be permanent, walk away. Make sure the lens is clean before you start looking (bring a lens cloth with you and ask for permission to clean the lens first). A grubby front and/or rear element can obscure many faults. make sure you have good light (bring a flash-light with you).

    With the lens removed, look inside the miror box. Inspect the mirror for damage and smudges. The mirroring is on the facing side of the mirror and very vulnerable. If damaged, you don't need it. Sometimes, however, there may be a strip along the bottom of the mirror where the mirroring has worn away due to contact with the (rubber) mirror buffer: this may still be OK, providing it doesn't show through the viewfinder. Check inside for cleanliness and lack of damage.

    Open the film compartment: check for the condition of the (rubber compound) light seals. Are they tacky, crumbly, falling apart, smudging your fingers? If so, they can be replaced, but....? Check to see there are no rough edges on the film-path/film guides and (especially) the pressure plate. Check the condition/operation of the film compartment door latch. Is the door itself buckled in any way?
    Run the shutter at all speeds and view the action of the shutter blinds: you should notice less and less light passing through the shutter as you increase the shutter speed. Do the shutter blinds look clean, unmarked, without any holes in them, and not buckled in any way?

    With fixed-lens cameras, does the shutter operate at all speeds and does the iris diaphragm close right down to the set value before the shutter operates (no "sticking" diaphragm blades)? With range-finder cameras, the rangefinder mechanism itself may either be out of adjustment or the optics obscured with mould. This is often expensive to cure even where possible. Rangefinder "between the lens" shutters are notoriously difficult to service (if you can find anyone at all willing to do them in the first place).:sad:

    look at the outside of the camera for "dings", dents, scratches, worn away coatings, etc. has it been dropped? You may be willing to accept some "battle scars" for a reduction in price, but there are many near mint copies out there so again....?


    Pick up the lens(es). Try rotating the aperture or zoom rings (if any). Is the action smooth?
    is anything wobbly or rattly? When the lens is mounted to the camera, the lens-camera combination shouldn't rattle. Is the rubber grip in good condition? Look through the lens from both ends: is anything lurking in there that shoudn't be? Sometimes internal lens-elements will undergo partial separation: this looks a bit like oil-film slick (with a light diffraction pattern) on water. Try all the levers you can see for action; does the diaphragm open and close easily and smoothly. Is the iris regular or distorted in shape?

    When examining the lens, use a flashlight and shine it in from the end opposite to the one you're looking in. A flashight will reveal much more than any other -including daylight.

    (One seller, with mould in the lens, had the bright idea of using a 25 watt bulb in his garage (at night) for me to view the lens:tongue:. Luckily, for me, I was still able to see the luxuriant growth of mould filling the inside of the lens in question.:smile:)

    Run through your entire practice film, taking shots around the seller's (indoors and out) -so as to actuate any auto rewind mechanism, checking all the while whether the displays are functioning, including the frame counter- and if you don't notice anything suspicious, you have agood chance of everything being OK. :smile:

    Take your time and refuse to be hurried: it's your money!:wink:

    If you do notice anything suspicious or worrying, walk away now: it will be much less trouble and expense to wait for a better opportunity than to try to fix a bad bet. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2010
  18. brainsalad

    brainsalad Member

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    What galah ^ said about bringing a battery and cheap film. Consider it sacrificial film. Actually the batteries for this camera (it takes two) are fairly expensive, but there's no getting around that -- unless the seller is including a battery grip, in which case you can get by with 4 AAs, which are cheaper.

    To check for the mirror motor gear problem, shoot through the entire roll of film. Around the halfway point, take off the lens and keep going, observing the mirror going up and down. Use various manual speeds. If the camera makes it to the end of the roll, you're probably okay.

    It's worth checking. I've been burned on this same issue twice, with ZX-/MZ- series bodies.

    A little background
     
  19. mr rusty

    mr rusty Member

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    For what it is worth, my experience with zooms is decidedly mixed, so I think what everyone says has an element of truth.

    On my Minolta x300, the 35-70 kit lens is nothing to write home about - sharp enough but not very contrasty - the 50mm 1.7 prime blows it away.

    On my Olympuses, the zuiko 35-70mm F4 I have (which is supposedly a "budget" lens) is incredibly sharp and I find I use it nearly all the time, but the 75-150mm zuiko zoom is only really OK at F8 or above. The 35-70mm zoom certainly matches the 50mm F1.8 and 35mm F2.8 primes, but is obviously a bit slower. The primes have the edge wide open.

    On my EOS300v, I have a very early 35-70mm with no manual focus. Again supposed to be a real cheapy, but it is more than acceptable, whereas a 35-105mm USM which is supposed to be a better lens, is only on a par with the 35-70 - certainly no better.

    The good thing about kit zooms is that they are cheap. If you get a good one it will be excellent, but none I have are really unusable.
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    When checking the camera with a roll of cheap film, open the back and examine it for scratches after running through a few frames.
     
  21. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I don't know about Alberta, but in Ontario, Canada you can get the batteries for this camera for a dollar. "Dollarama", the ubiquitous dollar store, has them. (They also carry LR44, at 2 for a dollar.) I wish Dollarama carried all the different batteries for my cameras! Those Bronica ETR batteries are expensive...
     
  22. addies

    addies Member

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    Wow, thanks for this. I'll be sure to use your advice :smile:, probably one of the most comprehensive guides I've seen.
     
  23. addies

    addies Member

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    Oh, I had no idea Dollarama carried those. Thanks for the tip, I'll be sure to stop buy and pick some up before I go to test the camera.
     
  24. CRM-114

    CRM-114 Subscriber

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    Hi, just one more thing, whilst the comprehensive check list is excellent, (lots of stuff to remember), it's also generic. I'm fairly certain the MZ (ZX) cameras do not function with the back open, so wiewing the shutter operation might be tricky.
    Try looking from the front with the lens off, and catch a glimps between the mirror movement.

    Good luck
     
  25. silverliner

    silverliner Member

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    I totally agree with the above author. The Pentax MZ family is notorious for this problem (except MZ-S). That plastic gear will one day break no matter how hard or how light you use it. Other than that they are wonderful bodies, small, light, thoughtfully designed, very undisturbed (vibrationless, noiseless) mirror slap, easy to manipulate the camera settings. I just hope that your MZ-10 won't easily die in your hand. Mine is now in heaven. ^^