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Thread: Pentax MZ-10

  1. #11

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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!
    My other camera is a Pentax

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by addies View Post
    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 :P
    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?
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    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?
    Alberta, Canada

  4. #14
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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.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by addies View Post
    So a lens like this would be preferable?
    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)

    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.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by brainsalad View Post
    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.
    Would you mind explaining the best way of looking over a camera before buying?
    I'm planning on picking it up this weekend.

    Thanks.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by addies View Post
    Would you mind explaining the best way of looking over a camera before buying?
    I'm planning on picking it up this weekend.

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

    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).

    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. Luckily, for me, I was still able to see the luxuriant growth of mould filling the inside of the lens in question.)

    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.

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

    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.
    Last edited by Galah; 04-22-2010 at 12:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18
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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

  9. #19
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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.

  10. #20
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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.

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