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Pentax SFXn, MZn5, or PZ1p?

Jeff R , Jun 15, 1999; 02:04 p.m.

I am 15 years old and I live in Calgary Canada. I have to be brief for I am right in the middle of my English final examination for grade 10. I want to get myself an autofocus SLR, preferebaly Pentax for i have a lot of k mount lenses already. I don't need superfast auotfocus but i do want a reliable camera which isn't to pricey. The Pz1p (or zip here in canada) is quite expensive ($890 for body only) and it would take a while for me to save up the money. I'm not sure about the Mzn5 but heard that it has some electrical difficulty's. The SFXn seems to me to be the most rugged, reliable, and cheapest fo the bunch ($450 used with a 35-70mm macro). Which do you think is best for me? You can see some of my photo's at my page (it's under for a while for enovations but the gallery is still accesible). http://members.tripod.com/~nitromaniac


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Bruce Rubenstein - NYC , Jun 15, 1999; 04:13 p.m.

When the AF died in my MZ5, after 2 years, I wouldn't get it repaired by Pentax, because their service is so bad, awful, rotten... If your K mount lenses are made by Pentax, they're worth something. If they aren't they aren't worth much now, and at some point you'll probably want to replace them. It may be better do slowly do that now. I know Pentax CA is much better than in the States, but I still think the MZ series of cameras are built like interchangeable lens P&S cameras.

Me? I ditched the crummy service, so-so AF and limited lens line, and switched brands.

Austin Chow , Jun 15, 1999; 04:22 p.m.

For what it's worth, an Amateur Photographer article (22MAY99) picked the MZ-50 as the best starter SLR out of the Nikon F60, Minolta 404si (HTsi), and Canon Rebel 3000 (Rebel G?). "Superb metering and AF, smallness combined with build quality, simple to use control layout and a stunning set of slides."

And congratulations on picking photography over English. I've always heard a picture is worth a thousand words. Good luck in high school and photography.

Ling-Nan Zou , Jun 15, 1999; 07:13 p.m.

The AF on my ZX/MZ5 died rather early on also, but I think that was because I wasn't too careful with leaving the focus ring alone in AF mode. Also it got bounced around quite a bit in my back pack. Other than it, everything's fine (it's now 4 years old). It's fabulous little camera, the AF was quite good (before it died) and is more advanced than Pz1p's, the +/-3EV analog scale is excellent, and there is a spot meter. I think if you are careful with it, it should last for a while.

I'm not sure if the Mz50 has fully manual controls, I know it doesn't have a spot meter.

Derek Teoh , Jun 15, 1999; 10:46 p.m.

My previous camera was a mz-50. Good, light, reliable, accurate, best bang for the buck. Then I needed multiple exposure. So I got a zip. Good, reliable, accurate. Unfortunately, its heavier than the 50, but much lighter than the behemoths produced by canon and nikon.

The 5n sounds like the best bet for you. Treat the camera with respect, (not like a pro who "doesn't give a damn about their equipment") and it shouldn't give you any trouble.

However, I should add that if you can, save up a bit and go for the zip. Its a fantastic camera. mlu, dof prev, flash comp, multi exp, and whole lots more.... if you want all that in one package in other brands, you're gonna have to unload mega bucks, but hey, its all there in the zip.

Rich Furman , Jun 16, 1999; 11:23 a.m.

Recently got an MZ-M myself. I'm very happy with it, it turns out superb slides and I don't have to worry about the Autofocus breaking, because there is none. I would stay away from the 10 and 50, but the 5n is good too (though I think the M gives more bang for the buck). I don't like the fact that it's incapable of Multi-Exposure, but I've got a Ricoh KR10se that I can do that with.

Tom Pohrte , Jun 16, 1999; 11:48 a.m.

I used to own a Pentax ZX-50. It worked quite well for me.

Pluses: light weight, good automatic functionality (a point-and-shoot with interchangeable lenses), full manual capability (including ISO adjustment), self-timer, multiple exposure, built-in flash with fill-in and red-eye reduction, matrix metering. I used manual focus Pentax lenses with the camera as well. ZX-50 Kit (camera body and 35-80 lens) sells at Camera World for $360US (they pay shipping if ordered from web site).

Minuses: No depth-of-field preview, no mirror lockup, no spot meter, used electrical cable release (Cable F), "standard" 35-80 f4-5.6 zoom was too slow for my tastes.

Summary: Not bad as an entry-level camera. Wide variety of Pentax lenses are available for this camera. Check it out at www.pentax.com.

Eric Peltier , Jun 16, 1999; 03:25 p.m.

I have had a ZX-50 for 2 years now, and have liked it very much. It has gone backpacking, to china, been rained on, and best of all has been used by non-camera people with ease. It is now my fiance's, for I got a PZ-1p last week. WAY more features, but bigger. I have named it The Blob. B+H has PZ-1p's for $510. Good luck! Eric Peltier

Gleb Baida , Jun 16, 1999; 09:49 p.m.

I had a look at your photos. For "scates" and "sequences" Pz1p would offer you 4 frames per second, whereas MZ-5n only 2. Both have DOF preview - for your macro work. Not sure, but MZ-5n's DOFP may be better than Pz1p's in terms of working at all exposure modes. I have MZ-5n and I like it. It worked OK this winter in Russia at -15 C (I held its battery side by my hand in gloves). I wish it had shorter flash sync. speed and flash exposure compensation in automatic mode. MZ-5n's AF is of newer generation than that of Pz1p. I do not know real difference, but it influenced on my decision.

Ronald Gregorio , Jun 23, 1999; 06:07 a.m.

There's an upgraded version of the MZ-5n out called the MZ-3. I read this on a British magazine called "What Camera." I don't know if they have it already in the US or Canada, but in the UK they sell it for around 480 GBP, body only, or 800 GBP with a 43mm f/1.9 lens. You can get the body with the standard 28-70mm zoom lens for 580 GBP.

Basically, the upgrades inlude a faster shutter speed from 1/2000 to 1/4000sec, and a faster flash-sync speed of 1/125sec.

Some people say it's not worth the investment because the MZ-5n is already a good model. Also, check if your K-mount lenses will not damage the auto-focusing mechanism of these auto-focus Pentax's. I've heard some sales people tell me to use the MZ-M for my manual K-mount lenses.

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