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Pentax owners

Discussion in 'Pentax Chat' started by DHarman, Jan 5, 2001.

  1. DHarman

    DHarman Well-Known Member

    ... might be a bit thin on the ground today, but it has to be said the recent MZ series of Pentax AF SLR's have conisistently been some of the best we've ever tested (along with the new lenses).

    The manufacturer certianly deserves to have a healthy following even if it appears not many of them have signed up onto this holding page.

    Models of note are the MZ 10, MZ 3 and MZ 7; all particularly good examples - check out the AP tests of them.

    What say you?

    Doug Harman: AP
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    OK Doug, but what about depth-of-field preview? I'm probably wrong, but most Pentaxes seem to have this vital (to me, at least) feature misssing. And to be honest, I think both the range and the names of the cameras are confusing, and although the prime lenses appear to be superb, what about the zooms? If I was moving to AF now, I would certainly have a look at Pentax though - when I did, 8 years ago, their only offerings were close to jokes, and I'm afraid that has cost them dearly. Now what I'ld really like is a 67.......
  3. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Dunno Doug, to my mind Pentaxes are good but always seem to fall short of the mark in the popularity stakes. Exactly why this is is a bit of a mystery, but, (and I'm gonna be controversial here) mabye the build quality isn't quite up to Nikon standards, perhaps the AF isn't as good as Canon's with their USM lens range, mabye they don't have as many features as an equivalent model Minolta! Whatever it is they always seem to come a close second to the competition. Perhaps it is about time they brought out a top flight Pro-spec camera which is sadly missing from their present range. Something to rival the EOS1's F5's would give the name a lot more street cred and boost their image. As it is Pentaxes are like Skoda cars, perfectly good products, but badly in need of an image boost. What say you Doug?

  4. DHarman

    DHarman Well-Known Member

    I can only refer you to our tests of the Pentax kit we've done where they've consistently performed as well or better than the opposition - depending on the market the camera is aimed at. Pentax do lack a top-end pro' SLR at the moment, but this will be rectified some time (early) this year.

    As for their (lack of) popularity, I reckon it has more to do with them not being advertised as often, punters don't know what's available - but that's just my view.

    As for build quality - they never fall down heavily hear either or they would not do so well in our tests. Cameras within certian (or similar) price brackets will have similar spec and build quality - that's how the (low/high) price is achieved or reached - and Pentax cameras remain comparable throughout its range.

    Regarding lenses, Pentax certainly doesn't lack good glass and while the speed of focus might be an issue for a pro' sport photographer, what's a few thousandth of a second slower to the rest of us?

    Pentax cameras certainly don't deserve your 'Skoda' tag (Skodas are now built by VW by the way), and indeed, I don't think any modern AF camera deserve to be tared by that brush either.

    Doug Harman: AP
  5. DHarman

    DHarman Well-Known Member

    If the last time you looked at Pentax gear was eight years ago I'm not surprised you feel they were 'jokes' compared to today's SLR cameras. While AP always likes to see depth-of-field preview on an SLR, not all cameras (incidentally, by any maker) have this item and often its lack is a function in these modern times of stripping out spec to keep prices down.

    As to the range being confusingly named, all (modern/current) Pentax SLR's are called MZ (except the top-end Z1P) and given a numerical denomination depending on their position within the range. The lower the number the nearer the top of the tree they fall - similar in fact to what Canon and Nikon do with their SLR's.

    Anyway, I don't wish to come across as an apologist for Pentax (in my view the company doesn't have anything to be apologetic about anyway), I just wanted to get this forum going and, well, it certainly is now.

    By the way, I agree, the Pentax 67 is certainly one to grab if you get the chance...

    Doug Harman: AP
  6. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Don't get me wrong Doug, I'm not saying Pentaxes are bad cameras, indeed they are very competent pieces of kit to my mind but they always seem to lack that vital "EDGE" that puts them "AHEAD" of the opposition. I sited the the AF in comparison with Canon as an example. Of course a few thousands of a second in focusing speed and accuracy does not make one jot of difference in the real world but it is an "edge" which the opposition has over it and may make the vital difference between a punter buying the camera or not. Similarily Nikons have a reputation of being well built. This is probably in fact not true in real terms when comparing a similar spec Pentax and Nikon but the fact remains that the Nikon is perceived to be the better camera due to its "reputation". (The "Skoda factor" as I like to call it). In order to be "perceived" as the better product by the public then you must produce a product which is markedely superior in one or many aspects of its features (the vital edge). This is where Pentax are failing at the present time in my view. To be "as good" as the opposition is simply not good enough. You have to be better to be a winner in this day and age. Pentax need to innovate and not merely copy. Remember the old Pentax ME Super with it's innovative push-button system for altering the shutter speed? Again in real terms, this was a feature which was probably not much of an improvement on the old shutter dials but which never-the-less endeared the camera to many and gave it an "edge". Pentax seem to have lost their innovative and competitive streak and badly need to get it back if they are ever going to be market leaders again!
    By the way, if any of the guys at Skoda were listening, I was only joking, your cars are wonderful. Please send me a nice free metallic green one complete with fluffy dice post haste.

  7. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I don't want to bash Pentax either - I have looked at a couple of more recent models, and I think they're pretty good. But I do want to fight to get all manufacturers to have depth of field preview on all models. Canon are particularly good at this - even the 300 has it, and they have the DEP or A-DEP program on just about all EOSs ever made. Well done! Why can't all the other manufacturers follow suit?
    My confusion with the range is probably down to the fact that I'm never sure which models are current.
    Anyway, good luck to Pentax - their lenses are certainly innovative.


    Pentax does appear to have lost ground over the other major makers. Back in the 60's I wouldn't touch another camera after I got a Spotmatic. The following electronic models were also very good, but when I went auto focus Canon were the winners. I still have my Spotmatics and SL etc and the feel of them is something unique. This may sound very silly, but I love to set the shutter speed to 1/15th and hold it to my ear as it fires. Its a unique sound, and highlights the very unique engineering in these models - a very smooth run down and a sort of "bounce" at the end - MARVELLOUS!
  9. Squonk

    Squonk New Member

    For me at least, the DOF preview has been a deciding factor. I've happily been using a manual Pentax MX since 1980. When I finally decided I'd like to move up to AF in 1999, I had a look at the market, hoping to continue with Pentax. I was dismayed that DOF preview, which I used all the time on my MX, was virtually absent on any SLR in the price range I was considering. But just then the new Canon EOS 300 came out, and it had... DOF preview. This, combined with the rave reviews it received everywhere, finally made me go for Canon.

    As a P.S., I'm very happy about the Canon, but all this auto-everything magic really made me want to go back to my trusty old MX from time to time, so much so that I actually purchased a second body and some extra prime lenses for it second hand! And I still feel I take better pictures with the MX than the EOS 300...


    I have the same feelings about my old manual cameras. I expect it is some deep psychological thing involving our need to satisfy our acheivment levels. If the camera does it all, we don't get that "All my own work" feeling......
  11. Joachim

    Joachim Member

    The MZ-M and MZ-5n provide DOF preview. But I experience trouble with the screen. I am using FA 50/1.4 and at full aperture it doesn't scatter light enough. Therefore it shows more DOF than there is. I expect this is in order to provide a brighter image with one of those pretty f/5.6 zooms.

    I had a chance to compare the viewfinder of the MZ-5n with a EOS 300. IMHO the EOS finder to be pretty rotten even for a pentamirror. The MZ-5n finder to be miles ahead of the Canon. The MZ-5n would fit nicely to your MXes. You could swap lenses back an fourth. Most of my lenses are MF indeed. I spend some thought on getting an MX as well.

    The MZ-5n still has a glass pentaprism, where as the cheaper MZ have a penta mirror. Compare them side by side and it is obvious what I am speaking about. In my view AP doesn't comment on this point enough in its tests.
  12. Joachim

    Joachim Member

    Hi Doug, I am using Pentax MZ-5n for years and like its userinterface and finder a lot. IN my opinion this finder is a point any buyer should consider the MZ-5n or MZ-3 over the cheaper modells you note.

    What I dislike about Pentax is their plastic league of lenses. On the PDML (pentax discuss mailing list) the 28-80 has the reputation of being amoung the worst (the worst?) of its bread. The older 28-70 was much better liked. This is backed for example by the MTF tests of photodo. I don't know whether AP ever tested this lens. It says something about where Pentax feels their money is. I am a bit worried, the lens Pentax lens line up is not up to the well designed quality of the bodies. My favourite lens is the FA50/1.4. This one is truely amasing.

    PS web addresses:
    PDML: http://www.pdml.net/
    photodo: http://www.photodo.com
  13. Dave Allsop

    Dave Allsop New Member

    You may think I may be a bit mad but I am thinking of swopping an Epson filmscan 200 for a couple of Spotmatics and lenses to give me more of a "feel" to taking photographs even though I have a new Canon 300 which I enjoy using it just makes things to easy where as the Spotmatics make me think more before I shoot it may just be me cracking up though!!!........
  14. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    It's called "senile dementia" Dave. It comes to us all sooner or later. That longing for a substantial metal body, that indefinable "clunk" which can only be produced by a mechanical shutter, that feeling of satisfaction when you know that it was your brain that produced the photograph and not the cameras! I am afraid there is no hope for this condition however. The only thing to do is sign yourself into the "old fogey's" home along with me, Clive, Phil and John Macnally!


    It's a shame that you have got to sell the scanner to get your hands on a Pentax. Try to keep it and start off with a cheaper Pentax, as I have always regretted letting things go, unless it was being replaced by something that does the job better.
  16. Dave Allsop

    Dave Allsop New Member

    I've just picked up a new Canon FS2710 for £150 from work to replace the old Epson film scanner which I was never to happy with. Both Spotmatics are boxed and in mint condition the same with the lenses and I am itching to take some B&W shots with them :)
  17. The Boy Paul

    The Boy Paul Member

    This posting is extraordinarily late but I've only just joined. Sorry. Onto business - Pentax cameras are fabulous! I've used a Z20 for years and it remains probably my favourite camera. I also bought an MZ10 which is also pretty good. The best thing about Pentax autofocus cameras is their metering system which I believe (and this is borne out by practically all of the comparison tests I've ever read) is the best of any manufacturer. The results from these cameras really are reliable. In all the years I have been involved in photography I have never used a depth of field preview in anger - I guess it depends on your type of photography as to wether you find them useful or not. Speed of focusing is often quoted as a failing on Pentax cameras. What I want to know is just how fast do you want the focussing to be? Anything faster than manual is surely good enough (and even the SFX and SF7 are a LOT faster than that). Come on Pentax users - unite and conquer!
  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I can't conceive of any type of serious photography (i.e. not snaps) where control of depth of field isn't important. DOF preview isn't the only method, and often isn't the best method, but it is invaluable on any camera.
    And if you only have cameras without it, of course you won't have used it!!!!
    As regards focus speed, that really does depend on your type of photography - for sport, AF can be used instead of pre-focusing, but only if it's quick enough. With new Pentaxes, it certainly is.

  19. Canonball

    Canonball Well-Known Member

    Not half bad are they? Mind I've only got 16 of them, so what the hell do I know? The MZ-5n is a little cracker, well screwed together, light, compact, great metering, great handling too. All the controls are well laid out and so logical to use. You could literally pick up a 5n or a 3 and use it confidently within seconds without even having to look at the indtruction book. Focusing's pretty good too, although a bit noisy compared to my Canons. (Thats not to say the Pentax is bad, just that the Canons are so damned good). The MZm is a mighty fine little beast as well - handles just the same as the 5n, a great second body.
    I've got the MZ10 & MZ50 but these two make you think! they are so similar in some respects, yet so different in others. They're not as 'logical' in use as the 5n or M.
    My old SF7 isn't bad either, focusing isn't quite up to the MZs standard but not as bad as some would suggest. I've yet to try the MZ7 or MZ30, but I fancy giving them a go, paticularly the 7.
    I've got to admit though that my favourites among my Pentaxes are the old M42 models. Heavy? Yes. Slow? Yes, but built like a proverbial brick outhouse, and they'll last longer than I will. The later manual models are pretty damned good too, The ME, ME Super and Super A are all good reliable kit as well, so neat & compact yet they can handle a bit of rough treatment when required, - Classics!
    So come on guys, let's get together and put those Nikon snobs in their place! (Especially Clive)./img/wwwthreads/smile.gif

  20. Col. Hogan

    Col. Hogan Well-Known Member

    I know a lady who is still using her K1000.

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