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Pentax ZX-5N / MZ-5N 35mm SLRs

4.43 star rating
                      4.43 / 5 (69 Reviews)
MSRP : $700.00

  • Lens MountPentax KAF2
    Camera TypeSLR (Single Lens Reflex)
    Focus LockWith Focus Lock
    Shutter Speed30 - 1/2000 sec
    Depth2.4 in.
    Height3.5 in.
    Width5.9 in.
    Weight14.56 oz.
    MPNzx 5 nqd
    Product ID43995

Product Description

In addition to the sophisticated features such as 6-segment/center-weighted/spot metering and TTL phase-matching autofocus system incorporated into the ZX-5, PENTAX added an electronic preview feature, exposure memory lock and auto bracketing (up to +/- 1 EV) to update this classic beauty.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (69 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bellthecat2003 a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: March 31, 2004

Strengths:    Lightweight
Analog controls

Weaknesses:    AF hunts in low light
Light meter slightly off

Bottom Line:   
First, let me just say that comparing the Pentax ZX-5n to cameras that cost two to fives times as much is specious at best; it's rather like comparing apples and oranges and rather unfair to a quality product designed for the (advanced) amatueur. If you want a professional-grade camera, buy the MZ-S and quit whining.

I've been a Pentax user for more than 25 years and still carry my old K2 in my camera bag. However, as I've gotten older I've noticed that focussing manually is not as easy as it used to be, so I began shopping around for an AF camera. Naturally, all my lenses were Pentax, so I decided to stick with the brand. After considerable shopping around and comparing different Pentax AF cameras, I decided on the ZX-5n, and have been quite happy with my choice.

Perhaps most of all, I like the ergonomics of this camera. It fits well in the hand, and if it's too small for you, I suggest getting the AA battery pack. The knobs on top of the camera handle most of the functions, and for those of us who don't really like dealing with numerous menus, this is a great feature. The viewfinder information is adequate (shutter speed, f-stop, etc.), although sometimes hard to read in very bright light, and everything else is shown on the LCD display on the top of the camera.

The autofocus is not particularly fast, and does hunt in low light conditions. For me this is not a great problem since most of my photography involves landscapes. As for its plastic construction, the ZX-5n can still take a fair amount of punishment--not that I'm into camera abuse--and is certainly no less robust than other cameras (Nikon N80, for example) in this price range. I very rarely use the mirror lock-up on my K2 (even with its heavy shutter), so don't miss it on this camera. If I have one complaint, it involves the light meter, which tends to underexpose by a third of a stop (this is why I gave this camera four stars for an overall rating rather than five). However, I've calibrated the light meter and now simply adjust the ISO by one-third stop.

All in all, this is a fine camera for the price, and coupled with the Pentax 24-90mm lens will meet most of the intermediate user's needs.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $395.00

Purchased At:   Adorama

Similar Products Used:   Pentax K2, Pentax K1000, Nikon FM3

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by pianoman859 a Expert

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2004

Strengths:    light (if you think thats good)
manual override
never any problems with camera its self it still works perfect like when i got it new!

Weaknesses:    light
AF hunts
not for serious photographer

Bottom Line:   
first off i would like to say that i think this is a great way to help people figure out exactly what camera they need. i have had my ZX-5n for about 2 1/2 years. i have to say it has worked for me in lots of different fields. this camera has been great for me, it went everywhere ... my apt. burnt down one winter night and the only thing i grabbed was this camera and needless to say i photographed it as it was on fire. its been with me to Calif. where i went on mountain climbs and hikes in the bush. to nyc to shoot the buildings ... the camera is still in perfect working order. it is a smaller camera when you compare it to some of the nikons, but there is a AA pack for it, that will help for the handling and over-all look. i was a manual camera fan until this camera ... it has the complete override of the auto features, this was great for me, i like to still have control of my shots. the knobs on the top of the zx are also a plus. the knobs control just about all of the features on the camera, so you dont need to take your eye off of the shot to look for your buttons. the AF hunts alot on lines even with top lenses. the view finder shows all of the info that you need and does something that i find nice ... the info in the finder lights up brighter when you are shooting in bright light (such as a sun set) , so you can still make out all of your settings. it has a flash that i didnt really use, but is great if you dont want to lug around a flash unit you just push a button and it pops up. it is a plastic camera so you need to keep it in your bag ( i dont like this) i found myself babying this camera. i didnt want to bang it into anything (not like i play football with my cameras)...BUT i do like a solid camera and this i feel is not. (now is where the pentax people are going to get mad lol) i find that this is a really good camera for what it is but i needed to have a camera that can take some punishment. for a camera that will take pretty nice shots (not pro) you will be happy. if your looking for something that will change your life and make you feel you can do those shots that others cant get a nikon f100 or f5. but i dont think that will be a problem with most people (nikon=$$$)dont worry, this camera does lots you will be happy for the price. and everyone says that its only the lenses that makes the great photos, although this is true, take into account for the feel of taking the shots, a great camera will give you the inspiration of great photos. you will feel that if you have a no-hold-back camera, you can do anything! for the people out there that want to take great photos and are extremely serious about doing photography for money get a nikon f100 or for about the same price an f5 used in 9 condition. dont worry about thinking that you wont know how to use it, its better to start learning on a top camera, this way you will have more time with it and get better along the way. trust me it will be worth the money, just save up for it TRUST ME lol.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   B&H photo

Similar Products Used:   nikon, cannon, vivitar

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Vytautas Slenderis a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2004

Strengths:    Convenience in use. Lens compatibility.

Weaknesses:    Mirror lock-up would really be a hit. It is, by the way, available in many rival models, such as Canon Eos 50.

Bottom Line:   
A good camera because of convenience in use and a good exposure metering system. I would say better metering than rival models, because of its giving more weight to the details in the shades.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   From a well stocked

Similar Products Used:   Pentax ME. All kinds of Pentax lenses and non-Pentax cameras.

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Maria a Intermediate from Iowa City, Iowa

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2003

Strengths:    Excellent exposures, easy to use, bright viewfinder. Has all the features I need, i.e., manual exposure, electronic cable release, electronic depth-of-field preview, mid-roll rewind, TTL, manual, or auto flash...

Weaknesses:    no mirror lock-up but haven't missed it so far.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this camera for the bright viewfinder (it has a real pentaprism). It is a great camera! I've used it to shoot a wedding, and to do family portraits, as well as landscapes. It has quickly replaced my Pentax MZ-M as my favorite camera to bring.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $365.00

Purchased At:   Pentax Dealer, Manil

Similar Products Used:   Pentax K1000
Pentax MZ-M

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Vince DeBono a Intermediate from MALTA [Europe]

Date Reviewed: July 14, 2003

Strengths:    Ease of Use

Weaknesses:    none apparent [ although I would have liked an old cable release rather than an electronic cord ]

Bottom Line:   
MZ5n with AA pack is light and balanced with all features that the amateur is likely to need. The analogue switches are easier to read at a glance - compared to digital multi-purpose menus on an LCD panel, especially in bright light. This makes the camera quick to use.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Similar Products Used:   Nikkormat FTn; Pentax Me Super, MX & K1000

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 5 (69 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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