Pentax ZX-M / MZ-M 35mm SLRs

Pentax ZX-M / MZ-M 35mm SLRs 

DESCRIPTION

The ZX-M offers super-compact dimensions and straightforward, easy to read dial controls; but it is totally manual. It incorporates an array of creative and user-friendly features, including a multi-mode exposure system; an advanced light metering system; and a 1/2000-second high-speed shutter. As a result, this is the model for the next generation of photographers as well as those who want to learn the basic skills through creativity and fun.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 53  
[Nov 19, 2016]
Earl
Expert

Strength:

Definitely not a K1000, but a worthy predecessor to the digital age

Weakness:

Plastic mount, in fact plastic everything - plastic fantastic!

Having used older Pentaxes, this is definitely a product of the times. Cheap and sleazy, but still does the job with auto exposure. Excellent viewfinder (I hate viewfinders, so this is a BIG compliment!) Loading is easy and the DX ISO set helps avoid mistakes. It's a shame these are going for under $20 at Goodwill these days.

Similar Products Used:

Pentax Auto 110

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 12, 2015]
Boongoon-advanced user
Expert

Strength:

Cheap, great lenses, light weight, reliable, built in winder, multiple exposure modes, remote cable, depth of field preview etc.

Weakness:

No GPS, won't boil your coffee.

My review of this camera might seem a bit generous but that's because of my perspective-I'm judging it by what it can do compared to all the manual focus SLRs that came before it including the super expensive Nikons and Canons and the insanely expensive Leicas and Zeiss Ikons. Yup in most cases this camera will shoot circles around those ones. OK, it might not be the best camera to take to the North Pole or tropical rain forest or the Sahara Desert but that applies to most of today's digital SLRs. To make a long story short, this is one of the cheapest manual focus SLRs ever made but in many ways one of the greatest. Now it doesn't have the fantastic viewfinder of the Super Program but it beats the viewfinder of the KM, K1000 and the Pentax P series cameras and I'm having less trouble focusing this camera than the KX with it's microprism screen. That's my answer to those people who knock the viewfinder of the ZX-M. If you're one of those (street) people who are content to roam around with nothing but a normal or wide angle lens then mount the famous 40mm 2.8 "pancake" lens on this beast and fire away and when you're through slip the camera into a pocket and you won't even feel it and those Zombies you were photographing wont even see it. Of course you can do that with any compact digital camera but they don't give you the warped? satisfaction of developing your own film. And that brings us to the only valid reason to use film in the first place now that digital is closing in on film as far as picture quality goes-the pleasure of developing your own film plus the element of suspense-you won't know whether or not you messed up half a roll of film in that dark alley. Oh yes, as a Pentaxian it doesn't have to be film or digital since Pentax uses the same mount for both their film and digital cameras. Then there are those Pentax lenses. For decades we've been fed this nonsense about the "big four" Nikon, Canon, Leitz and Carl Zeiss being at the top of the heap as far as sharpness is concerned but I can remember making beautiful 16x20 inch blowups with Pentax lenses from 1960 yep, the famous 85mm 1.8 Super Takumar and the 300mm 6.3 Takumar. Okay maybe, just maybe Zeiss lenses were just a snick sharper but this is really splitting hairs. Minolta lenses weren't dogs either then Yashica came along with their Contax Yashica mount lenses which turned a few heads. Allright maybe I've digressed a bit that was to show you where I'm coming from. I've used the creme de la creme in 35mm but I'm still using this ZX-M as my main film camera and I'm not going to tell you my age in case you were wondering, let's just say that I haven't been diagnosed with Alzheimers (when are these spell checkers going to clean up their act?) yet. And now that I've got you totally confused I'm now going to sign off before I get kicked off this board.
Amen

Customer Service

Can't complain

Similar Products Used:

Pentax SV, Super Program, KM, K-X

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 20, 2003]
javi-aero
Expert

Strength:

Small Well-built Easy to use Lots of available lenses Inexpensive

Weakness:

Not black Not weatherproof

I love this camera and I will never get another SLR until I switch to digital in a few years. It has everything you need, nothing you don't, and the controls are simply elegant. I always get well exposed prints. I've had it for about four years and have not had a single problem. The 50mm f/2 lens that is offered with it is sharp and well made. If manual focus is your thing. This is all you need.

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used:

Minolta Maxxum Stsi Nikon F50

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 15, 2003]
Tom
Intermediate

Strength:

- very durable - easy to use - DOF preview

Weakness:

- could have a manual winder

Took some of the most amazing pictures with this camera. Easy to chenge settings, controls are right where you need them. Combined with a battery pack, gives you the feel and look of a pro-camera. Light meeter might be a bit off in outdoor conditions, but as a manual camera user you should know how to adjust the settings without relying on the camera's meter. Best dollar for dollar camera I have owned.

Customer Service

Never needed.

Similar Products Used:

F3MA K-1000 ZENIT APK, 212K

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 20, 2003]
Chris
Intermediate

Strength:

Good range of shutter speeds, DOF, robust, have shot about 40 films on the initial set of batteries, motor drive [albeit not very fast]. Cheap.

Weakness:

The bundled lens is a cross between a real manual lens and an autofocus style, it's short with a tiny focusing ring which slips very easily. Avoid this and pick up used K - mount lenses. Viewfinder display can be difficult to read in some conditions. Also no provision for a manual remote trigger, requires a pentax remote [costly].

This is the first SLR that i've owned, i was attracted by its general manualness. Performance is generally sound although metering for black and white isn't great. Compact size and light weight are bonuses, its fairly strong too having taken a couple of falls without any problem. A good camera to get to grips with the basics of photography.

Similar Products Used:

Nikon F35, Nikon F80

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 02, 2003]
dopler
Intermediate

Strength:

lightweight, exposure memory lock, several exposure modes available,

Weakness:

no auto bracketing; good only for average light scenes; only 2 segment metering; no built-in flash;

I bailed out from this camera as soon as i noticed it had a very difficult time metering under unusual or tricky lighting situations. ( Yes, i realize that some would cry foul as it couldn't be the camera, it must be the user! NO, i am currently using a 15yr old Program -Plus and the pics turn out great) One does not know what percentage of the metered light is allotted for each of the 2 segments. They would have been better off just making it a center -weighted system, as then you would at least know what area of the viewfinder to focus the target on. (Or, better still , having made it say a 3 segment metering system.) In my opinion it is good only as a point-and shoot camera. Not recommended for the student!!

Customer Service

NEVER NEEDED

Similar Products Used:

program plus; nikon FE

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 30, 2003]
Khardur
Expert

Strength:

DOF preview, exposure compensation, AA battery pack (very reasonable at $30 extra), access to controls (dials make it very easy to change settings, I can't stand pushing buttons over and over to get to a 'custom program'... )

Weakness:

I've had the same black specks show up in viewfinder (doesn't affect picture, just distracting). Only other weakness is that I didn't buy 2.

Bought this camera to replace my Yashica FX-3 (my beginning system). I needed an inexpensive camera with a better selection of lenses at my price range. This had all of the features I wanted, was in my price range, and had a wide selection of lenses to choose from. I've used it for portraits to nature to journalism.

Customer Service

Never had to deal with them yet.

Similar Products Used:

Yashica FX-3, Nikon N90s

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 03, 2002]
Chris Boyne
Intermediate

Strength:

-long battery life -perfect balance of features -good controls -durable -easy film loading

Weakness:

-dim viewfinder making focusing very difficult in some conditions -viewfinder data hard to see in bright conditions -metering not as accurate as it could be

I recieved the MZ-M as a gift 3 years ago when I was first becoming interested in Photography. I have used it extensively since. I have been very satisfied with the camera. It offers the perfect balance of traditional manual features and modern convenience. The camera does feel very light which made me a little concerned when I first got it but the weight of the camera does not reflect the quality of the construction or the materials. The camera is very durable. My MZ-M once fell about three feet onto concrete and survived perfectly. After three years, the plastic lens mount on my camera looks pretty chewed up but other then asthetics I have not noticed any problems.

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used:

-Pentax ME Super -Pentax 110 Auto -Nikon FM3A

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 29, 2002]
Ramon Tecolt
Beginner

Strength:

Manual focusing

Weakness:

Difficult to find accesories here. Accesories quite expensive.

My first camera, i think it's good to start.

Customer Service

None.

Similar Products Used:

None.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 16, 2002]
philgleiss
Intermediate

Strength:

I think this is an ideal camera for Macro work. It has everything you want for that purpose; DOF Preview, Manual Focus, Aperture and Shutter Priority, and its small and light (works well on a tripod).

Weakness:

Polycarbonate lense mounting ring. While I don;t change lenses on this camera very often, I have found black specks in the viewfinder (has not affected images) which I suspect are plastic shavings from the mount. While I shoot mostly on a tripod, the Camera feels too light and small without the outside battery pack for hand holding.

I love this little Camera. I use it alsmost exclusivly with a Tamron 90mm Macro lense to shot Macro flower images.

Customer Service

Haven''t needed

Similar Products Used:

Retired my K1000 when I got this.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 53  

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