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This is one of my favourite cameras to use especially for wildlife photography.
It is lightweight due to the body being made of plastic but still rugged enough to cope with everyday life.
The viewfinder is large and bright so any manual adjustments of focus that you require can be done. There is also a dioptre adjustment on the view finder to cater for those who wear glasses.
It has a built in flash on the top of the camera useful when used with the standard 28-80mm lens that is normally included when you buy the camera. The flash can be turned on or off, used on an automatic setting and also used on an anti red eye setting. All these work well.
I like to use an auxillary flash mounted to the side of the camera for indoor work especially at music gigs as i require the extra illumination that an external flash provides.
I have had this camera many years as an upgrade to my Pentax P30n as i wanted to try an autofocus camera.
There are a large array of lenses available for it. You can use Pentax lenses or for a wider range, try the likes of Sigma or Tamron. Both these other makes are as good if not better than the Pentax lenses available. Both silver or black coloured lenses look good on it due to the fact that both are present on the cameras body.
Manual lenses can be used but they arent easy to use as the focus screen makes it almost impossible to get the focusing spot on. If using a long focal length lens at the infinity setting the focusing is less of a problem.
The max shutter speed is 2000th/second this is adequate for most purposes but it would be nice if it was as fast as a Nikon F90x (8000th/second). It also has a bulb setting so you can go as slow as you like.
The film advance is powered and also has auto reverse when you reach the end of the film.
One of the nice features of the camera is that you can let the camera take care of all the settings or you can completely over ride everything.
So on auto it becomes a point and shoot camera allowing even amateurs to take great pictures. Or over ride everything and shoot like a pro.
I have been very pleased with the results i have had using all types of film such as Black and White, Colour and Slide film. When used with slide film the camera has an auto bracketing function so you can expose up to 2 steps below or above the standard setting.
It is marketed as a semi professional camera and I have seen many examples of work published by wildlife photographers using this camera.
It is a nice alternative to using the ubiquitous Canon or Nikon that most wildlife photographers seem to use.
Advantages: Fast auto focus but slower on the longer focal length lenses, A great semi pro camera, Outstanding picture quality
Disadvantages: Focus screen not suitable for use with manual lenses
Summary: Great camera and great results.
I have been using Pentax cameras ever since I pursuaded my dad to let me have a go with his K1000 when I was a young lad. I quickly progressed onto my own ME Super which I had for many years (without really ever getting to master it!), then a P30, P50, an SF-7 and finally my MZ5n, which I have had for about 3 years now. The great thing about the pentax philosophy is that the lenses have evolved, rather than being replaced. I still have some of my dad's old K series lenses, and they work just as well on the MZ5 as they did on his old camera. Just for those of you who are new to Pentax, there are a bewildering array of lens designations: M42 screw - this was the screw fit lenses of the very old Pentax cameras. They can be used on all newer pentax's with the use of an adapter. Pentax K - this was their original manual focus lens, which is still useable on all newer cameras, and widely available 2nd hand Pentax KA - as the K, but with an extra stop on the apeture ring for Automatic setting, which is needed if your camera has aperture priority mode. These lenses also work on the older pentax cameras, but without the auto mode. Pentax AutoFocus (PKAF) - as the KA, but compatible with autofocus cameras. I have a combination of all the above lens types, and they all work equally well on the MZ5. I bought the camera 2nd hand at auction for £90. I think the new price is somewhere around the £250-£300 mark, and there are some 2nd hand examples at places like Jessops for around £130-£150. The camera is a fairly light titanium construction, but also has a good solid feel, which is especially good for late night, or fast action photography. It is a very ergonomic design with all the controls easily accessible without scrutiny, and I have found that the displays and functions on the camera are very self explanatory. I have phases of using the camera - some times it will spend months in the
cupboard, then it will be used over and over again for a few months. Some cameras that I've had in the past need a quick gen up in the manual to remind yourself how to access a particular feature or mode - not the mz5 - everything is so logical, that it's easy to work things out if you forget. It can be fully automatic - with auto shutter & aperture speed control, and auto focus, or you can disable one or all of the automatic modes to gain full manual control - ideal for special effects or to overcompensate for certain light conditions. Not all autofocus cameras have a manual focus override - the pentax is quite special in this respect, as sometimes you may wish to blur a photo, or use a soft-focus. There is a multi-segment light meter, which is remarkably accurate, even in poor lighting conditions, and is switchable between spot, intermediate, and full frame metering, which is extremely flexible for under/over compensating for varying light conditions. The camera is DX enabled, which means that it detects the film speed automatically, and sets itself up for the type of film in use. As one of the most popular SLR manufacturers, there are no shortage of lenses and accessories available, as well as a huge variety of 2nd user equipment available. I have found the sigma and tamron lenses work especially well with the pentax optics. I use the pentax for a variety of purposes. My main love is lugging it round the UK (and sometimes abroad) to take scenic photography, and sunset pictures in particular. But it's also used at airshows where a fast shutter is needed, and to take photos of the family and my dog. No matter what purpose I use it for, the mz5 shines through, and produces exceptional results and clarity. I have some prints blown up to 18x12 inches, which is quite large for 35mm film, yet the results are excellent - no distortion or blurring at the edges - which is always a sign of quality optics, and
a firm hand! I would recommend this camera to everyone - whether you're a novice to the SLR world, or a more advanced photographer!
I recently bought this camera as I needed to replace my Eos 300 that was damaged. I liked the Pentax for several reasons. Firstly it was very quiet, secondly it was well thought out and easy to use, and thirdly it can use all the old Pentax lenses. Ideal when you want high quality without needing auto focus. For me this is aerial photography. I also like the setting that gives you three quick shots with different exposures. Very handy when using Slide file sometimes. In addition I wanted a camera that would be good for travel shots as I often go overseas. As a budget all singing all dancing camera I would say it's a winner. Inky 13.2.01