Pentax MZ-50 samples

A couple of weeks ago I got a Pentax MZ-50 35mm slr as a new addition to my vintage camera collection and I was so impressed with it that I thought I would try a film in it to see how it performed. So I loaded a roll of Agfa color 200 film which I found in my drawer (which was actually slightly out of date), and took the camera to work one day so I could take some pictures about town during the lunch break.

I’ve been taking pictures in Stevenage for many years now, so I find it really difficult to take any which differ significantly from the others I’ve taken, but for some reason with a film camera in my hand I managed to find things which I’ve not seen before, for example the distance markers to different cities in the world (see pictures below). I wonder if that is why people like film, because it makes them stop and think some more?  I did find that the whole experience was completely different from digital photography simply because it was impossible to see the results straight away. Normally when I’m out with my Nex 6 I will see something and I’ll take pictures from several angles and sort out which I like later which I import them to Lightroom – but that approach doesn’t work with film. With film you need to think more about what the picture will look like before you take it. It makes you think more and so probably trains you to be a better photographer when you are shooting digital as well. It actually took me back to my teenage years when I used to use my Zenit B.

It’s been quite a while since I had a colour film developed, but I remember the last one I took it to the local Tesco and was completely underwhelmed by the number of scratches, blemishes and dust which were on the scans. So this time I tried a postal service and sent the film to Photo Express in Hull. I found this to be a much more professional service – for £5 + £1 return post they developed the film, printed an index print, scanned the negatives to a CD and returned the film and CD within 3 days. The only slight down side is that it cost me £2.80 to send the film, but I could reduce that by sending more films in one go.

As to the results I’m pretty impressed. The pictures all seem to be just about spot on for exposure and the focus also seems to be right (they were all auto-focused). The slightly out dated film seems to have quite good colour and definition and was certainly not bad considering it was quite a cheap film. As it happens I got a roll of Kodak Gold with the MZ-50 which I didn’t use because it was 36 exposures and I wanted to test the camera before I used a good film in it, but on my next trip out I might load that up and take this camera with me to give it a serious work out!

These images have been imported into my Lightroom catalogue and re-exported with the copyright mark but are unaltered other than that. (Full sized versions of the pictures here – navigate with the arrow keys)

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6 thoughts on “Pentax MZ-50 samples

  1. I bought an MZ-5n new, round about the millennium. I can’t remember exactly what it cost, but it was expensive. My wife and I part exchanged our combined equipment (an ME Super, an MG, and four or five Pentax lenses) to buy and share that one camera. You know what? We both hated the MZ-5n, and rarely used it. There was nothing wrong with the camera; it just didn’t feel like a Pentax. Then digital really took off, and within a few months the MZ-5n was almost worthless. Looking for a new camera, we took the plunge and went digital – a lovely Leica – which is still my day-to-day camera.

    • Oddly enough I just bought an MZ-5n for about £20. It was described as very good condition, but when I received it the mirror motor is whirring away and the camera is almost useless. Of course the seller doesn’t respond to any messages! To add to my MZ misery a working MZ-7 I only received yesterday, has suddenly developed a shutter firing issue. I would really like a nice reliable autofocus, modern(ish) film camera to carry with me and a pentax makes a logical choice since I have a K5, but the MZ series all seem to suffer eventually from the same mirror motor problem.

      I’ve just bought a Nikon F80 which I hope will fulfil that role instead.

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