New Pentax 35 mm SLR


Pentax Japan has just announced a new model in the MZ line. The picture above was taken from there .

More and better pictures can be found on this site or on this local copy .

The MZ-3 is an evolution of the MZ-5 , with some extra features. At this time it seems that it is only for the Japanese market, but it might be launched later in Europe since the MZ-5 received an European award.

At this point it seems that a very similar camera will be know in the USA as ZX-5n (see this message) and probably internationally as MZ-5n, which makes the next paragraph almost moot. The only feature missing relatively to the MZ-3 is the shutter improvement (the ZX-5n has exactly the same as the ZX-5, meaning sync at 1/100 and maximum speed 1/2000).

If you want to buy the MZ-3 in the USA, B&H might make it available grey-market. Mail them expressing your interest.

If you know Japanese you can read the technical specs here .

If you don't, here is a summary posted to the Pentax mailing list, with some comments by me:

> Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 21:50:41 +0900
> From: Hiroaki Ugawa 

> Hello Dario (and folks), 

>   I visited PENTAX Japan site. According to that page, MZ-3's additional
> features are (as you wrote);

>     Shutter Speeds:
>         (1) auto:       1/4000 - 30 sec. stepless
>         (2) manual:     1/4000 -  1 sec. plus bulb

Contrary to the Z-line very slow speeds (2 sec - 30 sec) are not
available in manual mode.

>         (3) flash sync: < 1/125 sec.

I think this means 1/125 or less which makes sense since the top speed
(1/4000) is faster than most others Pentaxs (1/2000) so sync speed should
also be faster than the usual 1/100. But this is inferior to the Z-1p.

>     Exposure Control:
>         + Memory lock: using memory lock button
>               (I've heard MZ-5 has this feature as a factory option)

One of the big shortcomings of the MZ-5 is solved. Good point.

>         + Auto-bracketing:  using drive lever ("drive" = motor drive?)
>             - 3 frames of proper/under/over exposures within range 
>               of +4EV (1EV or 1/2EV increment selectable).
>             - Available in P/Av/Tv mode combined with exposure 
>               compensation, memory lock, flash possible.

>     Viewfinder:

>         + DOF Pre-view:
>             - Electronic preview
>             - Available in P/Av/Tv mode with holding down a 
  [errata]                   ^^^^^^^ 
   Available in _ALL_ modes. Also works in "A" position of lens.
>               "Pre-view" button           ( <-- Is this newly added ?)

Another one of the big shortcomings of the MZ-5 is solved. Good point.

>     Dimensions:   135.0mm(W) x 90mm(H) x 61.5mm(D)
>     Weight:       425g without lens and battery.
>     Price:        83,000 Japanese Yen (body)
>     Sales Start:  5 Jul, 1997
>     Production:   8,000 unit/month

It is not mentioned here, but looking at the picture I mentioned above,
the AF/MF selector still lacks a continuous focusing mode (servo in
Pentax-speak). Pentax, contrary to the other manufacturers, seems
convinced that only the top camera deserves that.

So the third big problem of the MZ-5 is still here.

> I'm not familiar with MZ-5  specs, however, comparing MZ-3's and -5's,
> I found  the  differences listed above.  My  favor is  the "Electronic
> Pre-view."  Is this the first camera that has this feature ?

Minoltas and Canons have had that for ages.

> In  its   history, PENTAX has  been putting    emphasis on compact and
> popular  grade cameras than  pro-spec's.  PENTAX's _main_ product were
> MX/ME, not  K2DMD and were ME-Super/Super-A,  not LX. So I'm afraid we
> can't expect MZ-1 (but I hope we can).

> Sorry for my poor English.

> Hiroaki

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 10:59:16 +0900

  > A couple of added questions, if you do not mind. Do specs say anything about:
  > 1) Mirror lock up (or 2 sec. shutter delay)?
  > 2) Flash exposure compensation?

Anything other than I listed are same as  MZ-5  or not mentioned on 
that page. Adding to that, MZ-3 has additional:
	1) Memory Lock button 
	2) Electronic Pre-view button
	3) Drive Mode Select lever (also used as auto-bracketting select)
	4) Focusing Area Select lever
	5) modified Dial design to improve operability.


From: OKATANI Takayuki 
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 23:27:13 +0900 (JST)
Hello forks, 

BTW, I went to a camera shop in Tokyo today and found a poster
advertising the new MZ-3. It included several pictures of the controls
of the MZ-3. Surprisingly, the Drive Lever (for the introduced
auto-bracketing function) was placed at the left shoulder of the
camera (at the same position as the lever for selecting the metering
modes on the MZ-5). It seemed that the three metering modes were
selected by a lever under the shutter speed dial. A new lever was
added for selecting the Spot-/Wide-AF modes and it was placed at the
front of the camera (below the preview button).

 Takayuki OKATANI ( )

You can go to the Pentax page and check the archives of the mailing list to follow the discussion so far.
In my photo homepage there is more info on Pentax.