Steve's Digicams

Pentax MZS

35mm SLR



Review posted 11/30/01


Introduction & Physical Views


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Pentax MZS SLR
Click on the MZS to take a QuickTime VR tour


The MZS is the new flagship model of PENTAX’s SLR lineup, it features a wide range of the innovative features required for advanced photography, including a user-friendly "Hyper Operation" system, a new six-point AF system, a top shutter speed of 1/6000 second, an on-the-film data recording function, and a well-designed body. When combined with high-quality SMC PENTAX lenses, the MZ-S produces excellent results, with beautiful, true-to-life images in almost any type of photographic situation.


Pentax MZS SLR

Pentax MZS Features:
  • A dramatically slanted top panel that not only makes camera operation more accessible, but also provides a quick, effortless confirmation of the LCD panel and other settings.
  • Large, analog dial controls with electronic precision make for easy adjustments with quick visual verification on the LCD panel. Just one dial allows adjustment of shutter speeds, autofocus points, ISO settings and custom PENTAX functions; another large dial control allows adjustment of exposure compensation, auto bracketing settings, and other control functions with one touch.
  • Hyper Operation control allows instant mode-changing from Programmed Auto Exposure to Shutter-Preferred Auto Exposure, or from Aperture-Preferred Auto Exposure to Metered Manual Exposure modes, with just one turn of the main control dial.
  • SAFOX VII autofocus system featuring an extra-wide AF frame with six autofocus points: five points aligned horizontally, and an additional point above the middle point. In the auto AF mode, the camera automatically selects the optimum point to capture the subject in sharp focus, even when it is far away from the center of the image field. In the Spot AF mode, the user can select one of the six points manually to best suit his/her subject and/or application. It even offers the predictive AF function when the focus mode is set to Servo.
  • A top shutter speed of 1/6000 second to meet specialized applications.
  • Three metering modes provide exact exposure control: multi-pattern metering, center- weighted metering, and spot metering.
  • Body components are made from a lightweight, extra-strong die-cast magnesium alloy for rugged use and high performance.
  • On-the-film data recording allows the user to record valuable photographic data directly onto film for future reference. The film roll number, ISO film speed and data-imprinting brightness are recorded on the film’s leader portion, while the exposure mode, metering mode, shutter speed, aperture value, exposure compensation value, use of the auto bracketing function, and use of the multiple exposure function are indicated in the space between the picture frame and the perforation.
  • 17 different PENTAX Functions (PF) to customize its operation to suit individual preferences.
  • A built-in PC connection enables use with a studio flash.
  • The KAF2 lens mount accepts the large assortment of PENTAX lenses.
  • Lens changes in low light conditions is made easy with an illuminated lens mount index.
  • Positioned inside the select dial, the large LCD panel presents a host of valuable operational data to the photographer at a glance. It even comes equipped with an EL (Electro-Luminescence) illuminator to make data reading easier in the dark.
  • Six-segment metering system responds to any lighting condition with perfect exposures.
  • The exposure mode button allows quick and easy switching from shutter priority to full program or from manual to aperture priority.
  • Using the electronic preview lever located by the shutter release button, the user can check the depth of field using just the index finger, without having to take his/her eye off from the viewfinder.

Exclusive accessories for the MZ-S:

  • BG-10 Battery Grip with four AA-sized batteries dramatically increases the film count before changing batteries, plus adds a vertical release to the camera.
  • CS-105 (1.7 ft.) and CS-130 (10 ft.) Cable Switches offer a large shutter release button and single-action installation and removal.
  • TS-110 (3.3 ft.) Release Timer Switch acts as a standard cable switch and has a built-in timer to perform interval shooting, extended-time bulb exposures, and designated time shooting.


Download the Pentax MZS brochure (Adobe pdf)



Physical Views



Pentax MZS SLR

Pentax MZS SLR

Pentax MZS SLR Pentax MZS SLR

Pentax MZS SLR

Pentax MZS SLR



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Pentax MZS Specifications

Type: TTL autofocus, auto-exposure multi-mode 35mm SLR with built-in retracable TTL auto flash.
Film: 35mm perforated cartridge DX-coded film.
Image Size: 24mm x 36mm.
Lens Mount: Pentax KAF2 Bayonet mount, compatible with KAF, KA and K Mount. Lens mount index lamp function available.
Usable Lenses: Pentax KAF2-, KAF-, KA- and K-mount lenses. (Autofocus possible with KA- and K-mount lenses using AF adapter). Power zoom system (with Pentax FA power zoom lenses):
  - Type: Power-assisted zooming by motor built in lens.
  - Zoom speeds: 3 speeds adjustable by zoom ring.
  - Functions: (1) Power zoom; (2) Manual zoom; (3) Auto lens retraction with the power OFF (only with FA, FA power zoom).
Focusing System: - Type: TTL phase-matching 6-point autofocus system (SAFOX VII).
  - Applicable illumination range: EV-1 ~ EV18 (at ISO100 with F1.4 lens).
  - Modes: (1) AF-Single (with focus-lock function) (2) AF-Continuous (with Predictive AF mode); (3) Manual focus .
Exposure Control: - Metering system: TTL open-aperture 6-segment metering (coupled with lens and AF information).
  - Meter range: EV0 ~ 21 (at ISO 100 with F1.4 lens).
  - Mode: (1) Programmed AE Mode; (2) Shutter-Priority AE Mode; (3) Aperture-Priority AE Mode; (4) Metered Manual; (5) Bulb.
  - TTL programmed Auto Flash available.
  - Exposure compensation:±3EV (1/2EV steps).
  - AE Lock: 20-second AE lock with AE lock button.
  - Auto-bracketing: 2, 3 or 5 frames with in range of ±1/2EV or ±1EV.
  - Multiple exposure: no limit for number of frames.
Shutter: - Type: Electronically controlled vertical-run focal-plane shutter.
  - Speed: (1) Programmed AE Mode, Aperture -Priority AE Mode: 1/6000 sec. ~ 30 sec. (stepless); (2)Shutter- Priority AE Mode, Metered Manual: 1/6000 sec. ~ 30 sec. and Bulb; (3) Flash sync: 1/180 sec. ~ 30 sec. and bulb.
Diaphragm Control: Aperture-coupled mechanism (with FA, F and A lenses).
Viewfinder: - Type: Fixed pentaprism.
  - Focusing Screen: Interchangeable Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen.
  - Field of View: 92% vertically/horizontally.
  - Magnification: 0.75X (with 50mm F1.4 at infinity, Diopter position -1m-1).
  - Diopter adjustment: -2.5 ~ +1.5m-1 (adjustable).
Viewfinder LCD Indication: (1) In-focus; (2) Flash information (flash-use recommenda- tion, recharge completion, non-applicable lens warning and external flash status); (3) Tv (shutter speed) value, Av (aperture) value, exposure compensation and out of meter coupling-range warning; (4) Bar graph; (5) Focus point indicator; (6) AE Lock signal; (7) Auto focus frame; (8) Spot metering frame.
LCD Panel Indication: - Type: multi-data LCD type with EL (Electro- Luminescence) illuminator
  - Indication: (1) Exposure mode (Programmed AE Mode, Shutter-Priority AE Mode, Aperture-Priority AE Mode, Metered Manual Mode); (2) Film loading, film advance / rewind and loading error warning; (3) Exposure frame number; (4) Shutter speed and/or aperture value; (5) Manual-set film speed; (6) Audible PCV signal; (7) Auto flash function; (8) Flash use recommendation and recharge incomplete/complete; (9) Red-eye reduction flash; (10) Wireless flash mode; (11) High-speed sync mode; (12) Pentax function; (13) Imprinting exposure data information; (14) Battery exhaustion warning.
Film Handling: - Loading: Quick auto loading (automatic film advance to first frame).
  - Advance / rewind: Automatic (mid-roll rewind possible).
  - Advanced mode: (1) Single; (2) Consecutive (approx. 2.5 frames / sec.).
Film Speed Setting: (1) Automatic with DX code film (ISO25 ~ ISO5000); (2) Manual (ISO6 ~ 6400 in 1/3EV steps).
Built-in Flash: - Type: Series-control retractable TTL auto flash (RTF).
  - Guide Number: No. 12 (ISO 100/m).
  - Angle-of-view coverage: 24mm wide-angle lens.
Flash Synchronization: With RTF and via hot shoe. Sync speed: 1/180 sec. set automatically with RTF or Pentax dedicated flash unit at recharge completion.
Self-Timer: Electronically controlled type with 2 or 12 seconds delay. Cancellation possible.
Drive Mode: (1) Single advance; (2) Consecutive advance; (3) Self-timer; (4) Multiple exposure.
Pentax Function: 19 custom-programmable functions.
Photographic Data Imprinting: Data imprinted out of image area. Recordable data: (1) Total number of film rolls; (2) ISO film speed; (3) Information of imprinting density; (4) Exposure mode; (5) Metering mode; (6) Shutter speed; (7) Aperture; (8) Exposure compensation; (9) AEB (Auto-braketing)
Date Imprinting: Five-mode switchable: "Year-Month-Day", "Month-Day- Year", "Day-Month-Year", "Day-Hour-Minute" and blank.
Power Source: Two 3V lithium batteries (CD2 type).
Dimensions: 5.4 (W) x 3.7 (H) x 2.5 (D)” (136.5 x 95.0 x 64.0mm)
Weight: 18.3 oz. (520g)






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