The Joys of the First SLR: My Pentax MZ-6


My first SLR was the easy-to-use AF Pentax MZ-6, with multiple exposure function, smooth focusing, great TTL modes, and a very lightweight body, I’m sure I’ll always have great memories with it!

Year: 2001
Mount: KAF
Shutter speeds: 30 – 1/4000s
ISO range: 6 – 6400
Meter range: 0 – 21 EV
Auto bracketing: Yes
Autofocus: 3 points
Viewfinder: Pentamirror
DOF preview: Yes
Mirror lock-up: No
Built-in flash: Yes
Sync speed: 1/125 sec
Multiple exposures: YES :)

Now, I’m no camera wizard, so for my first SLR, I researched to find some generally reliable cameras and different models and makers. The choice fell between Canon, Nikon, and Pentax. As a poor college student, my priorities were first and foremost: price. It’s sad to acknowledge the fact that you get what you pay for, and usually, the best in quality and most precious items seem to be worth a pretty penny. But anyway, aside from all the economic shoobaloo, my heart was set on a Nikon SLR I had seen on eBay, and it was set at such a great price, too! However, many other buyers had seen the beauty, and the price soon skyrocketed off the charts. Ah, sweet sorrow.

But the next day, I was perusing the aisles of eBay again, a lonely, SLR-less Lomographer, and I came across the “International Sellers” section of Pentax — and there she was. A lovely Pentax MZ-6 (also known as ZX-L) priced at around $70! According to photography forums and user reviews, this model was valued at around $150, and was a reliable, great beginner’s SLR. Also, it has Autofocus, which is perfect for the learning photographer to grow into the methods of manual settings. Another fantastic perk was its ability to shoot MX, or multiple exposures. I knew that I wouldn’t let this one slip by.

Anyway, fast-forward the tape, and I had my beloved camera in my hands. Except, having been shipped halfway around the world, somehow, it had absorbed a horrendously strong perfume stench — the kind of super-violent perfume that seems to be exuding waaaay too much from an old lady. I was, safe to say, pretty freaked out. What if the camera had been handled incorrectly? What if the perfume was put on it to cover up some darker secret? What the heck had happened? I couldn’t even keep the camera in my house — it literally filled the room with its stench, and so I had to keep it in the garage.

But I decided to give it a chance, just to test it out, since I had worked so hard to acquire it in the first place. Putting in a roll of generic color negative film, I set out to take some candid photos of my love and I.

Credits: dearjme

I tested out some MX:

Credits: dearjme

And some random shots:

Credits: dearjme

Overall, I really enjoyed using the Pentax! It allowed me to achieve photos that were crisp and balanced. The camera’s AF is so smooth, almost like butter, and shooting was a breeze. I didn’t try out the Manual function, but the instructions were simple enough to allow the photographer to have more fun with their choices.

Unfortunately, the smell was just way too odd and gross, so I put it back up for sale on eBay (and I clearly stated about the smell, so that my next buyer would be forewarned) and made back a profit. Those funds went into my purchase of my Lomo LC-A+ that I so dearly love!

I would definitely buy another Pentax SLR if I ever have the chance in the future. I could try out some slide film and xpro, as well as some black and white. My MZ-6 was super user friendly and a joy to use!

written by dearjme on 2011-12-02 #gear #test #film #review #slr #color-negative #smooth #pentax #lomography #user-review #easy-to-use #mz-6 #zx-l


  1. anird
    anird ·

    I have the ZX 5N, I think it's the same camera. I absolutely adore it.

  2. dearjme
    dearjme ·

    @anird, it's not the exact same camera, but it's very similar! Isn't it a great creature? Love it :)

  3. co
    co ·

    Wow! The picture with the cross is just amazing!

  4. dearjme
    dearjme ·

    @co Aw thank you! Haha his back was all sunburnt.

  5. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Eww Alex's back, hahahaha

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