Pentax PZ-70 Overview: A Trip Back to the 90’s

Last Updated on December 20, 2023

The Pentax PZ-70, released in 1995 and referred to as the Z-70 in the United States, is a notable autofocus 35mm film SLR camera. This camera blends the charm of film photography with the advancements of modern technology, particularly in autofocus capabilities. The model also offers a Z-70p variant, which includes additional features.

Pentax PZ-70

Pentax PZ-70 Specs

Canon AE-1 35mm Film
The iconic 35mm camera stays as relevant as ever, boasting its AE (Automatic Exposure) system and focal plane shutter.
Year Release1995
US NamePentax Z-70
Lens MountKAF2
AF System (sensitivity)SAFOX II (0 ~ 18 EV)
Power-Zoom FeaturesAuto-lens retract, power zoom
Self-Timer12 sec
Cable ReleaseCable release F
Panorama FunctionalityZ-50p/PZ-70
Width x Height x Depth146 x 93 x 66.5 mm
Weight450 g
Exposure ModesAv, HyM, P, Paction, Pclose-up, Plandscape, Pportrait, Tv
Exposure Compensation (Step)+/-3 (1/2)
Meter Range1 ~ 21 EV
ISO25 ~ 5000 ASA
Shutter ConstructionElectronic (vertical)
Shutter Speeds30 ~ 1/2000, B
Viewfinder Coverage0.77x [92%]
Power SourceBatteries: 1 x 6 Volt 2CR5
Continuous Shooting1.5 frames per second
Flash FeaturesTTL, P, S
Flash Synchronization Speed(s)1/100 ~ 30, B
Built-In Flash Guide Number (GN)13

General Features

Lens System: A key aspect of the PZ-70 is its lens system compatibility. It supports KAF2-mount autofocus lenses and K-mount manual lenses, providing users with the flexibility to choose between the ease of autofocus and the control of manual focus. This feature is particularly beneficial for photographers who appreciate both the modern conveniences of autofocus and the tactile engagement of manual focusing.

Shutter Mechanics: The camera is equipped with a vertical electronic metal focal plane shutter. This type of shutter is known for its reliability and durability. The shutter speed range is extensive, from a slow 30 seconds to a fast 1/2000 of a second, including a bulb mode for long exposures. This range allows photographers to experiment with various types of photography, from long-exposure night shots to fast-action daytime shots. The flash synchronization speed is set at 1/100 sec, which is adequate for most flash photography needs.

Exposure Modes: The PZ-70 offers a variety of exposure modes – Av (Aperture Priority), HyM (Hyper Manual), P (Program), Action, Close-up, Landscape, Portrait, and Tv (Shutter Priority). These modes provide users with a range of options for different shooting scenarios. For instance, the Aperture Priority mode is ideal for controlling depth of field, while the Shutter Priority mode is suited for managing motion blur.

Metering System: The camera’s metering system adapts according to the lens used. With older K and M lenses, the camera uses a center-weighted metering system, which is beneficial for standard shooting conditions. When using F, A, or FA lenses, the camera switches to a segmented metering mode, which is more suited for complex lighting situations. The metering range of 1 to 21 EV at ASA 100 offers a broad spectrum for accurately gauging exposure in various lighting conditions.

ISO and Exposure Compensation: The ISO settings on the PZ-70 range from 25 to 5000, accommodating a wide variety of film types and lighting conditions. This flexibility is crucial for film photographers who need to adapt to different environments. The camera also features exposure compensation of ±3 EV in ½ step increments, allowing photographers to fine-tune exposure based on specific scene requirements.

Built-in Flash: The integrated flash, with a guide number (GN) of 13, provides adequate illumination for low-light scenarios. This built-in feature is convenient for photographers who prefer not to carry an external flash unit.

Autofocus System: The SAFOX II autofocus system, operating within a range of 0 to 18 EV, is a standout feature of the PZ-70. This system ensures accurate focus in a variety of shooting conditions, from bright outdoor environments to dimly lit indoor settings.

Additional Features: The camera includes power-zoom features, such as auto-lens retract and power zoom, enhancing the ease of use and functionality. The 12-second self-timer is useful for group photos or situations where the photographer wants to be in the shot. The panorama functionality, available in the Z-50p/PZ-70 model, adds a creative dimension to landscape photography.

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Kodak Portra 400
Professional 35mm film: captures natural and smooth tones with precision.

Design and Ergonomics: The camera’s dimensions (146 x 93 x 66.5 mm) and weight (450 g) make it a relatively compact and portable option for a film SLR. Its design is ergonomic, making it comfortable to hold and use for extended periods. The camera is powered by a 6v 2CR5 battery, which is known for its long life and availability.

Viewfinder and Display: The viewfinder offers a magnification of 0.77x and 92% coverage, providing a clear and accurate view of the subject. The LED display for aperture and shutter speed is a helpful feature for making quick adjustments without taking the eye off the viewfinder.

Flash Command and Synchronization: The camera supports analog flash command protocols with TTL, P, and S modes. The synchronization speeds range from 1/100 to 30 seconds and bulb mode, accommodating different types of flash photography.

Price

  • Approximately $50 US dollars with the kit lens (35-80mm).

Pentax PZ-70/Z-70 Photos

Final Words

The Pentax PZ-70/Z-70 is a versatile and capable camera for film photography enthusiasts. It combines the traditional aspects of film photography with modern features like autofocus and various exposure modes, making it suitable for a wide range of photographic applications. Its compatibility with different lenses, reliable meter


Author: Jorge Ferrufino

Written by Jorge Ferrufino

I am a fashion photographer and an analog photography enthusiast since the beginning of my career (15 years ago). I have had the opportunity and honor of showcasing my work in various galleries and publications around the world.


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