|PENTAX "MZ-S" FILM SLR
click to enlarge
At first sight, it can look a bit ugly. That odd
mix of straight and curved lines, and especially that slanted top, quite hiding the
pentaprism, give it a vague recall of Leica R-8, which is widely recognized as the ugliest
SLR on the market today.
After a while, when you realize how compact and streamlined it is, and also how logical a
top plate slanted towards the user can be, you'll start appreciating it a lot.
Last Sep. 19th, I arrived early at the Pentax booth, so that I had the opportunity to put
my hands on the camera for a few seconds, just before it was put into its display case.
Only the black finished version was on display at the Photokina. Its magnesium alloy
housings feature a black crinkle finish, like latest Nikon and Sigma pro equipment. It
looked quite a working camera (the LCD panel switches on, the AF focuses, and so on), so I
believe we'll see it on sale next Spring (not for next Xmas like previously estimated).
One last word: at Photokina time its commercial designation was still to be decided
(even though I know that its project designation is KB266), while now I can tell you that
the camera will be called the MZ-S.
The official specifications are:
MZ-S 35mm AF SLR
35mm autofocus SLR camera
Lens mount: Pentax KAF2 mount
Usable lenses: Pentax K-, KA-, KAF-mount interchangeable lenses
AF system: TTL phase-matching system with six-point autofocus sensor
Shutter: 1/6000 sec. max
Flash synch speed: 1/180sec.
Metering system: TTL open-aperture 6-segment metering system with auto exposure
Viewfinder: Fixed pentaprism with diopter adjustment mechanism
Built-in flash: Retractable TTL auto flash
Others: Photographic data imprinting
function, Finder diopter adjustment, Magnesium-alloy
Availability: around Spring 2001
This said, I'll add my own observed details
and comments, that are good news indeed. The camera features interchangeable screens (same
release mechanism as in the MX, LX, etc.).
||The dial on the left has the "usual"
ISO setting and compensation functions, plus it can set bracketing. The inner part
of the dial can also rotate, thus probably having something to do with some bracketing
shift. A "PF" red symbol means Pentax Functions, that are customizations.
A "D" white symbol should have some relationship with data imprinting on film.
||The dial on the right sets the exposure modes,
displayed on the LCD panel inside it. I had no time enough to read and understand all of
the indications that showed up for a moment when switching on the camera. On the right of
the dial there is a 4-position selector: self-timer, single-frame shooting, multi-frame
shooting, multiple exposure. Another 3-position switch is for exposure meter. You can
choose between spot, multi-segment or center-weighted metering. A "hold" slider
is probably for locking the shutter release for time exposure, an AE-L button locks the
exposure reading, while a "light" button is likely for lighting on the LCD
||An Infra-red receiver allows
wireless operation. A new round-type connector for new generation cable release accepts
such accessories. A flash symbol identifies a button
for setting/unsetting auto flash operation.
There are three switchable focusing options: Manual
Focusing, AF-C (Continuous), AF-S (Single). This manual selection of AF modes is welcome!
The main switch has three positions: OFF, ON, Depth-Of-Field preview.
There is also a standard PC socket for non-dedicated flash units.
||I've been told that you can also select among
the six segments of the AF system, but nobody seems to know how the segments are arranged.
On the left side of the lens throat (when looking at the camera front), where the
MZ-5n/MZ-3 have the AF selector, the new camera has more options than simply
"wide" and "spot". Listed going down from top, the symbols read: SEL,
^, L, A and something looking like a segment bar. There should be some relation with AF
selection. Maybe SEL means selection, A means auto, no idea about the arrowhead and the L
(lock?), while could the 5-segment single-row bar with another segment above mean that AF
sensors are set that way? Yes, see how the AF segments are
arranged! There are also more buttons here and there: one marked AF is on the back and
could have some relation with the above mentioned selector on the front.
Here is the viewfinder
(click image on left to enlarge)
"MR-52" PROTOTYPE DIGITAL SLR
That was clearly a mock-up. Yes, the
viewfinder was there, but most controls didn't work. Also, the 2" LCD panel on the
back looks fake. The "no name" digital SLR (project designation MR-52) is as
similar to the film camera as possible. The bottom is at least one inch taller, but all
controls are in the same position and should work the same way. Both the 6 Megapixel CCD
and the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) are supplied by Philips as a kit, while the
software should be completely by Pentax. No HP technology here!
click to enlarge click to enlarge
The official specifications say:
MR-52 Digital SLR
Type: digital autofocus SLR camera with interchangeable
Lens mount: Pentax KAF2 mount
Usable lenses: Pentax K-, KA-, KAF-mount interchangeable
lenses, 645- and 67-system lenses usable with an adapter
Image sensor: 35mm-film-sized CCD with six
Data storage device: Double-slot which can simultaneously
accept a PC Card Type II (PCMCIA II) and a CF Card Type II (CompactFlash II)
Data recording mode: TIFF, JPEG, RAW
Display unit: 2-inch color LCD monitor
Interface: IEEE1394 (FireWire)
Others: New digital camera chip unit housing a package of a
six-megapixels CCD image sensor and a DSP, which was jointly developed with Philips.
Other photographic specifications and controls: like the 35mm
||As you can see, the dial on the left is very
similar to that of the film camera (shown above). The ISO position is missing and the
white square symbol is replaced by a sinusoid.
it operates some data transmission (sending pictures to the PC?).
The red symbol is intended for setting customizations (Pentax
||On the lower part of the front there is the
window for white balance reading, while its control is on the back, close to another LCD
||Most controls for digital imaging are on both
sides of the 2" LCD color monitor on back.