1990's Pentax

Pentax Z-1

Pentax Z-1

The Pentax Z-1, also known as PZ-1, is a high end 35mm SLR from Pentax, first released in 1991. It has autofocus and utilizes all Pentax lenses with a K-mount. The  styling is similar to the Pentax SFX.


  • KAF lenses support practically all features of the camera, except powered zoom
  • KA lenses can be used with the ‘AF adapter 1.7X’, this will then support autofocus. Without the adapter, they do not support autofocus but the focus indicator, shutter-priority AE and Programmed AE modes can all be used.
  • K mount lenses with manual aperture can be mounted with an adapter. They do not support shutter-priority AE or programmed AE modes, but can be used for aperture-priority AE and in manual exposure.
  • 42mm screw-mount lenses can be mounted with an adapter. Aperture-priority AE and manual exposure are possible and the focus indicator can also be used if the lens aperture is wide enough.


The camera has the screen built into the top of the camera with the flash hot shoe over to the right, behind the shutter release. Having the flash to the side potentially helps with red eye.

It has two control dials, one on the front just behind the shutter release and when on the back where your thumb would naturally rest. There are two buttons, one labelled IF and one labelled ML. which control the metering pattern and exposure compensation.

It also has two power settings, one mode allows the camera to be used in fully automatic mode with not a lot of customisation possible, and another mode which allows the camera to be used to its full potential.

More buttons on the back are used to control the date stamp function, they set the date and time, and another button is used to set the date format to be imprinted on to the film.

Shooting modes

The Pentax Z-1 comes with a range of exposure modes, the full usable choice depends on the lenses being used. The modes are:

  • Hyper program mode
  • Program mode
  • Shutter Priority mode
  • Aperture Priority mode
  • Hyper manual mode
  • Manual mode

The Hyper program mode offers a fully automatic exposure mode with the option of quickly switching into Aperture priority or shutter priority mode.

Hyper manual mode is an extension of manual exposure but the camera has some automated settings to help. Using the IF button will set up the exposure as a starting point for the user. You can also lock the exposure using the ML button.

The camera also has some shooting modes such as single shot and continuous shooting mode. Theirs is a exposure bracketing mode where you take 3 photos with different exposures that you set beforehand. There’s a multiple exposure model where the camera will take multiple pictures without advancing the film to create some interesting effects. There’s also a range of self-timers and an interval mode.


The camera, like other old Pentax cameras, can be picked up quite cheap second-hand. It uses a range of lenses and has some more advanced features compared to older models.

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