Pentax Z-1P Pro 35mm SLR
It was only a couple of weeks after I got my Pentax Z-1 SLR that I found this Z-1P at a knock-down bargain price on eBay and decided it was too good a bargain to resist. Although this camera was sold as ‘Spares or Repair’ I could see from the pictures that the major area with problems was the lens which had a switch missing from the body, so I took a gamble that the rest of the camera was ok. It was cheap enough that even if it didn’t work at all I could mark it down to experience, and since I’ve owned the Z-1 and could see how well constructed and sturdy the design is, I thought it unlikely that there would be anything wrong with the Z-1p.
As it happened, once it turned up and I put a new battery in it I found everything seems to be working as expected. In fact, even the lens basically works – because the switch is broken, the zoom clip and image size modes don’t work, but as a standard zoom lens it is fine. The rest of the camera body is in great shape with only the normal wear and tear marks you would expect from a camera which is now about 35 years old.
The pictures in this gallery can also be viewed full size here
Because I have written a review of the Z-1 and the Z-1P is an upgrade to that camera, this is going to be a mini review which covers just the difference between the two models.
The mode switch has been changed from the Z-1 by moving the bracketing to it’s own section rather than being part of the drive options. This makes it quicker and easier to select bracketing and I think is a good upgrade.
The camera offers the same metering modes as the Z-1 but allows each of the three (Averaged, Centre weighted, Spot) to be selected via the metering switch on the back panel whereas the Z-1 only allowed two of them to be selected. Although I only tend to use Averaged or Centre weighted it’s an obvious and logical upgrade to what was a weakness on the older model.
The viewfinder changes from the Z-1 are the ones I find most useful. For a start the exposure compensation control is shown as a bar chart with +/- 2 stops range rather than the simple + & – indicators. Admittedly the 2 stops range is not as high as the 5 stops the camera allows, but it’s significantly better than the Z-1.
Another change is that the focus screen is marked with lines to show the frame limits when the Panorama mode is selected. Now I think the Panorama function is a pretty useless gimmick, but it’s a change from the Z-1.
The metering mode display in the viewfinder is also improved by having it’s own separate icon which shows which of the three modes is selected.
The interval shooting option has been removed from the various shooting modes on the Z-1P.
There are some superficial styling changes due body material being different on the Z-1P.
The limited ‘green’ mode of the Z-1 has been enhanced on the Z-1P to allow a specific set of options to be set and then remembered in the User mode. This allows the photographer to set up for example, metering mode, drive mode etc and store them in the User setting for quick recall.
All other features are the same as the Z-1 so please see my review of that camera for more details.