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March 13, 1996

Pentax ZX-5 35mm SLR Camera

Pentax ZX-5 SLR Camera

Designed for ease-of-use, the Pentax ZX-5 SLR camera's simplified features let photographers concentrate on getting great pictures the first time they pick up the camera. Yet it has everything beginning and advanced photographers desire: multi-mode exposure, fast accurate autofocus, a built-in auto flash and a wide range of lenses and accessories. All beautifully packaged in a light-weight compact silver and black body reminiscent of those classic cameras of years gone by. So if you want a new breed of SLR camera, one that's picture perfect inside and out, there's only one choice--the ZX-5 from Pentax.

Research shows that millions of Pentax customers still own and use the sturdy and classic SLR cameras that enjoyed great popularity in the '50s and '60s. The new ZX-5 incorporates those most useful features and simple design in a handsome compact body. Like the famous cameras of years ago, the Pentax ZX-5 is designed with the most essential features. Therefore, mechanical SLR lovers as well as people new to photography can pick up the ZX-5 and begin to shoot with it immediately. Yet it eclipses those cameras with its advanced metering and autofocus systems.

The metering system of the ZX-5 features Pentax's well known six segment multi-pattern metering. This assures optimal results even under difficult lighting conditions. The spot metering allows the photographer to pin-point the metering at a single small area of the frame. Center-weighted metering is also provided for those photographers who prefer conventional metering systems.

It's easy to capture perfectly exposed photographs while shooting with the Pentax ZX-5. This is due to the fact that four exposure modes are available; programmed AE, aperture priority AE, shutter priority AE, and metered manual. The three auto-exposure modes are designed to simplify operation while the metered manual mode lets the shooter make all the choices to create the shot he is seeking. Together these choices provide the photographer with the opportunity to create a variety of visual effects.

The two control dials on the camera's top silver panel enable speedy and accurate setting of the metering mode and shutter speed. The obvious advantage of this design is the easy access it provides at the turn of a dial. To complement the dial control system, the Pentax ZX-5 is equipped with a multi-data viewfinder display and an easy to read LCD panel. The viewfinder display even comes with an illuminator whose illumination level is automatically adjusted according to the brightness of the subject.

The Pentax ZX-5 incorporates a high precision, high speed phase matching autofocus system which is extremely reliable even under poor lighting conditions. The predictive autofocus function, found in Pentax's professional SLRs, automatically activates when the camera detects the subject's motion. Then it is able to "predict" the subject's position at the exact moment of the shutter release and adjust the focus accordingly. It is even possible to take a few more pictures after the subject moves out of the autofocus frame. The ZX-5's autofocus system is enhanced by

SAFOX IV (Sensor Ability Fortifying Optical Compensation System). The system is new to the PENTAX SLR line and has a three-point autofocus module with wide-focus capability. This is due to a H-shaped layout of the three AF sensors that delivers pin-point focusing on a greater variety of subjects. The sensors are also sensitive to subjects with vertical or horizontal lines.

The Pentax ZX-5 incorporates a built-in "smart flash" which covers up to a 28mm angle of view. It also gives a warning when the camera detects low light and backlit situations. When the camera is set in programmed AE mode and the flash is in the pop-up position, the smart flash automatically provides supplementary illumination to the subject for perfect exposure.

The advanced TTL flash control system makes previously complicated flash techniques such as daylight sync and slow shutter sync simple and effortless. It is also equipped with a pre-flash function to reduce the "red-eye" effect in subjects eyes.

Many cameras today are responding to photographers' increasing interest in using a panorama mode. The Pentax ZX-5 offers this mode which is available at a simple twist of a lever. The viewfinder also has a long comfortable eye-point and diopter adjustment.

Pentax offers a full range of interchangeable lenses to satisfy very diverse needs--ranging from ultra-wide angle to super telephoto and even special effects such as fisheye, macro and soft focus. All lenses are treated with the acclaimed super multi-coating (SMC) for sharp, high contrast images with minimal aberrations. Many existing Pentax accessories can be used with a Pentax ZX-5 including the AF-500 FTZ and AF-330 FTZ dedicated flash units. The line-up is further expanded with the addition of new accessories which are exclusively designed for the ZX-5 including a AA battery pack for extended shooting sessions, a data back and extension cord hot-shoe adapter and off-camera adapter. 

Update: August 1996 - EISA Award

The Pentax ZX-5 has been selected as the "European Camera of the Year 1996-1997" by the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA). The official presentation of the award will be held on September 18 at Photokina in Cologne, Germany. Having already won TIPA's "The Best SLR camera of the Year '96-'97," earlier in the year, the ZX-5 has won the two most prestigious awards presented to SLR cameras in Europe. 

In selecting the ZX-5, the jury commented that, "With the ZX-5, PENTAX has developed a new breed of autofocus SLR. Its inspired design utilizes the best details of a compact camera within an ultra-light body. The camera's logical and traditional control layout makes it a joy to use; its overall performance exceeds the needs of most photo hobbyists at a very reasonable price."

Pentax (US) / Asahi Optical Company, Ltd., Japan