Camera Reviews, Film Photography

Pentax IQZoom EZY

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The 1990s and early 2000s were littered with pudgy little point-and-shoot 35mm cameras. Gone were the sleek, straight lines of the 1970s and 1980s. But in were giant conveniences like autofocus, programmed autoexposure, built-in flashes with many modes, and zoom lenses. Even the big camera makers, including Pentax, were in the game. One of Pentax’s point-and shoot series was called IQZoom; this one is the IQZoom EZY.

Pentax IQZoom EZY

Its lens and shutter aren’t really that fast: a 38-70 mm f/4.8-8.5 zoom of five elements in five groups, and a top speed of 1/320 sec., stepping down to 1/3 sec at its slowest. It reads the DX coding on film canisters from ISO 25 to 1600. It offers several shooting modes. A 123 lithium battery powers it all.

Pentax IQZoom EZY

Mine includes a date back; not all of them did. Oh, and I hear that in some markets this camera was called the Espio 70-E.

This camera belonged to my friend Alice’s dad. He gave me his Olympus OM-1 system back in 2011, and this was in the bag with it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to shooting it. But after shooting my Yashica T2 recently I wanted to keep pointing and shooting and so I dug this camera out. When I told Alice I was finally shooting this camera, she praised it as a solid performer, the go-to camera when her dad photographed family functions. She said its flash lit smiling family photos just right.

So naturally I shot nothing like that. Instead, I loaded up some Kodak Gold 400 and took it on a photo walk with Margaret through a couple neighborhoods on Indianapolis’s Near Eastside. We began in up-and-coming Cottage Home. The first thing I noticed about the IQZoom EZY, a serious pet peeve with point-and-shoots of this era, was its rubbery, uncertain shutter button. Press it and at some point it decides you meant it and fires the shutter. Instantly, one second, two; you never know. Bleargh.

Cottage Home row houses

But the IQZoom EZY delivered good results, sharp and contrasty. The colors in the scans were blah, but a quick hit of auto white balance in Photoshop woke them right up.

Dorman St. Tavern

Cottage Home is currently a mix of restored and unrestored homes from around the turn of the last century, plus a handful of new homes. This was a working-class neighborhood in its heyday, but it didn’t fare well in the last half of the last century. It’s undergoing a gentrification of sorts. This is the time to move in; prices are still low.

Cottage Home cottage

Most houses in Cottage Home are modest; this is a rare large, ornate one.

On Dorman Street

We also walked through nearby Woodruff Place, which was Indianapolis’s first suburb. Just writing that cracks me up, because it’s just a mile or so away from Downtown. But in 1872, when it was founded, that was a good distance away from the city. It is a planned community of three parallel boulevards lined with large homes.

Statue in Woodruff Place

In contrast to working-class Cottage Home, Woodruff Place attracted the affluent, who built grand homes. But the neighborhood declined sharply after World War II. Gentrification came early to Woodruff Place, and since the 1980s and 1990s it’s been lovely and charming again. Home prices reflect that. Meanwhile, the setting sun and thick tree canopy conspired to dim the natural light. The IQZoom EZY switched on the flash and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off.

Woodruff Place

I get it; these cameras are meant for people who don’t know anything about cameras. But I really hated having the flash fire. I’m very much a natural-light guy. I love the look of this storefront shot — except for the flash uselessly reflecting off that window.

Laundromat

I finished off the roll at home as my peonies began to bloom. The IQZoom EZY figured out what to focus on even at this close range.

Peony

But strangely, it whiffed focus entirely on this shot of my peony bush by the front door. This should have been easy for the EZY.

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To see more photos, check out my Pentax IQZoom EZY gallery.

The IQZoom EZY is a fair to middling 1990s-era point and shoot. Its rubbery-blubbery shutter button will guarantee I never shoot it again, but really, other than that it performed well enough. As I researched for this post, I found all sorts of people that picked up IQZoom-series cameras at thrift stores for a couple bucks. That seems about right.


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8 thoughts on “Pentax IQZoom EZY

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Every time I move to a new city, I generally start in the center and drive around in ever expanding circles to see everything. You’d be surprised how many people who have lived a lifetime in a city have never seen it all! I ran into Woodruff Place pretty early when doing that here, it’s certainly quite different from other parts of the city and quite unique from other areas of the country where the wealthy wouldn’t have built so close to each other. Every time someone comes to visit me here, it’s one of my tour stops!

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    • I’ve been a Northwestsider my whole time in Indy. The Eastside never resonated with me — as a matter of fact, I just outright don’t like parts of the Eastside. So I cut short my explorations of it a long time ago! But now that Margaret and I are figuring out where we’d like to live, we’re looking at neighborhoods that ring Downtown.

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  2. hmunro says:

    “Pudgy little point-and-shoots.” What a charming and apt description! In spite of being a bit unwieldy I think the IQZoom EZY served you well. I won’t blame you one bit if you decide to shelve it permanently, though: the “rubbery-blubbery shutter button” hardly sounds appealing.

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  3. I kinda feel sorry for these cameras. I have seen a lot of them for offered for a dollar or two and there aren’t many buyers. Back in the day a lot of the cameras of this type went for two or three hundred dollars. Today is easier to sell the give-away cameras like the original time camera than it is to sell one of these.

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  4. Hey Jim, I got an IQZoom from the 90s too! Not this one, but I’ll have to dig it out. I gave it to my Dad at one point and he still had a roll of film in it when he passed away five years ago. I have the camera here somewhere, but I have been procrastinating in taking that roll out, but I will do. These cameras were excellent as seen in your results!

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