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03-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #1
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Autofocus Probem/Depleted Battery Error (K5)

Hi folks. K5 user here, experiencing my first major problem with the K5, after about a year and a half of problem-free use.

All of a sudden, when pressing the AF button (I never use the half-shutter press to focus) autofocus went crazy. Focus failed, the shutter did not fire, and the screen quickly went black. The dreaded Battery Depleted message appeared. These were fresh batteries, but I put in different ones anyways. Same thing. I experimented with a different memory card and a different lens. Again, same thing. Camera seemed to work fine in manual-focus mode.

The camera is still under warranty so I took it back to the shop to have it shipped off to Pentax (problem could not be duplicated when I was in the shop—of course). This was over a month ago. Called today for an update, and after the dealer checked in with Pentax, I was told that Pentax was preparing an estimate. This is perplexing because (a) preparing an estimate implies that this problem is not covered under the warranty and (b) it's already been a month!—what is taking them so long? I'm in Canada, but still.

I'm pretty frustrated right now. The only backup I have is a compact camera (Sony RX100—great camera, but it's no K5). Feeling pretty naked without my K5.

Has anyone had this problem? And if so, were the repairs covered by your warranty?

03-21-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowdive101 Quote
Has anyone had this problem? And if so, were the repairs covered by your warranty?
I had the problem, and it was fixed under warranty, because I sent it for repair within one year of the day I purchased it. The fix required replacing the main board, which took a while, since CRIS had to order it from Japan.

Unfortunately, the focus mode switch did not work correctly when I got the camera back, so I sent it to them again. A week or so after that repair, my K-5 got the mirror-flop (AKA mirror-overrun) problem, and I sent it back another time. Now, it is at my son's house in PA. Either he will visit me here in Mexico and bring it with him, or I'll have to find another way to get it here.

I do look forward to getting it back. Meanwhile, I am shooting with my X100.

Jeff
03-27-2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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WOW.

Okay, so Pentax is denying that the damage falls under warranty. They're claiming it was due to camera impact. This is patently false! I have not any any incidents for almost 2 years.

Insult to injury? Their estimate is $900! I can get a new one for less! I am completely disgusted right now.
03-27-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowdive101 Quote
Camera seemed to work fine in manual-focus mode.
QuoteOriginally posted by slowdive101 Quote
(problem could not be duplicated when I was in the shop—of course).
Sorry to hear that your K-5 failed and it's been with Pentax for more than a month. Their estimate seems odd, because a new K-5 can be purchased in Canada for less than $900.

There have been reports of similar issues of freezes and failed mirror retraction, although your case seems to present unique conditions. You mention that manual focus mode worked fine - did the camera actually take an image, i.e., flip the mirror and actuate the shutter? In the shop, did the camera work normally? Sounds like there's certainly a problem, but intermittent?

Did you notice anything moving around in the camera body after it went wonky? Anything loose? Wonder why Pentax suspects that an impact caused damage.

03-27-2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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The camera did focus and take photos in manual mode. Nothing rattling in the camera. In fact, when I took the camera into the shop it was working fine and we were unable to replicate the problem. So yeah, problem is intermittent.

I had a bit of an oops with the camera a few days after I bought it—in July 2011. Since then, there has been no impact whatsoever, and until this recent problem, I had no problems with it at all. For Pentax to suspect that impact has caused this problem is an outrage. I take very good care of my gear.

I'm seriously considering leaving Pentax. If I'm going to have to spend $900 for a repair (or more likely a new body), I don't think I can justify staying with Pentax. They're playing dirty here, and I've been a happy Pentax user for 15 years.
03-27-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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It's certainly a shock to you to be informed that the camera you've been using well for a year and a half needs to be repaired because of "impact" damage. Because the repair estimate is so high, it would probably be reasonable for Pentax Canada to describe their findings and let you know why they concluded it's impact damage (or even 'normal wear and tear'). At the least, they should explain the problem, confirm how the problem could appear suddenly without the body having had any recent physical shock, and what causes the intermittent issue. Also, it would be fair for them to describe the service required for the $900. Did Pentax actually experience the problem in their service shop? Why is it intermittent - is it an electrical or mechanical fault?

From what I have read in numerous threads here and elsewhere, the service department at Pentax Canada seems to have a longstanding good reputation. I personally have returned two lenses to them for warranty repair/adjustment, and was satisfied in both cases. I've not read of any unfair play on their part.

You might have a difficult time to obtain a contact telephone number for their service folks, but look online or ask your local dealer for a contact after explaining what you'd like to find out. Suggest you speak with a manager at your dealer and seek assistance in communicating with Pentax. If your dealer is one of the larger outlets in Winnipeg (I know the stores), they'll probably be willing to help.

Hope this helps. Sorry I can't advise on the exact problem with your camera.

Craig
03-27-2013, 05:48 PM   #7
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This very same problem happened to my K5 last Fall (2012) and it was fixed by Pentax Canada with no denying that this a real issue.
If you browse a bit throughout this forum, I am sure you will find a couple more of the same.

Hopefully, you K5 is still under warranty.

To make a long story short: Pentax Canada has been very helpful over the years with different camera models of mine.

JP
03-28-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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Most modern equipment is fitted with moisture and shock sensors.
If you dropped the camera 'bit of an oops when new' then it proabbly the shock sesnor is tripped.

Therfore you will have to prove your current issue is not realted to the drop .

First port of call is a written statement from you retailer stating the camera was operating correctly prior to shipment. this at least shows the camera was functionals to some degree.

03-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by awaldram Quote
...you will have to prove your current issue is not related to the drop .
If the onus is on me to prove that the current problem is not due to a drop that happened almost two years ago, then I am screwed. It would be impossible for me to prove this. All I can offer is my word that the camera was flawless for the two years after the drop.

Anyways, a dialogue has been initiated with Pentax. I'm told by the folks on this forum that Pentax is reasonable and helpful so we'll see how things go. There's still a good chance, though, that they will lose a loyal customer if things to no go favorably for me.
04-23-2013, 09:41 AM   #10
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An update, for anyone interested. After some back and forth with Pentax, Pentax has reduced it's quote for the repair from $900+ to $400. Even if the current problem was not due to the drop that occurred two years ago, the warranty is still nullified by the drop. Fine, I can accept that. I'm appreciative of the compromise Pentax made in their quote.

For now, the only sore point I have is the amount of time that this whole process is taking. I initially dropped off my camera at the shop on February 21 and it was shipped to Pentax within a day or two. It's now April 23, and I am still without the camera. Nor do I have an ETA for when it will be back in my hands. (Side note: My second camera, a Sony RX100 is filling in quite nicely for the K5. I wish Pentax would put out a compact as strong as the RX100.)
04-23-2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowdive101 Quote
I had a bit of an oops with the camera a few days after I bought it—in July 2011. Since then, there has been no impact whatsoever, and until this recent problem, I had no problems with it at all. For Pentax to suspect that impact has caused this problem is an outrage. I take very good care of my gear.
Well once you drop your camera you drop your normal warrenty. Only iff you purchased an extra warrenty that covers a drop you would still be in warrenty.
11-26-2013, 05:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowdive101 Quote
Hi folks. K5 user here, experiencing my first major problem with the K5, after about a year and a half of problem-free use.

All of a sudden, when pressing the AF button (I never use the half-shutter press to focus) autofocus went crazy. Focus failed, the shutter did not fire, and the screen quickly went black. The dreaded Battery Depleted message appeared. These were fresh batteries, but I put in different ones anyways. Same thing. I experimented with a different memory card and a different lens. Again, same thing. Camera seemed to work fine in manual-focus mode.

The camera is still under warranty so I took it back to the shop to have it shipped off to Pentax (problem could not be duplicated when I was in the shop—of course). This was over a month ago. Called today for an update, and after the dealer checked in with Pentax, I was told that Pentax was preparing an estimate. This is perplexing because (a) preparing an estimate implies that this problem is not covered under the warranty and (b) it's already been a month!—what is taking them so long? I'm in Canada, but still.

I'm pretty frustrated right now. The only backup I have is a compact camera (Sony RX100—great camera, but it's no K5). Feeling pretty naked without my K5.

Has anyone had this problem? And if so, were the repairs covered by your warranty?
I have the problem in manual focus. I sent it back once and they sent it back "repaired" but it did it again within minutes. I sent it back again and they had it about 1 month and said they were waiting on parts from Japan. When it came back, it did work and has worked, but occasionally does it again. If I let it sit a day or two, it suddenly starts working again. I keep three batteries and trade them out and sometimes that works, but often on a fully charged battery, I'll still get "Battery depleted". Mine didn't work the last two days, but suddenly this morning, after changing lenses and batteries for the umpteenth time, it works again.
10-05-2014, 01:17 AM   #13
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Sounds familiar

This sounds all too familiar.

For the first time today my new K3 started showing "Battery Depleted" when the 2 new Pentax batteries were fully charged, AND when the two backups I carry were inserted.
After some fiddling I realised it's camera, not the batteries, and as stated by others above: turnjng the camera/grip off and waiting a few seconds seems to fix it.

I have a theory as to the cause, and it relates to another issue I have experienced with two K5 bodies and now this K3.
It usually appears after a short time of using older heavier lenses with AF and always those with electronic couplings:
SMC Pentax-F * 300mm 1:4.5 ED(IF)
SMC Pentax-FA star 200mm f2.8 ED IF
Tokina AT-X PRO 80-200mm 1:2.8

I believe that some lenses start to develop a small amount of rotational 'play' in their mount. What could be expected if the locking pin protruding from the camera into the lens mount socket over time made the socket enlarge. The mounts on these lenses are typically aluminium after all, and the amount of rotational play in some of my lenses is quite noticeable. However the locking socket does not appear distended or damaged, so evidently the amount of distortion is miniscule.

Somehow this rotational play seems to become worse the longer and more I use some of these larger lenses, and along with it another problem begins to surface, firstly:
The f - - problem.
Even though the lens aperture is in A mode, and the camera generally set to Av mode, I frequently notice the camera will display f - - when I wiggle the lens slightly. This is caused by the electronics between the lens and the camera becoming uncoupled... disconnected. Exactly the same as if you had switched the lens out of A and into one of the manual Apertures, or if you had pressed the release and begun to or actually removed the lens.

Now here's the clincher:
On several occasions I have been holding down the cameras release button in continuous fire mode, rattling off shots as fast as the camera can fire, and the lens has rotated slightly, the electronics uncouple, and :
-in the case of the K5:
The camera completely locks up.
The LCD is still displayed, and the shutter appears to remain stuck open exposing the sensor, but the camera is effectively dead.
The only fix I have found is to remove both batteries (grip and body) and wait a minute or two. Sometimes just popping them out and straight back in will cause the camera to immediately close it's shutter and recover.
Any images in the buffer will be gone.. kapoot, vanished.
Shutter actuation counts will be regressed somewhat, sometimes by the number of buffered shots lost, sometimes back to the last time the camera was turned on. (yeah, read that again)

If the camera shoots in f - - mode and doesn't crash/lock up, which is its typical behaviour if you aren't buffering a bunch of frames at the time, then it is shooting with the aperture wide open like Av mode when the lens set to one of its f/stops instead of A mode (expected behaviour for manual aperture in Av mode). However the exif data *may* still register the user specified aperture. The image will almost always be over-exposed.

-in the case of the K3:
The camera will often destroy the image, sometimes making a collage of several images, or sometimes simply producing a black frame, but it does not seem to hesitate or stop at all. Other times AF will fail, internal readouts turn off, and the shutter cannot be released until the lens/camera is wiggled slightly to make the lens/body connection short again.
The exif data will (afaik) always reflect the user specified Av mode setting for Aperture, but will be shooting wide open, and over-exposed.
However the camera does not lock up, and i often I won't even notice that it's happened till I find a zero byte image later.

In the K3 and K5 the AF will usually fail for as long as f - - is in effect.

I strongly suspect that the lens<->body electronics becoming decoupled, and the resulting f - - problems, and the way the K5 would simply lock up whereas the K3 seems to handle it gracefully are related to the "battery depleted" of the K3
I believe that the K5 just chokes and dies, whereas the K3 tries to deal with it but often can't, so the electronics goes into a power-problem shutdown state.




Note however, that the above has never happened on any of these 3 cameras when using (note that they are smaller & lighter):
SMC Pentax DA 10-17mm f3.5-4.5
SMC Pentax-F Zoom 1:3.5-4.5 28-80mm
And I have excluded these lenses, which have never manifested the problem, but probably becasue they are either M-series with no electronics, or A-series with no AF... AND because they are not as heavy and long and have never developed any noticeable rotational play in the mount/body connection:
SMC Pentax-M 1:2.8 28mm
SMC Pentax-A 1:2.8 28mm
SMC Pentax-M 1:1.2 50mm
SMC Pentax-A 1:1.2 50mm
SMC Pentax-M 1:1.4 50mm
SMC Pentax-A 1:1.4 50mm
SMC Pentax-A 1:1.7 50mm
Zeiss 85mm F/1.4 ZK Planar T*
... or are just light, and not seen a lot of use, much less being slung about on a monopod all day:
SMC Pentax-F 1:2.8 100mm macro

Last edited by BETLOG; 10-05-2014 at 01:25 AM.
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