Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-25-2013, 04:13 AM   #1
Inactive Account

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 39
K5 Cold weather shutter issue

One of my K5's is acting up in colder weather. I haven't determined exactly what temperature this happens but it's around 32F. The shutter seems to hang up or skip a beat. It doesn't matter if it's on continuous or single frame. It almost sounds like something is getting jammed up. This problem never happens at room temperature or milder temps. I'm hoping for milder weather in a couple weeks because I need it to shoot a 8K race here in Chicago. Anyone heard of this type of problem?

03-25-2013, 04:32 AM   #2
Senior Member
CB Knipp's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Sendai, Japan
Posts: 169
Sorry, Petey, I can't really help you out here. That sure doesn't seem very cold for a K5. My K5IIs is frequently in conditions far below that and for long periods of time without any problems. I would be nervous that this is not dependent on temp and it may start at other times. I hope you can get this figured out and I am curious to see what is wrong. Good luck!
03-25-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
New Member

Join Date: Oct 2012
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 16
It may sound like moisture in the camera is icing up and causing you shutter to hang up. I would look for potential reasons why this moisture would get in. Things to consider is to ensure that all sealed flaps are closed tightly (obvious but important.), avoiding changing lenses in warm environment just prior to going outside. Is the problem worse with one particular lens? Being in Winnipeg, Canada, I do a lot of shooting on colder temperatures (K7 & K5II) and have not experienced this issue. One thing that is quite important when coming out of the cold is to not expose your camera to the warmer indoor environment where condensation could form on the camera and lenses. Equipment is kept in the bag for sometimes hours at a time until it has warmed up. This should not be related to your issue unless you go in and out of the cold frequently.
03-25-2013, 06:54 AM   #4
Senior Member

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lewiston, NY
Posts: 104
By any chance are you using a third party battery? Batteries are still the bane of cold weather shooters. Just for an experiment, keep a spare brand named Pentax battery in your shirt pocket. When the problem happens change the cold battery for the warm one (open the camera only in the cold outdoor dry air). I found that even if the battery indicator shows sufficient charge, the voltage may have dropped enough to cause odd behavior. Also switch to manual focus when this happens. Cold weather = sluggish AF motors. Sluggish motors = high current / high battery drain. If the motor is not sucking all the current the battery can deliver, there may be enough to power the less demanding electricals (like shutter).

Yes about the cold to warm transition. WR or not, keep a "Space Bag" with your gear. These are big enough to hold the camera and lenses you have been using in the cold and will keep warm most air away from the camera until it has warmed up. Another option: warm up your vehicle with defroster on full until you can't stand it anymore and your gear is warm to the touch before bringin it into a warm humid environment. I would suggest not breathing while waiting in the vehicle, but that would be poor advise.

03-25-2013, 06:55 AM   #5
carrrlangas's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Joensuu (Finland)
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,752
Sumerge your K-5 in rice for a 2 full days. This should take care of any moisture inside the shutter mechanism.
03-25-2013, 08:38 AM   #6
Veteran Member
ve2vfd's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Montreal, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,433
I've used my K5d extensively in Canadian winter conditions at temperatures way below 32F and I've never experienced that problem.

Maybe you have a defective part inside the camera which is ok at warmer temperatures, but becomes a problem when it shrinks due to the cold?

03-25-2013, 08:48 AM   #7
Veteran Member
PePe's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 464
Temperature as such should not cause anything like that. I have kept my K-5 at -20 C and below continously for several days without any difficulties. Like mentioned earlier, I would check whether it could be moisture- or battery related.
03-25-2013, 09:38 AM   #8
Inactive Account

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 39
Original Poster
I'm going to try the battery idea. don't have the camera in front of me at the moment but I'm sure they are both original Pentax. this problem is very consistent with the colder temps. my other K5 performs flawlessly in any temp. it's not the lens either. Tried it yesterday by leaving the camera outside for about 30 minutes. I went from a Tamron 28-75 to my DA 50-135 and it still did it. So I don't think
it has anything to do with the focusing. Heck, it even did it without a lens. I'm sure it's something to do with the shutter or mirror hanging up.

03-25-2013, 09:58 AM   #9
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 43,217
The k5 should be able to work in temps down to minus 10 degrees c, so this shouldn't be happening. Strange!

Adam Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)'s high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

03-25-2013, 12:14 PM   #10
New Member

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Greenwich, CT
Posts: 18
Hey, this is very similar in some respects to what what I reported on this thread.

While you don't mention blue/purple lines on your images, my camera would also freeze at colder temps - 35 degrees, typically wet/windy/snowy. Would only reset by removing battery. It is on its way to Pentax service in Chandler, AZ, after the customer support team indicated (after viewing the images) that it's probably a sensor problem.

I never experienced the same issue indoors, although I've done more shooting outside after getting the camera in January, and of course here in the Northeast we've had little to no warm weather the past few months.
03-25-2013, 12:38 PM   #11
Veteran Member
ve2vfd's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Montreal, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,433
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The k5 should be able to work in temps down to minus 10 degrees c, so this shouldn't be happening.
I've used mine while snowshoeing in -40C temps with no problems at all... thats why I think maybe something around the mirror may be defective or out of alignment and cold shrinkage is causing it to hang or stick. The tolerances in there are really tight.

03-25-2013, 12:59 PM   #12
Senior Member
WightWalker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: IW
Posts: 113
I have experienced problems at 'just above freezing' when for some reason my K5 just doesn't respond when switched on & the shutter button pressed - just nothing happens. Switch it off & on & still the same. My K5 is always inside my fleece until required during cold/inclement weather. After being back inside my fleece, it started to function again & did so for the next 5 days without problems at lower temperatures.

And I was using the same Pentax battery until the last day!

I didn't notice any of these problems until after the v1.14 update.
03-25-2013, 01:12 PM   #13
Inactive Account

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 39
Original Poster
I've never had a issue with freezing or locking up. I agree that something may be out of tolerance with all the working parts of the mirror and shutter. it never skips a beat out of the cold.

Last edited by Petey44; 03-25-2013 at 01:21 PM.
03-25-2013, 07:23 PM   #14
Inactive Account

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 39
Original Poster
UPDATE: Strange thing is, I'm not able to replicate the problem. I let the camera sit out in 34F for about 30 min. It did skip a beat only once. It was always very consistent before. The one thing I did different was remove the grip and batteries. Then reassembled. Is it possible their was some kind of connection problem either with the batteries or grip? Yesterday, I was shooting a half marathon along the Chicago lakefront. Temperatures were around 32F. I couldn't use this camera because of this problem. My second K5 performed flawlessly.
I'll still keep trying. I have a race in a couple weeks that has almost 35K runners. I'm hoping for weather a little milder than what we've been getting in Chicago.
03-25-2013, 09:05 PM   #15

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: GMT +10
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,843
Using a 3rd party grip? They have a record of contributing to camera body problems.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, dslr, k-5, k-5 ii, k-5 iis, k5, pentax k-5, shutter, temperature, weather
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nature Random Cold-weather Shots tessfully Post Your Photos! 18 01-27-2013 02:15 PM
Cold weather performance? crossmr Pentax K-30 & K-50 20 01-16-2013 05:00 PM
Cold Weather Gear Rondec Photographic Industry and Professionals 25 12-07-2012 03:43 PM
K-5 cold weather tips Bratz Pentax K-5 28 02-05-2012 09:35 AM
Cold weather JFMichaud Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 13 11-05-2008 01:03 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:47 PM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]