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07-31-2013, 02:09 AM   #1
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My K-5 has developed a "mirror flipping" blackout syndrome...

Hello Pentaxians!

While we are waiting for the next model to be announced, I am considering a backup K-5, probably a K-5ii.

I have never had a camera I liked as much as my K-5, but since I took it to Patagonia in January, it has become increasingly unreliable. At times, it simply locks up: The mirror flips up and down like mad (but no photos are taken) and all the controls fail to respond. If I take out the battery and put it back in, the behaviour continues. Until it stops. Some times this only takes a few seconds, but recently it went on for several minutes while I was standing right in front of a beautiful male bearded tit - unable to focus, unable to actuate.

I blame the vulcanic dust of the Andes: I bet it got into the contacts somewhere. The camera has >50,000 actuations anyway, and is past its two-year birthday, so I don't expect trying to get a warranty repair is worth the trouble.

I thought it might be an idea to hear if anyone in here has experienced anything similar, and if there might in fact be something to do about it. I'm not very hopeful - but then this forum has surprised me before... :-)

07-31-2013, 02:43 AM   #2
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Can you try using another battery? Fully charged and left outside the camera for a little while
07-31-2013, 04:57 AM   #3
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If you bought the extended warranty you have coverage for three years from purchase date.

Mirror flip is a main board service issue and not due to dust intrusion from the reports I have read.
07-31-2013, 06:32 AM   #4
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Na Horuk, it is not a battery issue. The battery was fully charged last time it happened, and I have not changed it since.

crewl - I didn't. In Denmark there is a default 24 month warranty period, but that has passed as well. The reason I tried to blame it on dust, is that it happened the first time while I was climbing an extremely dusty mountain in Argentina. It was also an extremely HOT climb, so maybe the temperatures triggered the problem. Whatever made it begin, now it just happens at (apparently) random intervals without any extreme temperatures or other readily apparent causes.

Besides the lack of warranty, there is also the unpredictability of the problems. It only happens _sometimes_, while most of the time the camera is fine. I bet if I did send it in for service, it would completely fail to reproduce the problem. But it cost me a perfect shot of a male bearded tit last weekend...

There's no quick fix then? (didn't expect one, really)

07-31-2013, 06:49 AM   #5
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Try to find a second hand K-5, it would be cheaper...
07-31-2013, 07:00 AM   #6
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Yes, even the new K-5s are getting cheap. I saw a deal at srs-microsystems last week at 449 body only... I have considered that as well.

BUT I'm thinking I might benefit from the improved AF for bird photography, and also it might feel a bit less annoying if I got something new rather than just replacing something broken.

I can't wait for the new model to be announced - that ought to result in some cheap second hand deals.
08-01-2013, 07:14 PM   #7
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Your problem sounds like the mainboard needs replacing. I would hope that this is less expensive than 449 (for another K-5).

Not sure if you ever had AF issues with the K-5 in low light or artificial light. I have a K-5 II and am very impressed how accurate the AF is under all sorts of extreme lighting conditions.

I guess it shouldn't be that long anymore till the K-3 will be announced, so if you are not in a hurry, you may get a better deal for a K-5 II then.
08-02-2013, 02:43 AM   #8
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I just did a bit of forum research, and apparently this has happened to a lot of people. I guess I was lucky for the problem to occur this late (or not, considering that the warranty would have covered earlier).
SOME threads here suggest that firmware reinstallation might solve the problem, and I actually don't think I ever updated to 1.14, so that's worth the try.

Class A, I suppose you are right that service would still be the cheapest solution. I was a bit worried that I might be charged for the off-warranty service while not having the problem fixed, in case they were unable to replicate the problem, but given that it is a known problem, that might not be an issue. BUT if I buy a K-5ii, I will gain these benefits: a) not having to be without my camera for weeks; b) getting a second camera, so I can have one with my 300mm mounted and one (slightly unstable) with my 16-50mm on field trips, and c) better AF for my bird shots.

Yes, I know, I'm trying trying to rationalize spending money... but there's no FREE solution anyway, so I might as well make the most of it!

08-02-2013, 09:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
Yes, I know, I'm trying trying to rationalize spending money... but there's no FREE solution anyway, so I might as well make the most of it!
Hey, I think you are doing well with the rationalisation.

The "new camera" option isn't that absurd, because the old one still works most of the time and hence has a valid use as a second camera.
If it were dead, it would be a shame not to resurrect it, but if it is only playing up sometimes then it seems fair to get a K-5 II "backup".
08-02-2013, 04:46 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Hi

It is the infamous MFS (Mirror Flopping Syndrome)

I had an early model K-5 and it developed MSF 6 months after I bought it. At that time this fault just started to become public and more and more people reported it. This problem was so new then the local Pentax distributor C.R. Kennedy here in Melbourne first denied that this was a problem and I was the first to report it. As they could not repeat the mirror flops they did not do anything about it and returned the camera.

But then the problem got worse and the flopping could be repeated almost at will. And by then other people returned their cams to them with MFS.

It was not long after that the problem was identified that a faulty component of the MAIN BOARD was to blame. A new main board was installed in my camera (I still have the repair report sheet) and the problem was fixed.

I am writing this to tell you that Pentax know of the problem and even though your warranty has expired you should not sit back and lick your wounds, rather go to Pentax (or your local Pentax service centre in Denmark) and explain to them in an unconfrontational way that you think they should do something about it because it has always been a known problem. You have nothing to loose by trying.

By the way, when the problem first develops it only shows up from time to time but then it will rapidly get worse and worse. So I don't think to live with it and keep the camera as a backup is an option.

Good luck
greetings
08-04-2013, 06:06 AM   #11
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Are you sure you don't have a 5 year consumer protection for cameras (and other products which one should expect last longer)? We do in Norway, even though the shops pretend we don't...
08-05-2013, 01:33 AM   #12
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Well... I have the same issue. It happens randomly and doesn't repeat ofter. Mirttery ror lock ups and don't want to return, but after I remove battery and wait for a while it all goes normal again. Don't know what is causing this, because I can get 100 shots in a series without issue and sometimes it is stuck after one shot..
08-05-2013, 01:39 AM   #13
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Damn, sorry for spelling -_-'... I've read Your advices and just won't wait for my K-5 to break down. I'll send it for service
08-05-2013, 12:19 PM   #14
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Thanks Scraubstock and savoche. I bought the camera online from wex.co.uk (authorized Pentax dealer), so I wouldn't be covered by Scandinavian consumer rights, but by EU ones I suppose. Scraubstock, thanks for warning me not to ignore the problem - if it gets much worse the camera would be useless.

And... I just checked my receipt. Actually, my camera was ordered on September 11th 2011 - so it ISN'T two years old yet. However, I checked wex's homepage, and they state a one year warranty. I am pretty sure though that the EU dictates 24 months minimum (google agrees with this!)

So, I emailed customer service at wex. Hopefully, they will offer a warranty repair. I know the UK service center already, from back when the lens release button dropped off (I really AM happy with my k-5, but sometimes I wonder why exactly. Right, yes, it takes excellent pictures when it doesn't fall apart!)

I can't really just drop by my local service agent, because Pentax Denmark shut down their service center and moved all Scandinavian service to Sweden.
08-05-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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I have experienced the mirror flopping only once, and that was months ago after installing a freshly charged battery.
The reason that I mention the battery is because yesterday I installed a brand new Pentax battery that was fully charged, and my K-5 just flipped out. I took maybe 2-3 shots, and I looked down and noticed that the amber LED was lit signaling that the camera was writing to the SD card, but it shouldn't be. I waited about 10 seconds and decided to turn off the camera to attempt to reset it, but turning the switch off had no effect at all! I then went ahead and pulled the battery and then reinstalled it. I turned it on and noticed that there were now waves circling around the outer edged of the back LCD screen. My last photo gave me an error when trying to read it, but all of the prior photos were fine. I went ahead and took a few more photos and used the flash to dissipate more power from the battery, and I did not see the problem again. I could have sworn reading months ago that the mirror flopping issue was more prevalent when a freshly charged battery was installed. That could be why the board in the K-5 is to blame, because it is not properly regulating the incoming voltage from the battery.
Anyway, my K5 is a year old now, and I did buy the $20 extended warranty, so I may need to send mine in anyway if it happens again.

Mike
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