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11-12-2018, 08:52 AM   #1
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First photo very dark - Oh my!

I've read through, or at least scanned quickly, a lot of messages and threads regarding the dark exposure/aperture block/solenoid/K50 problem. And I fear this is the problem, I'm wanting to ask the group before I declare this to be the issue.


Unfortunately, my K50 is seldom used, certainly not nearly as much as I would like! It only gets used sporadically, every month or two. I've had it about 4 years, and it has a shutter count of 1318. So that tells you it hasn't been used a lot.


My concern is that the last 3 times I've used it (all in the past 2 weeks), the first and only the first exposure has been extremely underexposed. I thought it odd, and at first thought that it didn't take a picture, but it did. I even thought I had forgotten a memory card! (I wish that were the problem!) Anyway, after that first image, every time, all the others came out good.


I've used both the kit lenses that came with the camera for two of the times, and the third time was with a cheap 100-300 tele (Vivitar or Sigma, I honestly can't remember). I used auto mode on one of the three times, and full manual mode on the other two.


One of the times, I was shooting on a bright sunny day, another time I was indoors, with only normal room lighting, and the last time was late in the evening, after sunset (twilight). I got 10-20 good pics after the first of each of these shoots, no further problems with exposure.


It just makes me wonder, because it seems this aperture block failure that I've read about, seems to be more permanent or very frequent that "just the first pic". So I am asking all the experts here for their input and opinions.


#1 Does this sound like the aperture block / solendoid problem that has been so discussed here regarding the K50 and K30 and other pentax?
#2 Is there any other possible explanation to why just the first image is so dark? And why just all of a sudden has this started?
#3 Is it likely the problem will only get worse or more frequent?


I'm rather discouraged with this camera now, after reading of this problems, and considering how relatively low use mine has gotten. It is really ironic, because I had just been bragging on how much I like it, how good it is, and debating with a friend (Canon-man) about camera brands!


Its further annoying because my old *ist Ds (which I rarely use, but did last week) has about 1997 shutter clicks on it, and it has given me no problems.


Thanks for any response and suggestions.


Scott

11-12-2018, 09:16 AM   #2
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The problem can manifest like you're seeing. When you say full manual, do those lenses use an aperture ring setting or the A position? Do you have any lenses with an aperture ring on them?
11-12-2018, 09:37 AM   #3
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There were several members that stated their problem started with just the first picture being dark.

It’s easy to be discouraged since Pentax has always been known to build very durable cameras. But, having said that, every camera manufacturer has had their own problems, especially with the entry level models. I know someone who bought two Canon cameras a few years ago, in the second year, both cameras had circuit board failures. He now shoots with Fuji.
11-12-2018, 10:06 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The problem can manifest like you're seeing. When you say full manual, do those lenses use an aperture ring setting or the A position? Do you have any lenses with an aperture ring on them?


Hi, and thanks for responding.
By manual, I meant, manual mode on the camera. I set the aperture/shutter speed. I am sad to say that I'm not sure about the kit lenses that came with the camera. I don't think they have an aperture ring on them though. Now, the other lens, the Sigma does have an aperture ring, and I think an A setting. I "think" I have it selected. I'll have to look at it again tonight to be sure. It'll be tomorrow before I can answer those for sure.


I just found it odd that the first of my last three shooting sessions 'began' with an extremely dark image....but then were normal and good after that. I did a search for that problem this morning, and ended up here. I've discovered there is a serious problem and now I am wondering if my K50 is slowly becoming a beautiful paper weight?


Scott


Last edited by Astronomersmith; 11-12-2018 at 11:20 AM. Reason: got the wrong lens brand
11-12-2018, 10:23 AM   #5
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When it fails complety you have three options:

1) Get a new camera.
2) Fix the solenoid. I've heard it's not expensive, if you do it yourself.
3) Use lenses with aperture ring.

I took third road and have been shooting mostly with M series primes for 2 years now and my K30 still works nicely with them. I did buy K5 some time later to limit lens chances after I had really got into old manual primes, so I have nowadays again the option to go with modern lenses, but DA21ltd is only one I use.

Last edited by iheiramo; 11-12-2018 at 10:33 AM.
11-13-2018, 06:28 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
the first and only the first exposure has been extremely underexposed
My K-S2 behaved in the same way, and yes, it was aperture block. The problem seems to be related to age of camera (in my case ca. three years), not shutter count.
11-13-2018, 07:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
I've read through, or at least scanned quickly, a lot of messages and threads regarding the dark exposure/aperture block/solenoid/K50 problem. And I fear this is the problem, I'm wanting to ask the group before I declare this to be the issue.


Unfortunately, my K50 is seldom used, certainly not nearly as much as I would like! It only gets used sporadically, every month or two. I've had it about 4 years, and it has a shutter count of 1318. So that tells you it hasn't been used a lot.


My concern is that the last 3 times I've used it (all in the past 2 weeks), the first and only the first exposure has been extremely underexposed. I thought it odd, and at first thought that it didn't take a picture, but it did. I even thought I had forgotten a memory card! (I wish that were the problem!) Anyway, after that first image, every time, all the others came out good.


I've used both the kit lenses that came with the camera for two of the times, and the third time was with a cheap 100-300 tele (Vivitar or Sigma, I honestly can't remember). I used auto mode on one of the three times, and full manual mode on the other two.


One of the times, I was shooting on a bright sunny day, another time I was indoors, with only normal room lighting, and the last time was late in the evening, after sunset (twilight). I got 10-20 good pics after the first of each of these shoots, no further problems with exposure.


It just makes me wonder, because it seems this aperture block failure that I've read about, seems to be more permanent or very frequent that "just the first pic". So I am asking all the experts here for their input and opinions.


#1 Does this sound like the aperture block / solendoid problem that has been so discussed here regarding the K50 and K30 and other pentax?
#2 Is there any other possible explanation to why just the first image is so dark? And why just all of a sudden has this started?
#3 Is it likely the problem will only get worse or more frequent?


I'm rather discouraged with this camera now, after reading of this problems, and considering how relatively low use mine has gotten. It is really ironic, because I had just been bragging on how much I like it, how good it is, and debating with a friend (Canon-man) about camera brands!


Its further annoying because my old *ist Ds (which I rarely use, but did last week) has about 1997 shutter clicks on it, and it has given me no problems.


Thanks for any response and suggestions.


Scott
Welcome to "Pentax aperture block anonymous". The problem of quite a few Pentax models, a lot of users and even Pentax as a company seems to use the "ostrich tactic" on. If you feel it not worth your while to have repaired, and want to try another Pentax model, or for that matter another brand, always Google "known problems with......" to see what people complain about most with any specific brand and decide if you want to take the risk of those problems happening to you.


I had the problem with my K-30, and was lucky to have it repaired under warranty, and although it now has a 2 stop difference between metering in LV versus OV, I still play with it once in a while.

I did get another Pentax, a K5iis while I waited for a 3 month repair on my K-30, which is giving no problems ...touch wood...
11-13-2018, 01:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
I've read through, or at least scanned quickly, a lot of messages and threads regarding the dark exposure/aperture block/solenoid/K50 problem. And I fear this is the problem, I'm wanting to ask the group before I declare this to be the issue.

Unfortunately, my K50 is seldom used, certainly not nearly as much as I would like! It only gets used sporadically, every month or two. I've had it about 4 years, and it has a shutter count of 1318. So that tells you it hasn't been used a lot.

My concern is that the last 3 times I've used it (all in the past 2 weeks), the first and only the first exposure has been extremely underexposed. I thought it odd, and at first thought that it didn't take a picture, but it did. I even thought I had forgotten a memory card! (I wish that were the problem!) Anyway, after that first image, every time, all the others came out good.

I've used both the kit lenses that came with the camera for two of the times, and the third time was with a cheap 100-300 tele (Vivitar or Sigma, I honestly can't remember). I used auto mode on one of the three times, and full manual mode on the other two.

One of the times, I was shooting on a bright sunny day, another time I was indoors, with only normal room lighting, and the last time was late in the evening, after sunset (twilight). I got 10-20 good pics after the first of each of these shoots, no further problems with exposure.

It just makes me wonder, because it seems this aperture block failure that I've read about, seems to be more permanent or very frequent that "just the first pic". So I am asking all the experts here for their input and opinions.

#1 Does this sound like the aperture block / solendoid problem that has been so discussed here regarding the K50 and K30 and other pentax?
#2 Is there any other possible explanation to why just the first image is so dark? And why just all of a sudden has this started?
#3 Is it likely the problem will only get worse or more frequent?

I'm rather discouraged with this camera now, after reading of this problems, and considering how relatively low use mine has gotten. It is really ironic, because I had just been bragging on how much I like it, how good it is, and debating with a friend (Canon-man) about camera brands!

Its further annoying because my old *ist Ds (which I rarely use, but did last week) has about 1997 shutter clicks on it, and it has given me no problems.

Thanks for any response and suggestions.

Scott
Here is the best way to test for what I call Dark Image Syndrome.
Based on your experience you should do this before using camera, since you are having the problem right now only on the first shot of the day.
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Diagnostic is to set to M mode with aperture set wide open with a 1s shutter speed, AF off. Observe the lens from the front while pressing the shutter button. If the lens stops down, there is an aperture control problem. Whether it is the aperture control block requires a more intensive diagnostic; fault may be in the camera electronics.
Steve


11-13-2018, 01:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
There were several members that stated their problem started with just the first picture being dark.

Itís easy to be discouraged since Pentax has always been known to build very durable cameras. But, having said that, every camera manufacturer has had their own problems, especially with the entry level models. I know someone who bought two Canon cameras a few years ago, in the second year, both cameras had circuit board failures. He now shoots with Fuji.
I had processor / circuit board trouble with two Canon Rebels in a row. I am now using a Pentax K-30. At least Dark Image Syndrome results in a crippled camera that still works, rather than one that is totally dead.
11-13-2018, 02:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
now I am wondering if my K50 is slowly becoming a beautiful paper weight?
The answer to your question is "No".

You may repair the camera yourself - this section has several threads on the subject.
Maybe @photogem; will direct you to the instructions he believes are most useful.

You may send the camera to California, where a professional will repair it for $100.
Pentax Camera Repair - Aperture Control Repair

You may obtain old film lenses with aperture rings, because the only thing broken is the body's ability to control aperture
{that is what I ended up doing}

But your K-50 is not slowly becoming a paperweight.
11-14-2018, 11:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
The answer to your question is "No".

You may repair the camera yourself - this section has several threads on the subject.
Maybe @photogem; will direct you to the instructions he believes are most useful.

You may send the camera to California, where a professional will repair it for $100.
Pentax Camera Repair - Aperture Control Repair

You may obtain old film lenses with aperture rings, because the only thing broken is the body's ability to control aperture
{that is what I ended up doing}

But your K-50 is not slowly becoming a paperweight.


--------------------------


Thanks for the advice and encouragement! Since I don't know 'when' or 'if' it will let me down, I guess I'll just have to be really obsessed and paranoid with it? That's the must irritating thing - for now - I can't "trust" my camera. I sure don't want to be out taking pictures of my family sport event (or anything for that matter), only to discover the problem has reared it's ugly head!
I guess that's why I've always heard to "have a backup plan"? Which I do, but still, it is annoying to have a (at least for now) sporadic problem. And with that said, I'm going to try the tests that have been suggested here and see if I can determine if the aperture block IS the problem.


And I'm going to open a can of worms now....well, at least I've always got my smartphone camera, it seems to be pretty reliable!
<Oh no - you didn't go there?>


Scott

---------- Post added 11-14-18 at 12:17 PM ----------

A funny thought to add to this thread....


The other day, a friend and I were in a discussion about iphones/android phones and there increasingly better cameras. I saw an article that I shared with him, and he got rather defensive, when I said that I think, that for snapshots, everyday family, or even indoor shooting, my wife's iPhone X takes great pictures. Probably as good or better than I could with my "real" camera.


I would never say the iPhone is better for 'everything', maybe not 'many things', versus a nice DSLR. But, it certainly impressed me. So, I tried conducting my own pseud-scientific study on the subject. Long story I won't go into, but the first shot was the one that blew my mind because my K-50 image was so dark compared to my Droid Turbo 2's. After that they were much closer.


I was really shocked and disappointed, thinking it was amazing how much better exposed my phone's image was. Now...I know the reason. And, the next time after this little 'test', did my first pic turn out very dark - that is when I realized my Pentax has a problem.


Thanks for the suggestions, comments, and encouragement about this subject. I have some manual lenses that I'll have to drag out of the drawer and go old school! And promote my old *ist Ds to first string on the camera team! Haha Hey...I could do a lot worse!


Scott
11-14-2018, 08:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
--------------------------


Thanks for the advice and encouragement! Since I don't know 'when' or 'if' it will let me down, I guess I'll just have to be really obsessed and paranoid with it? That's the must irritating thing - for now - I can't "trust" my camera. I sure don't want to be out taking pictures of my family sport event (or anything for that matter), only to discover the problem has reared it's ugly head!
I guess that's why I've always heard to "have a backup plan"? Which I do, but still, it is annoying to have a (at least for now) sporadic problem. And with that said, I'm going to try the tests that have been suggested here and see if I can determine if the aperture block IS the problem.
Apart from persons who have ruined the shutter of their K-30/50 by running a burst each time to get the aperture control working, I am not aware of any K-30/50's that have totally failed, so I am willing to "trust" my K-30 to deliver for me as long as I have an appropriate lens with an aperture ring available.
11-15-2018, 04:11 AM   #13
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Just get a very small screwdriver, sandpaper, a knife, a few hours of free time and have a solenoid fix tutorial infront of you.
I did that on my K50. After over 1 year = 0 black pictures.
I also fixed a K500 afterwards without any instructions.(That's how easy it gets once you've done it once.) It only took an hour. The majority of the time goes on disassembly and putting it back together.

Better than worrying.
11-21-2018, 03:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by labidas Quote
Just get a very small screwdriver, sandpaper, a knife, a few hours of free time and have a solenoid fix tutorial infront of you.
I did that on my K50. After over 1 year = 0 black pictures.
I also fixed a K500 afterwards without any instructions.(That's how easy it gets once you've done it once.) It only took an hour. The majority of the time goes on disassembly and putting it back together.

Better than worrying.

We have so often warned people not to do the sanding method, because in many cases it has led to final death of the complete aperture mechanism.
I had a few of them and know about many more. This is due to the inferior quality of the green solenoid .

Best is to find an old or broken *ist, *ist Ds or dl, K10/100/20/200/x or 2000 and get the solenoid or just buy it on ebay.
The money is worth it. Because any K30/50/500 will not only last for very long time but also fire more rapidly.
Why invest the work when it is often a dead end.

Yes, some filed solenoids work. But many don't.
It is too high a risk and... it brings another worry into the game

Last edited by photogem; 11-21-2018 at 04:14 PM.
11-29-2018, 11:29 AM   #15
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Here's a rather sad update on my K-50 that I started this thread about...apparently, the solenoid has completely failed now.
It had been giving me dark pictures on the first image taken, then okay on the rest. But today, while testing before I used it for a shoot, I got nothing but dark images on 22 out of 22 taken.
I tried on my kit lens 18-55, all dark.
I tried on my Sigma telephoto with an aperture ring and an A setting and got mixed results. With the A setting on, the meter seems to work, and gives me recommended settings, but every picture was almost if not completely dark. Using the actual aperture ring to set the aperture, it worked correctly, but the meter doesn't work. So while I can make an educated 'guess' about what the settings should be, it severely handicaps the camera in my opinion.


I guess it'd still be good for long time exposure astrophotography! But other than that, it seems to be a totally manual camera but without an exposure meter. Unless, I keep switching from A mode, back to manual aperture mode, which would be a real pain in the gluteus maximus!


I looked and saw an ad for a repair shop in California, for $100 plus shipping/insurance to and from them. I found out that'd be an extra $60. So, decision time...is a 4 year old camera worth $160?


I see used and/or refurbished ones being advertised in the $250 to $450 range...but I could get one of those and then have this exact same problem! I think I paid around $500 or so brand new, 4 years ago, so I am thinking about it, but leaning to not fixing it, or possibly getting a different camera. I'd be open to suggestions.


Thanks for any input.


Scott
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