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06-05-2019, 02:03 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Requiem for a 35-Cent Camera Killer

I pitched my K-50 in the bin this morning. It was a wonderful camera, brought down by the faulty aperture block solenoid issue. A part that probably cost Pentax $0.35. It really seems like a terrible waste and injustice that a perfectly fine camera is brought down by a single trivial part.

I repaired the solenoid last year with a green version from eBay, which worked for about a year and 1400 additional shots. I did the Russian filing technique recently when it began to fail again. That too worked for awhile, but eventually failed. I know, I could've/should've bought a salvaged white solenoid for $40+, or I could use the K-50 with a PLM or manual aperture lens, but neither seemed very enticing. I'm a 30-year+ Pentax user but I have to say that I do feel a bit let down by Pentax's handling of the issue. Seems like Pentax could have offered a sub-$50 repair of the solenoid as a goodwill gesture, especially since the time to replace the solenoid is only about 10-minutes if the technician knows the steps. Perhaps the white solenoid is not longer manufactured, but seems like Pentax could have figured out a way to get a few thousand of the white solenoids made for at most a few dollars each.

Okay, rant over. The good news is I have a K-70 in the wings that I've been waiting to use once the K-50 met its end. The K-70 is surely superior in every way, but I will miss the K-50 greatly.

06-05-2019, 02:15 PM - 7 Likes   #2
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Please take it out of the bin and sell it or send it to someone who can use it as is.

A camera with a dead aperture block mechanism can be fully enjoyed with M42, manual aperture K-mount, projector lenses, telescopes, microscopes, pinholes, etc. There's a world of optics that don't need a working aperture mechanism.

Your K-50 can live on!
06-05-2019, 02:17 PM - 6 Likes   #3
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as a completely different alternative, put an OEM M42 adapter on the K-50 and explore the huge array of M42 lenses out there...
06-05-2019, 02:43 PM   #4
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It is very annoying, but that camera's still good! Someone will easily take it off you & fix it. It's also good for lenses with manual aperture rings like already stated. But yeah. As you already learned, the only permanent fix is replacing the "green" solenoid for a "white" one. That's what I did to both of my K-50 bodies. As far as Ricoh/Pentax is concerned, this "green" aperture failure is unknown to them.

06-05-2019, 02:44 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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I hope you have nothing but enjoyment from your K-70. As for the K-50, I would have taken it off your hands for the cost of shipping.* As far as cheap repair goes, that would have been nice, but c'est la vie.


Steve

* I do a lot of shooting with vintage glass. Me! Me! Me!
06-05-2019, 03:10 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tombene Quote
I pitched my K-50 in the bin this morning. It was a wonderful camera, brought down by the faulty aperture block solenoid issue. A part that probably cost Pentax $0.35. It really seems like a terrible waste and injustice that a perfectly fine camera is brought down by a single trivial part.

I repaired the solenoid last year with a green version from eBay, which worked for about a year and 1400 additional shots. I did the Russian filing technique recently when it began to fail again. That too worked for awhile, but eventually failed. I know, I could've/should've bought a salvaged white solenoid for $40+, or I could use the K-50 with a PLM or manual aperture lens, but neither seemed very enticing. I'm a 30-year+ Pentax user but I have to say that I do feel a bit let down by Pentax's handling of the issue. Seems like Pentax could have offered a sub-$50 repair of the solenoid as a goodwill gesture, especially since the time to replace the solenoid is only about 10-minutes if the technician knows the steps. Perhaps the white solenoid is not longer manufactured, but seems like Pentax could have figured out a way to get a few thousand of the white solenoids made for at most a few dollars each.

Okay, rant over. The good news is I have a K-70 in the wings that I've been waiting to use once the K-50 met its end. The K-70 is surely superior in every way, but I will miss the K-50 greatly.
As many have written, anyone with a manual aperture AF lens (F, FA, etc.) should give you $50 + shipping for such a nice camera. I have more than 20 manual aperture AF lenses. Then again, I have a K-01.
06-05-2019, 03:50 PM   #7
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If it has to be in a bin I hope it was an eWaste bin.

Yes I think it could have a life with M42 lenses.
06-05-2019, 04:37 PM   #8
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What a shame. Maybe some lucky dumpster-diver will find himself a nice manual/m42 lens shooter.

06-05-2019, 06:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tombene Quote
I could've/should've bought a salvaged white solenoid for $40+ but neither seemed very enticing.
?

But going for the cheaper green one proved a false economy, Tombene - worked for others, but not for you!
06-05-2019, 06:13 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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If you know enough to know about the white solenoid fix, surely you know that any number of people would take that camera off your hands. I hope "the bin" was metaphorical.
06-06-2019, 12:39 AM   #11
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Congratulations with the K-70, but I second what most of the previous writers have said: even with the aperture block failure (mine thankfully hasn't) it is a great camera for maunal shooting, so please consider offering it for someone to (re)use it.
06-06-2019, 02:28 AM   #12
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You're at liberty to do whatever you like with the K-50... but how sad to toss it in the bin when someone here, or perhaps at your local photography club or school, could have made great use of it with older manual aperture lenses.
I'm sure the lucky recipient would have been most grateful for the kind gesture and enjoyed many happy hours of photography with it - and knowing that would have offset (at least partially) your frustration with the camera. Perhaps you can still retrieve the camera and offer it to someone?

One man's trash is another man's treasure”, as the saying goes

That aside, enjoy your K-70... a fine camera, indeed

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-06-2019 at 02:45 AM.
06-06-2019, 06:27 AM   #13
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I wouldn't mind another capable DSLR and would have gladly taken it off your hands. I want to do more astro shooting and do different things but having only one camera that is really capable of doing what I want is limiting. The K2000 I have is just too limiting for doing a wide angle time-lapse or star trails shots at night so I only run the K-3 and chase DSOs since that is such a capable camera.
06-06-2019, 03:21 PM   #14
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Back in the day one of the Yahoo Minolta MF groups would yearly send a Minolta film body around the world loaded with a roll of film. The rules were simple - take two photos, subject matter of your choice, send the body (and film) on to the next participant. The participants were responsible for covering shipping charges. The great thing was that until the end only the individual photographers knew what they had shot. This was a lot of fun until one year the camera vanished halfway through the chain. I never found out if it got lost in shipment or if one participant never forwarded the camera on.

Maybe you could start something like this with the K-50. Unfortunately people can look at and delete previous photos.
06-06-2019, 07:26 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tombene Quote
The good news is I have a K-70 in the wings that I've been waiting to use once the K-50 met its end. The K-70 is surely superior in every way, but I will miss the K-50 greatly.
At the risk of beating an already dead horse ..... my K-30 failed in slow motion, so I had plenty of time to think about it. Between May 2018 {first failure} and October 2018 {constant failure} I purchased a FA 28-105mm and a Sigma 70-300mm lens. Each provides AF, has an aperture ring {so it will work with my K-30 even now}, and is "FF" {so I could use them if I ever got a K-1}. On Black Friday, Pentax lowered price of the KP to $700 - just within my budget - so a KP is now my primary camera, but I still get my K-30 out on occasion to remember the "good old days" {in fact, I did that yesterday}. My K-30 wasn't killed by a 35-cent piece - it is just handicapped now.
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