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08-23-2019, 03:15 PM   #1
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Should I "stress test" my NEW K-S2 under warranty?

Hello all:

Should I take a zillion pictures with my new K-S2 before the warranty runs out, just to test it for the green solenoid/ white solenoid defect?

Yes, oddly enough, I have a new K-S2. After eight happy years with my K100D Super, I bought a K-S2 from the Ricoh USA website this spring. It was listed on the "Outlet" section of the website, yet it came with a full 1 year warranty. I have about 9 months left on the warranty, and so far, so good. Only about 250 shutter clicks, as I haven't really gotten to know the camera.

Normally, I'd take maybe 100 pictures each month with it. I'm very gentle on my gear, my K100D-s still works perfectly, and I wouldn't even be writing to you except I'm wondering about possible defects. Should I take lots of pictures to find out whether or not it has the terrible aperture block / black photo problem so many people seem to be experiencing? If it's going to break, I want it to break under warranty.

I think I'm a normal, "casual" landscape photographer. I bring my camera with me on hikes and weekend trips, and I take mostly snapshots. Occasionally, sure, I'll pause to really work a scene or subject, but I'm not one of those soccer moms blazing away at 7fps every weekend.

But I absolutely do not want to get the dark aperture defect 13 months after purchase, and so now I'm wondering if I shouldn't blast off 1000 shots of my garage door every Saturday, just to be sure?

08-23-2019, 03:25 PM   #2
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G'Day Pocket Pixels

Don't know really....but....if you 'smash' the shutter that many times a week/day then maybe.
But don't forget 'murpheys law' may come into play
Use it the same as youre K100D super ( I have one aswell) and maybe it wont break until youre next upgrade

Dave
08-23-2019, 03:33 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
Should I take a zillion pictures with my new K-S2 before the warranty runs out, just to test it for the green solenoid/ white solenoid defect?
The aperture control issue has generally been associated with age, not wear. Sadly, the common story is that of an out-of-warranty, very lightly-used camera.


Steve
08-23-2019, 03:36 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that, as with the SDM failure on DA* lenses, the aperture control failure is more likely after long periods of non-use and/or general age. I can't say for sure if that's true or not, but your 100 photos a month sounds like more than enough to qualify as regular use. I certainly wouldn't fire off large numbers of photos in the hope it will prevent or delay a problem...

If the worst should happen, it's not impossible to fix or have fixed

08-23-2019, 04:02 PM - 4 Likes   #5
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We don't know if the aperture block problem is made worse by longer periods of inactivity, or more shutter clicks. The K-S2 can have this problem, but it seems less than other cameras. My K-30 is still going strong after 6 years, and many clicks, and it's the most prone model. My K-s2 is almost 4 years old, again not a whisper of a problem.

There are people who will repair the aperture block for around $100. I would just enjoy your camera.
08-23-2019, 11:20 PM   #6
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I agree with the others. Don't sweat it, but don't neglect it.

The K-S2 is a really capable camera and very underrated. It's got more features than most people will ever use. Some will give you ideas for shooting that you haven't thought of. I'd suggest reading the manual and also getting Yvon Bourque's e-book guide.

The high ISO performance will be a revelation after the K100D Super. And the flippy screen, and the video, and the highlighting in LiveView, and the much improved Shake Reduction, and many other things. Enjoy it.
08-24-2019, 05:46 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I'd say I'm using my K-S2 for a bit more than 100 shots per month, but I've had some idle times of up to an month in between, and I can't report any sign of an upcoming failure (it's said to develop over time I think, at first there's just the first or first few shots black, and for a short while using the shutter may make it seem that it's working again, but it'll just make things worse and failure will happen eventually if the first dark pictures have appeared).

Do you still have your K100D Super? I think there are two "good" white MIJ solenoids in it (one in the flash unit) that could be exchanged for the one in your K-S2, should it happen to fail at some point. There's some excellent documentation how to fix it yourself to be found in this forum. I don't have the tools or experience, but I feel confident enough to try it should the solenoid in my K-S2 fail.

08-30-2019, 04:16 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Thanks, everybody. I really appreciate the advice and the reassurance.

I got the K-S2 for an unbelievable bargain ($350!! with kit lens!!), so if it did fail after 13 months, that still wouldn't be terrible. Bad, yes, but not terrible. I should stop worrying and just enjoy what I have while I have it.

QuoteOriginally posted by ehrwien Quote
Do you still have your K100D Super? I think there are two "good" white MIJ solenoids in it (one in the flash unit) that could be exchanged for the one in your K-S2, should it happen to fail at some point. There's some excellent documentation how to fix it yourself to be found in this forum.
ehrwein, I still have my K100D Super (and a K200D which I keep at work; I do website marketing but at least a few times a month I have to take photos of a new product or a new employee). I love my K100D-s and would likely be too sentimental to raid it for parts. But ultimately these are all machines, all tools, and I'll cross that bridge if and when I get to it.

Thanks all.
08-31-2019, 01:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
I still have my K100D Super (and a K200D which I keep at work; I do website marketing but at least a few times a month I have to take photos of a new product or a new employee). I love my K100D-s and would likely be too sentimental to raid it for parts. But ultimately these are all machines, all tools, and I'll cross that bridge if and when I get to it.
You wouldn't even have to get rid of your K100D and K200D:
In EU they have tested the green China-solenoid successfully in the flash-circuitry up to the K-x and K-r.

There the solenoid opens the flash automatically when flash would be better and is set on auto. This is why on those older Pentax bodies the flash does only pop open if you switch the camera on!


The K30 and your K-S2 have a mechanical flash-button. You can open it without battery.

So carefully opening one of your older Pentax for the white MIJ solenoid in the flash circuitry and exchanging it with the green solenoid does not ruin your K100D or K200D. They work fine with the green solenoid.
In the EU this is not that easy because most pre-K30 Pentax have the green solenoid already in the flash (except the *ist-series: 2 x MIJ solenoids)

So you are pretty well prepared just in case your K-S2 would ever start to make problems.
01-01-2022, 04:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
...

I got the K-S2 for an unbelievable bargain ($350!! with kit lens!!), so if it did fail after 13 months, that still wouldn't be terrible. Bad, yes, but not terrible. I should stop worrying and just enjoy what I have while I have it. ...
I'm wondering what's the verdict 2 years in? Is it still working? There are a few used K-S2 cameras with 12 month warranty available near me right now, I wonder if I could risk it as a 2nd 'bad weather' body for my new k-70. (I am not good at soldering, so would have to sell as broken when it fails).
01-01-2022, 11:21 PM - 4 Likes   #11
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I've put about 7,000 exposures on my K-S2. It is the finest camera I've ever owned. If it ever broke, I'd spend almost anything to fix it. But it shows no signs of breaking whatsoever. New lens, old lens, cold weather, warm weather, it just performs perfectly. Utterly delightful piece of equipment. I can't recommend it enough.
01-02-2022, 03:45 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot! - a bit more confident now ( but not fully ).
01-02-2022, 10:23 PM - 3 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pimpim Quote
Thanks a lot! - a bit more confident now ( but not fully ).
I have a K-S2 which I bought new in 2016. It now has a shutter count of over 13,000. I have used it with 14 different lenses, from 12mm to 400mm. It has given me many of my favourite images. I have posted more than 750 photos taken with it on Flickr: Pentax K-S2 | Flickr. I have used it in all sorts of conditions and it has stood up well.

A couple of years ago I lent it to a family member. I didn't get it back for about 18 months. For much of that time it sat in a cupboard unused. I never had a problem before, but when I got it back it started to develop aperture block failure. The lesson is: if you get a K-S2, use it!

As a value-for-money proposition, it has been one of my best buys ever. I got it for about $A600 (say about 380 euro at current exchange rates). I sent it to CRK for repair, which will cost about $175. Say I were to sell it - I'd get at least $A400. Net cost $A375 for 6 years' enjoyable use - barely more than $1/week. Far less than the cost of the phones I have owned in that time. And all those photos. A bargain!

Last edited by Des; 01-02-2022 at 10:37 PM.
01-04-2022, 03:21 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I have a K-S2 which I bought new in 2016. It now has a shutter count of over 13,000. I have used it with 14 different lenses, from 12mm to 400mm. It has given me many of my favourite images. I have posted more than 750 photos taken with it on Flickr: Pentax K-S2 | Flickr. I sent it to CRK for repair, which will cost about $175.
Did you know if you got a "good" solenoid in the repair? That would be sweet. Buying used from a store I can be almost sure it was unused for a longer time, so scary that generation of solenoid bodies and SDM lenses ...Pentax timebombs
01-04-2022, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pimpim Quote
Did you know if you got a "good" solenoid in the repair? That would be sweet.
I don't know. It's still with CRK. They are replacing the aperture block, not just the solenoid. I'm assuming it has the updated solenoid found in the K-70, but I'm not worried about it because I will actually use the camera, so I think the problem is unlikely to recur. And the repair will be covered by warranty. (I didn't feel up to doing the repair myself.)
QuoteOriginally posted by pimpim Quote
Buying used from a store I can be almost sure it was unused for a longer time
That's true. If you buy from a store, be sure to get a sufficient warranty. But if it has been unused for a long time, any resulting ABF is likely to appear fairly quickly. If you try the camera in the shop and it is producing dark frames, you might negotiate a discount!
QuoteOriginally posted by pimpim Quote
so scary that generation of solenoid bodies and SDM lenses ...Pentax timebombs
I think the problem can be overstated. There are many thousands of cameras with the green solenoid (e.g. K-30, K-50, K-S1, K-S2, K-70) still in use. Most will never develop the problem (I had two K-30s and neither had any issue.) Others will have been repaired and never get it again. You hear a lot about the problem ones, but not about the vast majority that don't have a problem. My guess is that these cameras have at least as long a useful life, on average, as their contemporary rivals (e.g. Canon Rebels, Nikon 3XXX and 5xxxx series) - maybe longer, because they were often better built in the first place.

If you are worried about it, get one of the premium models instead (e.g. K-5 series, K-3 series, KP).

As for SDM lenses, there were only a few early ones that were notorious for failing, like the DA 17-70 f4. And most SDM models can be converted to screw-drive AF and work flawlessly (SDM to Screwdrive Conversions - PentaxForums.com). A screw-drive converted DA*16-50 f2.8, DA*50-135 f2.8 or DA*300 f4 can be a great bargain buy. And remember that AF motor issues are not exclusive to Pentax.

The flip side is that Pentax lenses that use screw-driven AF, DC AF or PLM AF appear to be very reliable.

Last edited by Des; 01-04-2022 at 01:17 PM.
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