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02-08-2017, 11:44 AM   #1
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K30 / K50 aperture issue

There needs to be a better way to support users affected by the aperture solenoid failure. At this point I have experienced the same issue reported by many others with underexposed pics. My K50 has just under 1000 shutter count. After hearing of previous failed repairs, I am not overly confident in sending my camera to Precision Camera for repair, but don't seem to have a lot of other options. There are a couple of others that have popped up that have specialized in this specific repair. That in itself tells me this is a much bigger problem that Pentax (Ricoh) really needs to step up and address.

02-08-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear of your aperture failure here. That is an abnormally low shutter count and easily verifiable by Ricoh. I would write a nice email to customer support and include a jpeg so they can see for themselves. I would expect 75% of the cost to be met by them and I think that is realistic.
I recall the analysis from the survey here believed the issue was time dependent rather than actuation dependent and this would support that. Let's hope for a good outcome.
02-08-2017, 12:25 PM   #3
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Just to piggy back on this with some specific suggestions:
- Subsidize the repair at your Authorized Service centers. Currently I believe it is around $200 to repair a camera worth $200. Make it <$100.
- Subsidize the solenoid part cost to the Service center, so that the charge is pretty much only labor and reach an agreement with your Service providers to limit the repair cost to the end-user.
- Make a small number of common spare parts available to the public (particularly in large markets). Maybe a dozen or so parts. Doesn't have to a full parts inventory of thousands of items. Use your existing web store-front.
- Same as previous but make available to a few independent repair facilities.
02-08-2017, 01:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffgusa Quote
After hearing of previous failed repairs, I am not overly confident in sending my camera to Precision Camera for repair, but don't seem to have a lot of other options.
Where did you get that? There have only been one or two reports of failure after repair by a Pentax Authorized Center (one in South Africa). There have been two or three reports of the DIY repair not working.

Your options are buy a new camera, use only manual lenses, DIY repair, send it to Precision, or send it to the third party repair guy.

The DIY and third repairs are too recent to assess the longevity of the repair.

There simply isn't enough data to say Ricoh should have to cover the cost of the repairs. If the failure rate is in-line with Consumer Reports major failure rates for DSLRs (10 +/- 5%) then there is nothing unusual going on.

Besides Ricoh has been willing in the past to cover the repair even past the warranty expiration.

02-13-2017, 10:38 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Where did you get that? There have only been one or two reports of failure after repair by a Pentax Authorized Center (one in South Africa). There have been two or three reports of the DIY repair not working.

Your options are buy a new camera, use only manual lenses, DIY repair, send it to Precision, or send it to the third party repair guy.

The DIY and third repairs are too recent to assess the longevity of the repair.

There simply isn't enough data to say Ricoh should have to cover the cost of the repairs. If the failure rate is in-line with Consumer Reports major failure rates for DSLRs (10 +/- 5%) then there is nothing unusual going on.

Besides Ricoh has been willing in the past to cover the repair even past the warranty expiration.


One or two or three does constitute failed repairs does it not?


I understand the options. My confidence is not real high with any of the options.


It would be nice to see the issue properly addressed by Ricoh is all I am saying. I would pay full cost of repair if I knew it was going to be done right.


Ricoh makes it very difficult to contact them, even the thread here that was set up had to be shut off because they were overwhelmed. They certainly don't come across as having the best customer support.
02-13-2017, 12:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffgusa Quote
One or two or three does constitute failed repairs does it not?
From the survey results (58 K-30/50 repaired under warranty or not)
2 out of 58 = 3.4%
1 out of 58 = 1.7%

Consumer Reports gives ~7% major problems for Pentax. So from the survey the percentage of repairs that failed again is well below the expected problem rate in general. If you look at the total reported failures of 143 the percentage drops to 1.3% and 0.7%. If you look at the reported failed repair of the total respondents to the survey 448 then you're looking at 0.45% and 0.22%

You have a greater chance of dying from injury (lifetime odds for someone born in 2013 = 1 in 20) than a factory repair failing.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeffgusa Quote
I understand the options. My confidence is not real high with any of the options.


It would be nice to see the issue properly addressed by Ricoh is all I am saying. I would pay full cost of repair if I knew it was going to be done right.
Replacement and existing parts will fail or wear out even if the repair is done right. Repairs have a warranty, unless you DIY.
03-10-2017, 08:18 AM   #7
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Sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but does anyone know if the K-70 uses the same prone to fail solenoid?
03-10-2017, 01:59 PM   #8
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For all we know, the K-70 might have the same mechanism. The K-3/K-1 have another system with three instead of one motor, and the KP has another (new) one with two motors, which might omit the solenoid as well.

But, FWIW, that aperture control (including the solenoid mechanism) has been around nearly unchanged since film SLRs (someone scavenged the matching solenoid from a MZ-7 to fix his K-30), in the ist*D, K-m/K-2000, K-r, K-x, ..., all of these having been reliable, so, the error seems to depend on the actual part used rather than a faulty mechanism.

This means, unless Ricoh decide to comment, which might be desirable to clarify the situation (hint!), it's a matter of hope or trust that they went back to the old reliable supplier.

03-20-2017, 07:28 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffgusa Quote
There needs to be a better way to support users affected by the aperture solenoid failure. At this point I have experienced the same issue reported by many others with underexposed pics. My K50 has just under 1000 shutter count. After hearing of previous failed repairs, I am not overly confident in sending my camera to Precision Camera for repair, but don't seem to have a lot of other options. There are a couple of others that have popped up that have specialized in this specific repair. That in itself tells me this is a much bigger problem that Pentax (Ricoh) really needs to step up and address.
I also have a K50 that i sent out to a guy in CA, after 3 months, problem is back. he's on a learning curve, and I'll wait to see if he gets better, have a year warranty. some excellent repair write-ups on this forum. I've called Pentax USA with no results due to warranty issues.

Precision has a terrible rating, but worth it if under warranty as you really don't have a choice.
03-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sandstone Quote
Sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but does anyone know if the K-70 uses the same prone to fail solenoid?
My self and another member both called Pentax USA, and they said, no, K70 has a different mechanism.
01-21-2021, 09:26 PM   #11
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The mechanism is still the same, 100%.
What was changed was the surface of the metal parts of the solenoid, the surface is better mashined
and possibly of a better alloy.
02-03-2021, 06:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by paolo11 Quote
My self and another member both called Pentax USA, and they said, no, K70 has a different mechanism.
That is odd.
Japanese-based engineers told Pentax-Forum interviewers that the K-70 does use basically the same solenoid-based mechanism that the K-30/50 did. This was several years ago, so I doubt I could find it right now.
02-03-2021, 06:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sys3175 Quote
For all we know, the K-70 might have the same mechanism. The K-3/K-1 have another system with three instead of one motor, and the KP has another (new) one with two motors, which might omit the solenoid as well.

But, FWIW, that aperture control (including the solenoid mechanism) has been around nearly unchanged since film SLRs (someone scavenged the matching solenoid from a MZ-7 to fix his K-30), in the ist*D, K-m/K-2000, K-r, K-x, ..., all of these having been reliable, so, the error seems to depend on the actual part used rather than a faulty mechanism.

This means, unless Ricoh decide to comment, which might be desirable to clarify the situation (hint!), it's a matter of hope or trust that they went back to the old reliable supplier.
The one supplier for Pentax moved production from Japan to China and changed materials used, so reviving production of the old solenoid would present problems.
02-07-2021, 09:33 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sandstone Quote
Sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but does anyone know if the K-70 uses the same prone to fail solenoid?
I have seen a few posts from K70 users experiencing the black frames characteristic of aperture block failure.

I used the K-50 and had aperture block failure BTW. I am kinda sad about it as it was my first ILC camera.
02-07-2021, 12:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by automorphism Quote
I have seen a few posts from K70 users experiencing the black frames characteristic of aperture block failure.

I used the K-50 and had aperture block failure BTW. I am kinda sad about it as it was my first ILC camera.
The situation is not 'hopeless' - you have several choices
1. replace the solenoid yourself
2. have professionals replace the solenoid
3. use with lenses that allow you to control aperture at the lens - I, for example, use mine with an FA 28-105 I purchased here at the marketplace
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