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01-06-2014, 05:09 AM   #1
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645N viewfinder problem

My viewfinder is a bit cloudy so I took it apart to try and clean it. Now I can't get it back together. Two elements came out. The first (closest to the eye) is actually two elements glued together. Then there is a black ring and then another element. The second element had a small flat spot along the edge and I couldn't see how to properly align it when reinserting it. I tried and now it won't come back out. But when I put the back element in over it everything is blurry. I might even have one of them in backwards. I will be taking it down to the Pentax place tomorrow unless someone can give me some wonderful information on how to get the inner element out again and how to properly reinsert both elements.

I'm feeling pretty stupid at this point...

01-06-2014, 12:19 PM   #2
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.....and i am feeling pretty jealous if you can just "take it to pentax" and even more jealous if they dont say "we dont support that camera anymore". Here in the USA we are relegated to a third party service company.
01-06-2014, 04:48 PM   #3
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Living in Tokyo offers some wonderful advantages for photographers!!
01-08-2014, 01:27 AM   #4
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Just a quick update. I took the camera to the Pentax Square in Shinjuku today. I waited for about 30 minutes while they gave it a full inspection. The diagnosis wasn't good.
1. The stuck element was in fact inserted backwards, and they couldn't get it out without sending the camera to the repair facility, and the minimum charge for that is about $200.
2. They observed that the shutter speeds were a little inconsistent, but because this is the 645N they no longer have parts and couldn't guarantee a successful repair.
3. The light seals on the film cartridge needed replacement; and they'll do it for $50.
4. The clouding in the viewfinder was indeed in between the two elements that are glued together but they don't have replacement parts for that.

I had no choice but to say "thanks" and head home with my unrepaired and unusable 645N. What a bummer.

My next stop was Fujiya Camera, my all time favorite camera store and regular hangout. In the junk section of the store which is across the street from the main store they sell lots of camera repair tools. I saw what I was looking for. On the box it is labeled as a "Lens Sucker". In fact it is sort of like a blower with a suction cup on the end. It was less than $20 so I bought one and right there at the counter, with the help of the clerk I worked for 10 or 15 minutes and finally managed to get the stuck element out. We cleaned it up, reinserted it the right way, put the other element back in place and closed it up.

Then I took the camera across the street to the main store and asked for an appraisal for a trade in. I told them the finder was a bit cloudy and they rated it as a B-grade and offered me $180 for it. They had four 645N bodies on the shelf, three of them in very good condition and priced at just under $300. So I picked the nicest one and traded it for my 645N. I had to pay just over $100 and came home with a new (to me) 645N that is in much better shape than my old one.

So while I ended up spending $100 I felt pretty fortunate by the end and came home a happy camper!

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