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11-28-2014, 09:56 PM   #1
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Is battery longevity an issue with the 6x7?

Ok, you can expect to see some noob questions coming from me as I continue to familiarize myself with my new system. I finally got around to trying to power it up today. At first I just took the 6v battery from a working Canon AE-1P. But I wasn't getting anything. Even the battery check LED wouldn't light up. So I checked an A-1's battery out, and it looked to still have quite a bit of life yet. Dropped it in the 6x7, and again nada. Hrmm . . . I'm beginning to get concerned. So finally, I pull a 6v from a happily functioning Bronica ETRSi and give it a try. Nada.

So I get on the phone with KEH and talk to a helpful guy there who steps me through the process. But still nothing. So he says he'll email me an RMA number for the camera and we'll trade it out for another one. Well, okay, that's decent service, at least. But something's still nagging at me about this camera. So I go down to the market and buy a new battery. Stick in in the 6x7 and what do you know! The battery check LED glows. Fiddle with it some more and I finally manage to get the meter to work and to respond to light. The mirror lock up function works and everything seems fine. Hrmm . . .

So I go grab the ETRSi again, pull its battery and put it into the 6x7 and, once again, it's lifeless.

So, it appears that my 6x7 operates just fine on a fresh, fully charged battery. Which leads me to wonder, just what sort of battery life can I expect with this camera? I mean, I've got 6v batteries that are powering my other cameras just fine, so what is it about the 6x7 that causes it to insist on a fresh battery to work?

The camera didn't come with an instruction book, but I found one online. In a few different places, the manual states that the camera draws 4mA of current. That sure doesn't sound like much to me. So, what is your experience with these older cameras?

Another thing I'm wondering about and if it might have an effect. When this camera was built, the 6v batteries were silver oxide. Now they're lithium. Might this make a difference? It's been my understanding that lithium are better than silver oxide, but maybe I'm wrong?

I guess something to watch out for also is how quickly the battery becomes exhausted just from normal use. I dunno, I've got a gut feeling that something isn't right. So maybe I should take KEH up on their RMA offer after all. What would you do?

11-28-2014, 10:32 PM   #2
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A 6V battery should last a couple years or longer, especially the silver oxide ones. You can still get these, but they are harder to find.

If I buy a used camera, the first thing I replace is the batteries with new silver oxide ones.

Phil.
11-29-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
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Yeah, but where to find the silver oxide ones? All I've found now are lithium -- at almost twice the price of the old AgO ones as well, I might add. This battery was $12.50 at Walgreens and $10 at Kroger. I'm used to paying $5-6 for them.

More to the point tho, is what I'm experiencing atypical?

I've been reading past threads posted here on the 6x7. There seems to be a large number of users here who favor the newer 67 and 67ii over the older 6x7. Most commonly cited reason is age and wear-induced failure of parts/components. So, even though the 6x7 I bought shows only moderate signs of wear, I'm seriously thinking of asking the folks at KEH to replace it with a 67 and a TTL finder for a 67. I prefer the looks of the original, but I don't need to be getting sentimental. What say you? If you were in my position, would you upgrade to the 67?
11-29-2014, 12:27 PM   #4
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I use the Panasonic 6.2 volt AgO. Have used the Li batteries as well but prefer the AgO. I got the Panasonic ones on-line a few years ago. Not sure where tho. The 6x7/67 is not a battery hog.

The older Honeywell and Asahi TTLs (6x7) will have accuracy problems with age. I suggest going with the 67 body and Pentax TTL (near mint if possible).

11-29-2014, 04:35 PM   #5
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The cold will also kill batteries quicker. Pentax made an external battery holder/warmer for the 6x7 & 67 if you use it below freezing.

Phil.
11-29-2014, 08:06 PM   #6
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Yeah, I have a fair amount of experience dealing with the cold and photo gear. That's not an issue currently. Down here in Houston -- aka Cairo West (same latitude as the Egyptian city) -- the weather is typical. 70s during the day, maybe 50s at night. I was indoors anyway, when trying the camera out and running into the problem with it not working with used batteries I'd pulled from other cameras which were working fine with those batteries.

Desertscape, your preferences/recommendations are noted. Anyone else care to weigh in? Anyone care to address the specific issue as to why this 6x7 seems to require a fresh new battery to operate? I'm troubled by this because I fear that, even though 6x7s aren't typically battery hogs (taking your word for it), perhaps this one is. If it has a slow short to ground, for example, it'll require a higher current draw to operate.
11-29-2014, 08:59 PM   #7
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You may have an issue with the battery terminals in your 6x7. I’ve had no issues with my 6x7 or 67 when it comes to batteries and both are using the same battery for a few years now. The only issue I’ve had with any 6x7 equipment is the TTL meter and that is not battery related.

Phil.
11-30-2014, 07:33 AM   #8
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Just to echo what Phil says, the only issue with battery life on the 6x7, 67 or 67ii is that batteries last so ridiculously long that I completely forget when I last changed it, and I rarely carry a spare with me because it would end up being too old by the time I got around to using it. You may have a connection issue. I would try cleaning all the contact points etc.

11-30-2014, 02:49 PM   #9
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Okay, thanks for the additional feedback. Just to be sure, I went back and scrubbed the contacts with a pencil eraser. I've run into situations in the past where shiny looking contacts still were insufficient for adequate contact. So I figured I should just make sure. As I rummaged around through my cameras that take the 6v batteries, I came across another AE-1P and its battery, while not at all new, was still pretty strong. So I tried it. And hey, the camera liked that battery. But when I tried another that wasn't quite as strong, nope, the 6x7 wouldn't respond.

So I think I've convinced myself beyond a reasonable doubt that battery life will be a problem with this camera, and that to avoid the associated grief, I should just return it. I plan to ask the kind folks at KEH to upgrade it to a 67 while they're at it. Shame they don't have any 67ii's in stock -- although one of them might be a bit more than I can afford at the moment anyway.

I'll let y'all know how things turn out.
12-03-2014, 01:13 PM   #10
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Just to update the situation, I've returned the 6x7 with TTL finder to KEH, with the intention of trading it in for a 67 model with appropriate TTL finder. I hope this new one is as frugal with battery usage as y'all's are. But just to give me something to do and look forward to in the mean time, I ran a roll of Tri-X through it. Soon as I find my developing gear, I'll develop the roll and take a look at the results.
12-03-2014, 01:25 PM   #11
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With a WLF ( aka folding hood) my battery lasts even longer than you guys with a voltage sucking TTL Prism After 5 years I recently just put in a new battery even though the last one wasn't dead as preventative maintenance.
12-03-2014, 05:30 PM   #12
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Good to know. It's worth mentioning, I suppose, that I did try some of the batteries with the camera body only and they still didn't provide enough voltage to wake up the camera.

The WLF is an option I plan to buy for this system. I can see how it would be handy for some types of macro photography and copy work, but I do a lot of action stuff, so the TTL prism finder will still work best for me.

About that metered finder, I've been unable to find any information on the meter's weighting. Can anyone here describe it? I mean, is it equally sensitive to a light source, no matter where it appears in the frame, or does it give greater weigting to light sources that are more centrally located. Nikon's old tried and true 60/40 weighting comes to mind, as does Canon's old selective area metering style, both of which I've used extensitively and become comfortable with. I've never cared much for metering patterns that were more generalized, but if that's the way it is with the 6x7, then I'll just have to learn to live with it. I can make adjustments by using my spotmeter, or just metering areas that I know to be 18% gray (I do this often when I know a meter has an unweighted or just a simple center-weighted pattern).
12-04-2014, 10:13 AM   #13
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It is not center weighted, it is more generalized, so an 18% gray card works well. I too prefer spot meters but this TTL works well if one understands its limitations.
12-04-2014, 05:08 PM   #14
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Battery life in the newer 67 bodies is said to be better than the older 6x7, even though statements to that effect could well be anecdotal. The battery in my own 67 remains in service from 2010 and that is with MLU and bulb use for 90% of exposures. A fresh battery a should give a long period of use but if the camera is used in bulb, around 5-6 hours with a fresh battery. The overall internal electronic condition of the camera will also have some bearing on battery economy,

---------- Post added 05-12-14 at 11:12 AM ----------

Battery life in the newer 67 bodies is said to be better than the older 6x7, even though statements to that effect could well be anecdotal. The battery in my own 67 remains in service from 2010 and that is with MLU and bulb use for 90% of exposures. A fresh battery a should give a long period of use but if the camera is used in bulb, around 5-6 hours with a fresh battery. The overall internal electronic condition of the camera will also have some bearing on battery economy.

I rarely use the 67 TTL meter. My lethal weapon of choice is my Sekonic L-758D multiply meter.
12-05-2014, 01:55 PM   #15
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OK, well, I'll be trading the 6x7 body and TTL finder in for later model ones in a few days. Sent the earlier ones off to KEH via FedEX Ground 2 days ago, so they'll probably be getting them soon.

I have other questions about the system, mostly lenses, but as an earlier poster mentioned, you guys have a database here on the lenses, so I'll study this, which will help a lot. Others are about some accessories Pentax has offered over the years.

Last edited by cooltouch; 12-06-2014 at 09:44 AM.
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