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06-24-2015, 10:40 AM   #1
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645Z remote cable socket problems?

My 645Z spent 10 weeks in for repair late last year, just a few months after I got it, to fix the remote cable socket. It had physically broken loose from the camera body and was just flopping around inside the shell. It was of course electrically dead as well. Since I shoot mostly on tripod with cable release, this was a problem that needed to be solved asap, so I went without a nearly brand new camera for over 2 months during a high shooting season to get the repair dealt with.

Unfortunately, when it came back from repair, I noticed right away there was some lateral play in the socket when plugging in the cable remote. This hadn't been the case when the camera was new. So even though the remote was functioning again, I was concerned. Rightly so it seems, because this past weekend the socket broke loose again and is now dead for a second time. I'm just under the 1-year warranty limit so naturally will be sending it off for repair once more -- just before the Calgary Stampede, an industrial location shoot, and a trip to Greenland / Iceland. If the track record of 10+ weeks turn around time proves to hold true, I'll be lucky to have the body back in time for the heavy Fall shooting season, let alone any of the summer work.

I still own a pair of 645D's, so that's my backup. The Z is highly capable in a wider range of shooting scenarios, especially interiors that I'll be dealing with, so I'm going to feel its absence. One obvious possibility is I could upgrade one or both of my D's to Z's. But with the history of poor Pentax / Ricoh servicing I've experienced (8, 22, 10 and 10 week repair turn-arounds on 3 separate body failures and 1 lens failure to date), I've become somewhat reluctant to keep throwing down more money on Pentax camera bodies in an effort to keep enough of them working during critical periods.

I'm curious if anybody out there has seen any issues with the 645Z's cable remote socket. I put tens of thousands of frames through my pair of 645D's, and while the shutter died twice on one of them, I never had any other physical problems with the camera bodies. They were robust in all conditions and I felt I could trust them in any kind of shooting situations. I do take care of my gear to a reasonable level, but I use it heavily in all kinds of travel and field conditions. If I have to start babying a camera like it's a museum piece, it doesn't survive in my gear setup.

When I first saw the 645Z and realized the cable remote socket was relocated from the back panel to the side, right on the hand grip, I felt it was a dumb design decision to move it there. I'm now also concerned that with the level of usage I put on the cable remote, there's an internal lack of durability that's going to keep plaguing me going forward. Or maybe it's just my specific camera that has a problem that doesn't translate to other Z's. Either way, for the capability it represents to my work, I can't really have my single Z in the shop 10 weeks out of every year, especially once it's off warranty.

If anyone else is a heavy user of the cable remote on the 645Z, I'd be curious to hear whether you have or haven't encountered any physical play in the socket or any electrical contact issues. I'm mulling whether a second Z would help alleviate this particular down-time risk...

06-24-2015, 06:05 PM   #2
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Hi Royce. I've not had your problem with the remote socket, though, my 11 month old body has only 4140 actuations on the shutter. I, like you, do primarily shoot on tripod with the wired remote though. I mostly use the cheap 3rd party remotes, and the only problem I've had with them over the years is the 'gold' plating seems to wear off the contacts of the remotes so they become intermittent over time. If they stop working on multiple bodies I know it's time to toss the remote and get a new one.

Seems to me if you've got lateral play in the socket itself, that might compromise the weather sealing. Not good in any event.

Best of luck to you on the repair, and I hope it's reliable when it gets back.

Last edited by iCrop; 06-24-2015 at 06:06 PM. Reason: remove quote
06-24-2015, 06:11 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by iCrop Quote
Hi Royce. I've not had your problem with the remote socket, though, my 11 month old body has only 4140 actuations on the shutter. I, like you, do primarily shoot on tripod with the wired remote though. I mostly use the cheap 3rd party remotes, and the only problem I've had with them over the years is the 'gold' plating seems to wear off the contacts of the remotes so they become intermittent over time. If they stop working on multiple bodies I know it's time to toss the remote and get a new one.

Seems to me if you've got lateral play in the socket itself, that might compromise the weather sealing. Not good in any event.

Best of luck to you on the repair, and I hope it's reliable when it gets back.
Thanks Mike. I tried some after-market cable remotes a long time back but gave up on them for various reasons, including intermittent connection like you describe. I've been using the Pentax ones for the past 3 years, and they're fine except for the wire occasionally breaking in extreme cold.

The design of the new 645Z cable release socket (including its new location on the hand grip) does seem to make the whole thing more prone to potential issues, than was the case with the 645D. At least given my usage pattern, anyway. Right now I'm just not sure if I'd end up with the same problem on a second Z...
06-25-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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Royce
I shoot mostly tripod too, however I use the waterproof wireless remote for $21. Have over 5k actuations and no problems. You might want to try that method. Just curious, was the cam sent to Japan for fixing or done in North America?

06-25-2015, 01:21 PM   #5
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All of my past repairs have had to go to Japan as far as I know. I really don't want to be without the camera right now, so I was just thinking about switching to a wireless remote until things calm down a little bit, and/or I decide on another Z. I would have to forego getting the 2nd socket repair under warranty (which is due to expire in about 2 weeks) but perhaps that's the lesser evil compared to being without the camera for another 2+ months right now. Maybe something else on the camera will malfunction in the next few weeks and I can send it in then, getting multiple repairs for the inconvenience of only one chunk of downtime.
06-27-2015, 07:46 PM   #6
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I've been shooting my 645d for 4 years with no problems, so I feel really pissed about your problems. I by-passed the wired remote for a pair of infra red remotes and have had no problems. the only difference between us that I see is that you have a few thousand more actuations on your camera, but that shouldn't matter.
06-27-2015, 09:28 PM   #7
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I did just pick up one of the O-RC1 infrared remotes. It works, and I guess I don't see a downside over using the wired remote as far as functionality goes. Annoying that the wireless remote's battery isn't replaceable according to Pentax, making the unit disposable after some unknown number of shutter triggers. I haven't yet tried to take it apart to see if the battery is really hard-wired in there or not. I'll probably get another one so I have a backup.

Most likely I'm going to skip sending the camera in for servicing now. I'll just eat the eventual non-warranty repair cost for the remote socket, and take it at a time when I can more afford to have the downtime hit. Like many things it comes down to a trade-off of $ vs. time, with the incredibly lengthy repair turn-around forcing the issue for anybody who doesn't routinely have 10+ week gaps in their shooting schedule.

At some point I'll probably end up with a second Z which will further mitigate downtime hits, but that's an expense I've also decided against making right now. I need to focus on shooting what I've got and try to shut down (or at least slow down) the hamster wheel of equipment upgrades.
06-27-2015, 09:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Royce Howland Quote
I did just pick up one of the O-RC1 infrared remotes. It works, and I guess I don't see a downside over using the wired remote as far as functionality goes. Annoying that the wireless remote's battery isn't replaceable according to Pentax, making the unit disposable after some unknown number of shutter triggers. I haven't yet tried to take it apart to see if the battery is really hard-wired in there or not. I'll probably get another one so I have a backup.

Most likely I'm going to skip sending the camera in for servicing now. I'll just eat the eventual non-warranty repair cost for the remote socket, and take it at a time when I can more afford to have the downtime hit. Like many things it comes down to a trade-off of $ vs. time, with the incredibly lengthy repair turn-around forcing the issue for anybody who doesn't routinely have 10+ week gaps in their shooting schedule.

At some point I'll probably end up with a second Z which will further mitigate downtime hits, but that's an expense I've also decided against making right now. I need to focus on shooting what I've got and try to shut down (or at least slow down) the hamster wheel of equipment upgrades.

considering the cost and that they come in pairs, if you shoot a lot, It would be wise to buy four or six. that should last you for years.

06-28-2015, 05:34 AM   #9
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There is a discussion on replacing the batteries in the O-RC1 in the K3 subforum, see https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/22-pentax-camera-field-accessories/224715...p-reading.html

But they seem to agree that buying a bunch of cheap eBay clones is the easier way.
06-28-2015, 05:51 PM   #10
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My remote socket has done the same also and am using the waterproof wireless.
06-29-2015, 07:45 AM   #11
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Thanks itshimitis. Sounds like we're in the same boat...
06-30-2015, 10:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bull drinkwater Quote
considering the cost and that they come in pairs, if you shoot a lot, It would be wise to buy four or six. that should last you for years.
Where do you buy them in pairs? Thanks.
06-30-2015, 12:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bull drinkwater Quote
considering the cost and that they come in pairs, if you shoot a lot, It would be wise to buy four or six. that should last you for years.
I've never seen them in pairs.
03-11-2016, 11:33 AM   #14
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I wanted to add one more data point: the remote socket on my 645Z is also crapping out. I do have and use the infrared wireless remote, but I prefer the wired method, because of that darn bright blinking red light on the back of the camera during wireless operation - it's not the best way to remain low profile when out in public, especially shooting along roadsides in national parks, where I seem to attract all sorts of tourists with iPhones who want to replicate my exact composition.

Cheers,
Ross
03-11-2016, 02:33 PM   #15
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Mine went last October. I reported it to my dealer but as I was about to travel I just bought the wireless one. I then taped it to a keychain to make it bigger and candidly, I don't want to buy a back up or be without this for 10 weeks so it will stay broken.
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