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07-25-2016, 11:11 AM   #1
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Mysterious blank frames on my Pentax 67

Hi. I've had my Pentax 67 for a year now and have been using it extensively without any problems. Recently, I put 10 rolls through it and to my utter surprise half of these yielded blank (unexposed) frames.

This has never happened before. The odd thing is the blanks appeared sporadically -- for example, if I shot three consecutive frames of exactly the same subject, in exactly the same lighting conditions, two would be blank. Frame spacing in all the properly exposed pictures looked normal, so I'm not sure it's a winder or film advance issue. I carry a Sekonic with me too so it's definitely not a case of underexposure either. Furthermore, I distinctly heard the shutter opening and closing each time (hard to miss that sound with the Pentax). Absolutely gutted as I took this with me on assignment and lost some truly promising pictures. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing it?

Much appreciated!

07-25-2016, 02:42 PM   #2
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Have you tried the camera without a film and without a lens to verify, visually, that the mirror is lifting with every shot?
07-25-2016, 02:45 PM   #3
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See this discussion too: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/48-pentax-medium-format/183346-hanging-mi...lp-me-out.html
07-25-2016, 03:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Have you tried the camera without a film and without a lens to verify, visually, that the mirror is lifting with every shot?
Wouldnʻt the OP see this when shooting? His viewfinder should go black, but doesnʻt during exposure.

I suspect that either the first/front curtain is not opening and then follows the second/rear curtain preventing light from hitting the film. Or the first/front curtain is opening, but the second/rear curtain is not delaying for the correct shutter speed.

Is this happening at only certain shutter speeds? Are you using a leaf shutter lens? Are you using flash? If the answer is pretty much no to all three, then itʻs time to send in your 67 for repairs. Something similar happened to my 645 about 10 years ago, but since the repair it has been fine.

07-25-2016, 05:14 PM   #5
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A hanging mirror sounds a likely cause, but so too a fault with the shutter. Either/both these faults are common over the years with the (older) Pentax 6x7 and now being seen frequently on the 1990s-era 67 bodies. I also thought about a winding fault where frames are counted on the winding dial but not physically moved inside. I can well understand your disappointment at something like this happening but it's something we must all acknowledge in using old cameras. A bench assessment with a repairer is your best bet without continual speculation. If repairs are required it would entail cannibalising parts from another 6x7 / 67 body. And so the risk of progressive failures is never really out of the equation, even after a satisfactory repair.
07-27-2016, 09:09 AM   #6
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Thank you so much for your responses everyone!

Blanks appeared on a roll shot outdoors at 1/500 and f8, and on another roll shot indoors at speeds between 1/8 and 1/30, so it seems like it's happening across the board. No flash, and I was alternating between the 105mm and 50mm lenses, neither of which have leaf shutters.

I've brought the camera to two shops here in Tokyo and in both instances it was suspected that something was "wrong" with the shutter, but no one could verify what it was exactly (without first taking it apart and then sticking me with a large service fee before the actual CLA). We tried dry-firing it without a lens (only looking at it through the front of the camera since the film door had to be kept closed at all times). The mirror appeared to lift normally at all speeds + the back pressure plate of the camera could also be seen, so the shutter is opening at least. I think Alex might be on to something about the sync times between the two curtains. . .
07-27-2016, 03:51 PM   #7
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In the light of reading the above, next, I suggest you have the rudimentary electronics that govern shutter speeds (that is, under the shutter speed dial) looked at. It could be dirt, oxidisation or wear that is preventing proper contact and by association, correct shutter speeds. This is a known trouble spot and somewhere hear on Pentax forums are photographs illustrating what lies beneat the dial. Removal of the dial entails fiddling with very tiny screws (woe betide you if one should end up on the carpet...) and left side top plate removal.
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