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08-20-2020, 08:03 PM   #1
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Pentax 6x7 not firing, film advancing but doesn't sound correct.

Hi! First time posting here!

Recently picked up a 6x7 in great condition and shot a roll of 120 on it with no issue, but had the dial set to 21 instead of 10. I've since removed the roll at its expense but now I can't seem to cock the shutter and subsequently can't get it to dry fire. From what I've read up it sounds most likely like a slipped winding pawl?

I'm unsure if it sounds like that because its unable to cock or if its not cocking because the winder sounds like that?

I'm hoping there's a quick fix as I didn't hear anything break and it worked for the first roll but my other option is just to return it which I'd like to avoid as its a hassle.

Any help appreciated! Thanks.


Last edited by jacintyre; 08-24-2020 at 11:22 PM.
08-21-2020, 02:21 AM   #2
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Something is not right in this.
Why are you setting the dial to 21, with a roll of 120 film? When correctly set and film loaded, there will be 5 winds before the dial sets itself to 1, cocking the shutter, and the last frame will be 10, no more than that. You will only get more exposures if you load 220 film and adjust both the backing plate inside the back cover and the 120/220 selector on the right side of the camera.
There is no reason to adjust the knurled dial other than as part of the dry firing process. The camera is not designed to fire without film loaded, hence the specific procedure for dry firing. After correctly setting the film type and winding, and there is no cocking of the shitter, or no wind-on at all, then consider a fault in the winding mechanism.
08-21-2020, 01:05 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have an older non MLU camera with 21 shot option with 220 film. Did you remove the 120 roll before the film counter had reached 21? Have you tried to set the film selector switch to 10? I have made the mistake of having 120 film in the camera but having the film selector on 220 (21). I shot through to frame 21 before unloading the film and there was no problem.
08-21-2020, 05:40 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Something is not right in this.
Why are you setting the dial to 21, with a roll of 120 film? When correctly set and film loaded, there will be 5 winds before the dial sets itself to 1, cocking the shutter, and the last frame will be 10, no more than that. You will only get more exposures if you load 220 film and adjust both the backing plate inside the back cover and the 120/220 selector on the right side of the camera.
There is no reason to adjust the knurled dial other than as part of the dry firing process. The camera is not designed to fire without film loaded, hence the specific procedure for dry firing. After correctly setting the film type and winding, and there is no cocking of the shitter, or no wind-on at all, then consider a fault in the winding mechanism.
I didn't set it 21 deliberately, was a mistake I noticed when it wanted to continue winding past the 10th frame. Just mentioned it in case it could indicate why its now refusing to fire and is winding like this.

08-21-2020, 05:42 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
Sounds like you have an older non MLU camera with 21 shot option with 220 film. Did you remove the 120 roll before the film counter had reached 21? Have you tried to set the film selector switch to 10? I have made the mistake of having 120 film in the camera but having the film selector on 220 (21). I shot through to frame 21 before unloading the film and there was no problem.
Yeah I did remove it before the counter had reached 21 as I actually didn't realise it hadn't released until I opened the back and saw the film wasn't all on the retrieval spool. Might this have caused it?
08-21-2020, 06:37 PM   #6
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I would suggest at this point because you have previously run a roll of 120 through the camera without issue, then now unload anything in the camera reset to the counter to below-zero (no film, complete reset) and load 120 film in, advance and cock the shutter and run some test shots. It is difficult to make a firm diagnosis based on a video and description alone.

QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
I have made the mistake of having 120 film in the camera but having the film selector on 220 (21). I shot through to frame 21 before unloading the film and there was no problem.
I have made this mistake too on my first or second outing with the 67. It did cause a bit of panic and put a stop to the rest of the day's fun...
08-21-2020, 06:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
I would suggest at this point because you have previously run a roll of 120 through the camera without issue, then now unload anything in the camera reset to the counter to below-zero (no film, complete reset) and load 120 film in, advance and cock the shutter and run some test shots. It is difficult to make a firm diagnosis based on a video and description alone.



I have made this mistake too on my first or second outing with the 67. It did cause a bit of panic and put a stop to the rest of the day's fun...
Thanks for the quick replies, that's the tricky part... When I open it up now and load 120, it seems to advance fine up to the arrow, but then when I close the back and try to operate it to fire, it does what its doing in the video and won't fire.
08-21-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacintyre Quote
Thanks for the quick replies, that's the tricky part... When I open it up now and load 120, it seems to advance fine up to the arrow, but then when I close the back and try to operate it to fire, it does what its doing in the video and won't fire.

If I may clarify one point here. When you load the film and the leader START mark lines up with the corresponding mark on the film guide rail, you then close the back and wind-on 5 times until '1' is shown on the dial, and the shutter is thus cocked and ready to fire. Are you doing this?

08-21-2020, 09:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
If I may clarify one point here. When you load the film and the leader START mark lines up with the corresponding mark on the film guide rail, you then close the back and wind-on 5 times until '1' is shown on the dial, and the shutter is thus cocked and ready to fire. Are you doing this?
Yep correct, and it worked fine for that first roll. But now when you load another roll and perform that same procedure, it doesn't click as you rotate to advance to the arrow and it sort of intermittently catches the spool. So it will inconsistently advance/not advance. Then, when you wind-on to 1 on the dial it will go hard as its suppose to, but instead of the racheting clicking sound its suppose to make, it makes that mushy grinding noise like in the video. It also won't then fire after its been advanced to '1' as I think the shutter isn't cocking. I suspect some sort of gear inside has slipped but I don't recall hearing anything break.
08-21-2020, 10:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacintyre Quote
Yep correct, and it worked fine for that first roll. But now when you load another roll and perform that same procedure, it doesn't click as you rotate to advance to the arrow and it sort of intermittently catches the spool. So it will inconsistently advance/not advance. Then, when you wind-on to 1 on the dial it will go hard as its suppose to, but instead of the racheting clicking sound its suppose to make, it makes that mushy grinding noise like in the video. It also won't then fire after its been advanced to '1' as I think the shutter isn't cocking. I suspect some sort of gear inside has slipped but I don't recall hearing anything break.

Another check: is the hole in the end of the leader positively engaged in the tang in the take-up spool? I mention this because many first time users get hold of B&W film e.g. Ilford's or Kodak's, which does not have a whole in the end of the leader and they have a fair amount of tanties getting the film to wind on; simple solution is to create a small tear in the leader end and load it). If it is not positively engaged, it will cause the action you describe as intermittently catches the spool. That's the most I can think of diagnosing this malaise from the back verandah 15,400km away...


If there is a persistent mushy grinding noise like in the video, you may have a stripped or broken winding pawl in the winding gear (usually caused in terms of use, by excessive wind-on force or forcing the lever when it is cocked). These are common on the older Pentax 6x7 camera but were improved on the later 67 models. It is not necessary to actually hear a small part to break; age and wear and tear (sometimes a reflection of use long ago) will catch up to all cameras over time.


As you are in the US, and after the checked mentioned above, it might be prudent to have the camera shipped to Eric at pentaxs.com, the only one I can think of still doing 6x7 / 67 repairs in the US (others I'm sure exist, I just do not know of them).
08-22-2020, 01:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Another check: is the hole in the end of the leader positively engaged in the tang in the take-up spool? I mention this because many first time users get hold of B&W film e.g. Ilford's or Kodak's, which does not have a whole in the end of the leader and they have a fair amount of tanties getting the film to wind on; simple solution is to create a small tear in the leader end and load it). If it is not positively engaged, it will cause the action you describe as intermittently catches the spool. That's the most I can think of diagnosing this malaise from the back verandah 15,400km away...


If there is a persistent mushy grinding noise like in the video, you may have a stripped or broken winding pawl in the winding gear (usually caused in terms of use, by excessive wind-on force or forcing the lever when it is cocked). These are common on the older Pentax 6x7 camera but were improved on the later 67 models. It is not necessary to actually hear a small part to break; age and wear and tear (sometimes a reflection of use long ago) will catch up to all cameras over time.


As you are in the US, and after the checked mentioned above, it might be prudent to have the camera shipped to Eric at pentaxs.com, the only one I can think of still doing 6x7 / 67 repairs in the US (others I'm sure exist, I just do not know of them).
Ah that might be it! It makes logical sense how that might've happened. Unfortunately I'm down under like yourself mate! I'll pop into a service shop this week and see if they can sort me out.
Cheers for the help!
08-22-2020, 11:49 AM   #12
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At this point, you should consider returning it, unless you feel that you broke it.
08-22-2020, 04:17 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacintyre Quote
Ah that might be it! It makes logical sense how that might've happened. Unfortunately I'm down under like yourself mate! I'll pop into a service shop this week and see if they can sort me out.Cheers for the help!
LOL! Sorry... unless I see Australia in the Profile box I automatically think the poster is based overseas, and mostly US. Nevermind. I must have missed your accent...
08-31-2020, 06:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacintyre Quote
Hi! First time posting here!

Recently picked up a 6x7 in great condition and shot a roll of 120 on it with no issue, but had the dial set to 21 instead of 10. I've since removed the roll at its expense but now I can't seem to cock the shutter and subsequently can't get it to dry fire. From what I've read up it sounds most likely like a slipped winding pawl?

I'm unsure if it sounds like that because its unable to cock or if its not cocking because the winder sounds like that?

I'm hoping there's a quick fix as I didn't hear anything break and it worked for the first roll but my other option is just to return it which I'd like to avoid as its a hassle.

Any help appreciated! Thanks.

What ho one and all,

Reading this thread, I may be grasping the wrong end of the straw, but seems that jacintyre originally asked about 'dry firing' the shutter. I assume that means, no film.

Yes, it is possible to 'dry fire' the shutter with the camera empty.

As you close the back but before it actually clicks closed, apply a little pressure to the small grooved rotating thing in the centre of the frame counter. Turn it until it reads 5 or more and hold in this position while you close the back.

If you have done this correctly, the film advance will wind the mirror and shutter mechanism and it should work just fine. If I recall correctly, the frame counter will advance. when you next open the back, it will reset to zero.

Toodle pip


Last edited by Rekusu; 08-31-2020 at 06:43 AM.
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