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K-70 Underexposed Photo Reports
Posted By: stevebrot, 10-05-2018, 02:16 PM

There have been a couple of recent threads regarding gross underexposure (essentially black) on some or all photos. While it is not fully clear whether these reports are related or (shudder) whether there is an emerging problem similar to the aperture block failure common to the K-30/K-50 models, it seems reasonable to provide a clearinghouse thread in an attempt to determine who is having problems and the evident point of failure. For the sake of clarity and accountability, it would be good to limit experiences to those of our users and not reference claims from other forums or rumor sites.

NOTICE: This thread is curated and keeping track of pertinent reports and updates will be easier if we abide be a few simple rules. Please use this thread for:
  • Reports of problems with underexposed or dark frames from Pentax Forums users. Please include written details and whether you were able to confirm that it is an issue with aperture control (see below for instructions).
  • Updates regarding cause, repairs, and repair details (when known)
Do NOT use this thread for:
  • Discussion of the aperture control block problem on K-30/K50/K500 models or reports for any model other than the K-70
  • Troubleshooting poor exposure. A separate thread in the K-70 subforum or in the troubleshooting section of the site might work better.
  • Photos of dark frames. If it is happening, your word is enough. Photo examples, even with full EXIF, are of limited or no value for troubleshooting or confirmation.
  • Complaints about Ricoh/Pentax product or service or business practices
  • Complaints or comments about the K-70 in general
  • Complaints about repairs from authorized facilities, including: timeliness, cost, outcome, or communication
In regards to the last three points, neither Ricoh/Pentax nor the authorized repair shops they contract with monitor activity on the Pentax Forums site.
**********************************

To date, I am aware of the following Pentax Forums users having problems with dark frames:

User @dudesohungry (31 Aug 2018) : K70 ISO problem - PentaxForums.com
Not known if this was an aperture or other problem.

User @drumhead (17 Sept 2018) : Strange behaviour from my K-70...aperture block? - PentaxForums.com
Presumptive aperture control issue. Camera sent for warranty service.

User @CodyH (30 Sept 2018): K-70 aperture motor question - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue with root cause not known. Warranty service may be attempted (camera barely out of warranty). Update -- camera is being sent for service and will probably be covered under warranty.

User @RichFam (5 Oct 2018): K-70 Underexposed Photo Reports - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue with root cause not known at about one year post purchase. Did not seek warranty service.

User @asalwa (11 Nov 2018): K70 aperture block? - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue with root cause not known, August 2018. Out-of-warranty repair was performed, though it is unknown what was replaced/adjusted.

User @Eric_Hall (10 Dec 2018): Dark images - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue with root cause not known with camera to be sent for service under warranty.

User @fernoh123 (6 Jan 2019): K-70 Underexposed Photo Reports - PentaxForums.com. Symptoms similar to aperture control issues with other model cameras. Unknown whether repair was sought.
Confirmed Camera was sent for warranty repair with cause confirmed as aperture control block failure by statement of work performed.

User @pentax360 (30 Jan 2019): K-70 Underexposed Photo Reports - PentaxForums.com. Dark frames on first few captures of a session. It is unknown whether the cause is due to failed aperture control.

User @SharkyCA (31 Mar 2019): K70 aperture block? - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com.
Confirmed aperture control issue with root cause determined to be diaphragm control block. Dark frames interspersed with properly exposed frames (middle two out of four effected in initial report and many in subsequent discussion). User sent camera to Sun Camera in Canada where they confirmed the diagnosis.

User @disasterfilm (16 Jun 2019) New K-70 - Metering issues between Live View and OVF - PentaxForums.com originally reported as dark frames when using optical viewfinder only. This is apparently a metering issue, but is recorded here just in case.

User @Alex74 (10 Jul 2019) K-70 Exposure issues - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com
Ambiguous Aperture actuation problems of unclear nature (based on repair report); root cause ambiguous...repair report "exchanged aperture mechanism and controller". User initially reported severely underexposed as well as overexposed frames despite no change in camera settings. Initially it was unknown whether this was a problem of lazy aperture or aperture control. Making no assumptions, I trust that the problem has been fixed. Report is retained in the interest of making as complete a count as reasonable.

User @rwhynacht (15 Aug 2019) New K-70 - Metering issues between Live View and OVF - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue based on repair outcome; root cause ambiguous...repair involved replacement of Aperture Control Assy and Resistor Chip. NOTE: This camera had been recently purchased.
Severely underexposed photos in auto exposure modes that, though unclear whether the issue is metering or something else, but included here just in case. The camera was serviced with report noted here.

User @tanz (23 Aug 2019) K-70 Underexposed Photo Reports - Page 7 - PentaxForums.com reports severely underexposed frames when using the optical viewfinder with live mode not having obvious problems. Likely aperture control failure based on description of stop-down behavior.

User @riverrock (9 Sept 2019) https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/193-pentax-k-70/377096-k-70-underexposed...ml#post4721041
Confirmed Aperture Control Failure/Issue, root cause unknown. Reports severely underexposed frames with visual confirmation of inappropriate aperture stop-down.

User @davedyer (12 Sept 2019) first picture is dark - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control failure/issue, root cause unknown. Reports underexposed first frame with properly exposed frames thereafter with visual confirmation of inappropriate aperture stop-down.

User @corbinco2 (25 Oct 2019) https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/53-pentax-dslr-camera-articles/377096-k-...ml#post4778685
Confirmed aperture control failure/issue, root cause unknown. Consistent dark frames after two years ownership confirmed as aperture control problem by visual inspection.

User @Progbusters (19 Nov 2019) https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/53-pentax-dslr-camera-articles/377096-k-...ml#post4818734
Confirmed aperture control failure/issue, root cause unknown. Consistent dark frames after a few months ownership confirmed as aperture control problem by visual inspection. Grey market purchase with unknown warranty options. User opted to not repair and sold camera "as-is".


**********************************


Three (initial) similar problems in less that a month's span are a potential cause for concern. Any future reports may be logged here in an effort to determine if these are isolated incidents or evidence of a larger issue. At the very least, this thread may serve to qualify claims of multiple reports from the Web regarding K-70 aperture control problems.

Note: Terminology is important and it is good to be clear on terms. Here are a few starters along with working definitions:
  • Exposure problems: images are over or underexposed. Cause may be anything from user inexperience to hardware meltdown
  • Metering issues: Bad meter readings leading to inappropriate settings
  • Dark Image Syndrome (DIS): Term coined by user @reh321 for unexplained dark frames despite correct settings
  • Aperture Control Failure/Issue: Iris opening during exposure does not reflect set value. Example: Camera is set to wide open, but exposure is made with lens stopped down to smallest opening. This sort of behavior may have many different causes as diverse as damage or failure in the lens itself and water incursion causing damage to body electronics.
  • Aperture Block Failure: This is the specific failure of the so-called aperture block solenoid used for aperture control on a wide span of Pentax SLR bodies dating back as far as the early 1980s. Failure of this component affected a large number of K-30, K-50, and K-500 bodies and was the cause of aperture control failure on those cameras. A similar unit was fitted to the K-S1 and K-S2. It is possible that the K-70 has a similar part, hence this thread.
  • Diaphragm control block : G100 Proper name and part number for the assembly that controls the aperture opening on most Pentax cameras since the early 1980s. "Aperture block" and "Aperture control block" are synonyms in common usage.
  • Diaphragm control block : G200 Proper name and part number for the assembly that controls the aperture opening on flagship models since the release of the K-7. As of 11 Oct 2018, it is not clear whether the K-70 uses this part or the G100 part above.

To test for Aperture Control Failure/Issue:
The so-called gold standard for diagnosing an issue with aperture control is to put the camera in M mode (auto ISO off, aperture ring not being used) with aperture set wide open and shutter speed at something slow (e.g. 1-2 seconds). Release the shutter while observing the aperture opening through the front of the lens. Anything other than the aperture remaining wide open is indication of a problem with the controller. If the problem has been intermittent, it may help to do the test after a period of non-use. Even one failure is significant.
Hopefully, there is no cause for alarm.


Steve

(...not a K-70 owner, but was heavily involved in the first wave of K-30 problems several years ago...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 5 Days Ago at 01:47 PM. Reason: update per user Progbusters
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11-18-2019, 10:50 AM   #121
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Sorry if i go offtopic but as this comes up, we have to -as ee say here - set the points in the i's to get it right.
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
UK is still part of the EU and anyway you have your 2015 Consumer Rights Act which goes further than the EU 2-years warranty if pushed rightly through:
I don't know about the UK Consumers Rights Act, it proves though there are different National laws.
QuoteQuote:
But even under EU law you have 2 years, so go for it:
FAQs - Guarantees and returns - Your Europe
EU law is not binding. Individual countries need to work them out in national laws - that are binding.

EU-regulations are directly binding themselves but this is nit an EU-regulation, unfortunately.

QuoteQuote:
Any company within the EU giving just 1 year warrany tries to wiggle out of their duty! They hope people believe it and give in.
Shuttercount: Google shuttercount + Pentax and you find it
Unfortunately incorrect. It depends on the national law. Most countries copied the 2 years in their national laws, some didn't.

In the Netherlands there is not a legally required warranty. There is a however a conformity law which - in one way goes much further, but on the other hand is less.

If the product fails within 6 months the seller has to prove it due to the buyer fault or chose to repair or replace. After 6 months the buyer has to prove it is production fault.

On the other hand, conformity contains an expected lifespan depending on the kind of product and price. If a product with an expected lifespan of 5 years (thus 60 months) fails after 18 months the product is repaired but the owner has to pay 18/60th, thus 30% of the repair for the 18 months of use. So that solenoid repair of $263, thus €240 after 18 months would cost €80 + 21% vat (€16.80) or totally € 96.80 / $106.50

If it failed after 9 months, thus inside the 1 year us/australia/canada warranty, the Dutch owner would still have to pay €48/$52.80

Next to that, unless Pentax changed their policy recently in the last 2 years, they don't repair products which are no longer manufactured. How they handle this if it is still under warranty i have no idea.


Last edited by KX-Digital; 11-18-2019 at 11:12 AM.
11-18-2019, 12:05 PM   #122
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Yes, but Ricoh-EU anyway gives EU-wide warranty for 1 year:

European Warranty - RICOH IMAGING EUROPE S.A.S

And Slovenia gives 2 year warranty:
Guarantees and returns - Slovenia

The problem here is, that Ricoh has no office in Slovenia:
Ricoh offices | Ricoh Europe

They have a dealer there who acts also as sole importer/sole dealer which is "Besenicar" in Ljubljana which I remember very well because I once did lots of business with a great company in Preddvor.

There is nothing wrong with this of course, but chances when you bring a camera to a dealer for warranty which you purchased outside the country is of course (understandibly) that they are not that happy that you didn't buy it "at home" so often then this is the reason why difficulties start.

One has to understand as well different mentalities and viewpoints in different countries.
11-19-2019, 12:41 PM   #123
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My K70 has this failure all of a sudden yesterday in the middle of my vacation right now. It was working well until right before it happened. I tried the aperture test mentioned and observed the blades not opening fully at max aperture and the images are dark. i set to aperture priority, set to 2 seconds shutter speed and the exposure improves. horrible. I'm overseas.

i got this few months ago on "grey market" used. took hundreds of shots before incident.



11-19-2019, 01:34 PM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by Progbusters Quote
My K70 has this failure all of a sudden yesterday in the middle of my vacation right now. It was working well until right before it happened. I tried the aperture test mentioned and observed the blades not opening fully at max aperture and the images are dark. i set to aperture priority, set to 2 seconds shutter speed and the exposure improves. horrible. I'm overseas.

i got this few months ago on "grey market" used. took hundreds of shots before incident.
Thanks for the report. It looks like your camera has an aperture control failure. Given that it is grey market, that complicates what warranty options you might have available. Some grey market cameras are simply factory-sealed goods sold outside authorized distributor channels and may carry the so-called "International Warranty" directly with Ricoh Imaging from Japan. In some cases, the grey market seller will provide a third-party warranty. Others are goods never intended for sale as new and would have no warranty, implied or otherwise.

I have added your report to the list and hope you have some recourse under warranty.


Steve

11-29-2019, 11:45 AM   #125
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No same photos Live-View as from optical viewfinder if solenoid is bad but opposite!

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote

In regards to Live Mode:
  • One can expect dark frames from photos taken in live view the same as from when using the optical viewfinder. Stopping down the lens is part of the exposure sequence for both modes.
This is wrong:

The K-70 as well as the K30/50/500/K-S2 and K-S2 set aperture to f4 when switched to Live View!
So yes, stopping down the lens (to f4) is part of the exposure sequence in LV but in VF-mode the solenoid does not stop down the lens right away, the lens is wide open.

If the solenoid is stuck:

LV: The lens is closed fully (can be seen very clearly) but because the solenoid normally actuates twice in LV it OFTEN actuates this 2.nd time when one pushed the release button. Because the mirror is not up anymore the solenoid receives more power in this moment and actuates, i.e. the K-70 (and K-S2, K30 and all others) does take a photo.

VF: Here the solenoid actuates only once when one presses the release button. The lens is wide open and the solenoid is supposed to allow the mechanism to set the aperture to what it is supposed to be. But the solenoid is stuck

So the correct answer is:

In regards to Live Mode One MUST NOT expect dark frames from photos taken in live view the same as from when using the optical viewfinder.


QuoteOriginally posted by rwhynacht Quote
Precision Camera just replaced the “aperture control assy” and “resistor chip” on my k-70.
The nearly black images in all auto modes are gone. Exposures are now correct and the repair was performed astoundingly quickly.
There is no resistor chip. Somebody got that wrong.
I have explained it in detail HERE

Last edited by photogem; 11-29-2019 at 02:20 PM.
11-29-2019, 04:38 PM   #126
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
User @Alex74 (10 Jul 2019) K-70 Exposure issues - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com
Confirmed aperture control issue based on repair quote; root cause ambiguous...quote involved replacement of Aperture Control Assy and an electronic component. User reports severely underexposed as well as overexposed frames despite no change in camera settings. Initially it was unknown whether this was a problem of lazy aperture or aperture control.
Where does user Alex74 show us overexposed frames despite no change in camera settings? He only shows us underexposed photos.

And where does it show or does he write about initially it was unknown if lazy aperture or aperture control???

I cannot not find any notion about any guess about lazy aperture (he only used the Kitlens, the DA18-55!)

Lazy aperture anyway would provide oppsite results because any A-Lens or AF-Lens plugged onto a Pentax DSLR is right away wide open. Lazy aperture is a result due to sticky blades or problems with the spring and thus overexposed pictures would be the case. But Alex74 shows us only underexposed photos.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by photogem; 12-01-2019 at 01:53 AM.
6 Days Ago   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
After losing my K-30 to the aperture control block problem (not verified since I decided not to repair, but 99.99% certain as to cause), I now find my K-70 is exhibiting symptoms of the same failure. The only modern lens I can use (on either camera, after updating K-30 to K-50 firmware) is my Pentax-DA 55-300 ED PLM WR lens, the one with electronic aperture. In fact, using this lens probably hid from me the early signs of the failure as I rarely use other lenses now, unless I'm in the bush with my 90 mm Tamron macro [Peter: photographing ferns mainly]. I have a bunch of manual and early K lenses, but don't find the inclination to use them much of the time.

I have a two year no-questions asked third-party Australian warranty on the K-70 so hopefully that repair won't cost me, but my K-30 is now 4+ years out of warranty. The K-70 first exhibited problems 9 months after purchase, at about 8000 images, K-30 at about 5 years (and some 13,500 images).

So here's hoping that all is well, and I get a longer time before failure from the repair to the K-70. In the meantime, I think the 90mm Macro will sit on my still working *ist-DS, and the 55-300 will be on the K-30(-50)!

Peter
I discovered that in Australia Pentax has 2 year warranty, so I finally sent my K-70 for warranty repair just before the manufacturer's warranty period expired in early September this year. The third party warranty I mentioned earlier doesn't cut in until after that date. Repair took just over a week. I then submitted my K-30, which took a little longer, and being out of warranty, cost me AUD $180, USD about $120. The old aperture block part was returned to me with the repaired K-30, green plastic for the armature winding case as you might expect. I presume that the newly fitted part was similar. The old part came in the plastic bag supplied with the replacement part, indicating part number and other details, and dated 2019/08/23. Some of the details, according to Google Translate: Code No. 9650130-1, Product Name: 'M Bucking Rubber' [wow, that was unexpected], Qty 1, Date of Issue as above, Issued Department 'T104, Spare Shipment'.


Both cameras are working well, and I'm probably tempting fate, but I keep the 55-300 PLM lens on my K-70 most of the time...

Peter
6 Days Ago   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
´The old part came in the plastic bag supplied with the replacement part, indicating part number and other details, and dated 2019/08/23. Some of the details, according to Google Translate: Code No. 9650130-1, Product Name: 'M Bucking Rubber' [wow, that was unexpected], Qty 1, Date of Issue as above, Issued Department 'T104, Spare Shipment'.
Thanks.
So now you can shoot airsoft BB's with your K30. What a transformation. Too bad it wasn't a Mad Bull accelerator, you'd be able to hunt
What information did you get on the repair of your K70?

6 Days Ago   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Thanks.
So now you can shoot airsoft BB's with your K30. What a transformation. Too bad it wasn't a Mad Bull accelerator, you'd be able to hunt
What information did you get on the repair of your K70?
Very droll, Photogem.

Both service dockets quoted the same information: "Item Code: 77860-G100-01, Description: Diaphragm Control Block", but the K-30 docket included the price (AUD $26.31). The old part was not returned with the K-70, only with the K-30. That may have related to proof of warranty repair by the Australian distributor/repairer (C.R.Kennedy) perhaps.

The K-70 repair was described as "Dismantled the camera, replaced the diaphragm control block magnet, reassembled, checked & tested. All Okay". More or less similar wording used for the K-30, but it additionally needed a "battery hook", the plastic tab that holds the battery in place (latter cost AUD $1.00!).
6 Days Ago   #130
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QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
Both cameras are working well, and I'm probably tempting fate, but I keep the 55-300 PLM lens on my K-70 most of the time...

Peter
The PLM {KAF4} lens should have worked throughout this period, since it doesn't use the part of the body that failed.

More importantly, as I understand it, it does not exercise the part of the body that failed. If this were my cameras, I would make more use of a lens "below" the KAF4, say a 18-55mm or a 18-135 lens, because they will use the part of the body that failed. Experience seems to indicate that the body part will fail faster if it is used less.
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QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
I discovered that in Australia Pentax has 2 year warranty, so I finally sent my K-70 for warranty repair just before the manufacturer's warranty period expired in early September this year. The third party warranty I mentioned earlier doesn't cut in until after that date. Repair took just over a week. I then submitted my K-30, which took a little longer, and being out of warranty, cost me AUD $180, USD about $120. The old aperture block part was returned to me with the repaired K-30, green plastic for the armature winding case as you might expect. I presume that the newly fitted part was similar. The old part came in the plastic bag supplied with the replacement part, indicating part number and other details, and dated 2019/08/23. Some of the details, according to Google Translate: Code No. 9650130-1, Product Name: 'M Bucking Rubber' [wow, that was unexpected], Qty 1, Date of Issue as above, Issued Department 'T104, Spare Shipment'.


Both cameras are working well, and I'm probably tempting fate, but I keep the 55-300 PLM lens on my K-70 most of the time...

Peter
Thanks for closing the loop. I hope the repairs to both cameras hold and that this is the last you have to deal with this sort of issue.


Steve
5 Days Ago   #132
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Thanks for the report. It looks like your camera has an aperture control failure. Given that it is grey market, that complicates what warranty options you might have available. Some grey market cameras are simply factory-sealed goods sold outside authorized distributor channels and may carry the so-called "International Warranty" directly with Ricoh Imaging from Japan. In some cases, the grey market seller will provide a third-party warranty. Others are goods never intended for sale as new and would have no warranty, implied or otherwise.

I have added your report to the list and hope you have some recourse under warranty.


Steve
Thank you for your information. I have put it away, un-repaired. Someone here has offered to buy it from me.
Alan
5 Days Ago   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
Both service dockets quoted the same information: "Item Code: 77860-G100-01, Description: Diaphragm Control Block", but the K-30 docket included the price (AUD $26.31).
Thanks, thats very precise.
77860-G100-01 is the partnumber of the Diaphragm Control Block
since the K-30 and all have the green China-Solenoid installed. Very good price for the part.

QuoteOriginally posted by fernoh123 Quote
The K-70 repair was described as "Dismantled the camera, replaced the diaphragm control block magnet, reassembled, checked & tested. All Okay". More or less similar wording used for the K-30, but it additionally needed a "battery hook", the plastic tab that holds the battery in place (latter cost AUD $1.00!).
Very interesting because here we have a similar kind of error as with this non-existing mysterious blown-up resistor .

They obviously didn't just replace the magnet alone , because this wouldn't do anything.

They replaced the complete assembly although replacing the solenoid with its magnet would be that much easier and if it would be the Japan solenoid, it would be much better but sadly they can't, the Japan-Solenoid isn't manufactured anymore since years.

The price for the battery hook is great! Seems to me that "down under" you've got some good service!

Quite the opposite of what one hears about "precision"... the name demands otherwise
5 Days Ago   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by Progbusters Quote
Thank you for your information. I have put it away, un-repaired. Someone here has offered to buy it from me.
Alan
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Thanks, thats very precise.
77860-G100-01 is the partnumber of the Diaphragm Control Block
since the K-30 and all have the green China-Solenoid installed. Very good price for the part.


Very interesting because here we have a similar kind of error as with this non-existing mysterious blown-up resistor .

They obviously didn't just replace the magnet alone , because this wouldn't do anything.

They replaced the complete assembly although replacing the solenoid with its magnet would be that much easier and if it would be the Japan solenoid, it would be much better but sadly they can't, the Japan-Solenoid isn't manufactured anymore since years.

The price for the battery hook is great! Seems to me that "down under" you've got some good service!

Quite the opposite of what one hears about "precision"... the name demands otherwise
As it looks like an "aperture control block" failure and you have put the camera away un-repaired perhaps you would like a place where you can order the part for repair. This is a picture of the part replaced in my k-70

And here is a link where the part can be purchased in the USA under $40.00 US. Pentax 77860-G0100 Diaphragm Control Block | K-S2 | K-30 | K-50 | PartsUSCamera

Hope this can revive your k-70! Link is same as Photgem posted above.

Last edited by SharkyCA; 5 Days Ago at 06:29 AM. Reason: Link correction
4 Days Ago   #135
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One can do it this way. But much better and easier is to buy the white Japan Solenoid on ebay
which is a final solution or to get it from any DSLR from the *istD up to the K-r.
The K30 was the first Pentax to use the green solenoid in the diaphragm assembly.
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