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03-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
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Pentax *ist DL - pictures come out black?

Hi,

I have a Pentax *ist DL camera that I bought a few years ago. During the past fall, it all of a sudden had issues where I would take a picture and it comes out black (and it's not a settings issue either).

I bought a K-x since then and it's great for my needs.

I am curious though - what can I do with my DL? I would like to get it fixed, if possible. I know the LCD is not the issue because I swap SD cards from my KX to my DL and the pictures appear fine.

I have looked at a few old messages and it states that the sensor has gone bad, however some say the issue corrects itself over time.

What can I do?

03-19-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Have you tried different lenses by any chance?
03-19-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
Have you tried different lenses by any chance?
Yes, its not that either. I think I'll just sell it on E-bay as-is. I opened the camera since I posted the original message and I wasn't able to determine anything that looked like it caused it to fail (I got shocked in the process too...oops!

It powers on and the flash works...I figure someone could buy it for parts.
08-22-2011, 03:24 AM   #4
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I've just had the same problem with my Pentax ist DL

Shutter fires fine
reads the light fine
camera focusses fine
I've changed lenses, and cleaned the lens contacts and those on the camera body.
I've changed the batteries
I've changed the memory cards

but, same problem applies.

A few days ago all was still fine. Now every photo is black. Just over 10000 actuations in total on the camera.

I suspect the sensor has died.

Not very happy if that is the case. Can the lifespan of the sensor on a istDL be limited to as little as 10000 actuations?

The authorised Pentax service agents in South Africa reckon its not economically viable to replace the sensor, it would be less expensive to buy a new body.




Last edited by pentaxza1; 08-22-2011 at 04:31 AM.
08-27-2011, 08:56 AM   #5
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Have you checked the EXif to be sure it really is at least trying to use reasonable exposure settings?
08-27-2011, 01:01 PM   #6
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Yup, it makes no difference what the exposure settings are, I tested outside in full sunlight on all modes even manual and AUTO with different settings....all with the same results.

I even reset the camera to default.

Checked the Exif with PhotoMe, all of the black images registered all the camera settings in the EXIF, regardless of the lens used. Nothing but black. Even if you push the levels up to see if there is any hint of an image, there is nothing.

Camera worked one moment - the next; everything worked except that the sensor transferred only black to the SD card.

The fact that it transferred image info to the SD card, means its transferring the camera data, so the SD is not faulty.

But all that it transfers is black with different exposure settings etc in the EXIF.

And yes the lens caps were off.

It was impossible to buy a Pentax body separately here, the retailers were only interested in selling me another body AND more lenses. Which to me is unacceptable.

After that, I regretfully have decided to move over to Canon after years of using Pentax since 35mm days.

Last edited by pentaxza1; 08-27-2011 at 01:19 PM.
08-28-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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You misunderstand. I'm not asking if the Exif is *there*, I am asking if it is *reasonable*. That is, are you doing a sanity check againt Sunny 16 to make sure the meter is not suggesting something crazy like a shutter speed of 1/40000 at ISO 100 and f/32.
08-29-2011, 12:11 AM   #8
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No, I did not misunderstand (if only it was as simple as that ) - the sunny 16 rule was applied, it made no difference at all.

The problem is not a user error, but a failure of the camera sensor. My camera's light meter is reading the light just fine.

It was a great camera - its sensor just didn't last very long. If you own one, expect the rest of the camera to outlast the sensor. That has been my experience.


Last edited by pentaxza1; 08-29-2011 at 12:24 AM.
09-04-2011, 06:52 AM   #9
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Humor me and change the brand of battery. Yes, I had the same problem and when
I changed brands of battery the problem went away. I was trying to save a couple
bucks and buy a store brand in the long run it cost more. Live and Learn Also use
a pencil eraser and clean the contacts on the camera and lens.
Let us know if this helps Good Luck
09-05-2011, 12:11 AM   #10
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Humour me in understanding your logic - how will changing the battery make any difference?

You see the batteries run the rest of the camera's functions just fine. So that's not the issue, neither was there any issue with the memory card that works perfectly in my new Canon.

I don't try saving money on the batteries I use, the rechargeable one's I've found are drained in no time. So never used Hahnel rechargeable batteries with the Pentax again, but I am the owner of a whole collection of useless Hahnel batteries and Hahnel chargers.

The Lithium Energizer AA batteries have served me well for years.

The camera worked fine one moment, the next thing, every image came out black - regardless of replacing the batteries, swapping out memory cards, the camera settings or the lens fitted.

I clean the contacts on the body and the lenses regularly.

Last edited by pentaxza1; 09-05-2011 at 12:44 AM.
09-10-2011, 09:27 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxza1 Quote
Humour me in understanding your logic - how will changing the battery make any difference?

You see the batteries run the rest of the camera's functions just fine. So that's not the issue, neither was there any issue with the memory card that works perfectly in my new Canon.
1. It's easy!
2. Different functions take different amounts of power. Batteries might be able to provide enough current for some functions but not others. On a car, the headlights might work but the starter takes a lot more power.

Here's something else to try. Put the camera in Bulb mode. Put the AF-MF switch in MF. Remove the lens. Press the shutter button and look into the lens mount. The mirror should flip up, the shutter should open and you should see the sensor, like this:



If you see dark gray, probably with horizontal lines, that's the shutter curtains not opening when they're supposed to.
09-12-2011, 01:46 AM   #12
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tried that after this issue cropped up - the shutter curtain works, its not the problem either.
01-07-2012, 01:02 PM   #13
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Same problem

My *ist D has only a couple thousand shots under its belt, and the sensor failed. Loved it until this happened recently.

Fairwell, Pentax.
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