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09-16-2012, 12:20 PM   #1
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Strange fault, maybe temperature related

Has anyone come across this?

In Dec 2010 I bought a Pentax K5, from a well known UK dealer. It went back to Pentax c. Jan 2011 due to the contaminated sensor problem.

It has been fine since but on a holiday which we are on just now, in Greece, it has started a strange behaviour:

1. Initially, a half-press of the button makes the shutter click 2x or 3x, but no picture is taken. The camera still works so this is no more than an irritation.

2. Later, the camera (I use the TAV mode most of the time) keeps reverting to 1/125 and F8 which is the factory default for the TAV mode. This is a hassle because I have to adjust it all the time, for each shot.

3. Later, the camera just dies and does not respond to any of the shooting controls. The menus can still be entered and changed around as normal but the two wheels do nothing and no pictures can be taken.

The problem is intermittent and, with the same original Pentax battery (which has not been recharged so the battery charge state is not the issue), it later starts to work OK.

It may be temperature related, but not in an obvious way. It is certainly activity related in that once it starts to play up it just gets worse and worse. It may also be altitude related because the problem started in a light aircraft at c. 16000ft. However it has been to 20000ft (unpressurised cockpit) many times before with no issues. And it has been working fine afterwards at the same altitude on later flights.

What are my options? I am trying to find out if it is still under warranty? If the warranty is 2 years then it should be. If not, what is the likely repair charge? But most importantly what should be my best strategy to get it fixed if Pentax say they cannot find the fault. Currently, on the ground, it is working fine.

If Pentax want more than a few hundred quid then I will have to consider dumping Pentax and going to e.g. Canon. I have just 2 lenses; one is a good 500 one (SDM) and the other is a cheap telephone one. I think most of the DSLR names are now offering the special high sensitivity sensor which the K5 was so famous for when it came out and which makes it such a good camera.

09-16-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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Take a look at this thread for more info on the problem:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5/152033-k5-mirror-flops-smoking...ht=mirror+flop

I think that normally they replace the motherboard to fix this issue. And unfortunately, I believe that the European Pentax warranty is only good for 1 year

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09-16-2012, 12:31 PM   #3
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Might want to try restoring the camera to factory settings.

Also, do you have more than one battery to try in the camera? Is it a Pentax battery?
09-16-2012, 12:33 PM   #4
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Sorry you're having those troubles. It could be that the original battery, and you said you only have one, is at fault. From what I gather from your post you have had one battery for about 2 years. It is possible that it is loosing its ability to retain a full charge. Certainly cheaper to try a new one and see if that fixes things than to have the MB replaced out of warranty.

09-16-2012, 09:42 PM   #5
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Many thanks for that link.

Yes it describes what I get and the sequence of events (i.e. a fully charged battery AND a high ambient) would correspond to my problem.

However my camera doesn't just do mirror flops; it eventually stops working, until it has been left "alone" for some hours. A mere cooling down is not enough.

I have two batteries: the original Pentax one and a high quality German one which has a similar capacity (and a similar price ). I no longer use the Ebay-type batteries for anything (other than a laptop which one bought for 50 and whose battery is totally gone) because most of them are rubbish and have much lower capacities. I have not yet had a chance to try the German battery but will do so next time it happens.

Does anyone have any idea of the cost of getting this fixed?

The daft thing is that (as suggested on that thread) it is probably just an overheating voltage regulator which costs pennies.
09-20-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Your description fits perfectly to an increased inner resistance of a power supply. Any activity which needs a high current at start will not work if repeated; after some time of inactivity the power supply is ready again for some tries.

I would think either the battery or the charger are not in specs anymore. As I don't have any knowledge about possible power regulating/stabilizing circuits in the body, I cannot exclude issues with these circuits. But I would first think of the accu and/or the charger.
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