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11-25-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Pentax K-R Broken Flash/Auto Focus


I took my first dive into the SLR market with the purchase from B and H of a Pentax K-r with an 18-55 and 50-200 kit.

Its a good camera other than for its loud auto-focus, which doesn't matter much in loud settings but for smaller groups of people it is embarrassing.

Anyways I haven't used my camera much lately being busy, so I charged up a battery and went out shooting only to discover a problem. When I pop my flash, or when it auto pops, the flash won't go off. Also the camera doesn't auto-focus, and it won't release the shutter unless I change one of the custom settings that allows the camera to shoot without the flash being charged. (This is only while the flash is popped, with the flash down the camera operates normally).

I hooked up an external flash which triggered perfectly.

My warrant JUST expired at the beginning of November, which is really quite dirty of Pentax to produce a camera that fails right after warranty. I'm rather upset with Pentax, and I will update the thread after I talk to tech support Tuesday. In the future I'll unfortunately have to buy canon or nikon, despite Pentax's value and uniqueness.

If anyone has experienced this problem please let me know what happened.

11-25-2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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Any company who could deliberately cause a product to fail just after the warranty ends wouldn't be making products anymore, they'd be offering their services to other companies for big money. The warranty on my K100D was out 4 years ago and that was a 90 day warranty for a refurbished one, it hasn't skipped a beat, it is only being replaced because a new K-5 is too cheap to pass up.

If you're nice and don't get angry at support, ranting about how you'll never buy from them again, you might be able to get something worked out with them. They have been known to stretch a warranty slightly, almost all companies will if you handle it right. Telling us you're jumping ship because of a broken camera doesn't help your cause either, especially because cameras from every single manufacturer will break, some early, some late, brand has nothing to do with it.

Hopefully there is something simple causing it, auto focus could be corroded contacts in the mount, but I don't think that should affect the flash. I could be wrong though, I don't use auto focus or the built in flash.
11-25-2012, 11:03 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by omegawolf Quote
In the future I'll unfortunately have to buy canon or nikon, despite Pentax's value and uniqueness.
Of course you should, those brands never break.

Like Elliott said explain the situation calmly and politely and you are more likely to get a good result when talking to tech support.
11-26-2012, 02:52 AM   #4
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Ok, so now you know that Pentax didn't plan this and that other brand cameras also have problems.
The flash breaking can be either the light module or the circuit. The AF.. I don't know why the AF would stop working due to the flash. You can take the camera in for repair and see what they tell you.
Other than that, all you can do is try firmware update, resetting to factory default settings, trying a different lens (regarding AF. Btw, some lenses have louder AF than others), trying a different battery, cleaning lens contacts.. But I doubt these will fix the flash.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 11-26-2012 at 09:00 AM.
11-26-2012, 03:15 AM   #5
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The first thing I would check if having these kind of problems are the batteries. At least if it is older types of AA NiMH cells with high self-discharge. They might be damaged if left in the camera for several month. If a battery is damaged the flash might not charge fully which can lead to these problems.

I using quick-chargers for AA batteries it's an even bigger risk of batteries being damages as the batteries might be overheated when charging.
11-26-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by omegawolf Quote
When I pop my flash, or when it auto pops, the flash won't go off
This can happen if your shutter speed is faster than 1/180.
11-27-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Thanks for the support. I was a bit frustrated with my first post on the jumping ship stuff, yes other manufacturers are just as likely to break.

I spoke to Pentax USA, who directed me to Pentax Canada, who wouldn't honor the warranty, and wanted a 50$ handling fee. I also could barely understand them (really thick accents).

Since I purchased the camera in the USA and have a shipping address there I called Pentax USA back and they honor warranties up to 30 days past the expiration date, so that would be up to Dec.5 for me. Anyways, as long as they get the camera by Dec.5 they will do repairs for free. I could also understand the Pentax USA representative, very impressed that they haven't shipped their call center over seas.

As for troubleshooting,
- I have ensured a slower than 1/180 shutter speed - still no flash
- I have given my contacts a wipe on both camera and lens - still no flash/or working autofocus
- I use lithium ion batteries in my camera (one from pentax, one from pearstone (purchased from B&H) - Neither will fire the flash
- I've tried different lenses, my 18-55, 50-200, and an OLD 28-80 lens that is flaky at the best of times (sticky aperture, and will flip my mirror on any button I push in the camera - heard its a voltage issue) - still no flash

I have NOT updated firmware yet and I don't want to accidentally void the 30 days of extra warranty.

Thanks for your help on the troubleshooting but I don't think a firmware update will fix a problem that has "developed" during the use of the camera. If it is a firmware issue I'll let Pentax fix it.

I'll post what the problem/solution is with my camera when I get the information, and how much it would cost (if I get a receipt) without warranty, for others that might have a k-r with similar issues.

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