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11-07-2014, 01:27 PM   #1
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ME mirror light leak, and lens issue

I have an old hand-me-down Pentax ME. I bought some film and ran around my campus taking some pictures to make sure everything was working right and I ran into two issues.

The first issue is light leaking through the viewfinder past the mirror. I called some of the local shops (about two hours away) , one said to do a diagnosis and get a quote I would need to drop it off and come back in a few days (which would end up being a week before i would be able to get back), the other just laughed and said they wouldn't be able to get parts. I found a seal kit on ebay, but I don't have any tools and I wouldn't really know what i was doing so that's out.

The second issue is with one of my lenses. It is a Tamron 28-70mm lens. Whenever I use this lens the split prism will turn black if your eye is not perfectly aligned, and i often have to hold the camera away from my eye to get it back. This is happening at all aperture settings, but only with this lens.

Does anyone have any suggestions on either issue?

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11-07-2014, 01:43 PM   #2
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Unfortunately they are not worth fixing. You can find replacements on eBay cheap.
11-07-2014, 03:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
The second issue is with one of my lenses. It is a Tamron 28-70mm lens. Whenever I use this lens the split prism will turn black if your eye is not perfectly aligned, and i often have to hold the camera away from my eye to get it back. This is happening at all aperture settings, but only with this lens.
The split prism blacking out is due to slow speed lenses - usually with minimum aperture of f5.6 and smaller openings.
Since the ME does not have a user changeable prism, you will have to live with this or use faster lenses.
11-07-2014, 03:55 PM   #4
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as far as the light leak, I ran a flash light around all the seams and the only light coming through is from around the mirror. I looked on ebay and found a few that were alleged to be in good condition for about what it would cost to fix the camera I have. If I decide to go the route of replacing the camera are there any recommendations for what model? I would prefer one that would accept the same lenses as my budget is small (college student).

The lens goes from f3.5 to f22, my other lens goes from f1.7 to f22. so is it a function of the lens itself not the aperture that would cause the prism to black out?

11-07-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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The split prism blacking out varies with different prisms but generally starts with slow lenses f5.6 and slower. I am surprised it blacks out at f3.5. Is that a constant f3.5 or does it go down to f5.6 at 70mm?
Unfortunately the ME doesn't have DOF preview either for you to manually stop your faster lens to see the prism blackout on your faster lens if you were to stop it down.
11-07-2014, 04:12 PM   #6
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that actually raises another question. Does the light meter in the viewfinder assume that the aperture will be wide open or does it have a way to read the setting when determining exposure?
11-07-2014, 04:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
If I decide to go the route of replacing the camera are there any recommendations for what model? I would prefer one that would accept the same lenses as my budget is small (college student).
There are many options depending on features and cost. You can look in the local ads on this site, local craigslist and the mail order keh.com that have guarantees for other than "as-is".

---------- Post added 11-07-14 at 06:18 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
that actually raises another question. Does the light meter in the viewfinder assume that the aperture will be wide open or does it have a way to read the setting when determining exposure?
The lens couples to the body to let it know what aperture has been selected. Given that the exposure you have on your example looks "right", that part must be working.

If you don't have it, you can get a copy of the manual for this and others at http://www.butkus.org/chinon/pentax/pentax_me/pentax_me.htm

Last edited by LesDMess; 11-07-2014 at 04:22 PM.
11-07-2014, 04:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
Nail polish remover and some chop sticks will get the gooey old seals out.
NO! NO! NO!

Nail polish remover contains acetone which has the potential to etch various plastic optical parts of the camera. The proper solvent to soften and help remove old light seal foam is lighter fluid (a.k.a. Ronsonol).

As for the light leak...It is most likely at the seals around the film door on the camera's back. A light leak around the mirror is possible, but usually shows on long exposures when the camera is strongly backlit. Did you have the light leak on more than one frame, but in a somewhat different location in each frame? Does it extend beyond the frame edges into the sprocket holes? A light leak in the mirror box will be in the same location on each exposure where it shows and will not extend beyond the film frame.*

As for the seal replacement...
  • You can expect to pay $45+ USD to have it done professionally
  • The eBay kits are a rip-off
  • Jon Goodman's kits are inexpensive ($10 USD including postage) have the best materials, come with detailed instructions and also include the only specialized tool (1) needed to do the job**. JGood21967@aol.com


Steve

* I have a camera with a light leak on the lens side of the shutter and know that from which I speak.

** To do the seal replacement you need: 1) steady hands, 2) a pair of tweezers, 3) a wooden/bamboo splint to clean out the old seal material (part of Goodman's kit), 4) lighter fluid to soften the old seal material for removal, 5) a few soft cotton rags to help clean off the goo off tools and hands and what not.

---------- Post added 11-07-14 at 03:38 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
I ran a flash light around all the seams and the only light coming through is from around the mirror.
Shining the light through the viewfinder eyepiece with shutter open (mirror up)?

You are aware that a light leak from the rear seals will not be visible unless you are inside the film chamber with the door shut and the shutter closed, right? Usually that sort of light leak is at the hinge side near the take-up spool.


Steve

---------- Post added 11-07-14 at 03:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
that actually raises another question. Does the light meter in the viewfinder assume that the aperture will be wide open or does it have a way to read the setting when determining exposure?
The meter measures the light striking the focus screen prior to exposure. (The light sensors are on either side of the eyepiece and basically see what you see.) The meter reading is biased according to the aperture ring position based on the position of a coupler tab on the lens that engages a corresponding tab on the body. The system is quite elegant in its design and is not dependent upon any component "knowing" the actual maximum aperture or the actual f/number, shutter speed, or aperture. You can see the lens side of the aperture coupling by looking at the lens mount while turning the aperture ring. There is a little tab that moves in a groove as an extension of the aperture ring.


Steve

---------- Post added 11-07-14 at 03:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
is it a function of the lens itself not the aperture that would cause the prism to black out?
Prism blackout is a characteristic of all split image focus aides. The point at which this happens is dependent on lens aperture (not the amount of light) and differs according to prism design. Most will have some blackout at f/5.6 and narrower, while others (the Nikon K3 and KatzEye screens, for example) will resist blackout to f/8 or f/11.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 11-07-2014 at 06:29 PM.
11-07-2014, 07:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
The light leaks are from the rear door seals. These are easy to replace. Nothing has to be unscrewed. Nail polish remover and some chop sticks will get the gooey old seals out. The new ones just press into place, no glue needed. Contact Jon Goodman at JGood21967@Aol.com He will sell you a seal kit with instructions.
Agree. I have replaced the seals on all my Film cameras with the seals from John Goodman. The instructions are easy to understand and are detailed. They even include the tools needed
11-08-2014, 06:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Prism blackout is a characteristic of all split image focus aides. The point at which this happens is dependent on lens aperture (not the amount of light) and differs according to prism design. Most will have some blackout at f/5.6 and narrower, while others (the Nikon K3 and KatzEye screens, for example) will resist blackout to f/8 or f/11.
Steve
If you can believe it, even on bellows the K3 split image does not black out. The Canon New F-1 also has a split image prisms that doesn't black out.

Unfortunately, these ultrabright prisms are impossible to focus when the scene is dark as everything looks in focus. I haven't tried a Katzeye so I don't know if this applies.
11-08-2014, 09:02 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rimfiredude Quote
Unfortunately they are not worth fixing. You can find replacements on eBay cheap.
In a practical sense you may be right but I suspect that the OP is like me in that the ME (MX in my case) has been with him so long he really want that camera not a camera like it. Totally foolish to be attached emotionally to a camera but that is often how it is, my MX shared so many precious moments with me as my children grew up and went to college. Sorry, just a sentimental old Pentaxian.
11-08-2014, 09:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
I suspect that the OP...
I suspect that the OP ran from the room. I, along with (I think) most of the other contributors on this thread, did not notice that this was his first post. I am afraid that we did not deal with him as gently as we might have.


Steve
11-08-2014, 09:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I suspect that the OP ran from the room. I, along with (I think) most of the other contributors on this thread, did not notice that this was his first post. I am afraid that we did not deal with him as gently as we might have.


Steve
that is a shame. Oh well, the rest of us got something out of it.
11-08-2014, 08:23 PM   #14
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I didn't run, just got caught up in some homework. I have also been doing a little research and was looking at the possibility of a dslr. while I love using film it's not cheap, and a decent cheap dslr might pay for it self rather quickly if I get to where I can shoot more often.
11-09-2014, 06:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Josh9623 Quote
I have also been doing a little research and was looking at the possibility of a dslr. while I love using film it's not cheap, and a decent cheap dslr might pay for it self rather quickly if I get to where I can shoot more often.
There are several of us here that shoot both film and digital. They both have their pluses and minuses.
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