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09-02-2015, 01:04 AM   #1
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Pentax ZX-5n mirror motor problem (MZ-S/alternatives any better?)

I've just bought a Pentax ZX-5N from evilbay, lovely condition but on the 1st shot the mirror locked up & is inoperable. The mirror has since partially moved back to position, but the screen is semi-dark, shutter will not fire & camera makes a whirring noise. Searching the web I assume this is the commonly reported issue of gear motor failure. I wondered if any kind people on this forum had up-to-date intelligence on:
(a) Where a new gear can be sourced and/or where the camera may be repaired (tried Newton Ellis & Harrow Technical to no avail);
(b) Whether there is an alternative Pentax body without this problem - I've read pretty much all the MZ/ZX line has the issue? There has been a suggestion that the MZ-S has a stronger metal gear but this seems to be conjecture based on it being an overall better-built/more pro-spec camera, does anyone know definitively if this is the case? I wouldn't want to pay the premium only for the same thing to crop up. I ideally like the compactness, styling & simplicity of the MZ range (such as the MZ-3);
(c) If the gear could be replaced in these cameras are there any other potential issues to be aware of?
Would be really grateful for any help on this. I've just sold-off my entire Nikon range as the Pentax glass looked a little more special, but dissapointed as now left without a functioning 35mm system. Just need to find a reliable camera body to pair all my new lenses with!
Thanks very much :-)

09-02-2015, 01:46 AM   #2
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This is the standard mirror motor problem, the MZ range was fitted with a metal cog later on and the MZ-S was one of the last introduced so the fix was factory applied. in the U.K the fox costs 65.00 and includes a service from the appointed U.K repairer.
09-02-2015, 02:50 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot for your reply, much appreciated. Could I just confirm if Johnsons Photopia Ltd is the UK repairer you mean, as they informed me they no longer fix Pentax film cameras? Incidentally I also just contacted Asahi Photo Ltd who fortunately also seem able to deal with this problem.
09-02-2015, 04:49 PM   #4
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US Camera in the States was selling the replacement motor with metal gear but it is now listed as no longer available. Either the stocks finally dried up or they are unable to purchase any more from Ricoh due to Ricoh's parts sales policy.

One of the threads on Pentax forums mentions a German company and website that you can order a suitable metal replacement gear (it showed a picture of the packaging with the part number from Germany). You would have to do the repair yourself or at least supply the gear to a repair person.

09-03-2015, 04:59 AM   #5
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Rob I did not see you are a UK user, Asahi Photo are the guys for your repair, they are sometimes a bit busy but they get it done. they are a life long Pentax repairer and an official repairer, they still tackle spotmatics, over the years I have had 2 x MZ5N and a MZ6 all three had the cog problem, they still do this repair I have just got back from them a rare MZ3 black with the same problem, once done you have the best Pentax camera only the MZ3 beats the MZ5N, and at one time I had 3 MZ-S, its a superb camera but the controls on the MZ5N/3 are so intuitive and logical, all you need is a 28-70 f4 and you are using one of the best 35mm cameras produced by anybody. Regards Tim
09-03-2015, 06:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snappertim Quote
Rob I did not see you are a UK user, Asahi Photo are the guys for your repair, they are sometimes a bit busy but they get it done. they are a life long Pentax repairer and an official repairer, they still tackle spotmatics, over the years I have had 2 x MZ5N and a MZ6 all three had the cog problem, they still do this repair I have just got back from them a rare MZ3 black with the same problem, once done you have the best Pentax camera only the MZ3 beats the MZ5N, and at one time I had 3 MZ-S, its a superb camera but the controls on the MZ5N/3 are so intuitive and logical, all you need is a 28-70 f4 and you are using one of the best 35mm cameras produced by anybody. Regards Tim
Hi Tim, Thanks a lot for the info. That's reassuring to hear about Asahi Photo, I will send it off to them as they are also the only repairers to give back a positive response. Appreciate the details on camera models...simplicity of design is what I'm after so like you say the MZ-3 or 5N are probably best (MZ-S sounds similar to my former Nikon, where I found the F6 & F100 overkill feature-wise and "downgraded" to F80 for compactness/ease of design layout). Incidentally, does the MZ-3 have multiple exposure facility lacking on the 5n (I couldn't find an answer on the net)? Thanks for the tip on the 28-70, do you happen to know how this compares to the FA 28-105 f/3.2-4.5 AL (IF)? Cheers, Rob
09-03-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax_rob Quote
Hi Tim, Thanks a lot for the info. That's reassuring to hear about Asahi Photo, I will send it off to them as they are also the only repairers to give back a positive response. Appreciate the details on camera models...simplicity of design is what I'm after so like you say the MZ-3 or 5N are probably best (MZ-S sounds similar to my former Nikon, where I found the F6 & F100 overkill feature-wise and "downgraded" to F80 for compactness/ease of design layout). Incidentally, does the MZ-3 have multiple exposure facility lacking on the 5n (I couldn't find an answer on the net)? Thanks for the tip on the 28-70, do you happen to know how this compares to the FA 28-105 f/3.2-4.5 AL (IF)? Cheers, Rob
Hello Rob no the mz5n/3 has not got a multiple exposure facility, having said this in over 40 years of photography I have never used multiple exposure, best to do this in photoshop and retain all components as separate pictures, I have a friend who has a shot of a nightime full moon that's appeared in a least a dozen of his club entries, on various foregrounds, on to the 28-105 compact 3.2-4.5, this and the 24-90 3.5-4.5 were the two standard lens from the MZ-S the 28-105 has had mixed reviews, I have two silver and black both early models made in Japan, mine are sharp and have excellent contrast, the 24-90 is excellent but it was not made as long as the 28-105 so second hand prices are higher, the 28-105 4-5.6 power zoom is heavy and no bayonet on petal lens hood, the 28-105 4-5.6 internal focus is a Tamron buy in its ok but falls apart inside, all this info is available on the greatest Pentax site for specs Boz Demitrioffs K mount site just Google Boz Pentax. Regards Tim
09-03-2015, 03:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snappertim Quote
Hello Rob no the mz5n/3 has not got a multiple exposure facility, having said this in over 40 years of photography I have never used multiple exposure, best to do this in photoshop and retain all components as separate pictures, I have a friend who has a shot of a nightime full moon that's appeared in a least a dozen of his club entries, on various foregrounds, on to the 28-105 compact 3.2-4.5, this and the 24-90 3.5-4.5 were the two standard lens from the MZ-S the 28-105 has had mixed reviews, I have two silver and black both early models made in Japan, mine are sharp and have excellent contrast, the 24-90 is excellent but it was not made as long as the 28-105 so second hand prices are higher, the 28-105 4-5.6 power zoom is heavy and no bayonet on petal lens hood, the 28-105 4-5.6 internal focus is a Tamron buy in its ok but falls apart inside, all this info is available on the greatest Pentax site for specs Boz Demitrioffs K mount site just Google Boz Pentax. Regards Tim
Hi Tim, Thanks so much for getting back to me, you've been extremely helpful :-) The Boz site does look great, sure I will be referring to it frequently. I have an MZ-30 as backup which does multiple exposure anyhow if I did need it (though like you say probably never end up using!). That's assisted me in narrowing down my choices for a zoom, will just do a little bit more research on the final contenders! Thank you again & all best, Rob

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