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09-29-2018, 10:58 AM   #1
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Issues with my Pentax ME Super

Hi guys! I recently got into analog photography so sorry if I'm asking something silly.

Today I received my Pentax ME Super and noticed that the light seal in the front (mirror bumper I think) is broken/gone, there's still some left in there most of it is gone. Since I'm not an expert and I'm just starting I couldn't really tell if something else is broken or not working, the camera seems in GREAT condition though, I'm amazed by how "new" it looks.

My question is... Can I still shoot my first roll without that one light seal being fixed? I bought a Portra 400 which is quite expensive compared to other films and I don't feel like wasting 10 euros there if the pics are gonna come up bad after developing. I read online that the mirror bumper "doesnt actually do anything" more than just protect your camera in case you drop it, I also read in some other forums that you need them for some other reasons I can't remember.

Anyways, hopefully some of you can give me a hand cheers!

---------- Post added 09-29-18 at 11:36 AM ----------

Here are some pics, apparently what is missing/gone is not a light seal but a mirror bumper?

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

09-29-2018, 02:00 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

QuoteOriginally posted by brainsweetiesss Quote
Today I received my Pentax ME Super and noticed that the light seal in the front (mirror bumper I think) is broken/gone, there's still some left in there most of it is gone. Since I'm not an expert and I'm just starting I couldn't really tell if something else is broken or not working, the camera seems in GREAT condition though, I'm amazed by how "new" it looks.
Bad seals and/or mirror foam are common in used cameras and not indicative of anything other than time since they were last replaced.

QuoteOriginally posted by brainsweetiesss Quote
My question is... Can I still shoot my first roll without that one light seal being fixed?
The mirror bumper foam is intended to dampen vibrations from mirror travel during exposure. (The online reference is quite wrong.) Bad mirror foam carries the risk of fragments being flung around the mirror box during use. Worst case is when the foam is gummy and sticky (very hard to remove from focus screen and mirror). The less serious threat is that crumbs will end up on the film, creating white spots on the negatives. Bad mirror bumper foam is usually accompanied by bad light seals for the film door. Both would be addressed in a routine CLA (Clean, Lube, and Adjust) by a camera repair shop. A CLA is usually not expensive and worth the money for any camera intended for actual use.


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09-29-2018, 03:33 PM   #3
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If it is the foam around the focus screen, it is not too much of a problem but should be replaced. I reality quite an easy job as are the rear film door seals. You need to use the right material though. Not sure if he still does the kits but the best person to contact is Jon Goodman. See this thread seal repair: how to contact Jon Goodman - PentaxForums.com
09-30-2018, 07:39 AM   #4
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Thank you for posting this. I have a ME with a similar issue but wasn't even sure what the "foamy thing" was even called to Google it. (And yes, I even tried googling "foamy thing.")

09-30-2018, 05:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...Both would be addressed in a routine CLA (Clean, Lube, and Adjust) by a camera repair shop. A CLA is usually not expensive and worth the money for any camera intended for actual use.
As the OP is in Europe forget about the CLA, it is nearly impossible. Nobody does that anymore in Europe, at least not for Pentax (Leica, Rolleiflex yes) Sending it to USA is an option but add $40-45 shipping cost there and the same amount back plus add VAT of 21% on both the value of the camera and the shipping cost. While the UK is still in the EU, sending it there is slightly cheaper (still international mail cost) but the number of repairshops doing Pentax has halved this year. After a hard Brexit (no deal between UK and EU) one might have to add import duties up to 25% (on top of the VAT) and customs processing time of about 1 year.
09-30-2018, 05:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by KX-Digital Quote
As the OP is in Europe forget about the CLA, it is nearly impossible. Nobody does that anymore in Europe, at least not for Pentax (Leica, Rolleiflex yes) Sending it to USA is an option but add $40-45 shipping cost there and the same amount back plus add VAT of 21% on both the value of the camera and the shipping cost. While the UK is still in the EU, sending it there is slightly cheaper (still international mail cost) but the number of repairshops doing Pentax has halved this year. After a hard Brexit (no deal between UK and EU) one might have to add import duties up to 25% (on top of the VAT) and customs processing time of about 1 year.
It is still possible to get it done in the UK. Even if there is a hard brexit, it is still possible to send items for repair and return without paying tax. Just needs more paperwork. And the processing usually only ad a day or 2 (Well, that is what I have always found)

And if it is just seals, that is an easy job. Mechanical shutters do need serviceing and CLA's. The electronic ones tend not to need it so much. (But on the other hand, when they fail they are almost impossible to repair.) The cost quoted by Robin is 86. I don't think an MES is worth that much. Better to get another which works but only needs seals doing.
09-30-2018, 05:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by KX-Digital Quote
As the OP is in Europe forget about the CLA, it is nearly impossible. Nobody does that anymore in Europe, at least not for Pentax (Leica, Rolleiflex yes) Sending it to USA is an option but add $40-45 shipping cost there and the same amount back plus add VAT of 21% on both the value of the camera and the shipping cost. While the UK is still in the EU, sending it there is slightly cheaper (still international mail cost) but the number of repairshops doing Pentax has halved this year. After a hard Brexit (no deal between UK and EU) one might have to add import duties up to 25% (on top of the VAT) and customs processing time of about 1 year.
Sorry to hear things are so grim in the EU (OP is in the Netherlands). I have five shops within 20 miles of me capable of doing a CLA on an ME Super. Perhaps forum member and film camera user @John_Poitiers might know of a shop in France that might be able to service the camera.

Jon Goodman's kits were suggested in a comment above. He has a distribution partner in the UK that might be a resource should the OP feel confident of doing the seals themselves. An order placed before Brexit should cost no more than about €15 including postage.


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09-30-2018, 05:50 PM   #8
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To the OP: Old foam will either turn to dust, or to a sticky goo. It must be removed before it causes the damage Kim Koxon mentions. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer, occasionally dipped in Isopropal alcohol, holding the camera in a way that the debris falls OUT of the camera, not into it. Gently scrape the old stuff away. The door seals lie in grooves, and the toothpick will fit into them. Keep doing this until no obvious old foam remains. The mirror bumper is easy to replace, just cut self adhesive foam to the length of seat the mirror contacts. It can be from 1/10 to 1/8 inch thick. The door seals can be done with self adhesive felt cut into narrow strips. NB lick the adhesive before you try to fit it in the slots, or else it will grab the sides and twist. Watch out for the film counter reset button in the top groove. Leave a gap there.

09-30-2018, 06:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
To the OP: Old foam will either turn to dust, or to a sticky goo. It must be removed before it causes the damage Kim Koxon mentions. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer, occasionally dipped in Isopropal alcohol, holding the camera in a way that the debris falls OUT of the camera, not into it. Gently scrape the old stuff away. The door seals lie in grooves, and the toothpick will fit into them. Keep doing this until no obvious old foam remains. The mirror bumper is easy to replace, just cut self adhesive foam to the length of seat the mirror contacts. It can be from 1/10 to 1/8 inch thick. The door seals can be done with self adhesive felt cut into narrow strips. NB lick the adhesive before you try to fit it in the slots, or else it will grab the sides and twist. Watch out for the film counter reset button in the top groove. Leave a gap there.
I would strongly suggest using proper material and the kits that Jon Goodman supplies are very good. For the door seals in the channels, all you need to do is to use the neoprene strip Jon supplies. It presses into the groove and stays put without adhesive. I haven't got my MES handy but the only felt you might need is likely the be the strip by the hinge. I have always found Naptha is better as an agent than Isopropanol. It is better at removing the adhesive from the old foam. It is also good for cleaning sticky iris blades in lenses.
09-30-2018, 06:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kim Coxon Quote
I have always found Naptha is better as an agent than Isopropanol.
This ^ ^ ^

Also known as Ronsonol or cigarette lighter fluid.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kim Coxon Quote
I haven't got my MES handy but the only felt you might need is likely the be the strip by the hinge.
Yes, and the thickness is critical.


Steve
10-01-2018, 01:29 AM   #11
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What you see looking into the mount of the camera is the mirror bumper, it's not a light seal. You can shoot without it but you might damage the camera and the shots may be more prone to blur caused by the impact of the mirror.

However, if the bumper's degraded then the light seals on the rear door are almost certainly degraded too, and that will cause light leaks which affect the photographs.

Light seals are easy to change and mirror bumpers are even easier. Materials are cheap on ebay.
10-01-2018, 07:18 AM   #12
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Hey guys,

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm gonna be quite busy this week so I gave my new camera to a friend and she's gonna take it to the camera shop, I haven't heard back from her yet so I don't know if they'll be able to service it or not... I've been watching some tutorials on how to change the mirror bumper myself but I'd rather wait a bit.

It's such a shame, I already bought a cool scanner to print 35mm, dust blower, vuescan license, some Portra 400... I'm just missing the camera
10-01-2018, 12:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by brainsweetiesss Quote
It's such a shame, I already bought a cool scanner to print 35mm, dust blower, vuescan license, some Portra 400... I'm just missing the camera
Don't worry, this will work out. Check out the film forum on this site and keep us updated on your progress. We are looking forward to seeing your work.


Steve

(...if you decide to do it yourself, Jon Goodman's kits are still strongly suggested. I have used the competition and have also cut my own and there is no comparison...)
10-07-2018, 02:13 PM   #14
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Just an update.

I'll order the new light seals from Jon, hopefully I got the right email. I searched on youtube to see how it's done and it seems quite easy to be honest, so why not try it myself...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 10-07-2018 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Removed e-mail address for security reasons
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