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07-19-2020, 08:34 PM   #1
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Weird aperture issue with the 43mm Limited and a ZX-5N

Hi all,

I am brand new to Pentax, but familiar with other systems and I almost exclusively shoot film. To get into Pentax, I just acquired the 43mm FA Limited and a ZX-5N, which came with the standard 28-80 FA kit lens.

I am having a weird issue that I cannot solve. For some reason, some aperture values on the 43mm are being treated as A. From f/4 to f/9.5, the camera treats the aperture as A and therefore operates on P mode (when the shutter dial is set to A; Tv otherwise). On f/11, the camera switches back and forth between Av and P. Then from f/1.9 to f/3.5 and f/16 to f/22, the camera reads those apertures correctly and will operate in Av or M modes. When the aperture is set to A, the camera treats it correctly as A.

The 28-80 zoom works correctly at all apertures.

I have cleaned the contacts both on the camera and lens. The mechanical aspects of the lens and camera seem correct, and the lens does stop down to shoot. But with this issue I just can't manually use apertures between f/4-11, which is really frustrating. Also, for what it's worth, when the camera is treating, say, f/8 as A and is therefore in P mode, the camera will select those middle apertures and will fire with those apertures selected in P.

It seems obviously to be a communication error, but it's weird to me that the issue only presents on those middle apertures.

Any ideas?

Thanks for the help!

07-20-2020, 04:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums

you will find friendly members and knowledge here:

link to manual;

PENTAX ZX-5N OPERATING MANUAL Pdf Download | ManualsLib

_______________________

link to " owner reviews "
QuoteQuote:
description:
The Pentax MZ-5N/ZX-5N SLR introduced in 1997 replaced the MX-5/ZX-5 from the year before. This new model kept the classic control layout with a shutter speed dial, an exposure compensation dial, levers for metering pattern and drive modes. The aperture was set with the aperture ring on the lens. A couple of important features were added, namely auto-bracketing, exposure lock and depth of field preview.

Extra flash functions with an external flash: Contrast control.
Read more at: Pentax MZ-5N / ZX-5N - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

_____________________________________________________________

QuoteQuote:
Pentax Lens Compatibility Chart
Copyright 2006-2018 Mosphotos.com. All rights reserved.

Pentax bayonet lenses labeled "SMC Pentax" are referred to as "K" lenses in the table below. Other Pentax bayonet lenses have the lens designation as a part of their name as in "SMC Pentax-FA".

Note that "star" lenses work like their "non-star" counterparts unless they are singled out in the table below. So for compatibility of a DA* lens, look under DA lenses, etc.

Exceptions: FA and F "soft" lenses behave like M lenses in terms of metering. . . .
The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart
unfortunately that is all the help I can be

Last edited by aslyfox; 07-20-2020 at 05:00 AM.
07-20-2020, 05:44 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dwchambers Quote
Hi all,

I am brand new to Pentax, but familiar with other systems and I almost exclusively shoot film. To get into Pentax, I just acquired the 43mm FA Limited and a ZX-5N, which came with the standard 28-80 FA kit lens.

I am having a weird issue that I cannot solve. For some reason, some aperture values on the 43mm are being treated as A. From f/4 to f/9.5, the camera treats the aperture as A and therefore operates on P mode (when the shutter dial is set to A; Tv otherwise). On f/11, the camera switches back and forth between Av and P. Then from f/1.9 to f/3.5 and f/16 to f/22, the camera reads those apertures correctly and will operate in Av or M modes. When the aperture is set to A, the camera treats it correctly as A.

The 28-80 zoom works correctly at all apertures.

I have cleaned the contacts both on the camera and lens. The mechanical aspects of the lens and camera seem correct, and the lens does stop down to shoot. But with this issue I just can't manually use apertures between f/4-11, which is really frustrating. Also, for what it's worth, when the camera is treating, say, f/8 as A and is therefore in P mode, the camera will select those middle apertures and will fire with those apertures selected in P.

It seems obviously to be a communication error, but it's weird to me that the issue only presents on those middle apertures.

Any ideas?

Thanks for the help!
I probably shouldn't try to help because I don't know that camera. The lens aperture ring is only going to work in a manual mode, in all other modes it should be set to the A position and the aperture is set in camera, or auto selected by the camera for some modes..
07-20-2020, 06:34 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Hello,

If I understand correctly the lens is acting as been in the "A" position on some apertures. There is a contact that retracts with the A setting. I'm out of town so I can't check but I think it retracts when in any other position and makes contact in A. Could be the other way around. That contact is probably the culprit. It could be jammed, dirty or broken inside. If that is the case Eric Hendrickson at pentaxs.com can service it,

Thanks,
Ismael

07-20-2020, 11:04 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I probably shouldn't try to help because I don't know that camera. The lens aperture ring is only going to work in a manual mode, in all other modes it should be set to the A position and the aperture is set in camera, or auto selected by the camera for some modes..
With the ZX-5N, Av mode only works with the lens aperture ring since there is no control on the body to set aperture. Moreover, the issue prevents me from shooting in manual because on these certain apertures, the camera is treating them as A (and therefore goes into Program or Tv mode).

QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,

If I understand correctly the lens is acting as been in the "A" position on some apertures. There is a contact that retracts with the A setting. I'm out of town so I can't check but I think it retracts when in any other position and makes contact in A. Could be the other way around. That contact is probably the culprit. It could be jammed, dirty or broken inside. If that is the case Eric Hendrickson at pentaxs.com can service it,

Thanks,
Ismael
Thank you, Ismael! I've checked on both the 43mm and the 28-80 and it doesn't seem like any contact is changing on the mount, but maybe there is a contact inside that is either activated or not depending on the aperture position?

In any case, it seems like the issue would be with the lens. I bought it with a warranty, so my best bet may be to just return it.
07-20-2020, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Just a quick update: I acquired a ZX-60 and a 28-90 to further test the 43mm. The 43mm failed to work correctly on the ZX-60 (the middle aperture values were still registering as A with the camera), and the 28-90 worked correctly on both the ZX-60 and the ZX-5N.

So it's definitely some issue internal to the lens. I've initiated a return and will be back looking for a working 43mm now!!

Thanks for talking this through, folks.
07-20-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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like I said:

QuoteQuote:
you will find friendly members and knowledge here
looking forward to what ever contributions you choose to make to the forums
07-20-2020, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I probably shouldn't try to help because I don't know that camera. The lens aperture ring is only going to work in a manual mode, in all other modes it should be set to the A position and the aperture is set in camera, or auto selected by the camera for some modes..
The camera in question uses the KAF2 mount. This means that a manual lens, or an "A" series lens with the aperture ring not in the "A" position should work as the OP expects it to. The KAF2 mount means that Aperture priority (Av) is available by turning the aperture ring itself. Shortly after this camera was produced Pentax changed from the KAF2 mount to the so called "crippled" k-mount, a variation of which we still use today. The modern mount does work as you suggest where Av mode is not fully functioning. That's progress !

07-20-2020, 10:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dwchambers Quote
Just a quick update: I acquired a ZX-60 and a 28-90 to further test the 43mm. The 43mm failed to work correctly on the ZX-60 (the middle aperture values were still registering as A with the camera), and the 28-90 worked correctly on both the ZX-60 and the ZX-5N.

So it's definitely some issue internal to the lens. I've initiated a return and will be back looking for a working 43mm now!!

Thanks for talking this through, folks.
Welcome to the forum. I was about to say the behavior of the FA 43mm Limited looks suspect, since the camera works normally with the zoom lens, but then you discovered that was definitely the case. When you acquire a perfectly fine copy of the FA 43mm LTD lens, it is an exceptional performer, and is a good match with this camera. The ZX-5n has a better VF than the ZX-60, and it has ready access to a full choice of metering patterns, including spot metering. But it does require a lens having an aperture ring to choose your own aperture- there is no on-body control for this.

The "crippled" lens-use design pschlute refers to, means that camera cannot function in setting aperture with a lens having an aperture ring but no auto ("A") setting on the lens- that is, aperture must only be set using the body's aperture control- the exact opposite of the ZX-5n design. This is substantially ""crippling" when it comes to using older manual-focus lenses not having an "A" setting on the aperture ring. A better alternative than the ZX-60 (which I think is of the "crippled" design) is the ZX-L which has full versatility. It's VF is not quite the quality as the ZX-5n, but it has on-body aperture control plus it can use an aperture ring as well, if needed. Some lenses, even some excellent ones of a later design have no aperture ring, so in that regard the ZX-5n is a "crippled" design of the opposite type (as is the higher-class MZ-S). And the ZX-L (as well as the very large, excellent PZ-1p) can switch instantly between aperture ring use or on-body electronic aperture control without any adjustment. It also has some other advancements, including for flash use.

One advantage of having on-body electronic aperture adjustment as opposed to on-lens aperture ring adjustment is when using a variable-aperture zoom lens (which most are), your chosen aperture will remain as you have set it even when zooming through the zoom range, as long as your choice is an aperture no larger than the maximum at any point of that zoom range. For example, a zoom lens variable of f/3.5-5.6 and you say select f/5.6 on your ZX-5n when the lens is at its shorter end where it is not wide open at that aperture, then you zoom the lens to a longer focal length enough for its variable aperture to kick in so it becomes perhaps f/8. If you select f/8, it will change to f/9.5, f/11 etc as you zoom longer. With an electronic control, the control will compensate for that lens's variable aperture, keeping it to your setting, as long as that setting is not wider than the maximum for the lens.

The ZX-L and ZX-5n were my two compact, lightweight models during the late film era, while my more developed but weightier models were the MZ-S (needs aperture ring like the ZX-5n but is of pro-style metal construction and has other pro features- mirror lockup etc), and the much larger, full-featured, very versatile PZ-1p.

Last edited by mikesbike; 07-20-2020 at 11:31 PM.
07-20-2020, 10:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Welcome to the forum. I was about to say the behavior of the FA 43mm Limited looks suspect, since the camera works normally with the zoom lens, but then you discovered that was definitely the case. When you acquire a perfectly fine copy of the FA 43mm LTD lens, it is an exceptional performer, and is a good match with this camera. The ZX-5n has a better VF than the ZX-60, and it has ready access to full choice of metering patterns, including spot metering. But it does require a lens having an aperture ring to choose your own aperture- there is no on-body control for this.
Indeed! I quite liked the combo and actually find the ZX-5N to be a good performer. I certainly get the criticisms it sometimes receives, but overall it's a nice shooting experience. It's light and the AF is snappy, plus it has a fair number of everyday-useful features. I do wish the VF were larger and brighter, and it'd be nice if it had mirror lockup, but otherwise it's quite a competent camera. And in my mind, it's pretty good looking in silver with the silver 43mm to match.

The ZX-60 is quite a different story obviously, but I think I'll end up giving it away to a friend who may be a first-time film shooter and I hope will enjoy it as a starter kit with the 28-90.

Excited to get a new, functional 43mm and then move on from there! I'm particularly intrigued by the SMC FA* 24mm, the SMC A 20mm, and the old SMC 30mm.
07-21-2020, 12:11 AM   #11
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Actually, the ZX-5n VF is the glass pentaprism pro-style, unusual for a camera in this class. I also added to my original post. As to a very good but inexpensive general purpose zoom lens, the "F" 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 is an amazing performer for the low cost, and is amazingly compact. Then for wide angle, the Tokina 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 with a 77mm filter size is quite good with very good construction, as well as their less expensive 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 both good for the $$.
07-21-2020, 03:29 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dwchambers Quote
. . . it's pretty good looking in silver with the silver 43mm to match. . . .

Excited to get a new, functional 43mm and then move on from there! I'm particularly intrigued by the SMC FA* 24mm, the SMC A 20mm, and the old SMC 30mm.
I think you will enjoy a properly working FA 43mm Limited

but it can be hard to stop at just one of " Limited " lenses
07-21-2020, 02:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
I think you will enjoy a properly working FA 43mm Limited

but it can be hard to stop at just one of " Limited " lenses
Indeed so! I've long enjoyed my FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, bought when still shooting film and no DSLR. It is a marvel! A great portrait lens, among other uses. Wonderful bokeh (the smoothness of out-of-focus background and other areas). Amazingly compact for a full-frame lens of this focal length and aperture capability. Built-in lens hood. Beautiful construction. I also love it on my APS-C DSLR bodies, where it presents a yet more "Tele" angle of view.
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