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03-19-2016, 06:37 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony3d Quote
I was just thinking about the ton's of electronics built into a modern day DSLR, and was wondering what the life expectancy of a camera such as the K3-ll would really be? Electronics is one of my hobbies, and one of the most common failures in electronic circuits has to be electrolytic capacitors! Over time they basically dry out and short! I'm sure almost all caps are monolithic surface mount caps in camera's, but I'm pretty sure an electrolytic must be used somewhere in cameras most likely for flash. Maybe I'm wrong.
Based on my humble experience, Pentax body will serve you well for a long time if you can live without certain things.

For example, on my k-x I can not use A-lenses and newer in aperture priority mode because the aperture control mechanism is kaput. But, as I do not use the lenses except in manual for pentax lenses and aperture priority for m42 and handmade, it works great for me.
As we can hear often on this forum, the aperture control mechanism is an Achilles heel of many Pentax models. With a variety of legacy glass, this is really no biggie and I can live comfortably with it, some can not and here and there, there is a low price Pentax k-30 or k-50 selling with this problem for 80 eur or less. On my k-30 it still works but I do not really use the feature that often.
If I would be deciding for Ricoh, I would definitely improve this aperture control thingy and if I would be buying from them, I would pay more for the camera which has a higher quality aperture control mechanism.

Capacitor wise, electrolytic for the flash and I am pretty sure that is its only function. For the preservation of time, date and settings some other, more durable capacitor is used, maybe ceramic multi-layer or monolithic as you said.

Also, I have opened my camera too many times just to reconnect the flex cable connector of the rear panel. Last time I super-glued it to its place. Would love to see improvement in that department as well.

As I newer paid a lot for my gear, I did not treat it kindly in terms of protection against meteorological conditions or rough surfaces and blows. It takes pictures, has never given up on me (at least not completely) and k-x is still very fast and will never be completely replaced because of its speed (it stands at 6 years and 35000 shutter actuations, 25000 in the last year and four months, aperture priority mechanism died at about 13000 clicks).


Last edited by Audi 5 cyl; 03-19-2016 at 06:56 PM.
03-19-2016, 06:42 PM - 1 Like   #17
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Umm, the OP was pretty specific about the life expectancy of modern (electrolytic) capacitors, and that was a valid question that hasn't been directly answered - possibly because he might have a greater understanding than most of us photographic gearheads.

Capacitors are generally used to retain various memory functions in modern digital cameras. These are more critical than the larger flash capacitors. I suspect that pro-oriented dSLRs use sealed capacitors that function well for several decades. The lower-end cameras might have lower spec capacitors that have a 10-15 year life expectancy (think bell-shaped curve). My sense is that the flagship Pentax cameras are engineered somewhat closer to the Nikon and Canon professional standards. Certainly those shutters and the overall sealing tend to aim in that direction.

My limited exposure to the lower level bodies (the K-30 in particular) leave me somewhat less impressed, but still assuredly higher than the commodity brand entry level bodies - i.e. Rebel and 3xxx series, and most Sony bodies under $800. Still, these cameras - K-50/K-s2 etc. - probably would be fine sitting on a shelf for 15-20 years, or a bit more. Just a best guess.
03-20-2016, 09:03 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
One wonders.... If a circuit board fails when the latest digital whatever is 10 years old, can you get a replacement? How long will Pentax/Ricoh support their digital gear?

An analogous situation: some years ago in perhaps 1984 I decided to get a good record deck. Denon built one with a fine platter, direct drive, IIRC, and a tone arm which controlled for record warp, etc, via a servo mechanism. Elegant! and according to reviews worked very well. Little worry about pickup compliance/arm mass compatibility; tracking force and anti-skating controlled "automatically." But I wondered about repairs down the road.

So I looked for a deck of proven design, and simple. I chose an AR ES-1. Belt drive, spring suspended arm/platter, isolated motor. Dead simple arm which could be replaced for upgrade or whatever. The reviewers liked it, and so do I. A few drops of oil in the bearing well, and a new belt and good to go again. It has achieved something of a cult status, with a variety of "upgrades" available. I could sell it now for much more than I paid originally. Fortunately I can still get styli for the Shure V-15 microridge, although they're from Japan and aren't cheap.

In similar fashion to my K-5 my lovely LXs have circuit boards, which given the age of the camera can only be replaced by cannibalizing another example. Same situation with my ME Super, the 645n and even the meter on the MX. But all-mechanical cameras, like the Bronica S2a; Retina IIIc, Konica IIIa, Nikon rangefinders, can last .... who knows, given reasonable care and periodic CLAs. Assuming that in 20 years or so anyone can still work on them!
Yep my Olympus OM1 still chugging along after 40 years! Even my old vintage Dacora 120 roll film folding camera (1952) still works like a charm.

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03-21-2016, 09:34 AM   #19
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I don't know the Dacora, but the OM1 is an entirely mechanical camera (other than the light meter of course). Absolutely, I love the idea of a camera that are fully functional without depending on electronics. Even the OM1 and MX, both with their extremely small size, have proven extremely durable. By the way, even the LX can function partially without juice (don't remember the exact shutter speeds, but might be 1/30th upwards). When it comes to small circuits, it gets pretty expensive to ensure longevity of over about 20 years.

03-21-2016, 06:01 PM   #20
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Electrolytic`s (electrolytic capacitors) should be good for about 10+ years, providing that they are not pushed to their design limit (voltage and temperature)
The major Japanese electronics manufactures used to provide product support for ten years, after which we could no longer get repair parts from them. That might give an idea.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 03-21-2016 at 06:22 PM.
03-21-2016, 07:47 PM   #21
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Without batteries, the LX shutter works from 1/75s and above.
03-22-2016, 04:09 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
For example, on my k-x I can not use A-lenses and newer in aperture priority mode because the aperture control mechanism is kaput. But, as I do not use the lenses except in manual for pentax lenses and aperture priority for m42 and handmade, it works great for me.
I gather this means it failed in wide-open? The couple of K-30/K-50 failures I've read about recently seem to have failed fully shut, leaving all but M42 users in the dark, so to speak.
03-22-2016, 10:41 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I gather this means it failed in wide-open? The couple of K-30/K-50 failures I've read about recently seem to have failed fully shut, leaving all but M42 users in the dark, so to speak.
Difficult to say. I can still use stop down metering with M and K lenses, but I cannot change the aperture of the newer lenses on the body. And it's not possible to use K an M lenses in Av mode now, aperture is always wide open in Av mode.

As I am not in the dark as you said, I've never got to tinker around this problem. It actually does not bother me at all at this stage.

03-22-2016, 12:07 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
aperture is always wide open in Av mode.
Better than being fully shut down, the way DA lenses are on M or K series cameras. That's what I meant by "in the dark". Stop down is a bit of a pain with a K or M lens because they weren't really meant for it (I can live with it on the Takumars), but it's better than not being able to use it at all.
03-22-2016, 03:03 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony3d Quote
Life expectancy of modern DSLR's?
Here are some bullet points:
  • Observed risk of manufacturing defect is between four and eight percent of sales industry-wide for interchangeable lens cameras
  • I shot my K10D for seven years of fairly heavy use with no failures, glitches, or decrease in performance
  • Is it possible to "wear out" a modern, pro or enthusiast-level dSLR? Absolutely! I have a friend who churned through three Canon 7D bodies within the warranty period of her initial purchase. (Shutter failures on all three.)
  • Tax laws in the U.S. allow for a five year depreciation schedule for camera equipment used for business purposes. While the tax man has no crystal ball on such matters, it is apparent that he figures a camera for business use should last that long. If you anticipate wearing your camera out, an extended warranty and/or insurance policy might be good options.


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03-22-2016, 03:06 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
One wonders.... If a circuit board fails when the latest digital whatever is 10 years old, can you get a replacement?
The same way users get replacement parts for film cameras of the same vintage or older. There may be stores of NOS parts, but in truth that is unlikely. In practice, failure is dealt with by simple replacement or finding appropriate used parts.


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03-22-2016, 03:13 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by opel3nix Quote
Sorry, but I think you are wrong! Most of modern technical gear is going dead by not using it.
Some gear will degrade with time regardless of use.

Some gear will degrade with use regardless of time.

Some gear will have many attributes of immortality.
Case in point might be the Dell computer that I purchased in 1999 and passed on to my father. He still uses it daily with all original components, including the on-board date/time battery (!). Go figure... *


Steve

* I might also add that the electronics in my Ricoh XR7 (meter, shutter, and LCD display) work as well today as they did when the camera was made in 1982. My 70s vintage Vivitar flashes also seem to be alarmingly long-lived despite being dependent on electrolytics...
03-22-2016, 06:42 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
I don't know the Dacora, but the OM1 is an entirely mechanical camera (other than the light meter of course). Absolutely, I love the idea of a camera that are fully functional without depending on electronics. Even the OM1 and MX, both with their extremely small size, have proven extremely durable. By the way, even the LX can function partially without juice (don't remember the exact shutter speeds, but might be 1/30th upwards). When it comes to small circuits, it gets pretty expensive to ensure longevity of over about 20 years.
Hey, even if the meter battery dies you can STILL use the OM-1 with a simple exposure guide rule -. you know the Sunny 16-rule. Even then, I have a simple selenium-cell light meter on hand that requires no batteries - ever. I even picked up a "broken" professional Sekonic LC-28 light meter on eBay for a few bucks that had only a loose screw - easily fixed. This too is runs on a selenium cell covering much wider exposure range.

Must say that in some shooting situations with the Kx I actually used the Sekonic light meter to determine exposure and got something of a more satisfactory exposure result than when compared to the in-camera center-weighted and matrix measures!
03-23-2016, 12:26 AM   #29
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I have heard many stories of gear failure, although I have been fairly lucky, my K50 is only a few months old and only 7k clicks on the shutter. My Oly E-3 was near indestructible, I put 10's of thousands of shutter clicks on it and it had been dropped, dunked in water, mud and fine dust. Same goes with my old Oly E-1 which is close to 15 years old but still keeps chugging along without missing a beat.
03-23-2016, 04:50 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Case in point might be the Dell computer that I purchased in 1999 and passed on to my father. He still uses it daily with all original components, including the on-board date/time battery (!). Go figure... *


Steve

* I might also add that the electronics in my Ricoh XR7 (meter, shutter, and LCD display) work as well today as they did when the camera was made in 1982. My 70s vintage Vivitar flashes also seem to be alarmingly long-lived despite being dependent on electrolytics...
Now that you have said this, all this equipment is doomed to imminent failure.

QuoteOriginally posted by marty-0750 Quote
Even then, I have a simple selenium-cell light meter on hand that requires no batteries - ever.
I had heard something to the effect that selenium cells become exhausted after many years/much exposure. How true is this?
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