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04-14-2019, 10:06 AM   #1
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Longevity of Pentax DSLR

We know that shutters get used up to a point where they fail, or other things like aperture level block failure after hundred of thousand of actions, or external wear and damage when being used, that lead to camera end of life.

Now, considering a user who take good care of his/her Pentax DSLR equipment, only a few thousand shutter actuations per year, what other part of the camera would start to fail?

I've read about some camera losing memory of clock time due to some internal battery being depleted. Does leaving a D-LI90 in the camera avoid discharge of the internal battery used to keeping the clock running?
Is there an advantage to leave a D-LI90 inside the camera for storage? Should the battery be removed before storing the camera? How about the experience of some people still using an istD or K10D, did they have to replace the internal battery or is it still working after 10 years?

04-14-2019, 10:14 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I read on the internet that at some point Pentax shifted to a capacitor for internal clock rather than a battery. A battery would fail eventually but a capacitor should not. And even if completely drained it should be possible to revive it even after a long period of storage.

My daughter in law has a k-x that has gone unused for some time. Perhaps a year. Anyway when she tried to use it recently it would not turn on. Fresh batteries etc and nothing. Fearing it broken she sent it to me. I was able to reboot it by holding down the 'Menu' button when turning it on. Clock had lost date / time but after leaving a set of fresh batteries in it over night it seems to be good as new. I have not tested that extensively but so far it seems fine.
04-14-2019, 10:28 AM - 1 Like   #3
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My ist D is still working without any issues.
I am in the habit of 'Exercising' my gear when not used. Probably twice a year. All film and Digi get fired several times.
Appears to work for me.
04-14-2019, 10:43 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Now, considering a user who take good care of his/her Pentax DSLR equipment, only a few thousand shutter actuations per year, what other part of the camera would start to fail?
I dunno...the clock "battery" is a not infrequent source of complaint in older Pentax dSLRs. Cover materials might fall off or rot (sun screen is a common culprit). Control dials and buttons might also suffer from age, depending on how they are made. I sold my K10D in 2014 after 7 1/2 years of use and fully expect that it is still doing just fine as a daily shooter or backup body somewhere. The *ist D in @thazooo 's comment above might be a good example of expectation for a carefully owned camera with regular operation...say 16+ years.


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04-14-2019, 10:49 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by thazooo Quote
My ist D is still working without any issues.I am in the habit of 'Exercising' my gear when not used. Probably twice a year. All film and Digi get fired several times.Appears to work for me.
Thanks to sharing this tip.

---------- Post added 14-04-19 at 19:52 ----------

The K1 manual doesn't specifically recommend to remove D-LI90 batteries for storage. They simply say that the battery may slowly discharge under its minimum level if left in the camera for storage.

---------- Post added 14-04-19 at 19:55 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Cover materials might fall off or rot (sun screen is a common culprit).
Sorry. What do you mean by "sun screen", is that a coating applied on camera plastics to protect hardening when expose to the sun?
04-14-2019, 11:40 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Sorry. What do you mean by "sun screen", is that a coating applied on camera plastics to protect hardening when expose to the sun?
No, it is applied to camera plastics by owners who moments before applied UV protective lotion to their face, legs, arms, and hands. As for protection products such as Armor All, I can't say whether they pose a risk. I do know that Armor All makes surfaces slippery and if it gets on glass, it can be difficult to remove. I use it on my tire sidewalls to make them look nice and the vinyl top of the '92 Riviera, but nowhere else.


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04-14-2019, 12:14 PM   #7
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I had left my Q7 unused for several years before I eventually sold it this spring so I had some concern there might be a problem holding the date. The camera battery was most certainly fully depleted. When I charged the camera battery and installed it the camera started normally but the date and time had reset to defaults. Once reset the date and time remained accurate through several overnight on/off cycles.
04-14-2019, 12:23 PM - 1 Like   #8
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The internal battery has died on my *ist DL2 so that it can't remember the day, month, or year. But it remembers all the other settings so that's not a problem, and it still takes beautiful photos.

My Samsung GX-10 version of the K10D is still my main day-to-day shooter and I have absolutely no feeling of any need to replace it. Everything still works as well as the day it was made (knock on wood).

And for the past week or so I've been happily shooting film with the K1000 that I got for Christmas as a 16 year old in 1980.

04-14-2019, 12:27 PM   #9
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I had a K10D which I passed on to my son when I bought my K-5 back in 2010. I bought my K-3 back in 2014 and kept the K-5 as a backup to the K-3. All three cameras are still working fine and none of them ever needed any repairs. Going way back, I had an SF-10 film SLR and that worked for 22 years before I gave it up. The only Pentax products that failed were my HD DA 40 Limited focus ring which was fixed under warranty and my DA 17-70 SDM failed, which I will eventually get fixed. 13 other Pentax lenses all are working fine.
04-14-2019, 01:57 PM   #10
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My oldest camera is the K-01 and it still seems to be working fine. The only thing is that it does lose the date if I take out the battery for too long. Not a big deal, but I do think that there is a capacitor in there that must have gone bad. I have pretty much always kept a battery in it, so I don't know anything else that could have been done to prevent this from failing.
04-14-2019, 02:38 PM   #11
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I used my *istD L2 just this morning, it still works fine. My *istD S has a PK-M42 adaptor more or less permanently fitted and is often taken "walkabout" with one or more old-school lenses. Again, no problems. Both cameras are used often enough to always have 4xAA NiMH charged batteries (eneloops) fitted.
I've read that these old cameras can "need" eneloops to be reliable. This was never my experience. I'm simply using eneloops because their self-discharge is so low I can be confident that the camera will be good to go whenever I pick it up. The cameras were never unreliable with "other" batteries, I just had to make sure I had a charged set prepared for when I might want to use the camera.
04-14-2019, 05:38 PM   #12
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The last Pentax DSLR with a replaceable memory battery was the 1st D. The rest [starting with the 1st DS ] have a capacitor for that function. When the capacitor is bad you will lose date and time when changing batteries...... my DS and DL, both purchased new, lose date and time with a battery swap, all my other settings are retained.
04-14-2019, 06:17 PM   #13
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Other limited-life parts:
  • increasing hot-pixels from cosmic radiation
  • wear in switches, buttons, and e-dials
  • wear in active contacts (battery, SD card, USB)
  • fading of the pigments in the CFA array
  • embrittlement and breakage of gears (AF, reflex mirror, shutter cocking)
  • oxidation/corrosion of silvered surfaces (reflex mirror & pentaprism)
04-14-2019, 09:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
wear in switches, buttons, and e-dialswear in active contacts (battery, SD card, USB)
With reduced usage , those may not fail first. One other thing I was considering is the hardening of lubrication grease in the AF gear mechanism of lenses, exercising lens AF may help to keep it working over the years.
04-14-2019, 09:29 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I made the move from my ist D to a K3II a couple of years ago. The ist D AF/MF switch went out but other than that it was still working like a charm. After setting for a year I pulled it out to take to the golf course the other day. Still shoots like new

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