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06-22-2022, 09:38 AM   #1
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Question: are aperture solenoid woes still existing in latest cameras?

I'm very sad that my K-30 after only 5 years or so got the dreaded aperture solenoid failure. I'm not going to do surgery on it so AFAIK it is a pile of junk to be thrown away. Shame on Pentax for knowing about this and not replacing it for free for their loyal customers.

Anyway, I'm looking at the Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR as a replacement, but won't buy it if it also uses these crappy bits. Can someone tell me if it also uses this same solenoid that fails? Maybe it's time to sell off my lens collection and just move to another brand, but really not happy about that. :-(

06-22-2022, 09:41 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The repair is simple!
AFAIK the more recent cameras don't suffer from this.
06-22-2022, 09:48 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
Anyway, I'm looking at the Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR as a replacement, but won't buy it if it also uses these crappy bits.
The K-1, K-3 & K-5 series cameras do not use these solenoids.
06-22-2022, 09:49 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The "flagship" models beginning with the K-7 use a different mechanism based on a stepping motor and have not been known to develop aperture problems.

The only current model using the solenoid mechanism is the K-70 and it is not clear if the problem has been resolved.

06-22-2022, 09:56 AM - 5 Likes   #5
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The bodies that use the faulty "green" solenoid mechanism are the following:
  • K-30
  • K-50
  • K-500
  • K-S1
  • K-S2
  • K-70
The most failures were in the K-30, K-50, & K-500. There were less failures in the K-S1 & K-S2, but still there. Some K-70 bodies have failed, though the failures seem to be far less.

All other bodies don't use the "green" solenoid mechanism & are trouble free in that regard.

Want trouble free for the most part?
  • K-5II
  • K-5IIs
  • K-3
  • K-3II
  • K-3III
  • KP
  • K-1
  • K-1II
06-22-2022, 10:57 AM   #6
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YAY!! Thank you so much for the quick answers. Looking forward to finding a good deal on that puppy...amazon days coming up soon. I've been missing taking pictures and this body should make beautiful pics. Wonder how my APS-C lenses will do, does it give a black halo or something? Guess I need to start reading up on it...

EDIT: I also have an old K2000 and wonder if it also suffers from that. I think it still works but haven't used it in close to a decade.

Last edited by Mushu; 06-22-2022 at 11:04 AM.
06-22-2022, 01:16 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Also the k-30 you have works perfectly with any lens with an aperture ring. Grab some fa and f zooms and primes and youíre all set - no new camera needed. It does require manual exposure green button mode.

06-22-2022, 01:26 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
Wonder how my APS-C lenses will do, does it give a black halo or something?
Some vignette, some have IQ issues in edges or corners, some don't have problems at all and may as well be FF lenses. What aperture you shoot at and at what focal length (for zooms) comes into play as well.

You can check for many lenses here.

Also note the K1 and K1ii have a crop mode, that gives an ~16mp shot the size of the APSC sensor, and it can autodetect that it has a crop lens attached and switch to that mode if you so choose in the settings. There is a thick black box that appears in the viewfinder to help compose when in that mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
...so AFAIK it is a pile of junk to be thrown away.
I would sell it or at least give it away. Someone way wish to repair it or use it with older lenses that it still works with.
06-22-2022, 01:30 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
I'm very sad that my K-30 after only 5 years or so got the dreaded aperture solenoid failure. I'm not going to do surgery on it so AFAIK it is a pile of junk to be thrown away.
I would be happy to repurpose your semi broken K-30 if you don't want to get it fixed, especially if you have the AA battery adapter. I am always looking for additional cameras to run for astro where such things like autofocus or in body aperture control don't matter. It is a shame that a bunch of the non-flagship cameras used a cheap solenoids when at volume the better ones are probably pennies more and would have even simplified inventory and part management.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
I also have an old K2000 and wonder if it also suffers from that. I think it still works but haven't used it in close to a decade.
From what I can tell with mine it does not. I don't use it much any more and mostly use it as a loaner camera for scouts who want to do photography merit badge or in teaching photography merit badge but it just keep rolling along. I would likely use that camera more but for astro shooting it requires more babysitting than I want to invest with it (no support for a release cable or interval shooting). I still like that camera and it holds a special place as my first digital camera (when I got it 4.5 years ago).
06-22-2022, 01:48 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
I would be happy to repurpose your semi broken K-30 if you don't want to get it fixed, especially if you have the AA battery adapter. I am always looking for additional cameras to run for astro where such things like autofocus or in body aperture control don't matter. It is a shame that a bunch of the non-flagship cameras used a cheap solenoids when at volume the better ones are probably pennies more and would have even simplified inventory and part management.
To be clear. Pentax didnít stop using a good solenoid because they changed parts - the quality of the party went downhill without another option being available. The replacement solenoids online are either repurposed from older cameras or new old stock or fakes.

The flagship models use an entirely different mechanism that is more expensive by all accounts. It would require redesigning the entire shooter/aperture module in the lower end cameras. I suspect the quality of this part has slowly improved but never quite reached the original quality. This is a supplier issue that Pentax has paid for over and over in terms of reputation. It probably should have been replaced during the design sessions of the k-70 but Iím not clear how much design work flexibility was available given margins and realities of the market.
06-22-2022, 02:36 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
I'm very sad that my K-30 after only 5 years or so got the dreaded aperture solenoid failure. I'm not going to do surgery on it so AFAIK it is a pile of junk to be thrown away. Shame on Pentax for knowing about this and not replacing it for free for their loyal customers.

Anyway, I'm looking at the Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR as a replacement, but won't buy it if it also uses these crappy bits. Can someone tell me if it also uses this same solenoid that fails? Maybe it's time to sell off my lens collection and just move to another brand, but really not happy about that. :-(
You don’t have to perform any surgery.
My K-30 began to suffer from the “Dark Image Syndrome” after just two years, so I began using old film lenses, and setting aperture at the lens, so it still takes good pictures, and four years after I started having problems, it still is not a “pile of junk to be thrown away” - certainly not like the two Canon Rebels which had symptoms of a processor problem before they totally died and have been in the town dump for nine and seven years, respectively. In addition, these lenses are “FF” lenses, so I could use them with a K-1, if I were ever to obtain one.

But, getting back to the question you actually asked, all Pentax bodies with a single digit {K-1, K-3, K-5, and K-7}, plus the KP use a completely different system. In addition, according to research by @photogem; although the problem seems to have resulted from changes made when a sub-supplier moved production to China while simultaneously changing the materials used, Pentax has made several changes in their design, and finally {in the current version of the K-70}, seem to have returned to a reliable system.

Last edited by reh321; 06-22-2022 at 02:58 PM.
06-22-2022, 03:09 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mushu Quote
YAY!! Thank you so much for the quick answers. Looking forward to finding a good deal on that puppy...amazon days coming up soon. I've been missing taking pictures and this body should make beautiful pics. Wonder how my APS-C lenses will do, does it give a black halo or something? Guess I need to start reading up on it...

EDIT: I also have an old K2000 and wonder if it also suffers from that. I think it still works but haven't used it in close to a decade.
Hmmmmm.... If you have more APS-C lenses than anything else, I'd suggest a lightly used K-5IIs, K-3, K-3II, or KP instead of a K-1, unless you were planning on getting full frame lenses later on.

The K-3, K-3II, & KP with the latest firmware are 100% KAF4 lens compatible, while the K-5IIs is not. Something to keep in mind if you were planning on getting KAF4 lenses like the DA 55-300mm PLM or the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 PLM.
06-22-2022, 03:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
To be clear. Pentax didn’t stop using a good solenoid because they changed parts - the quality of the party went downhill without another option being available. The replacement solenoids online are either repurposed from older cameras or new old stock or fakes.

The flagship models use an entirely different mechanism that is more expensive by all accounts. It would require redesigning the entire shooter/aperture module in the lower end cameras. I suspect the quality of this part has slowly improved but never quite reached the original quality. This is a supplier issue that Pentax has paid for over and over in terms of reputation. It probably should have been replaced during the design sessions of the k-70 but I’m not clear how much design work flexibility was available given margins and realities of the market.
That I didn't know. Only having one camera with this problem and there I bought it with the problem I never looked into it much beyond being aware of the issue.
06-22-2022, 03:27 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
That I didn't know. Only having one camera with this problem and there I bought it with the problem I never looked into it much beyond being aware of the issue.
Completely understandable. Good luck, Iím sure you will find enjoyment in photography again.
06-22-2022, 04:32 PM   #15
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The K-30 firmware can be hacked with the latest K-50 firmware and KAF4 lenses with out the aperture lever can be used.
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