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05-25-2010, 10:36 PM   #1
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Pentax MX Film Loading Issues

Hi,

I hope I can get some advice here.

I recently got a hold of my dad's old Pentax MX. Still in great working order and even though sometimes the exposure meter stops working (...need to "reset" but unscrewing and then once again screwing in the battery...odd...) overall, it still takes fantastic photos and I'm loving it.

However, today I ran into an issue for the first time and it's happened 3 times already and I'm a bit worried. Halfway through the roll or sometimes only after a shot or two, the film leader slips off of the spool and I can't advance the film anymore. I never had a problem until now. I always thought the little pins were not that deep and I was always a bit worried about the film staying firm in the slot...but I never had a problem until today.

Once it happened though, it happened on 2 more rolls. I only got 10 shots out of my Ilford and tonight while trying again, I heard a sound that didn't sound right and just as I thought, when I wound the film I got no resistance. I was only 2 frames into it so I popped the back open and sure enough, the leader was loose...

Is there a trick to this that I'm missing? Should I "bend" the end of the leader? Is there any way to shove it in further between the pins for a better grip?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!!!

Tim A.

05-25-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
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The "Magic Needle" system - the white rods around the takeup spool - that Pentaxes of that era used was amazing at gripping film (and, just as great, you could load it anywhere on the takeup spool.) It works by tightening the rods when the film is wound on.

When I load film into mine, what I do for better traction is shove on the LEFT side of the takeup spool - toward the shutter, not straight through to right hand side of the camera. If you shove it to the left, it forms a hook around the needles, working against the turning of the spool. If you load it to the right of the spool, there's a chance that it might pull out.

You're not just tucking the tip of the film into the needles, are you? What you need to do is push is under a few needles until it comes out again from under those needles. I like having a nice half-inch or so of the leader sticking out.

That might help, but I'd like to hear some other responses, as I loaded my film like that last week and it failed to wind on the last dozen frames. This was about the time I lost the cap to the advance lever, so that might have something to do with it.
05-25-2010, 11:02 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
You're not just tucking the tip of the film into the needles, are you? What you need to do is push is under a few needles until it comes out again from under those needles. I like having a nice half-inch or so of the leader sticking out.
Ah. Ha. That might just be it.

Yes, I was just tucking the tip into the needles! I think I was just getting lucky because I would always watch and make sure the film was winding correctly so by the time I closed the back, there was at least a sheet of film over the part that I shoved it that, if it was winding tight enough, was probably keeping it in place. Hmmm...now I'm nervous about the film I have in there now!! Yikes.

I will give that a try once I'm through with this current roll. I never thought about having the leader stick back out from under a few of the needles. I always put it in from the left side as you noted but never back out from underneath again. It definitely fails to mention this technique in the manual.

I wonder if I'm the only one that didn't know??

Thanks!
05-26-2010, 02:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tim_A Quote
I wonder if I'm the only one that didn't know??

Thanks!
No worries. Let's check what it says in the MX manual...huh. Doesn't actually say you should shove it out the other side, but it's good to do anyway. Maybe that was written for when the mechanism was brand new.

It's good to do, anyway. Doesn't affect the film feeding, either.

05-26-2010, 05:28 AM   #5
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Great! Thank you! This will help a lot. Now I won't have to be so nervous every time I shoot! I know that probably 20 years back my dad had a problem with this camera where it "ate" the film... Not sure what happened...we took it to the camera shop and the owner told us that little bits of the edge of the film were falling out... I wasn't as interested in cameras and photography then so I don't know what exactly happened but ever since then dad was a bit nervous using this thing...and it transferred to me years later. Thankfully, no film eating issues yet!
05-26-2010, 06:17 AM   #6
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While you're at it: tighten the bloody cap on the advance lever - the thing with two holes in it. It's reverse threaded.

Tighten it. Then use some clear nail polish to lock it in place. It's the only thing holding the advance lever on; just sayin' because I nearly lost mine.
05-27-2010, 04:07 AM   #7
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take a pencl with a rubber eraser and give the battery contacts a good rub... that will help you with the metering issues
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