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10-04-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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MZ-7 (ZX-7) Problem

I've just acquired an MZ-7 (ZX-7 in the US). When I install batteries (2 fresh CR2's) with no film, the LCD light turns on showing a film symbol and the number 6, and the camera makes a high-pitched whirring/buzzing sound for an extended period of time (going on 10 minutes as I write this). The portion of the camera closest to the lens release is warm to the touch. Also, the mirror does not lower to allow me to look through the lens (but the mirror moves freely when manually moved, so the assembly itself doesn't appear to be jammed).

Any thoughts? Have I inherited a lemon?

Thanks in advance!

10-04-2010, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hello_Photo Quote
I've just acquired an MZ-7 (ZX-7 in the US). When I install batteries (2 fresh CR2's) with no film, the LCD light turns on showing a film symbol and the number 6, and the camera makes a high-pitched whirring/buzzing sound for an extended period of time (going on 10 minutes as I write this). The portion of the camera closest to the lens release is warm to the touch. Also, the mirror does not lower to allow me to look through the lens (but the mirror moves freely when manually moved, so the assembly itself doesn't appear to be jammed).

Any thoughts? Have I inherited a lemon?

Thanks in advance!
Well, for starters, don't let the camera whirr for ten minutes: that's where the heat comes from. And that won't help.


That said, now that you've hopefully-turned off the camera and/or pulled the batteries, that does sound glitchy. For a beginning, try starting over, being sure the batteries are in in the right direction, open the back, clear any obstructions, be sure you've got any automation you can turned off: this is not a highly-sophisticated computer you're dealing with, and it sounds like it may be being fooled by something. That thing could be very simple and stuck from long disuse, or in fact the little computer may be damaged.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 10-04-2010 at 07:35 PM.
10-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #3
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The batteries are installed correctly and there are no obstructions in the film or in the mirror box. The power switch seems to be inoperative - the camera makes the noise in both the on and off position. The camera is otherwise non-responsive. The noise continues without a lens attached and regardless of AF/MF switch position (the screw drive pin does not rotate when the noise is emitted).
10-04-2010, 08:50 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hello_Photo Quote
The batteries are installed correctly and there are no obstructions in the film or in the mirror box. The power switch seems to be inoperative - the camera makes the noise in both the on and off position. The camera is otherwise non-responsive. The noise continues without a lens attached and regardless of AF/MF switch position (the screw drive pin does not rotate when the noise is emitted).

Right. It sounds like the camera thinks it's either trying to load or thinks it's stuck between frames. If you can't unstick anything about the film rewinding or transport that'll stop it, I suspect something's physically-busted and/or shorted on the circuit board. Do you have recourse to where you bought it, or any such?

Oh, heh. If you can't find anything to finesse, try giving the camera a bit of a thwap with the base of your thumb, at least if no one ha a better idea by morning. Sometimes a little Fonzie therapy can help when you're dealing with little motors and printed circuit boards.


Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 10-04-2010 at 09:08 PM.
10-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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Sounds about right. I can open the back of the camera while the sound is going, and there's nothing moving back there. Also, everything that seems like it should move spins freely with a gentle swipe of my finger. I guess the good news is that I came by this camera for free. I'm just out the cost of a couple CR2 batteries.

Thanks for your help!
10-04-2010, 09:35 PM   #6
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I think that there is a little plastic gear that is part of the mirror return mechanism that is stripped. I had a ZX-5n with the same problem. When you put the batteries in, the camera is trying to set the mirror to the viewing position.
10-05-2010, 07:18 AM   #7
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Ah, Swift's got it sussed out, then, I think.

The good news is that if you like these, they aren't expensive. 'Rugged' wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind with this series, but they have their nicenesses.
10-06-2010, 06:43 PM   #8
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Yep. That was my problem. I'm sure this isn't recommended, but I managed to expose the mirror motor by removing the bottom plate of the camera and then inserted the batteries and battery cover (to complete the circuit). The whirring noise started and I could feel the mirror motor warming up. Also, if I poked at the gears just beneath the mirror motor, I could hear the pitch change, indicating that it was meeting resistance. So, unless I want to pay $15-20, plus shipping for a new motor and polish-up my soldering skills (oh, and buy a soldering iron, solder and flux), I think this body may be beyond my powers to save.

Thanks, everyone, for your help with this!

03-17-2015, 07:51 AM   #9
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Hi to you all. YES,I am another one of those suckers that has fallen for the nice feel and simplicity of the MZ-7 and found that it has turned into a LEMON.
I have never had Pentax until recently and in all my my 55years of using cameras and I am now only just finding out that the Pentax brand has done no favours to the barand loyalty brigade by cheapening the product in the name of making them lighter and improving the user experience.
03-19-2015, 07:44 AM   #10
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I loved the MZ7, I got one attached to a lens a few years back.
Used it as a lightweight companion for a while.

Unfortunately, when the plastic gear fails, it became a paperweight.

03-20-2015, 04:05 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
I loved the MZ7, I got one attached to a lens a few years back.
Used it as a lightweight companion for a while.

Unfortunately, when the plastic gear fails, it became a paperweight.


Hi titrisol. Well this is a pleasant surprise to see that you are still logged into the forum for receiving alerts. Yes,the plastic internals were a real kick in the teeth for those of you that had displayed "Brand Loyalty" for so long.
The apparent rush to join the lighter and lighter brigade of manufacturers and eventually - go Digital has unfortunately produced a great many paperweights - I am sure.
The MZ-7 is such a nice little camera in the hands and with a simplicity that encourage total amateurs to want to explore the potential complications that were available as and when they were ready.

The image that accompanies your post is an interesting one.
How wide angle was the lens or was it the regular 28-80 that came with the MZ-7 as an option to the 35-80 ?
I currently have three MZ-7 bodies albeit on of them is afflicted with the plastic issue. Two came with the 28-80's and one with the 35-80.
I just might put the afflicted one on E'bay as 'Spares or repair',there just might be someone out there that knows the insides of them and could make use of it - one way or the other.
I believe that I can have it repaired by sending it out to 'The States' - but the cost of sending plus the cost of repair would be just totally beyond reality for a camera that could fail again but because of a software issue just as easily.
03-20-2015, 06:13 AM   #12
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Hi Rooster!
I have 2 working Mz/ZX 7s and one 5n, plus a few dead ones, the cameras themselves are very nice
The Zx7 was my 1st autofocus camera (in 2008!) It came with a sigma 80-330 and a Sigma 28-80 which I wanted for my father in law who had a K100D
I fell in love with the little camera, it was light and very decent. Nice compatibility with my old glass.
Unfirtunately the materials failed, I do not know if it was intentional or not and a small $0.02 gear renders this cameras useless.
The double digit ones were even worse, with the plastic mounts that crumbled into pieces.

While learning about the gear-dead syndrome One of the tricks I was told was to store the cameras without batteries to extend their lifes.

These pictures were taken in Paris using an old 17/4 Fisheye Takumar using the M42 adapter

I think this one is with the Sigma 24-80


---------- Post added 20-03-15 at 09:15 ----------

PS. another advantage of the MZ7 was that the new DA lenses could be used and there was no vignetting in "Panorama" mode
03-20-2015, 06:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
Hi Rooster!
I have 2 working Mz/ZX 7s and one 5n, plus a few dead ones, the cameras themselves are very nice
The Zx7 was my 1st autofocus camera (in 2008!) It came with a sigma 80-330 and a Sigma 28-80 which I wanted for my father in law who had a K100D
I fell in love with the little camera, it was light and very decent. Nice compatibility with my old glass.
Unfirtunately the materials failed, I do not know if it was intentional or not and a small $0.02 gear renders this cameras useless.
The double digit ones were even worse, with the plastic mounts that crumbled into pieces.

While learning about the gear-dead syndrome One of the tricks I was told was to store the cameras without batteries to extend their lifes.

These pictures were taken in Paris using an old 17/4 Fisheye Takumar using the M42 adapter

I think this one is with the Sigma 24-80


---------- Post added 20-03-15 at 09:15 ----------

PS. another advantage of the MZ7 was that the new DA lenses could be used and there was no vignetting in "Panorama" mode

Hi again titrisol. Interesting reply about the image taken in Paris,thank you.
The "Heads-up" on the DA lenses and the Panoramic setting is also an interesting one,thank you.

Back to the plastic and penny pinching issue. I bet it cost them dearly in the long-run with "Brand Loyalty Owners" voting with their feet and walking away and into the camps of the opposition.

After many many years of film cameras from Yashica,Minolta and Canon,I moved over to digital with Fuji FinePix and S5700,S4200 and an S8000.

More recently I have reunited my film interest with my - from new in 1988 - Yashica 230AF with 35-70 macro & 70-210 and added a further absolutely mint body and a 75-300 macro.
I have also recently acquired a pair of Nikon F80's,fabulous feel in the hands but complex beyond the Yashica, which was ground braking at the time ( Trap Focus) and sadly very very underrated.
03-23-2015, 07:32 AM   #14
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I am with you on that one, I keep shooting the Spotmatic my dad bought ion Japan in 1972 or 73 plus a bunch of old cameras.
I remember in the mid/late 90s when the MX series came out, the layout of controls was very welcome, and I guess there were a lot of bad issues with reputation.
After the *st you could buy Pentax glass and bodies for next-to-nothing!

I have a few cameras, mostly Zeiss Ikons, Pentaxes, and a few Nikons. I have a Yashica Electro 35g, great camera!
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