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10-12-2010, 01:04 PM   #1
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Lens or camera problem? Pentax ME

Hi, having taken some shots of the Battle of Hastings Reenactment with my Pentax ME, 50mm standard and 130mm lenses, I had the fim developed to CD today. I was using Kodak 400ASA.

Disappointed to find that some of my shots on both films have a blacked out line towards the bottom of many shots. Now I believe that the ones that have come out okay are when I was using the 50mm, and the corrupted ones are with the 130mm, but I'm not sure.
Can you tell if it's the lens or camera by looking at these? (2 attachments - I can add others)
Thanks
Johnct

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10-12-2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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vertical run shutter problem ?
10-12-2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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A couple more...
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10-12-2010, 01:18 PM   #4
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It looks like a camera problem to me.

Try this: open the camera back, and release the shutter at lower shutter speeds (1/2s, 1s, or maybe B). You may see that the shutter does not fully open.

10-12-2010, 01:39 PM   #5
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definately a shutter problem.
10-12-2010, 05:37 PM   #6
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This is one of two possible problems: shutter not functioning properly (with the curtains overlapping) or some object intruding into the light-path. I have had both problems occur in different cameras and both were fixable (by a competent repairman).

Is your shutter horizontal run or vertical run?

If vertical, it may be a shutter curtain problem, old lube and/or dirt (a CLA servicing the shutter curtains will fix it).

If your curtains run horizontally, it may be the some piece of material between the hinge of the mirror and the back of the camera body (opposite side to the lens mount) protruding into the light path. If this is the case, it should be easily visible if you remove the lens, set the shutter to "B" open the back of the camera and see if you can spot it intruding into the light path with the shutter open (at "B").

In either case, it is fixable.

Very interesing shots: you could claim they are genuine, on the actual day, ancestral candids?

Last edited by Banjo; 10-12-2010 at 05:42 PM.
10-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions. Much apprecated.
Having looked at the shutter it appears to be opening and closing very efficiently without apparent problem and appears to be vertical.
Regarding blockage there appears to be no obstruction.
I have compared this to my ME Super and both look the same.

At the top of the cavity there is a very slim piece of what looks like black foam that the mirror hits against when the shutter is open on 'B'.

The one on the ME Super (not the camera with the problem) appears to be ever so slightly sticky. I don't know what this piece of foam is supposed to do. Perhaps simply soften the blow of the mirroer hitting the top of the cavity??

I don't know if this could be the cause. Is the produced image upside down, in which case mightit be something to do with this strip of foam? Clutching at straws perhaps...

I'd love to isolate the problem, at least know what it is prior to putting it in to repair - if necessary...

Thanks again.
Johnct
10-13-2010, 11:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnct Quote
At the top of the cavity there is a very slim piece of what looks like black foam that the mirror hits against when the shutter is open on 'B'.

The one on the ME Super (not the camera with the problem) appears to be ever so slightly sticky. I don't know what this piece of foam is supposed to do. Perhaps simply soften the blow of the mirroer hitting the top of the cavity??
Yes, the purpose of this piece of foam is to "simply soften the blow."

If it is sticky, you may want to replace it. In fact, I would replace the foam (and the lightseals) regardless. The cameras are so old, they need new lightseals and foam anyway.

Read this article for more details. If you need to buy a lightseal kit, search FleaBay for seller "interslice."

I don't think the foam is the cause, however. If the cause is not the shutter, check to see if the mirror raises all the way up.

10-13-2010, 12:03 PM   #9
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I've just found this picture on the internet of the cavity and foam on an ME Super. Mine looks flat and virtually non existent on both my ME and ME Super. The mirror appears to be opening all the way. Is there any possibility the mirror could be 'bouncing' off the fact that there's virtually nothing to soften the blow?
Thanks again,
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10-13-2010, 04:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnct Quote
... Is there any possibility the mirror could be 'bouncing' off the fact that there's virtually nothing to soften the blow?
Thanks again,
I have read threads that suggest that, yes, mirror bounce can be an issue.

Regarding the shutter: the problem of the shutter curtain can be intermittent. I still have another Spotmatic SP-F which used to cut off one end of the frame (horizontal run curtain), when I first bought it, but then stopped doing it as it had more use. ( Eventually, I do intend to have it CLA'd, as it obviously does need a service.)
10-13-2010, 05:57 PM   #11
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Johnct,

Just a thought.... I may be crazy....

Do you happen to have a digital camera with cable release (e.g. K10D, K20D, K-7), and a remote trigger release (e.g. Yongnuo RF-602)? If yes, you can experiment with sync'ing the Pentax ME in question with the digital camera and take photos of the ME's shutter and/or mirror in action. That may help in tracking down the culprit.

How to sync the two cameras: attach the transmitter to the ME's hot shoe, and use the receiver to release the shutter of the digital camera. Set the ME to 1/125 sec (flash sync speed). When you release the shutter of the ME, the digital camera will take a photo of the ME's shutter, or the ME's mirror.

There will be a delay, so this may not work. But the result can be interesting.
10-13-2010, 07:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
...If it is sticky, you may want to replace it...
A small change in emphasis...You MUST replace it. The sticky material is tar-like in consistency and will be slung into the camera and onto the focus screen if not replaced. It is possible that your stuck/slow shutter curtain is a victim of contamination with the stuff.

Looks like your camera is due for a CLA or possible replacement.


Steve
10-13-2010, 08:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
A small change in emphasis...You MUST replace it. The sticky material is tar-like in consistency and will be slung into the camera and onto the focus screen if not replaced. It is possible that your stuck/slow shutter curtain is a victim of contamination with the stuff.

Looks like your camera is due for a CLA or possible replacement.


Steve
+1 with the same emphasis as Steve. Unfortunately you need to replace the mirror foam and light seals in this instance. You also need to get the camera serviced or looked at regarding the sticky shutter. I had the same thing with an ME Super - after wasting 3 or 4 rolls of film I realised that it was a shutter problem as it only occured at 1/125 and faster. For me this meant a costly clean and repair to the shutter system, including a rebuild of the shutter shock absorber (whatever that is...). Even then my ME Super is only 95% fixed, so I retired it in favour of a Super Program...

Good luck!
10-14-2010, 12:13 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
JDo you happen to have a digital camera with cable release (e.g. K10D, K20D, K-7), and a remote trigger release (e.g. Yongnuo RF-602)? If yes, you can experiment with sync'ing the Pentax ME in question with the digital camera and take photos of the ME's shutter and/or mirror in action. That may help in tracking down the culprit.

How to sync the two cameras: attach the transmitter to the ME's hot shoe, and use the receiver to release the shutter of the digital camera. Set the ME to 1/125 sec (flash sync speed). When you release the shutter of the ME, the digital camera will take a photo of the ME's shutter, or the ME's mirror.

There will be a delay, so this may not work. But the result can be interesting.
I tried this last night (K7, ME Super, Yongnuo RF-602). It didn't work very well. Due to the delay in signal transmission, in the photo taken by the K7, the shutter of the ME Super didn't appear to open until I dropped the shutter speed of the ME Super to 1/15 sec.

So I did this instead: connect a flash unit to the ME Super via a remote flash cord, set the K7 shutter speed at 0.5 sec, dim the ambient light. I then hit the shutter release of the K7 and immediately hit the shutter release of the ME Super. I then can catch the shutter of the ME Super open at sync speed (1/125 sec) and lower.



Here's the photo with the ME Super at 1/250 sec:



It doesn't help fixing the problem, but IMHO interesting nonetheless.

Last edited by SOldBear; 10-14-2010 at 12:21 PM.
10-15-2010, 10:53 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone, really grateful for people taking time to reply, genuinely appreciated.

Having called Harrow Technical I will now send both my ME and ME Super in for a complete overhaul. Robin, the guy on the other end of the phone sounded very helpful.

I'll let you know what they're like on return.

Thanks again

Johnct
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