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02-28-2011, 06:19 AM   #1
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Confused by ESII

I picked up a nice looking Asahi Pentax ESII but am having some trouble with it.

I put batteries in it and the meter is working just fine. But there are a couple of issues. One is that the mirror frequently refuses to come back down after releasing the shutter. I read in the manual that this is a built in function for certain situations, such as when you have the lens cap on, no lens attached etc. But mine does it more frequently than that. Sometimes it will come back down by turning the shutter speed dial out of auto mode and releasing again. But other times it won't come down for anything... Tonight it wouldn't come down until I took the batteries out and released the shutter one more time. Is this a malfunction or am I missing something real basic? I was testing it with an SMC 50/1.4 and the lens was set to "Auto". Batteries are new and battery test confirms they are good.

Secondly, even when it is working I am suspicious of the camera's automatic mode. The meter appears to work fine, but as I stop down the lens and release the shutter I don't hear anything that would suggest that the shutter speed is changing at all. It always sounds the same, like a very fast shutter speed, even with the lens stopped all the way down or in dark places, even when the meter is indicating a slow shutter speed.

Should I just assume this camera is broken? Or can anyone shed some light on the problem?

02-28-2011, 05:32 PM   #2
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I bought an ES II last year, and although I am happy with it, the mirror DOES stick up about once per roll of film. other than that, it works very well for me. I may send it in to have it CLA'd before the weather turns..
03-01-2011, 04:03 PM   #3
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None of the behaviour you describe sounds right to me. I think it probably needs to go for repair.

03-03-2011, 05:42 PM   #4
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I have the same problem with mine, meter works, but auto shutter speeds are all the same. I had it looked at by a camera shop that does quite a bit of repairs and the guy told me the control board is fried. He says they are no longer available, so my camera is basically a paper weight now. Good luck with it.

03-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #5
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I sent mine to this guy. It sounds like he has a pretty good reputation and reasonable rates. I hope to hear back from him before too long. He does a very thorough CLA for less than $70 so if that's all it takes I'll be very happy.
03-04-2011, 07:09 AM   #6
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Eric does still have the boards - or did last year - though the cost will be greater than a CLA, for the part.
04-30-2014, 10:53 AM   #7
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One other thing to try...

Sometimes the timing capacitors get dry on the circuit boards on these ES and ESII cameras. Before giving up on it. First, does the battery check work? When you press the button next to the rewind knob does the needle in the viewfinder swing to the middle of the scale?

If it does, try shooting some pictures with no film in the camera. This will run come electrical current through the circuit board and may get it working again after 30 or 40 shots. I have had the capacitors to start working again on these old circuit boards with just some playing with the camera.

Set the meter for longer exposures so that you will be able to hear when the circuit starts working again. When taking a 1/2 second exposure, you will be able to hear the shutter make the - snap open sound and then the - snap closed sound 1/2 second apart.

Best of luck.

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