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09-26-2011, 06:49 PM   #1
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MZ-50 film advancing problem. Help!

So, I was recently graciously gifted with an MZ-50 from my girlfriend's stepdad, and I was delighted. My only experience with film so far was the Diana Mini, so something more technical was exciting.

I took it home, cleaned it up (as it hadn't be used or even touched in years), put in some fresh batteries, and loaded the film. Now, I'm no stranger to loading film, and I took it upon myself to find the MZ-50 manual online, to ensure I'm doing nothing wrong.

So the film is in, I turn it on, and it advances to exposure 2. I thought this was odd. I went to prep for a simple test shot. In doing so, I changed it's settings from smart or auto to landscape. When I scrolled from smart to whatever was next to it, it advanced to exposure 4. Perplexed, I scrolled again, and here comes exposure 6. So I turn it off, and even that advanced it to 8.

I take the roll out, load another one, and the same thing happens. It must be some internal issue, but I was wonderinf if you guys had any advice on what it could be.

09-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
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Try it first without film and see if it would auto focus and release shutter.
09-26-2011, 10:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leeumm Quote
I took it home, cleaned it up
How did you clean it? No large amounts of solvents I hope? The function selector or the part under it almost seems to be shorting out.
As violini asks, can you fire it empty?

The more familiar problems on a MZ-50/ZX-50 is the motor's plastic gear cracking and causing the mirror not to cycle.
09-27-2011, 03:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MysteryOnion Quote
How did you clean it? No large amounts of solvents I hope? The function selector or the part under it almost seems to be shorting out.
As violini asks, can you fire it empty?

The more familiar problems on a MZ-50/ZX-50 is the motor's plastic gear cracking and causing the mirror not to cycle.
I hadn't used any solvents in the cleaning, no. The mirror appeared to be quite clean, so I left it alone, knowing it'd be best not to tamper with it without the right stuff to do so. It wasn't super dirty, thankfully.

I just tried firing it empty, and the shutter wouldn't release. Though now the battery exhaustion indicator is flashing. I should note the batteries I got were an extra pair that the guy I got it from had lying around, though they weren't extremely old and had never been used.

He's asking me to bring it over to him so he can take a closer look at it, anyway. His knowledge is more extensive with SLR's than mine is.

09-27-2011, 06:17 AM   #5
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Be prepared to get approximately your money's worth out of this camera (or a little less, after investing in more batteries).

I hope you won't end up judging Pentax's engineering and build quality based on the MZ/ZX series, which was rather a low point for them -- even if they were great performers when new, with all that functionality packed into such a tiny, lightweight package.
09-27-2011, 07:25 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
build quality based on the MZ/ZX series, which was rather a low point for them
With the possible exception of the MZ-S


Steve
09-27-2011, 07:49 AM   #7
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Very likely the plastic gear on mirror motor shaft is broken. It would be better if you could borrow the batteries to test firing the shutter. Remove the battery from the camera immediately afterwards to prevent from draining the battery even if the power switch is off.
09-27-2011, 08:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
With the possible exception of the MZ-S


Steve
Granted, I'm sure a much higher percentage of MZ-S's are still in service than the rest from that line - either because they were better built, or just because they really are worth putting money into when something goes wrong. Either way, they count as an exception to the rule. Just from my own experience as a collector, having had a half dozen or so of the more common models (-M, -10, -50) go through my hands, none worked when I got them, nor could any have been repaired easily. My ZX-M does seem okay since its mirror motor transplant.

09-27-2011, 02:48 PM   #9
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I have two MZ-6 cameras and so far have never encountered any problem; both have up-graded mirror motor installed in the factory. It's the only camera I'll bring when I go traveling or winter cruise. It's a light package when fitted with DA40 or F50mm lens. I bought a load of Walgreen brand of films (a little over $1 each roll), now I can afford bracket shooting for the first time. I have replaced a dozen mirror motors in MZ-5N and MZ-7. These cameras are quite durable once the mirror motors are replaced, probably as durable as the older manual cameras. I particularly like MZ-5N, by combining Memory Lock (ML) and user selectable metering modes, I get correct exposure all the time. MZ-6 and 5N are much more advanced auto focus cameras, more versatile than those pre-1980's metal behemoth (read the posts, "Just bought an LX" for example).

Last edited by violini; 09-29-2011 at 05:33 PM.
12-26-2011, 03:23 AM   #10
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Hi, I seem to be having the same issue as you Leeum. Note that I'm not very advanced or familiar with the technical aspects with film cameras as I'm just an interested beginner.

I recently purchased a MZ-50 from an OP shop for cheap. The shop person said it was fully working (however I may have been ripped off). I then bought new batteries and some film to go with it. Loaded the film up and found that turning the camera on even advanced the film.

So I removed the lens from the camera and noticed the bottom mirror wasn't there. Not sure if this relates to what you said earlier MysteryOnion, but it sounded similar.
QuoteOriginally posted by MysteryOnion Quote
The more familiar problems on a MZ-50/ZX-50 is the motor's plastic gear cracking and causing the mirror not to cycle.
Just wondering if I could seek some advice or help on the issue I'm having, would be much appreciated, Thanks!
12-26-2011, 06:38 AM   #11
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The motor most related to shutter mirror and advance issues seems to be the shorter motor on the release button side of the camera. The metal shaft & plastic gear combination seems to dry out and crack over time and conditions. The motor operates the mirror as well as re-arms the sequence to fire the shutter.

QuoteOriginally posted by eggsited Quote
So I removed the lens from the camera and noticed the bottom mirror wasn't there
If your mirror is stuck in the up position, your view finder will be black. If the mirror was thieved by someone, the viewfinder will show light be no image or when you look inside, you'll see the Fresnel screen and no mirror assembly.

The other motor is the film advance motor and I've yet had to deal with that in the two MZ/ZX50.
12-26-2011, 10:08 PM   #12
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As far as I know that all the MZ-6 (ZX-L) made in Japan have metal gear on the mirror motor shaft. Pentax completely phased out using plastic gear mirror motor from 2002, therefore, all MZ-60 and other MZ/ZX series assembled from 2002 to 2005 have metal gear. One only needs to remove the bottom cover to see the manufacturing date and the gear on the mirror motor shaft.
12-27-2011, 07:10 PM   #13
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So my best bet to fix this would be to take it to a professional camera centre?

QuoteQuote:
If your mirror is stuck in the up position, your view finder will be black
This is true. I can move the mirror down with my finger but it doesn't stay there.

Does this mean there is a motor issue?
12-27-2011, 10:00 PM   #14
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Yes, the black plastic gear on the mirror motor shaft is split. Repair? It would be cheaper to get a "Made in Japan" MZ-6 (ZX-L), a better camera than MZ-50.

Last edited by violini; 12-27-2011 at 10:07 PM.
12-29-2011, 08:01 PM   #15
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I'd say, Yes! I've serviced one out of two MZ/ZX-50 and it is a pain to dig through all that printed circuit to install that pesky motor... give me springs and gears any time.
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