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12-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #1
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Longevity

As I was looking at my way too long list of pentax bodies in another post, I was wondering what people thought about the longevity of various models. For example, I have a minty MZ-S but I wonder if it is going to be more prone to failure than my K2.

Have done CLA on my KX, K2, MX and MZ5-n (including new gears). I have bought a couple of P3n's because I like them for street photo and I wanted to have a spare since I probably would never fix it if it broke. I mean some of the late models are almost disposable prices.

(You can find my full list in the pentax body poll post)

Any thoughts?

12-13-2011, 11:51 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentastic Quote
As I was looking at my way too long list of pentax bodies in another post, I was wondering what people thought about the longevity of various models. For example, I have a minty MZ-S but I wonder if it is going to be more prone to failure than my K2.

Have done CLA on my KX, K2, MX and MZ5-n (including new gears). I have bought a couple of P3n's because I like them for street photo and I wanted to have a spare since I probably would never fix it if it broke. I mean some of the late models are almost disposable prices.

(You can find my full list in the pentax body poll post)

Any thoughts?
I have a KX still going strong after almost 36 years of continuous use. One CLA and a film pickup spool replaced in 2009, is the only work that’s has been done to it. It should be ok for another 35 years!

In truth any Spotmatic, K & M series body should last for decades of use, with a CLA every 10 years or so.

Phil.
12-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #3
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I think longevity also depends on use, location and a particular health habit. None of my film cameras have been CLA'd ever. My KM needs one due to faulty metering but all the others work perfectly.

All my cameras are used frequently, but not daily and I'm careful with my equipment.

Living in Utah with a dry desert climate the foam seals tend to last longer than someone with a camera in a humid area.

I don't smoke. The tar in cigarettes do a number on electronics and I would imagine that really decreases a camera's longevity.

I've owned and used my K1000 for 20 years and it still looks brand new. My parents gave it to me after they had used it for years too, so I didn't get it new. I've never worried about reliability. These cameras just keep on going.
12-13-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentastic Quote
Have done CLA on my KX, K2, MX and MZ5-n (including new gears).
Most amateur photographers could not wear out that many cameras in a life time. I would add, have fun trying !

12-13-2011, 03:32 PM   #5
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Being a bottom fisher, I've found the old mechanical shutters tend to need the CLA - as they will start to cap in the cold or at the top shutter speed. Even with regular excercise.

With plastics and cost cutting in materials, some bits will be more suspect over the years... but the cameras will be younger as well. Some models may have characteristic things that tend to go wrong...

With more automation and electronics (and plastics) more things can go wrong. There's the motor and gearing, there's all the electronic circuits, there are the switches etc etc. And while I don't know, I suspect the repair skills have to be a bit more specialized than with the older metal cameras.

And yes, on my ZX10 the switch to change mode etc will only register in one direction. Probably a good cleaning would fix it - but also cost more than the camera is worth. And I'm not as confident in getting that camera apart and back together again...

Last edited by Nesster; 12-13-2011 at 03:39 PM.
12-14-2011, 02:58 PM   #6
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as Nesster points out, the mechanical shutters of these older cameras is for the most part, their only real weakness. but the great thing is that they are generally easy and cheap enough to fix for most budgets. I exclusively use an SV and a 6x7. and while the 6x7 does require batteries, the SV is completely mechanical and I use a Sekonic light meter with an amorphous photocell. so I have no need for any batteries at all with this setup. I look at it the same way I do mechanical watches, or older cars. they have their limitations, but like any hand crafted and quality assembled pieces of mechanical engineering, without (and sometimes with!) serious abuse, they just seem to keep on going with very little but basic preventative maintenence. even with care, more modern mostly electronic cameras will not age as gracefully or trustworthy despite their often more simple engineering. since they aren't deemed as 'special' in the hearts of most, cheaper electronic things (cameras included) aren't seen as being worth the effort to keep up. suffice to say, its just simply unlikely due to the nature of people in terms of our fondness for our own inventions that more modern electronic cameras will be viable for longevity. beyond that, its easier to scrounge mechanical parts or even make replacement parts for mechanical cameras than it is to acquire or make replacement electronics. that alone, makes electronic cameras pretty much terrible for longevity, just like most modern things. they are easier to just throw away and replace with newer.
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