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02-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
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LX sticky mirror

This seems a common LX reported issue. This site -> Google Translate seems to indicate this is primarily on the first version that is easily identified with it's limited ISO 1600 limit. The site also lists three variants and a link to repairing this problem. Bojidar Dimitrov's site indicates two variants -> Pentax LX Camera Film Bodies

I believe it may be helpful to know what LX variant had this issue and if in fact it is limited to a specific variant.

Of course if you were successful in fixing it or having it repaired would also be helpful.


Last edited by LesDMess; 02-05-2012 at 11:03 AM.
02-05-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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As mentioned on the Dimitrov site all versions of the Pentax LX are prone to developing the "sticky mirror syndrome".

In no form is the Pentax LX a bargain hunter's camera. The admission price for membership in the Pentax LX owners club is fairly steep.
When I was finally ready make the financial commitment required to own a properly functioning Pentax LX
I purchased one in BGN condition from KEH and immediately sent it to Eric Hendrickson for overhaul.

The Pentax LX in any version is a superb professional camera, unequalled and unlike any produced in the 30 years since.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 02-05-2012 at 11:57 AM.
02-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #3
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My LX is a 3200 version, and it had a sticky mirror.

I had it fixed when I had the camera CLA'd
02-05-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
As mentioned on the Dimitrov site all versions of the Pentax LX are prone to developing the "sticky mirror syndrome".

In no form is the Pentax LX a bargain hunter's camera. The admission price for membership in the Pentax LX owners club is fairly steep.
When I was finally ready make the financial commitment required to own a properly functioning Pentax LX
I purchased one in BGN condition from KEH and immediately sent it to Eric Hendrickson for overhaul.

The Pentax LX in any version is a superb professional camera, unequalled and unlike any produced in the 30 years since.

Chris
Good point. Admission price for my set up was $500 for the camera, $200 for the CLA.

In my opinion, the bargain hunter's LX is the ME Super.

02-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The Pentax LX in any version is a superb professional camera, unequalled and unlike any produced in the 30 years since.
Preaching to the choir
The LX's metering range, IDM aperture priority autoexposure is unequaled - past or present and my LX is perfectly functioning and not bad looking either!
02-05-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by KungPOW Quote
Good point. Admission price for my set up was $500 for the camera, $200 for the CLA.

In my opinion, the bargain hunter's LX is the ME Super.
I got a steal last month for a late-version including Eric's CLA proof for $425. Now I wonder why I need all the approximations I have tried to content myself with for the last ten years
02-05-2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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I have 3 versions: the very early one with the 'simple' mirror drive arm, an other with 'expanded' mirror drive arm and the one with the new lock collar and the missing two dots on the first curtain.
All three had the famous sticky mirror syndrome!
The problem is more complex than just the decomposition of the synthetic mirror's resting cushions, the synthetic rubber in the whole of the mirror box is the problem: slam damping, sound insulation and light sealing.
The body has to be opened for repair and the LX is a sealed body, it's a job for experienced craftsmen...
02-05-2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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philippe, since you have the three variants, can you show a picture of the variant with the two white dots on the curtain? I believe mine is at least the second (ASA 3200) but I don't see these dots and it doesn't have the circular trigger lock.

Perhaps these variants are further identified by year of manufacture and/or serial numbers? If anyone is aware of a database that would be great.

02-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
philippe, since you have the three variants, can you show a picture of the variant with the two white dots on the curtain? I believe mine is at least the second (ASA 3200) but I don't see these dots and it doesn't have the circular trigger lock.

Perhaps these variants are further identified by year of manufacture and/or serial numbers? If anyone is aware of a database that would be great.
I read some years ago, perhaps also on the K Mount page, that Pentax didn't keep good records of serial numbers and didn't use any consistent numbering svheme. Apparently attempts have been made, without success, to build a database of LX serial numbers associated with years of production and variants.

I'll note that even Adam, has serial number databases here, but it seems a real chore to get people to add to them.
02-06-2012, 02:46 PM   #10
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My LX had a sticky mirror problem but not the sticky mirror problem. Turned out that the fault was a dodgy circuit board which Harrow Technical replaced. The camera worked great until I dropped it. A second trip to Harrow and some new parts and it is again working well.

Although I have a wide range of Pentax film cameras (from the S1a to a Z20) the LX is the last one I would let go. In fact, I'd probably let the K20D go before the LX! Thankfully, I don't think I'm going to have to make that choice.

K.
02-07-2012, 09:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
In no form is the Pentax LX a bargain hunter's camera. The admission price for membership in the Pentax LX owners club is fairly steep.
Very true. I am about to join the club, and it will have cost:

$50 for a very clean, late model LX, sold as-is with the meter not switching off.
$136 for an FA-1 finder, also very clean. Together with the body, they look pristine.
$228 for repair and CLA by Eric. The camera did not suffer from sticky mirror, and I am hoping that getting Eric to do the CLA will keep that from happening to my LX.

Basically I've swapped my MZ-S (now sold) for an LX. I've been enjoying using manual focus lenses from that period, and the LX seemed a better match than the MZ-S. (Though I had amazingly good luck manually-focusing with the MZ-S.)
02-09-2012, 05:29 AM   #12
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I was just wondering if the "sticky mirror" problem is an ongoing one with the LX. It seems to be unique to the LX as I don't recall this being a major issue with other Pentax gear. Is this problem (sticky mirror) a materials related one? By that I mean do original factory materials used in the mirror box just degrade over time like light foam seals? I assume this to be the case. I would also assume, when fixed, that a material which won't degrade as readily is installed. Have any of you who have had this problem addressed seen "sticky mirror" rear its ugly head again?

Tom G
02-09-2012, 05:57 AM   #13
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non-classical sticky mirror

I have an LX which exhibits mirror problems which do not seem to be "classical" sticky mirror, which I understand is due to the aging of rubber pads supporting the mirror in the down position.

When I release the shutter of my camera for the first time after a period of non-use (an hour is enough), the mirror lifts v..e..r..y s..l..o..w..l..y. I don't think this is the usual problem a) because I have had the pads replaced, and b) because the mirror lifts of the pads immediately- it is the entire movement to the "mirror up" position that is slow. If I take another shot immediately it is much faster, and a third shot is at usual speed.

Can anyone suggest what the problem might be here?

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02-09-2012, 06:07 AM   #14
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The link for Pentax LX - repair (sticky mirror, MLU, dissasembly, etc.) might be helpful to you -> Google Translate
02-09-2012, 02:08 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I was just wondering if the "sticky mirror" problem is an ongoing one with the LX. It seems to be unique to the LX as I don't recall this being a major issue with other Pentax gear. Is this problem (sticky mirror) a materials related one? By that I mean do original factory materials used in the mirror box just degrade over time like light foam seals? I assume this to be the case. I would also assume, when fixed, that a material which won't degrade as readily is installed. Have any of you who have had this problem addressed seen "sticky mirror" rear its ugly head again?

Tom G
Tom: There are more foam seals in more places in the LX than other mechanical cameras. They seem to last about 15 years. The seals that slow the mirror movement differ from the traditional bumper at the top foam sticking to the glass and holding it up.

I think earlier in the thread someone pointed out that the gaskets around all the plates and internal components (dust seals) require special skill to re-seat / replace after a LX is opened. Those seals are, naturally, no longer readily available. I think Pentax stopped servicing LX's, at least in the US, around 2003.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-23-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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