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09-14-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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God Doesn't Want Me To Own a Pentax SLR

For my birthday, I got a Pentax ME Super, 3 lenses, a macro converter, 2 teleconverters, 3 extension tubes, a Winder ME 2, and a huge flash unit, for $100. I was stoked. I finally had the power to be able to focus so close that the photo subject literally had to touch the lens Then I grew concerned over how dark the focusing screen, and subsequently the viewfinder was. I realized that it was darker than my AE-1 Program, because of the smaller aperture, resulting in a darker view from the open-aperture metering, but there was something more. I guess some lubricant or grease or something had covered the screen with a thin layer of sticky dirty crap.

So, I went on eBay and got a new one for $20. It arrived today in mint condition. Absolutely minty looking. No dirty, dust, scratches or anything. That is, until I started doing some test shooting. With minutes I noticed pieces of padding for the mirror coming off and landing on the focusing screen. I tried to pick them off, but they left gooey marks on the screen. I tired cleaning off these gooey marks, but everything I did just spread them around making it so much worse.

Now I have two ME Super's with viewfinders too dark to efficiently use.

I really love the whole kit I got, and would be throwing money away if I didn't use them, but I don't know what to do.

Am I doing something wrong? Are these cameras just pieces of crap? Are they just old? Does god not want me to have one?

WTF. An hour ago I once again had an awesome, working camera. Now I am back where I was before, but with 2 equally unusable cameras.

09-14-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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I personally wouldn't drag God into this myself.
Anyways, the first question I'd have for you would be "what did you use to try and clean your screen?"
09-14-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
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I would send both out to Eric for a CLA... Click for Eric Read "About Us" and "Estimating" then lastly and foremost "Other Information". Then you'll know.
09-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Well first I used regular lens cleaner, then a small amount of isopropyl alcohol.

What are Eric's prices, and is it worth it if I can get a mint camera for $20?

09-14-2012, 09:10 PM   #5
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You'll have to send him an email with your problem on each body and ask for a estimate before you send in a camera for the real estimate. Then you'll get a estimate but not the exact but close, he won't know for sure until he actually sees your camera.

As far as your new "mint" ME Super goes, it's not exactly mint. The fact that it falls off shows that the seals are old and crumbly, and the fact that it is sticky shows that it's really old and that's what happened when you don't change light seals on your camera after a long period of use or storage.
09-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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The screens are often made out of a plastic material and can be quite fragile. The ridges of the Fresnel lens face out into the mirror box. Screens can also be damaged by exposure to solvent. Experience is a good teacher and I guess now you know that it is good to check the mirror bumper for degradation before cycling the shutter. You also know that attempting to clean a focus screen is not easy.

While I have had some success using a dry swap to gently lift foam debris from an otherwise clean screen, I have to admit to relying on Eric or my local camera repair (Knight Camera in Vancouver, WA) to do my screen cleaning for me. It is my understanding that they use an aqueous detergent solution and a soak & dab technique.

Good luck.


Steve
09-14-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
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After you get it back from Eric, it will be a nearly new camera in mint condition....

09-14-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
I would send both out to Eric for a CLA... Click for Eric Read "About Us" and "Estimating" then lastly and foremost "Other Information". Then you'll know.
The Pentax ME is more than 35 years old. Any camera of that age needs a going over (CLA clean, lubricate, adjust). Eric has a good reputation, ask him for a quote if you want the cameras to work.

09-14-2012, 09:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MMurphy37 Quote
is it worth it if I can get a mint camera for $20?
I have used Eric on two mechanical bodies (Pentax KX and Pentax SV) and can confirm that he does great work and is reasonably priced. That being said, you might be better off with a decent $20 body and checking out the screen before you purchase. This is best done by looking through the viewfinder with the lens off. While the lens is off, test the condition of the mirror bumper foam with a toothpick or similar wooden splint.

If the foam and seals require replacement (they almost always do), you can do it yourself. A kit from Jon Goodman costs $10 including postage and requires nothing additional except decent vision, steady hands, and a pair of tweezers or forceps. If you have no interest in the DIY approach, expect to pay at least $45 to have a tech do the job. Eric will charge a bit more, but will also do a full tear-down and CLA and the camera will be returned to you in as close to new condition as is possible for whatever you sent him.


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09-14-2012, 09:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MMurphy37 Quote
Well first I used regular lens cleaner, then a small amount of isopropyl alcohol.

What are Eric's prices, and is it worth it if I can get a mint camera for $20?
There is a product called Goo Gone that I often use when working with focusing screens(adjustments etc). It is a citrus based product that breaks down most glues and adhesive based products.



I usually create a weaker solution(50/50) with steam distilled water and leave the screen soak in a foam cup overnight. You can then dip/soak your screen in clear water afterward to rinse off any remaining residue before blow drying it with warm air to avoid water stains afterward. - (carefully)

Can't help you with the mirror box and camera I'm afraid.
09-14-2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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The screen was perfect when I got it. It was only after the sticky foam hit the focus screen that it became unusable.
09-15-2012, 12:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MMurphy37 Quote
What are Eric's prices, and is it worth it if I can get a mint camera for $20?
Unless it has already had a good CLA, it won't be mint condition, it will be a 35 year old body with deteriorating light seals, bad mirror bumper foam, dried up lubricant and dust inside. Might look nice on the outside though.
09-15-2012, 02:02 AM   #13
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That sticky foam needs to be replaced if it's gooey when you get the camera. Actually most of the time I do it anyway with any used camera just to make sure. You can use craft foam or buy a kit off Ebay but that crud that's mucking up your screens is likely from the light stripping and it should always be replaced on any old camera before you begin unless it's totally dry and looks new. Eric is your best bet though if you want it back to factory fresh. I think he charges like $80 for a standard lube, tune up, and seals job but when it comes back from him it's good to go for decades most likely. I can do light seals on my own but that's about it. I have 3 cameras now that I wish I could afford to send his way. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I could manage it...
09-15-2012, 03:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MMurphy37 Quote
Well first I used regular lens cleaner, then a small amount of isopropyl alcohol.

What are Eric's prices, and is it worth it if I can get a mint camera for $20?
Right. As others have said. You can get more "minty" cameras for 20 bucks, but everyone of them will need CLA-ing. If your camera seems decent otherwise, I would send it on and use it in good health.
09-15-2012, 04:02 AM   #15
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There is no such thing as a "mint" ME unless it has been CLA'd recently by Eric. What you'll get for your $20 is another PITA. Get one CLA'd if you want a "mint" camera.
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