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11-07-2013, 07:18 AM   #1
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Pentax Spotmatic Mirror Problem

Hi there!
I am relatively new to film photography, and i'm having a problem with my Pentax Spotmatic.
I purchased one from my local camera store at the beginning of the semester for my intro to film photography class, and about halfway through the mechanism that moves my mirror became jammed. The camera store told me it would be as much to fix it as to just buy a new one, and also gave me a heavily discounted price on a new one because I had already purchased one from them.

Now the second one is having a similar problem but slightly worse. Before when the mirror would jam I could stilll advance my film and take pictures I just couldnt see what I was shooting. The new Camera (which is just a newer version of the first one I purchased) The mirror jams, and the film wont advance and I have to wait about 30-60 seconds, press the shutter release and then the mirror would un-jam. I'm also suspicious that the shutter is staying open the whole time the mirror is up. On top of all this through trial and error I realized that everything ony jams up when the light meter is on. If I turn my light meter on, adjust my exposure, turn the light meter off and take the picture the camera works perfectly fine.

I do not have the money to repair it, and i'm pretty good at fixing things (with a little help from tutorials and the internet). I have about 10 rolls of film left to shoot for the class, and I would rather not have to turn my light meter on/off for each one of the 360 photos I have to take.

If anyone has any idea why my camera is doing this or how to fix it your help would be greatly appreciated!

11-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Lancaster, PA
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I have a Spotmatic II, and in my case it's due to the foam bumper the mirror slaps into becoming sort of tacky with age. The mirror gets stuck on it every once in a while. I've seen pretty cheap DIY foam replacement kits on eBay, but I haven't quite felt compelled to get one myself. It happens so infrequently that I'll just pop the lens off and gently free the mirror with a fingernail. Whenever this has happened, I have never seen the shutter stuck open.

All that said, I've never experienced any of the other issues you've mentioned with the mirror jamming with meter on, so this may be something else entirely.
11-07-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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The shutter/mirror/aperture stop-down mechanism is fairly complicated and involves multiple mechanical interlocks. From your symptoms, it sounds like a sticky mirror bumper foam (at top of mirror box at leading edge of focus screen). Test with a toothpick or splinter of wood. If it is missing or anything other than springy it needs to be replaced. There might be other issues as well since you say the position of the meter switch changes the behavior.

You can do the mirror bumper (and foam light seals) yourself. I recommend the excellent kits from Jon Goodman ($10 includes shipping... Having said that, I will give the standard advice from the sage users of this forum. Send it to Eric Hendrickson. Eric will do a full service that will put your camera in as close to new condition as possible and do so for a very modest amount. Yes, the price will be about the same as what you paid for the camera, but when it is done, it will be good for the next decade or two of regular use.

Eric's Web Site:

Estimates are free. You pay the postage to send. Eric pays the postage to return. He does this even if you say no to the repair. Great guy, that Eric.


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