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05-28-2014, 09:48 PM   #1
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Just Got "Made" by an Bay Seller - Super Program Not So Super

Well... serves me right that I just got taken for ride by an seller today. Bought a Super Program at auction which looked to be in quite good condition, film tested and reported to work perfectly in every way. It had the money-back guarantee and the seller accepted returns. Long story short - the camera did not work and the seller cared not a bit. He offered a 20 dollar partial credit, and (this is where I slap myself) I typed a reply stating that wasn't acceptable and that I wanted to return it entirely, but then at the pop up window where you confirm your action I *chose the wrong one* and mistakenly accepted the partial. Well many emails, and on the phone with the Bay with 3 different customer reps 4 hours later (I *immediately* wrote to tell the seller and them that I'd mistakenly clicked the wrong button) I was graced with a $10 "good faith credit from Ebay and told that it was a "learning experience for me". I've still paid money for a broken Super Program. The seller only had one feedback rating, which is usually a "no thank you" for me, but the single feedback was positive so I took a chance. Go me.

The best part is that the camera was not for me, but was for my father's birthday present in about a week from now because he'd expressed interest in getting back into film (he is the reason I take photographs at all) and I thought this would be a great surprise ---- along with some glass and bits and a nice bag that I've not been using I would have assembled a kit for him, not unlike the Nikon kit he bestowed to me many many years ago. Now I have to scramble and am not sure it'll arrive in time.

What I Do Have:
The Super Program arrived and the mirror is always stuck in the up position after every shot ---- you have to give the bottom of the camera a good wack to make it pop back down, or physically pull it down with your finger. The shutter never actually opens regardless. And, someone tell me, what should be displayed in the viewfinder - depending on the mode, I can see the P while in program (depending if the shutter is stuck or not) within one window which also shows the shutter speed in manual mode. The aperture never seems to be displayed in the adjacent window (right side) unless I depress a red button on the the lower left of the lens mount (left if facing the viewfinder), otherwise the window is always blank. Fresh batteries = check. Also there seems to be no meter showing over or underexposure (needle, LED lights, etc....). I thought that the viewfinder was similar to the Pentax ME, but am I mistaken. I think I've got a real lemon here and don't know what the heck I ought to do with it.....

05-28-2014, 10:05 PM   #2
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What's done is done. Either accept that it needs a trip to Eric to be fixed, or get rid of it and move on with your life.

(I'm not unsympathetic to your situation... I would be mad as hell too. I just think this whole thing has caused you too much aggravation already.)
05-28-2014, 10:16 PM   #3
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Give them a negative Seller review - they deserve it and it may help others from getting screwed.
05-28-2014, 10:19 PM   #4
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Oh I've vented and have moved on. Posting this helped but more than that i just wanted input as to the latter part, if anyone has any feedback. It may make a trip to Eric in the coming months. (And ironically enough, one of my MXs just went back to him for a 2nd trip only a couple days ago - I could have just slipped this one in with it, but probably won't bother now).
I'm currently browsing KXs on the bay ... maybe this is all a good thing. I think bare bones would be what he'd have fun with to really take him back to when he started. The Super Program wouldve been fun but it's a lot more hands-off in some ways. Mixed blessings and all.

05-28-2014, 10:44 PM   #5
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Why not look at this super program on KEH instead?
http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Manual-Focus-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-PK020050042490?r=FE
05-28-2014, 10:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
And, someone tell me, what should be displayed in the viewfinder - depending on the mode, I can see the P while in program (depending if the shutter is stuck or not) within one window which also shows the shutter speed in manual mode. The aperture never seems to be displayed in the adjacent window (right side) unless I depress a red button on the the lower left of the lens mount (left if facing the viewfinder), otherwise the window is always blank.
If you're in AUTO mode, you should see "P xxx F x.x" when the shutter release is half-pressed. It will stay there for about 30 seconds even if you release the button. The display will flicker if the exposure is outside of the EV range of the camera. In manual mode, the aperture window will display a number from -3 to +3. That's your exposure meter. Oh, and that red button is just to turn on the lighting for the LCD so you can see it in the dark (pre-dates backlighting).

For what it's worth, I never believe anyone on eBay who claims to have "tested with film". I've bought countless vintage camera bodies, and nearly all of them had light leaks and/or sticky shutters that would never have passed the "tested with film" claim. Luckily, most were easy fixes - but take what they say with a BIG grain of salt...

EDIT: When I said "vintage", I was thinking Spotmatic era and earlier. I've actually had pretty good luck buying stuff made in the 70's and later. That stuff is younger than me, so calling it "vintage" is obviously incorrect.

Last edited by OregonJim; 05-29-2014 at 12:19 AM.
05-28-2014, 11:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
For what it's worth, I never believe anyone on eBay who claims to have "tested with film". I've bought countless vintage camera bodies, and nearly all of them had light leaks and/or sticky shutters that would never have passed the "tested with film" claim. Luckily, most were easy fixes - but take what they say with a BIG grain of salt...
I imagine some consider "tested with film" to be:
"well, I put film in it, and confirmed it fits"


Most of the cameras I've bought off ebay have been of the "no idea if it works, found it in grandad's wardrobe" and so far I;ve had good luck with them.
The only camera I've purchased that doesn't run was a Zorki-5, but it was advertised as such (and priced cheap)


It's unfortunate that the super program is broken, all I can offer is to check the mirror foam, often with age it gets sticky and can cause the mirror to become stuck.
the shutter may also be gummed up, try carefully moving it with your finger to see if the shutter can complete it's cycle. I have a Pentax A3 where the mirror would become stuck (glopy foam) and the trailing curtain would also become stuck. The foam I simply removed, and the curtain I just fired the shutter about 100 times (using my finger to dislodge it whenever it stuck) that loosened it up enough to dramatically reduce the shutter sticking issue.

It didn't fix it however, so I'd still recommend having a pro give it a cleanout.
05-28-2014, 11:43 PM   #8
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Thanks Jim - I figured that red button functioned as a backlight of sorts. Yeah, it appears this camera is simply buggered up far beyond the curtain and mirror problem. So unfortunately, into a drawer it goes until I'm inclined to face it once again. Still - I was looking forward to running a roll or two thought this thing and playing with it before I passed it on, but ah well. Will certainly need to redeem my Super Program experience sometime down the line.

Just ordered a KX from the Bay, but with a very explicit refund policy on this one (and all their many cams and much positive feedback - i'm a (re)learning animal) ... shipped free and should be here on the 3rd, just a couple days before my pop's birthday. Fingers crossed.

---------- Post added 05-28-14 at 11:48 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
I imagine some consider "tested with film" to be:
"well, I put film in it, and confirmed it fits"
I'm sure that's the case a huge amount of the time. Hahaha. I suppose I have to admit that I too have had some INCREDIBLY good luck rolling the dice with some cameras purchased there over the past years, so a not-so-great experience is bound to come down the road once in a while.

I'll give the finger advance a shot - I'm always hesitant to touch the curtain whatsoever, but at this point it's not going to get much worse. The foam incidentally looks to be in really good shape, like it was replaced in the past 5 years or a maybe tad more. I was surprised, pleasantly in the first minute or two after I received the package.

05-29-2014, 12:00 AM   #9
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Touch the foam and see.

The foam on my A3 looked great.
But when I touched it, it felt sticky like it was soaked in glue or something. I can only assume over time that the glue used to attach it eventually wicks through the foam and makes it sticky.



And yeah, the titanium shutters are fine if you use clean fingers and a light touch.
05-29-2014, 01:33 AM   #10
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The mirror hits a foam 'bumper' when it goes up, which acts as a shock absorber. This foam degrades over time and gets sticky. Could be it needs replacing which is a straight forward diy job, or could be part of a CLA.

If you want the foam it can be bought as a seal kit via ebay.
05-29-2014, 02:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
If you want the foam it can be bought as a seal kit via ebay.
Or you can hit any craft store and hit the foamies section. FYI, guys most craft stores like Michael's carry a wide variety of foams and for this it's not hard to cut it to fit at all. It's a lot cheaper than those kits you buy on Ebay too.
05-29-2014, 08:34 AM   #12
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It's not the foam - when i said "looks" fine I meant looks and feels fine. It's springy, not sticky anywhere, or missing pieces anywhere.
05-29-2014, 09:33 AM   #13
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If you do decide to send it in I promise Eric can fix it, I just sent him 2 Super Programs to keep (I have a previously CLA'd 3rd one) when I sent in my MX because I didn't want to pay to have them redone when I didn't need them and couldn't justify throwing them away. Between the two they were a perfect working camera (different issues) so he definitely has the parts no matter how fried yours is. He ended up giving me his best used MX focus screen (no new ones left) in return so it worked out.
I have seen a non foam issue with the Super Program that causes the mirror to stick up.

The Super Program is one of Pentax's best film cameras in my opinion for a number of reasons with one glaring irritation, it only reads full stops in manual mode. I do like that it can read a full 3 stops over or under rather than just one like most of the other cameras. If they had made it so it read in half stops I wouldn't have anything I would need to change about it.

Also they are actually idiotically simple to use though it might seem otherwise at first glace. With the mode dial and lens in auto you are in auto, with the dial in auto but the lens set manually you are in aperture priority, with the lens in auto but the mode dial in manual you are in shutter priority (2 buttons control shutter speed), with both out of auto you are in full manual mode, there is literally nothing more to it.

I assume every camera I buy off ebay is sold by a moron and will need to immediately be sent to Eric. I don't trust my film and time to a camera that hasn't been gone through anyways.
With your double refund you should have brought it down to rebuildable core price for a Super Program anyways (unless you WAY overpaid) so just send it in. If your father is not a super tech savvy manual mode guy yet a super Program with an A series lens and a 280T flash is a gem thanks to its full TTL auto functions.
05-29-2014, 10:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
If you do decide to send it in I promise Eric can fix it, I just sent him 2 Super Programs to keep (I have a previously CLA'd 3rd one) when I sent in my MX because I didn't want to pay to have them redone when I didn't need them and couldn't justify throwing them away. Between the two they were a perfect working camera (different issues) so he definitely has the parts no matter how fried yours is. He ended up giving me his best used MX focus screen (no new ones left) in return so it worked out.
I have seen a non foam issue with the Super Program that causes the mirror to stick up.

The Super Program is one of Pentax's best film cameras in my opinion for a number of reasons with one glaring irritation, it only reads full stops in manual mode. I do like that it can read a full 3 stops over or under rather than just one like most of the other cameras. If they had made it so it read in half stops I wouldn't have anything I would need to change about it.

Also they are actually idiotically simple to use though it might seem otherwise at first glace. With the mode dial and lens in auto you are in auto, with the dial in auto but the lens set manually you are in aperture priority, with the lens in auto but the mode dial in manual you are in shutter priority (2 buttons control shutter speed), with both out of auto you are in full manual mode, there is literally nothing more to it.

I assume every camera I buy off ebay is sold by a moron and will need to immediately be sent to Eric. I don't trust my film and time to a camera that hasn't been gone through anyways.
With your double refund you should have brought it down to rebuildable core price for a Super Program anyways (unless you WAY overpaid) so just send it in. If your father is not a super tech savvy manual mode guy yet a super Program with an A series lens and a 280T flash is a gem thanks to its full TTL auto functions.
Good stuff - thanks for all that. Naw - I only paid $60 outright so I'm down to $30 in right now which is not bad and I'm pretty much over the irritation this caused. In fact I would not have cared much at all if a) I hadn't needed it for a gift and b) the seller hadn't been such a jerk to speak with after this all came to light. Be all that as it may, you're right, it's not a horrible deal. I just hope this KX works out better because if it doesn't I'm pretty much out of time. If it does work out I think this is all for the best - I think the KX is probably the closest thing to my dad's old Nikormat in the Pentax line-up so he should fall right into that one... And maybe I'll make a Pentax fan outta him yet.
05-29-2014, 10:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrangeKx Quote
Give them a negative Seller review - they deserve it and it may help others from getting screwed.
Definitely. Although they did offer a compromise solution, the condition of the item was misstated. Leaving negative feedback is your responsibility as part of the eBay community.


Steve

---------- Post added 05-29-14 at 10:22 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
I imagine some consider "tested with film" to be:
"well, I put film in it, and confirmed it fits"
I always assume they mean that someone at sometime had probably used film in the camera.


Steve

---------- Post added 05-29-14 at 10:24 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
I can only assume over time that the glue used to attach it eventually wicks through the foam and makes it sticky.
Ozone turns the foam into oily goo. For the light seals this is an inconvenience. For mirror bumpers it can result in fouling of both the mirror and the focus screen.


Steve

---------- Post added 05-29-14 at 10:26 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
If you want the foam it can be bought as a seal kit via ebay.
I recommend Jon Goodman's kits over the eBay sellers. $10 USD including postage. PM me for Jon's e-mail. That is how he does business now.


Steve
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