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11-26-2014, 03:48 PM   #16
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With old gear it's not just the age, but the use it has been through and care it has had (which used buyers are unlikely to know). My experience is that generally mechanical cameras are more reliable (usually at least partially working) than electronic (if it goes wrong, nothing works). Manual advance cameras are more reliable than built-in winders (and easier to fix).

For me it's more about features & general condition and I'll take a chance on everything else - bearing in mind I only buy 'bargains'.

A Summary of the faulty ones:
- Super-A - No power (1 body of 3), Intermittent Mode dial contacts (1 body of 3).
- K2 - Shutter will only fire at mechanical speed (1 of 1)
- KX - Meter not working (1 of 2) either meter switch or ASA dial contacts?
- LX - Sticky mirror (since repaired by Harrow Technical)

Various Spotmatics, K1000s & MXs have just worked, as do most of the other electronic bodies. I don't worry about seals unless they look dodgy or are causing a problem. The LX is my current favourite.

11-26-2014, 03:49 PM   #17
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When it comes to old cameras I prefer the Spotties and the KX. The rest I have no real use for. K1000 is okay, but I like the KX better. I don't like much after that until they went DSLR. The 90's film cams, I just don't like any of them. I'm not actually a huge fan of the early DSLR's. It's not till you get into the K-7, K-x and later that I like them.
11-26-2014, 03:58 PM   #18
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I just picked up a ZX-5 with a FA 28-70/4 for $50 shipped. I paid $50 for a ZX-7 with a FA 28-80 and FA 80-320. If the gears go I can pick up a body for even less. Why worry about it?

The ZX-5 has the broken flash spring problem as well, but I really don't care.

I still have to decide whether to spend the $250 needed to make my LX like new or save that for a K-3. Waiting till after CP+ to make that decision.
11-26-2014, 04:47 PM   #19
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Older mostly mechanical Pentax cameras serviced by Eric should be reliable for many years.
It's the later electronic AF cameras I wouldn't trust. They don't really interest me anyway...

Chris

11-26-2014, 05:44 PM   #20
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Any mostly plastic film body, including the last K1000's that were made in China.

Phil.
11-26-2014, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I just picked up a ZX-5 with a FA 28-70/4 for $50 shipped. I paid $50 for a ZX-7 with a FA 28-80 and FA 80-320. If the gears go I can pick up a body for even less. Why worry about it?

The ZX-5 has the broken flash spring problem as well, but I really don't care.

I still have to decide whether to spend the $250 needed to make my LX like new or save that for a K-3. Waiting till after CP+ to make that decision.
Exactly. They are so cheap you can buy them by the case.

I have a MZ5n that I bought new and a MZ7 I also got with 2 lenses for $50 that looked mint. The fix for the gears doesn't look overwhelming and a new camera is cheap.
11-26-2014, 08:48 PM   #22
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The older, 1969-vintage Pentax 6x7 cameras are considered by many to be high risks because of heavy use, lack of servicing and natural wear and tear over a long period of time. I would happily purchase a later (1991+) Pentax 67 assuming I get to look it over and check how many change over owners it has.
11-27-2014, 01:37 AM   #23
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After all these replies I am surprised no-one has mentioned the one camera which really did have dodgy electronics... the Electro-Spotmatic. Finding a working one of those is highly unlikely. The ES had improved electronics, and the ESII was modified yet again, but none can really be thought of as really reliable. The world's supply for spare parts for these appears to have been cornered by Eric (no-one here in the UK can fix 'em).

I am perversely fond of my ES and ESII. The black ES gets loaded with something like APX 100 or Tri-X and the chrome ESII with Ektar or Portra. That way I cannot forget which camera has the BW film and which the colour! (I do the same with my black and chrome MXes, or my ME Supers.)

Best wishes, K.

11-27-2014, 04:27 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I just picked up a ZX-5 with a FA 28-70/4 for $50 shipped. I paid $50 for a ZX-7 with a FA 28-80 and FA 80-320. If the gears go I can pick up a body for even less. Why worry about it?
Yep, but it starts getting expensive and frustrating when the gears fail on frame five of a roll of desirable film (as opposed to the Poundland cheap stuff I use to test cameras), and you're reasonably sure that the first four frames were some of your best work yet...

The Z/PZ series bodies are about as cheap and seem more reliable. I bought a Z-50P for 10 last week, gave it a clean, put a battery in and everything lit up. Now has a roll of cheap Kodak 200ASA loaded and is waiting for a test. It can control the aperture on FA-J and DA lenses so I'm looking forward to using the FA-J 18-35mm with it.
11-27-2014, 06:25 AM   #25
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I stay away from the Spotmatic era cameras. I have too many K-bodies and don't need to start an M42 lens collection.
Other old cameras to avoid: anything they don't make film for anymore (except 620), anything that has a bellows and says Kodak on it...
11-27-2014, 06:35 AM   #26
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If it takes 120 film and has bellows then I'll at least look at it.

One tip if you're interested in these - carry a small LED torch on your keyring. You can use it to check whether the bellows are light-tight before buying. Can also be used for checking shutter curtains and lenses, although it'll show up every speck of dust inside a lens. Have a look at your best performing old lens first to get an idea of what you should expect to see.
11-28-2014, 09:54 AM   #27
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MX?

How well has the MX held up over the years?
11-28-2014, 11:20 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by womble Quote
After all these replies I am surprised no-one has mentioned the one camera which really did have dodgy electronics... the Electro-Spotmatic
Good point, that is another body to avoid.

Phil.
11-28-2014, 12:29 PM   #29
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The MX seems to have held up very well, unless you get one which is just worn out.

I've seen problems with the flash contacts and the light meter contacts, both are relatively easy to repair. The mechanism is pretty robust.
11-28-2014, 01:06 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
How well has the MX held up over the years?
I must say very well . . .

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