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11-25-2014, 06:19 PM   #1
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Cameras you avoid due to age?

Are there any Pentax cameras that you would likely avoid due to the age of the camera? For example, would you avoid buying a Super Program, Program Plus, LX, or ME Super due to the age of the electronics inside? Of course the all-manuals (K1000, MX, etc.) have less to break, so they probably age more slowly (and perhaps gracefully). Are there any of the older models where the materials/parts (shutter, advance lever, take-up spool, etc.) start breaking down after 30+ years? These questions are aside from the built-in light meters.

Are there any models that are just hitting their stride at 20-30 years?

11-25-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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The LX develops the sticky mirror syndrome over time. This can be fixed by replacing the mirror dampers. The ISO (ASA) ring on the K-2 becomes stuck to the EV compensation ring over time. Fixing that probably requires a professional CLA. The light seals around the film champer decay over time. None of these issues have anything to do with the electronics.
11-25-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
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I got rid of my program plus a couple of years ago. It was about 30 years old give or take. It still worked great, no problems with its electronics...I just had too many cameras.
11-25-2014, 06:48 PM   #4
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Most of the Pentax MZ series cameras (not the MZ-S) have a small plastic gear operating the shutter that has not aged well. The gear can be replaced with a metal version. If you are able to do the work yourself it is probably worth the trouble, otherwise the labor cost makes it too expensive. This is the only film Pentax I avoid.

11-25-2014, 06:53 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I avoid the bubble-gum colored DSLRs as I'm way too old and square to be seen with one in hand.

11-25-2014, 06:58 PM   #6
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I would avoid any of the Pentax bodies that used only DX coded film ( eg. the P30T)

And the old slrs, if not being used regularly, should be "exercised" every 3 months or so. -Fire the shutter and operate all the switches through their ranges
11-25-2014, 07:03 PM   #7

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I would suggest that you avoid getting any camera without a guarantee of functionality unless you are a gambler. I have two perfectly working LX's - one from KEH and another was a gamble on the auction site (as-is, not working) but was cheap.
11-25-2014, 07:36 PM   #8
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If they work, they work. Age may or may not be a consideration, though the actual model may be. I have four electronically-controlled film cameras, each at about 30 years old that have not had any service outside of having their seals replaced. Most of my fully mechanical cameras (dating back to the mid-1950s) required full CLAs, but that is part of the pain of doing business in that space. I expect that those will continue to be serviceable for as long as I own them.


11-25-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
I would avoid any of the Pentax bodies that used only DX coded film ( eg. the P30T)
before i got my K3 i was shooting with an old P30 (till july 2014 my only slr), i never had any problems with it and the dx coding also is no real problem in my opinion, there are plenty of films around.
you can still use the camera with other films, you just have to count in that the light meter works with a default setting of iso 100 if the camera can't read a dx code on the film.
11-25-2014, 08:56 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by othar Quote
i never had any problems with it and the dx coding also is no real problem in my opinion,
Yes, but a person wanting to use a film slr these days will probably sooner or later want to use the camera in manual mode, for example, with EI off label.
Or use basic +/- EV steps in Ae mode.

I had a P30T for a while back back when we were processing ilford FP4 etc and we were selecting our own EI for the day.
It was just too difficult to do that with P30T' s meter in manual.
I was happy to be rid of the P30T and go back to a "proper" camera, as I recall.

These days processing C41, similarly, I don't always use the label ISO, for example I just did a few rolls of Fuji Xtra 800 at EI 640 and EI 400 and even 200 to see what happens to the grain when scanned.....

Here is the grain from an early morning photo using C41 ISO800 at label speed as exposed by the Pentax MX.

The scanner had the grain reduction switched off.
I want to see what happens to the "light sky" grain at a lower EI.
Maybe I can change the EI in the same roll, from full daylight to evening conditions.
11-26-2014, 05:39 AM   #11
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I won't buy any MZ series bodies, due to the plastic gear others have mentioned. I also had the same fault on an A3000 but that might have been a one-off.

Other than that age doesn't matter. Anything older than a P30 will need new light seals and mirror foam, but aside from that I just fire the shutter a few times while checking that it sounds and looks right, try any different modes, compare the light meter reading to that of a known good body, test a flash on the hotshoe and then put a film in.

I really don't find the P30 series DX coding a limitation, and as for them not being a "proper camera" I've yet to find a shot that I could get with a K1000 that I couldn't with a P30. Seen a few the other way around though...
11-26-2014, 08:46 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I bought an LX off the auction site a few weeks ago - what I did was only bid up to 110 ($175) for several successive auctions until I got one (took quite a few weeks). That then allowed me cash left over to service it if, unfortunately, there was something wrong with it, like a sticky mirror or other trickier to fix problems like electronics. As it turns out, the one I won works fine, it will need a lube at some point but no operational problems at all (for now).

So, if you're interested in an LX, I wouldn't avoid buying one, I love mine and have always wanted one. Do lots of research first into the LX's common problems. Then, in an auction, just ask loads of questions to the seller about any problems, don't over-bid and also have a look at whether returns are possible. If not comfortable, pass and wait for another one. Or pick one up from a camera shop where you can inspect it in person and get a warranty, and then still ask loads of questions! Just because it's in a shop doesn't mean it's necessarily going to work properly.
11-26-2014, 09:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I avoid the bubble-gum colored DSLRs as I'm way too old and square to be seen with one in hand.
This made me laugh! I'm exactly the same way. I probably wouldn't wear any bubble-gum colored clothes either!
11-26-2014, 10:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by swamp boy Quote
This made me laugh! I'm exactly the same way. I probably wouldn't wear any bubble-gum colored clothes either!
Ha... that's a good one, but let me tell you a short story about a completely different result about using such colors (or appearance).

Some years ago, some of my friends from the photo-club headed to this biological reserve where we could have the chance to take pictures of some very rare wildlife in the middle of a real rain forest jungle. The place featured a 3 mile "boarded" path for the visitors, covering most of this reserve. The place was beautiful and indeed, packed with all sorts of exotic birds, reptiles (poison dart frogs!) insects, spiders, butterflies and some larger mammals like tapirs, armadillos, agouti-paca and such.

We didn't knew this place had a different admission fee for professional photographers (anyone who would be expected to make a profit from the pictures shot there). Regular admission for every Joe and Jane... was $8 per person. Admission for pro phototographers was $75, plus you had to sign a document (affidavit???) that required you to credit the place - Biological Reserve- in any and all cases any of the pictures shot in there, was ever used publicly (commercial or documentary).

All of my friends were all dressed up with their Lowepro vests, with their fancy Tamrac backpacks and carring their Canikon hardware. Of course, all of them were stopped (7 guys) at the door and kindly directed to the main office.... I was dressed like a regular tourist, with my colorful shirt, baseball cap, shorts and Tamrac hip pack. Just an extra tripod and my trusty *istD with three lenses in hip pack.

Funny thing is that when all of our group was called apart, I went with them but some lady there stopped me and said: "Not you sir... just the professionals!" The fact is that none of my friends were professionals; some even beginners. Hahahahaha.... they were all charged $75 bucks for admission! By the time they got out of the office and started shooting, I was already about a mile ahead and starting my second memory card!!!

BTW, this was not the first, neither the last time I was "not considered a serious photographer" by the way I look, I dress or the gear I carry, but for sure, this was the only time when it was worth it!
11-26-2014, 02:20 PM   #15

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With the older cameras, their physical condition is often a good guide in my experience. I have two ME Supers that are both very well used - the shutter mechanism on one failed and it has now been repurposed as a lamp, and the aperture indexing ring is getting very stiff on the remaining working one. My perfect MV1, which has similar hardware to the ME Super, works perfectly, my spotless SPF works fine and my beaten-up SV has a sticky, wrinkled shutter. Although it is obviously possible to get ugly-looking used cameras that work great, generally the treatment the camera appears to have had in the past will give you a good idea of how well it'll last when you use it. Always do your research beforehand (search '*camera name* problem' on google), find out the common issues and make sure the model you're buying doesn't have them. That way you should be safe.

If you have the chance to inspect the camera in person, Dangermouse nailed the advice above.

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