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05-04-2016, 09:17 AM   #1
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Repair advice needed for Pentax ZX-5

I obtained this camera body when I bought a lens that happened to be sold with it. It appears to be in good shape in most ways, battery and film compartments are pristine, and very little in the way of obvious wear can be seen. Really the only problem issues noticeable before putting batteries in it are: (1) the spring that raises the built-in flash seems to be broken or disconnected, and (2) some of the plating on the outer edge of the metal lens mount ring is gone, allowing the underlying metal to corrode slightly in those areas.

When I put batteries in it, both the topside display and the one inside the viewfinder seem to work perfectly, according to the manual for the camera which I downloaded. The shutter didn't seem to fire, with either the back closed or open. I thought that it might not fire unless film was loaded, so I put inserted a roll of film, closed the back, and the camera winder loaded it the rest of the way, until the "1" (for the first exposure) was displayed. But again the shutter did not fire, and, presumably because it did not, the winder did not advance for frame "2."

Furthermore, if the internal flash is held in the up position, it doesn't fire when the shutter button is depressed, and an external flash doesn't fire if one is attached to the hotshoe when the shutter button is depressed.

There is a very brief buzz or whirr sound when the button is pressed, but the shutter isn't tripped, and anything else the tripping shutter would cause, like the flash, or the subsequent winding of film don't happen.

[I don't own an auto-focus lens, so I can't check to see if the auto-focus capability works with AF switched on.It does seem to recognize when a manual lens is focused.]

Is this shutter failure a common aging issue among Zx-5s or their close kin? Is their a dyi fix, or only one an advanced technician can perform?


Last edited by goatsNdonkey; 05-04-2016 at 09:40 AM.
05-04-2016, 12:15 PM   #2
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What you are describing sounds a lot like the problem I had with my MZ-5n. I did send it to Eric Hendrickson (Home). He fixed it and I quite pleased with it. But keep in mind, you will get what you pay for.
05-04-2016, 12:41 PM   #3
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I've heard of Eric and his ability. He's the sort I was thinking of when I said "advanced technician." Since wasn't really looking for another camera body when I got this one, it's not something I really want to invest a lot in. Perhaps if I had any auto-focus lenses and wanted to be able to use them on a film body, not just my K110D, it would seem worth it to me to not only get it repaired but completely checked and serviced.

If anybody else has addressed a similar problem on their own, on this or a similar model, I'd love to hear about it.
05-04-2016, 01:58 PM   #4
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Common problems with the ZX series are the pivot on the built-in flash breaks and gears on the motors break. Both these parts are plastic. The pressure from the spring breaks the pivot. The gears split and slip so the full mechanical cycle of flipping the mirror up and down, cocking the shutter and advancing the film gets stuck some where in the sequence and all you'll here is the motor running waiting for part of the sequence to finish. Typically the mirror will lock up.

The part for the flash is still available from US Camera and replacing it isn't to horrendous a task to DIY. There is also a thread on DIY fixes with scrap metal tubing. It appears the supply of motors with the brass gear has dried up though. There is a post in one of the threads that lists a part number for a compatible metal gear from a company in Germany. Changing the motor or gear is rather involved but not outside the realm of DIY. I would rate it a weekend or two project, or even a few hours of work depending on your skills, tool set and patience.

My opinion is the camera isn't worthwhile fixing due to the cheap build to begin with. At least the 5 has a metal lens mount unlike the plastic mount on my ZX-50 (broken gear, broken flash pivot)

05-04-2016, 04:15 PM   #5
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Not a Number, thanks for the very informative posting. It sounds like you nailed the likely issues with my ZX-5. And I agree that it's probably not worth my money or time to bother fixing it, though it might have been fun to play with had it arrived (along with that lens I really wanted) in working condition. Consequently, it looks like what I have is a "parts camera" that might be of use for somebody with a ZX-5 that has some other kind of problem. When I get around to assembling some items of the For Sale section of the forum, I'll probably include it at a very cheap price, and hope that it will help out some brother or sister Pentaxian.
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