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06-11-2017, 10:45 PM   #1
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Has your MZ-6 / MZ-L / ZX-L mirror gear failed?

Hi all,

I'm curious if you have experienced the infamous plastic mirror gear failure on a MZ-6 / MZ-L / ZX-L body. It seems this model, which was one of the last MZ series bodies made, may have had at least some bodies made with a brass gear rather than the failure-prone plastic one.

Since the MZ-6 is a useful and well-spec'd AF camera (1/4000 top shutter speed and the ability to use DA lenses in Av mode by controlling the aperture through the body), it would be useful to determine the relative frequency of failure compared with other MZ cameras, and perhaps determine if there is a serial number range for cameras that are less prone.

Also, if anyone has ever disassembled one, I'd be curious to know if it had a metal or plastic gear.

For what it's worth, I have a MZ-6 that is still going strong, and has outlasted two MZ-M bodies, two MZ-5n bodies, and a ZX-7. Online searches (both elsewhere, and here at PF) also seem to have a lower frequency of this failure mentioned relative to other MZ cameras.

What's your experience? Thanks in advance.

06-11-2017, 11:49 PM   #2
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It seems a mystery that no-one after all this time can actually confirm whether the MZ-S has or has not the brass components
06-12-2017, 03:19 AM   #3
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i have 2 mz-6's and they are still working ok after 2-3 years of light usage. my mz-7 mirror gave up after 1 yr.
06-12-2017, 04:19 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by beachgardener Quote
It seems a mystery that no-one after all this time can actually confirm whether the MZ-S has or has not the brass components

There are some interesting posts regarding this matter in this recent thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/346785-looking-buy-mz-s-common-issues.html

I'm sending a body to Eric Hendrickson soon. I'll see if he can corroborate.

Chris

06-12-2017, 04:33 AM   #5
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I hope the mystery can be revealed
06-12-2017, 05:15 AM   #6
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I had an MZ-7 that died after 16 years...
06-12-2017, 07:46 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I'm sending a body to Eric Hendrickson soon. I'll see if he can corroborate.
Are you sending him an MZ-6 or MZ-S?

Either way, it would be interesting to know.
06-12-2017, 03:50 PM   #8
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I'm also interested in hearing from folks using the MZ-6 / MZ-L / ZX-L even if it hasn't failed. How long have you used it for? How often do you use it? etc.

06-12-2017, 04:08 PM   #9
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I'm curious about this as well...

I have had two different ZX-5N fail on me, as well as a Z-1 (not certain it was the mirror motor gear, but the mirror is stuck and camera behaves exactly like the failed ZX-5N). I have seen numerous MZ-7/ZX-7 on ebay with stuck mirrors... but I am not sure if I seen or read about either an MZ-L or MZ-S failing.

Knock on wood... I bought my MZ-L second hand from KEH in 2009, and I have run 60+ rolls of film through it, and it's still working... I hope for a long time still.
06-12-2017, 04:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
I have seen numerous MZ-7/ZX-7 on ebay with stuck mirrors
Likewise - I've searched for dead MZ-6 bodies, but I have never seen one. Dead MZ-7 's on the other hand, are plentiful.

QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
I bought my MZ-L second hand from KEH in 2009, and I have run 60+ rolls of film through it, and it's still working.
Thanks for the report. It also gives me hope for my MZ-6!
06-12-2017, 04:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote


Thanks for the report. It also gives me hope for my MZ-6!
They're great cameras... did you see my post about the MZ-L eyepiece and being able to use standard Pentax eyepiece accessories?
06-12-2017, 06:23 PM   #12
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The Pentax replacement part was motor with brass gear.
Unfortunately this item is no longer available from Pentax.
Some used cameras out there may have been upgraded.
Short of a full teardown there's really no way of knowing.

Chris
06-12-2017, 07:53 PM   #13
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[quote=ChrisPlatt;4022456]The Pentax replacement part was motor with brass gear.
Unfortunately this item is no longer available from Pentax.
Some used cameras out there may have been upgraded.
Short of a full teardown there's really no way of knowing.


The brass gear can still be ordered (though not from Pentax), and usually the motor itself is fine, so these cameras can still be repaired. Do you know if Eric would do the job if the gear was supplied to him?

---------- Post added 06-12-2017 at 08:21 PM ----------

Interesting info from user violini (who has replaced a number of broken gears in MZ series cameras) - taken from this thread on the MZ-5n:

QuoteOriginally posted by violini Quote
When the bottom cover is removed, you can see the manufacturing date stamped on the metal plate. All the MZ/ZX series from 2002 have metal gear on the mirror motor shaft. Also the company changed the name to Pentax Corporation (from Asahi Opt.Co. Ltd.) in 2002. If your camera is a pre-2002 one, I would guess that whoever replaced the mirror motor didn't assemble the camera correctly. Please refer to the "mirror motor" threads " MZ5n mirror blocked, service manual?" post #62. There is a plastic arm (behind the yellow gear) extends from the gear box to the shutter block to trigger the shutter to fire. When the yellow gear is removed, you'll see two plastic levers, the one on the right is for setting the lens diaphragm, the one on the left which is extending down, is shutter charge lever. The two levers are connected by a very fine coil spring. Also mentioned in that post, the yellow and green gears are synchronized by mating the holes at the rims. The gear box cycle runs like this: when the shutter button is pressed, the mirror flips up, the aperture is set, the shutter fires, the mirror returns to 45 degree angle, the diaphragm opens up, the power is off. If it is any where in the middle of the cycle, the power is always on, which is not controlled by the external power switch. Therefore, I would suggest that you check the synchronization and the two levers behind the yellow gear.
If true, then the MZ-6, which was introduced in 2001, may well have some bodies with an OEM brass gear.

---------- Post added 06-12-2017 at 08:26 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
did you see my post about the MZ-L eyepiece and being able to use standard Pentax eyepiece accessories?
Yes, I did, thanks. I was already aware of this, though.
06-17-2017, 07:58 AM   #14
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As far as I know, Eric doesn't service af bodies.
06-20-2017, 10:42 PM   #15
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Has anyone determined if the MZ-S has the brass or plastic gear yet?

Also, I have a ZX-5N, ZX-L, and MZ-S. So far, the ZX-5N failed (appears to be the mirror motor gear problem - mirror stuck half way up). The other two are still working (so far). I think all are really fine cameras in the autofocus line (as is my PZ-1P).
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