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02-14-2018, 09:23 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Save the classics!

As I anxiously await the return of my (hopefully) repaired AP, it dawns on me that these very early Pentax SLRs are becoming more rare to find in working condition. I have purchased two Ks and this one AP in the past year or so and none of them has been in working condition. They have NOT been just simple CLAs either. My two Ks were cobbled together into one working camera (about a $300 bill from Eric) and the other sits on my shelf as a parts donor because I couldn't get $5 for it as a non-repairable camera on ebay. It's just worth far more to me as a donor to my working camera in the unlikely event that it should ever need parts again in my lifetime.

The AP was sent to Eric in early November last year and returned as unrepairable for lack of parts. I explained its condition and Eric's assessment to Mark Hama in Georgia and he agreed to attempt to repair it. He called me about a month ago and offered me a perfect working Spotmatic in lieu of repairing the AP. I declined and explained that I already have a perfect Spotmatic and need the AP to fill the niche in my collection. He explained that the broken part in the AP will not be available and will most likely need to be fabricated. He cautioned me that this would take more time than I may be comfortable with. That was in early January and I have not heard back from Mark since. I hope that he is able to eventually fix it because if I give up on that one, it's one less AP in the world and there is, of course, the likelihood that the next AP I buy will have similar issues. I'm committed to this one for as long as Mark tells me that he can fix it.

I don't honestly know why I give one crap about an obsolete, outdated, featureless camera like the AP but as a first in the history of Pentax and photography, I just feel like it is worth saving. I felt similarly about my K when I spent perhaps more than I could ever sell it for to save it. The day is coming when you may not be able to find a single working or salvageable K or AP for any price and I will hopefully, when that time comes, be regurlarly using one of each unti my kids sell them for $10 at a garage sale after I'm dead.

02-14-2018, 10:00 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I have a basically working K that is in need of CLA and shutter curtain replacement. I suppose getting it repaired is the ‘right’ thing to do despite the cost not being in anyway recoverable. Like you say, it’s an old, featureless camera but there is definitely something about it - knowing that it is one of the first of its kind, largely handmade and quite old. Allthough it makes no sense, I will eventually fork out to get it repaired just because of what it is, despite not being able to explain why it makes sense to do so.
02-14-2018, 10:37 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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I think we keep these cameras and try to keep them working to honor the legions of faceless factorymen who built them (see the photo on Mark Hama’s Homepage). Who will ever care about a A7rll?

My AP, K and S are in working order. I bought a Tower 22 and Tower 23 from Fred Sherfy last year. They’re both working, though the 22 needs speeds adjusted.

Part of the problem is the small number of some of these cameras initially built. K2DMD’s are similar - so few were built there aren’t many good ones left for sale.

There were fewer than 11,000 19,600 AP’s and 21,000 K’s (both one year runs) but there were something like 481,000 SV’s. I think the S was a very short run and there may be fewer of those than the AP (van Oosten says <5,000 S). Read this article by Frank Mechelhoff. There’s a table if you scroll down.

I think the good stuff is out there but it’s all put away, like Shelby Cobras. I can name at least ten members of this Forum who have working 50’s Pentaxes, but none of us is selling. You just have to be patient, and discerning in your purchases.

They’re old! Sometimes the 50’s lenses are so dried up they break when taken apart to grease the helicoid (has happened twice to Eric when servicing my lenses).

Last edited by monochrome; 02-16-2018 at 07:07 PM. Reason: Corrected # of AP, K and S manufactured + added reference
02-15-2018, 03:02 AM - 1 Like   #4
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To have a cosmetically nice early model Pentax is one thing, but it is next level to have it working. So, I commend your efforts ctrout to achieve this objective.

It is the way of time. Pentax stamped their mark with models and runs, never to be repeated. The history is now laid and yes it is up to a few of us passionate collectors to keep it intact. I am yet to get my AP/K/S bodies repaired but I will do so and hopefully soon Hopefully my journey will be gentler than yours ctrout but if it is hard so be it. On that score I have recently received a SB2 back from refurb and have another to follow. Also, I recommend any S1/H1 owners out there to start thinking about contingencies for this series as it too is not blessed with many copies for parts.

In general, it would seem that a parts deficiet is definitely looming and, in that respect, I have come face to face with this issue with prisms for K1000 (and KMs, SPII and Spotmatic F). These seem to be failing more frequently now and there is definitely a shriinking parts pool emerging.

02-15-2018, 03:15 AM - 1 Like   #5
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While not fifties cameras I felt as though I was preserving camera bodies for the future when I sent a black me super and chrome mx to Eric for refurbishment. The mx was seriously sick but is now a very nice user. The me super is in very good condition. Saved from the tip. Gives me warm glow just to look at the pair. Can appreciate the urge to keep the rare models alive and active.

I had a K1000 and SP11 that lost their pentaprism finish in a line along the middle. Sold on with full disclosure. Can see why there is a shortage of parts if they are all going that way.

Last edited by Arjay Bee; 02-15-2018 at 03:28 AM.
02-15-2018, 05:14 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hi,

Try Alan at f16 camera service here in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. <f16camera@gmail.com>
He might be able to help you.

Regards.
02-15-2018, 07:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ctrout Quote
As I anxiously await the return of my (hopefully) repaired AP, it dawns on me that these very early Pentax SLRs are becoming more rare to find in working condition. I have purchased two Ks and this one AP in the past year or so and none of them has been in working condition. They have NOT been just simple CLAs either. My two Ks were cobbled together into one working camera (about a $300 bill from Eric) and the other sits on my shelf as a parts donor because I couldn't get $5 for it as a non-repairable camera on ebay. It's just worth far more to me as a donor to my working camera in the unlikely event that it should ever need parts again in my lifetime.

I don't honestly know why I give one crap about an obsolete, outdated, featureless camera like the AP but as a first in the history of Pentax and photography, I just feel like it is worth saving. I felt similarly about my K when I spent perhaps more than I could ever sell it for to save it. The day is coming when you may not be able to find a single working or salvageable K or AP for any price and I will hopefully, when that time comes, be regurlarly using one of each unti my kids sell them for $10 at a garage sale after I'm dead.
I am of two minds about this. Sometimes I feel like a collector, and at other times I wonder why it matters to me when the camera was made. AP is a good example. I happen to have a cosmetically perfect copy. I don't think it was ever used, just sitting on the shelf somewhere, judging by the sun bleached dials. It seems to be almost fine mechanically too. The shutter slows down a bit towards the end, but that seems to be it. I haven't run film through it though. Probably needs a good CLA and it's ready to go. Should I fix it? I should, I think. But then it is more important for me to CLA the LX. And once that's done, I'd like to get FA 31. And if I get that, I'd like a new camera, as my K-5 is pretty old. So will the AP get it's CLA? Probably not... If I am realistic.

02-15-2018, 09:01 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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I agree it's a shame to trash old cameras if it's possible to fix them. I consider them "functional art" that have worth as creations in themselves, not just as tools to make images. I've spent more than is logical to fix old Pentax (and Asahiflex) and old Leica and Leica clones. But as a mechanical engineer by nature I appreciate the age when "High Tech" involved clever and precise mechanical items and not electronic toys.
02-15-2018, 09:38 AM   #9
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It's amazing anyone is servicing '50s Pentax' at all. Just try to find someone to do a CLA on a Topcon RE Super. And that was a '60s camera...The Navy used the Beseler Super D version through the '70s, and there isn't one old Navy technician doing CLAs...at least that I can find (and my GoogleFu is strong).
02-15-2018, 04:51 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I'd like to own a Topcon Super DM but I haven't taken the plunge for fear I'd be in the same predicament.
That and most I've seen looks like they were dragged behind a speeding jeep...

These discussions always remind me what a precious resource we Pentax film SLR users have in Eric Hendrickson.
Get your classic Pentax cameras serviced now folks!

Chris
02-15-2018, 07:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
These discussions always remind me what a precious resource we Pentax film SLR users have in Eric Hendrickson.
Get your classic Pentax cameras serviced now folks!

Chris
I bought an original AP knowing that Eric would restore it to full factory spec . . . and he did of course . . .
02-16-2018, 12:10 AM   #12
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I wish that Eric could have restored mine. It still puzzles me that he declined to repair this AP because just a few months earlier he had performed the very same repair to my K. Now I'm waiting over twice as long and paying a good bit more to have Mark Hama do it. I guesss that once I have it back and in working condition, the wait and the money won't matter as much.
02-16-2018, 11:41 AM   #13
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Have you had a recent update from Mark Hama? I'm wondering if he has a backlog of work, or is having trouble getting the broken part.
Do you know what part is broken? Is there a photo of it? I'm wondering if I can help out manufacturing a new part. Depending on the function of the part, 3D printing might work. If plastic isn't strong enough then perhaps in can be CNC'ed. I think the AP is an important camera and we should do what we can to keep it functioning.
02-16-2018, 04:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ctrout Quote
I wish that Eric could have restored mine. It still puzzles me that he declined to repair this AP because just a few months earlier he had performed the very same repair to my K. Now I'm waiting over twice as long and paying a good bit more to have Mark Hama do it. I guesss that once I have it back and in working condition, the wait and the money won't matter as much.
I never did business with Eric, however, even the best mechanic cannot repair a Duesenberg if the parts are not available. As a tinkerer, I can tell you that much. If Mark accepted the job, either he has the parts or has the mean to make them (Which obviously take times). I wouldn’t worry too much, and In the meantime I would give a spin to that beautiful K
02-16-2018, 06:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Qman Quote
Have you had a recent update from Mark Hama? I'm wondering if he has a backlog of work, or is having trouble getting the broken part.
Do you know what part is broken? Is there a photo of it? I'm wondering if I can help out manufacturing a new part. Depending on the function of the part, 3D printing might work. If plastic isn't strong enough then perhaps in can be CNC'ed. I think the AP is an important camera and we should do what we can to keep it functioning.
Thanks for the offer but I believe that the problem is with the curtains. Eric had put a brand new set of curtains in my K but when He opened up my AP, he sent this message with a refund, "I took the unit apart and found that the shutter curtain streamer is torn. I don't have the parts available to fix it. Returning unrepaired."

I suppose that Mark is going to have to manufacture new shutter curtains? That's what it sounds like anyway.
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