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09-30-2008, 05:45 PM   #1
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inconsistent winder in zx-10

Well, for no good reason I've been keeping one eye open for a while hoping to find one of the mz/zx series cameras in working shape, and I just picked one up off fleabay (seller 'shutterblade') for very little money in assured excellent condition. I liked the idea of the zx-10 because in contrast to some of the others, it has the un-crippled lens mount and is suitable for use with K/M lenses.

Of course, it wasn't in working shape. Just almost, just close enough that I have no doubt it looked fine to the seller when tested without film.

I ran a quick test roll through in advance of leaving feedback, and found that the autowinder is hit and miss. About half the frames on the roll overlap each other by various amounts up to about 1/3 frame.

I've tossed an email to the seller asking what can be done. I won't return it under the usual arrangement, because return shipping will cost me about the same as the purchase price. If I keep it and eat the small loss, I can tear it apart and maybe learn a thing or two.

Has anyone heard of this particular symptom on this or similar models? Any known fix?


edit - I see I'm not the only one who has asked this question...


Last edited by Sluggo; 09-30-2008 at 06:43 PM.
09-30-2008, 06:06 PM   #2
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Pentax repairman Eric Hendrickson told me that the original motors on the ZX/MZ series cameras are prone to such failures.
IIRC he says the replacement parts are of somewhat better quality.

Chris
09-30-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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That raises another question - is the same motor used for the mirror and the winder, via some sort of linkage, or are there separate motors? I've read in several places about problems with a plastic gear on the mirror motor, manifesting as sticky shutter or something similar. In fact I bought a zx-50 with that problem a couple of years ago. (Yup, I'm 0 for 2 on zx purchases so far).

What I'd more like to find is a zx-m, but those do fetch money -- to be honest I don't want one bad enough to pay the price, having a number of film bodies to play with around here.
09-30-2008, 07:35 PM   #4
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I wouldn't discount the zx series- other than a similar problem with my zx-l (which is hit and miss- I just put a roll through it with absolutely no problems), I've been pleased as possible with it, and this is after taking a Tiger saw to a lens that was stuck on it! The zx-30/50/60 seemed really cheaply made to me, so they might be the exception, but all-in-all I'd call the zx-series great AF film cameras (except the zx-m).

09-30-2008, 07:55 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
...I just put a roll through it [zx-l] with absolutely no problems...
Hm, does it like some kinds of film better than others? This was Arista II (AGFA APX) 400. Maybe I should feed it something with a really lightweight film base, like Lucky or such. Anyway, I'll probably give it another chance before passing judgment.

Not all of the frames overlapped on the test roll. And I'm used to seeing a certain number of flawed shots every time I develop film, but of course I prefer those to be my fault.
09-30-2008, 08:15 PM   #6
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Well, I know I've got overlapping on Provia, I'm pretty sure I've gotten overlapping on Velvia 100 and Astia 100F, and the roll I just put through it was Velvia 100, so I dunno. There are a lot of factors that could mess with it- how tightly I'm gripping the camera, the temperture, how fast I'm taking the pictures (ie, if I'm taking one right after another, or if there's a significant (>20 sec) delay between shots), etc etc. I need to send it in to Eric to have him replace the motor.

Here's Eric's website if you're interested:
http://pentaxs.com/index.html
10-01-2008, 02:55 AM   #7
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My ZX-10 has been absolutely fool proof for the 9 or so years I've had mine.

No make that *NOT* fool proof. The fool that I am, I tend to leave the on/off switch ON, which is somewhat OK when I'm using the camera often, but not OK when I store it for a while... the batteries go dead. Which just happened.

The film advance has been good, except for some wierd reason one day when I was going to use the camera for some 'lens testing'. It went nuts on two rolls of film, would advance for a frame or two, but then get stuck, I forget the exact symptoms, but the camera refused to cock shutter... very strange behavior. I figured it was broken. But in a few weeks, when I gingerly tried it again, everything went fine, as though there never was a problem to begin with. Touch wood, it's been good since.

Chris has a good idea, try 24 exposures... Perhaps the winder needs a bit of excercise is all, to redistribute whateve grease is involved.
10-01-2008, 03:31 AM   #8
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The test roll was 24.

I've got bulk film though and can hand-wind, so will try 12 or 18 next time.

10-01-2008, 08:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Pentax repairman Eric Hendrickson told me that the original motors on the ZX/MZ series cameras are prone to such failures.
IIRC he says the replacement parts are of somewhat better quality.

Chris
does eric repair ZX's?
10-01-2008, 08:37 AM   #10
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I have 2 ZX-10. I use one for color film and the other for B&W. Now I have a DSLR and do not use them much. I never had a problem with neither of those. One is almost 9 years old and the other I bought it in flebay 3 years ago. I also bought a broken one really cheap in case I needed parts, but so far I have no need. It may need just cleaning. Someone in this forum may have a suggestion on how to clean this cameras yourself.

Good luck with it.
10-01-2008, 10:49 AM   #11
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Thanks - I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if anyone else chimes in, and run another roll through to see if the first was a fluke.
10-01-2008, 05:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
That raises another question - is the same motor used for the mirror and the winder, via some sort of linkage, or are there separate motors? I've read in several places about problems with a plastic gear on the mirror motor, manifesting as sticky shutter or something similar. In fact I bought a zx-50 with that problem a couple of years ago. (Yup, I'm 0 for 2 on zx purchases so far).

What I'd more like to find is a zx-m, but those do fetch money -- to be honest I don't want one bad enough to pay the price, having a number of film bodies to play with around here.
There are 3 motors in Pentax cameras - AF, mirror/shutter, and winding/rewind. For the winding, if the problem happens occassionally, it might not be any thing broken, but a device that detects how much the sprocket has turned is dirty. Because the reading is unreliable, the overlapping amount is different everytime, and sometimes just perfectly fine. For the Z-1p, you have full access to that device with the bottom off. With the MZ/ZX, you need to go a little deeper.

The small circuit closest to the battery compartment is the device that might be dirty and causing overlap. If you are skillful enough to reach that device, just clean it with 99% isopropyl alcohol will do. And even if it was a broken winding gear, by the time you have reached that far, you can identify and replace it easily. It only costs a few bucks to purchase from Pentax.
10-01-2008, 07:35 PM   #13
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My wife had both a zx-50 and a zx-10 have problems while still under warranty. In both cases Pentax replaced the winder motor and gears. About seven years later the -50 died completely but the -10 is still being used by family.

Jeff
10-02-2008, 11:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
... a device that detects how much the sprocket has turned is dirty. Because the reading is unreliable, the overlapping amount is different every time, and sometimes just perfectly fine ...
Well, there is a promising insight. Thanks.

Progress: an 18-frame roll worked okay; spacing was uneven, but there were no overlaps. Maybe more use is the key. Activity and friction should help that sensing device clean itself a little, if it is the problem. I just loaded a full 36 frame roll and have my fingers crossed.
10-02-2008, 07:11 PM   #15
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Sluggo, I just thought of a way to check if it's the motor or the little reader device. How does it sound while it's rewinding the film? I just rewound a roll today in my ZX-L, and it sounded sick. It sounded like something was holding onto the other end of the film and didn't want to let go Guess it's time to send it to Eric (as soon as I get a good ME or whatever to use while it's gone )
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