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06-11-2020, 06:50 PM   #1
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Pentax MX Failure

About 2 years ago I bought a mx on Ebay. Shortly after getting it the light meter quit working. Today I took it out for the first time since to try it out with a roll of film. The after a few shots the mirror quit flipping up. The shutter is still working fine.

Any suggestions on how to fix this problem? I've never attempted to work on a camera.

Phil

06-11-2020, 08:16 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
About 2 years ago I bought a mx on Ebay. Shortly after getting it the light meter quit working. Today I took it out for the first time since to try it out with a roll of film. The after a few shots the mirror quit flipping up. The shutter is still working fine.

Any suggestions on how to fix this problem? I've never attempted to work on a camera.

Phil
I suggest taking it for a routine service called a CLA (Clean, Lube, Adjust). That will address the mirror and shutter issues (shutter should not fire if mirror is down as well as things that almost always need replacing (door seals and mirror bumper) or adjusting (shutter curtain timing and speed).

As for doing it yourself, unless you consider it a junk camera that you don't mind throwing away, you may not want to learn on it. The innards are incredibly complex on the same order as a fine pocket watch. There is a link to copy (pdf) of the MX service manual at the page linked below to give you an idea of level of difficulty.
Pentax Manuals | Service Manuals (pdf password is "Pentax")

Good luck!


Steve
06-12-2020, 07:23 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
Any suggestions on how to fix this problem? I've never attempted to work on a camera.
I'm pretty good when it comes to DIY stuff. I've serviced some of my lenses etc. but I would never attempt to repair the MX on my own. Unless it's what stevebrot have said - that you consider it a junk camera. I know because I've opened few cameras before and it was always stresful. Your local camera repair shop should be able to fix that mirror issue.
06-12-2020, 11:51 AM   #4
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I have no idea whether this would be a simple fix or otherwise. I would not attempt to fix it myself. I'm not aware of any service that could fix this old camera. Buying these old cameras is really hit or miss.

06-12-2020, 11:54 AM   #5
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AFA the light meter not working, do you meant the LED’s no longer light up (or are so dim you can barely see them?) That happened to my MX and I had the LED block replaced. Good as new now.
06-13-2020, 01:56 PM   #6
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A little research on the internet indicates that the mx suffers from sticky mirror syndrome. Is this something that can be fixed with a normal maintenance cleaning?

Who can the camera be sent to for cleaning?
06-13-2020, 04:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
A little research on the internet indicates that the mx suffers from sticky mirror syndrome. Is this something that can be fixed with a normal maintenance cleaning?

Who can the camera be sent to for cleaning?
That is strange. When I did a search on "Pentax MX sticky mirror syndrome", I got results related to the LX camera.

I do get MX results with "Pentax MX sticky mirror" (no syndrome)

That said, when SLR mirror bumper foam gets old and sticky, it is not unusual for the mirror to get stuck in the up position. This occurs across brands and models for SLR with foam or rubber bumpers. There are also reports on this site and others for various model Pentax cameras where the mirror is stuck in up position due to degraded lubricants in the return mechanism. Sadly, the search results I found were for being stuck in the up position. Your problem (mirror sticks in down position) may be related, though it should be pointed out that the shutter is not supposed to fire if the mirror is down, hence, it is likely that the interlock did not get reset. This would be a matter of putting the mechanism back in order with cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment as needed.

Translation: Most techs will fix this sort of thing as part of a CLA, unless parts are required.

A little more explanation might help. A CLA usually involves complete or near-complete disassembly of the camera to allow thorough inspection and cleaning. Unless something has been damaged by abuse or wear, full cleaning and application of fresh lube, along with adjustments are usually enough to put things back to full working condition. While the MX is complex, its workings should be fairly transparent to an experienced repair tech, especially if they have Pentax experience.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-13-2020 at 05:04 PM.
06-13-2020, 05:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
A little research on the internet indicates that the mx suffers from sticky mirror syndrome.
In case you are interested, the late and much lamented Harrow Tech in England published a list of common issues for classic Pentax film cameras. Thankfully, the Web site is still active and the list is still there:

Pentax Camera Repair Specialists - Typical Faults - Harrow Technical


Steve

06-13-2020, 07:17 PM   #9
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the mirror could be stuck from sticky foam if the shutter is still firing......is there a line of 'black' like residue on the bottom of the mirror?
06-13-2020, 08:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aaron28 Quote
the mirror could be stuck from sticky foam if the shutter is still firing......is there a line of 'black' like residue on the bottom of the mirror?
It is stuck in the down position (not rising prior to shutter opening). That is the strange part.


Steve
06-13-2020, 08:33 PM   #11
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I'm guessing that a repair/clean and lube will cost more than the camera is worth.

Any recommendations on who to send the camera to for inspection and repair estimate?
06-13-2020, 08:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
I'm guessing that a repair/clean and lube will cost more than the camera is worth.

Any recommendations on who to send the camera to for inspection and repair estimate?
Where are you located?

If in the USA, I use Eric Hendrickson In TN for Pentax film cameras. He’s getting up in age, but still does good work.

pentaxrepairs@aol.com
Home-Pentaxs

He gives a free estimate and returns you camera at no cost if you decline the repair. A clean MX is about $100, so getting another might cost more than fixing the one you have.

You can also try Advance Camera Repair in Oregon
06-13-2020, 09:33 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is stuck in the down position (not rising prior to shutter opening). That is the strange part.
missed that...thanks
06-13-2020, 09:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
I'm guessing that a repair/clean and lube will cost more than the camera is worth.
In my city (Portland, Oregon metro area) a CLA'd MX in vGood condition is about $250 on the shelf of the shop that did the service.

A CLA from the same shop is $150 USD. At least that is what they charged me to do my Spotmatic F that had a similar mirror (stuck up) issue at slow shutter speeds.


Steve
06-14-2020, 02:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhilRich Quote
I'm guessing that a repair/clean and lube will cost more than the camera is worth.

Any recommendations on who to send the camera to for inspection and repair estimate?
Thats often the case with vintage gear but you do it for love 💕 not for £££££

Each of my OM1s cost more to service than they were worth but I had it done so I have a reliable camera, ditto for pretty much every professional service of a black box I have paid for. I often read posts online where people advise ‘just junk it and get another one off ebay’ which seems dumb advice as you are just as likley to get another lemon, may as well bite the bullet and just cough up the geldt to get one serviced. Lest you think ‘oh aincould get one from a dealer thats all sorted’ think again.....I have bought a few bits of stuff from dealers and they have been as lemony flavoured as buying off eBay. Just seems the average dealer is as clueless as Joe and Joanna Blow on eBay.

As an MX tends to cost bigger bucks due to its star status and as a reasonable tech might get it done for £50 it might be worth having it looked at....might even get the lightmeter working too

If your in the UK Miles Whitehead could probably get it fixed for you and he is very reasonable on charges.
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