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06-20-2020, 09:43 PM - 1 Like   #1
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What is happening to my LX??

After having bought and sold a beautiful LX, I found myself with deep regret and bought another one just this past week. I fired off two rolls and both had a number of ill exposed frames. These were all shot in automatic mode and I remember with my former LX, the metering was excellent so I'm trying to diagnose what is off here. Is this what sticky mirror looks like in action? Could this be the result of a badly replaced focusing screen (I took it out to clean it and replaced it and know sometimes that can interfere with the mirror but everything seems fine and operational and properly reset). Any guidance would be appreciated. I've had such high hopes to be reunited with the camera of my dreams and hope I'm not stuck with dark frames.

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06-21-2020, 12:46 AM   #2
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To me it looks like total underexposure in the faulty images. Aperture probably closes all the way instead of the correct exposure for the metered time. i.e. f/22 instead of f/4 - exposure would be off by 5 f-stops. Release the shutter and check how the aperture closes to see if this causes the problem.
Plan B. Timing is off. Aperture is correct, but a much shorter exposure time is used. Maybe the mechanical shutter speeds are stuck or the slit widths is incorrect.
06-21-2020, 05:29 AM   #3
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I’d say shutter issues - the 2nd curtain delay timing is erratic allowing it to release too soon much of the time. I recently bought a Minolta CLE with that issue and returned it.
This may well be due to debris buildup on the curtain retaining magnet keeping it from holding firmly. If so a proper CLA should fix it - but the LX service is somewhat expensive.
06-21-2020, 03:24 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the tips! I will have a look. Do you think the CLA is worth it? I have a quote for $175 but almost would just get an MX and call it a day if there's a good chance the circuit board or some other issue is likely to happen in the next few years. I have the option to return it still and wonder if I should reconsider the LX altogether, even if I love it so.

06-21-2020, 04:05 PM   #5
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Did you happen to know the meter reading in those frames that turned out underexposed?
06-21-2020, 04:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Did you happen to know the meter reading in those frames that turned out underexposed?
1/125th @ 1.4 if i recall correctly.
06-21-2020, 04:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoulter Quote
1/125th @ 1.4 if i recall correctly.
So would that have been appropriate for the scene?
Just trying to figure if the meter was off - and by the looks of by a few stops under, or the electronic shutter system is releasing earlier then it should.

In anycase, this is not normal operation and certainly something is off and likely needs attention unless perhaps the batteries have gone bad.

Without film in it, if you could setup a fixed lighting condition and exercise the aperture priority mode on the longer exposure times that you can actually verify with a stopwatch - such as 8, 4 and 2 second. This way you can confirm timing is correct and proper electronic functionality. You can achieve this easily enough by adjusting the ISO to slow film and setting the lens at smaller apertures.
06-21-2020, 05:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
So would that have been appropriate for the scene?
Just trying to figure if the meter was off - and by the looks of by a few stops under, or the electronic shutter system is releasing earlier then it should.

In anycase, this is not normal operation and certainly something is off and likely needs attention unless perhaps the batteries have gone bad.

Without film in it, if you could setup a fixed lighting condition and exercise the aperture priority mode on the longer exposure times that you can actually verify with a stopwatch - such as 8, 4 and 2 second. This way you can confirm timing is correct and proper electronic functionality. You can achieve this easily enough by adjusting the ISO to slow film and setting the lens at smaller apertures.
That sounds like a good test and I'll give that a shot as I just finished two more rolls to see if this behavior is consistent. I boxed in red some sequences that were all captured in the same conditions pointed at the same subjects in automatic mode which is why the underexposure was so concerning. I was surprised at the time that it was metering at 1/125th but it came out well in one frame and dark in the next despite the subject, framing and lighting conditions.

I have a late model LX with a 53 serial number and was hoping it would work out but I may not make the investment to CLA if needed as that would put the camera above $500 (I also went mad and got the sports finder and insanely priced SA-23 focusing screen so that would make the total investment unreasonable if the body will die in a matter of months to near term years).

If I don't, what does everyone feel would be a good alternative? Small, light-ish weight SLR with accurate meter and ideally equipped with aperture priority would be my dream camera. All my lenses are manual focus but I could re-evaluate that.

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06-21-2020, 06:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoulter Quote
If I don't, what does everyone feel would be a good alternative? Small, light-ish weight SLR with accurate meter and ideally equipped with aperture priority would be my dream camera. All my lenses are manual focus but I could re-evaluate that.
That is a bummer about the LX.

With a Pentax mount, then the Ricoh XR-7 or Pentax ME Super are candidates. The former with more traditional controls and the latter using push buttons.



But of course it has to be fully functional and accurate as otherwise you would still be in the same boat albeit at a much lower price.
06-21-2020, 06:06 PM   #10
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Les, if one was okay with the Pentax pushbutton controls, why not go for a Super Program / Super-A and get in-body aperture control for lenses that don't offer aperture rings?


The XR7 is a nice camera though for sure.
06-21-2020, 06:09 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I've an LX with intermittent board issues affecting metering. When it occurs (as I've learned over time) the meter is visibly affected, e.g. when pointed at static scene and the system misbehaves you can watch the metering change though the scene has not changed. Over time, because I know it will not be sorted by CLA (and my issue was attempted to be sorted by Eric Hendrickson at his shop on two separate visits over half a year's time about 4 years ago), I've learned that switching out of auto-mode and then back will sort of "jiggle the switch". It's still a useable camera and has yet to become worse over the past few years (in fact it does it less often, surprisingly) but I always have to be mindful of it. It will also, seldomly but on occasion, choose an incorrect shutter speed and "lock up" even while I'm in a manual speed setting, though the same "fix" brings it back to normal. I'd say this will happen around 2 or 3 times per roll on average, but if I don't notice and "correct" it I might shoot several frames with bad metering before I realize what's happening.

An MX simply doesn't have these issues and is the Pentax 35mm I use far more often.... but it also doesn't have same incredible handling as an LX. All this is to say, you're right that a CLA may not fix the issue, but until you're sure what the issue there's no way to know.


QuoteOriginally posted by acoulter Quote
If I don't, what does everyone feel would be a good alternative? Small, light-ish weight SLR with accurate meter and ideally equipped with aperture priority would be my dream camera. All my lenses are manual focus but I could re-evaluate that.
(FWIW, based on your "dream camera" ... I fell in love with a Konica T4 (Autoreflex) a couple years ago based on that criteria, with the exception that it's shutter-priority, not aperture... but that was something which bothered me at first and now I've grown to prefer it.)
06-21-2020, 07:06 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Les, if one was okay with the Pentax pushbutton controls, why not go for a Super Program / Super-A and get in-body aperture control for lenses that don't offer aperture rings?


The XR7 is a nice camera though for sure.
I had a Super Program but I was not personally enamored with it.
06-21-2020, 08:09 PM   #13
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Seems pretty similar to the ME-Super but I trust your judgement.
06-21-2020, 08:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Seems pretty similar to the ME-Super but I trust your judgement.
I don't trust my own and that's why I've had to acquire so many just to be sure . . .
06-21-2020, 09:04 PM   #15
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Appreciate all the comments and feedback! What a great community. I ran some tests without film in the camera and it seems that while the camera accurately meters in low light, the measurement is not translating to the shutter while in automatic mode but does in manual mode. Interesting. I assume that has something to do with the circuit board. I'm going to return the camera (so sad!). If anyone is looking for an incredibly hard to find open box and never used SA-23 focusing screen that I bought separately to put into my LX, I'll be putting that on the market now. Thank you all for the great advice. I'm going to take a look at all the alternatives mentioned above.
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