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11-10-2008, 01:53 AM   #1
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Spotmatic F mirror stuck

Hey all. I looked up mirror issues using the search, but couldn't see a thread concerning this issue on a fully manual Pentax. Every couple of frames, my mirror is sticking in the upright position. I can't convince it to come down by moving it with my hands, as it just snaps back into the up position. The only way to get it down is to fire off a shot or two, and of course taking a decent picture is nigh impossible without a viewfinder (blocked by the mirror), so I'm at a loss. This occurred first on the slower shutter speeds (4th or slower) but now it seems to happen regardless of the speed. The shutter curtain itself seems to be operating fine.

What causes this, and is it easily fixed? I wanted to keep the camera to use for black and white film (and possibly Kodachrome) but can't justify the expense if I can't be sure the camera won't lock up on me. The camera's battery is fresh, but I understand the only purpose to the battery in this camera is for metering.

Thanks for any help.

11-10-2008, 02:56 AM   #2
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Normally when the mirror is sticking up on an older body it's because the foam seal/cushion around the bottom of the focus screen/fresnel lens has decayed and become sticky.
But if that happen you can normally just unstick it with a fingernail. You say yours pops straight back up again though. It sounds like a mechanical problem with the whole shutter release, mirror movement mechanism.
I'm guessing you'll need to take it to a camera repair place for a proper diagnosis and repair.
11-10-2008, 03:00 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Hey all. I looked up mirror issues using the search, but couldn't see a thread concerning this issue on a fully manual Pentax. Every couple of frames, my mirror is sticking in the upright position. I can't convince it to come down by moving it with my hands, as it just snaps back into the up position. The only way to get it down is to fire off a shot or two, and of course taking a decent picture is nigh impossible without a viewfinder (blocked by the mirror), so I'm at a loss. This occurred first on the slower shutter speeds (4th or slower) but now it seems to happen regardless of the speed. The shutter curtain itself seems to be operating fine.

What causes this, and is it easily fixed? I wanted to keep the camera to use for black and white film (and possibly Kodachrome) but can't justify the expense if I can't be sure the camera won't lock up on me. The camera's battery is fresh, but I understand the only purpose to the battery in this camera is for metering.

Thanks for any help.
You need to get it fixed.

Send it to this guy: Home

I know the issue is because your shutter mechanism needs some readjusting/recalibrating. It's normal for a camera this old to get stuck once in a while.

This has happened to one of my Prakticas once. The repairs cost me $30.
11-10-2008, 03:48 AM   #4
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How "gummy"is the mirror bumper foam?
try replacing it and see if it makesa difference.....for me it did

11-10-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict:
You need to get it fixed.

Send it to this guy: Home
Good advice indeed. Send it to Eric and it will work reliably for another 20 years.

Chris
11-13-2008, 01:54 AM   #6
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Thanks for the tips, guys. The mirror foam is fine, so I'm guessing it's the mirror release mechanism that needs a once-over. That guy you suggested has some pretty awesome credentials, but I have to say I'm at least a little leery about sending my Spot to Tennessee in a box and through border customs. I would prefer just to have it fixed rather than find a new body (as I was looking at in a different thread I posted on the ME Super) because this camera has sentimental value (t'was my father's first camera).

I'll have to see.
11-26-2008, 01:44 AM   #7
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Hi

That's the exact problem I had. I fixed mine myself having never taken a camera apart before. You just need to remove the bottom plate.

Have a look here Manual Focus Lenses :: View topic - Jammed Spotmatic?

The L-shaped pin on mine required bending a little. When it was apart I cleaned & greased all moving parts with a dab of vaseline.

Hope this helps.
12-05-2008, 03:00 PM   #8
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That's the usual cause of a jammed mechanical Pentax, and it's not just the Spotmatic. The fix is easy and requires no special skills.

If you follow Martinsmith99's link to MFlenses.com, the first photo is a little mis-leading. That's how the mechanism should look after the shutter/mirror sequence is complete, and before the camera has been rewound. The photo gives the impression that all you need to do is lift the Mirror Charging Lever back up into position ("up" in that photo), and put the catch back under it. But that's not the way it is.

Look at the second picture. A jammed mechanical Pentax (SP through KX) will look like that (the catch under where the Mirror Charging Lever should be), except that the lever will have slipped off the catch and will be at the bottom it's stroke, underneath the catch. The problem is that the catch isn't just a loose floppy bit that can be pushed out of the way... it's held there by the mechanism, blocking the path of the lever.

Repair involves removing the E-clip that retains the catch, lift the catch up far enough to free it so it can be rotated out of the way. Push the Mirror Charging Lever back up and replace the catch. It's still an easy task, just not exactly as shown. The general mechanical layout illustrated by the photos applies up through the KX. The MX is similar in concept, but different in details.

You'll need a small Phillips screw driver to remove the bottom cover, a straight screwdriver to pry the E-clip loose, and a small needle nose pliers to remove-replace the E-clip. The pliers aren't "needed", but don't risk fat-fingering the E-clip and dropping it into the camera somewhere.

Contrary to what it's name implies, the shutter release button does not trigger the shutter. Instead, it releases the mirror. At the top of the mirror's swing, it hits a lever that releases the opening shutter curtain. The timing mechanism releases the closing curtain which, at the end of it's stroke, hits a lever that releases the mirror to return down. It's like a row of dominos knocking each other down in turn.

The Mirror Charging Lever tensions the spring that returns the mirror to the down position. If it slips off it's catch, then the mirror doesn't return and that stops the domino sequence. The mirror remains up and everything else is out of position to be rewound. "Out of sequence" or "Incomplete sequence" ar more descriptive than "Jammed", but the net effect is the same... the camera doesn't work.

Note that the Mirror Charging Lever is only on it's catch when the camera is wound and ready to shoot. Then a shock to the end of the camera will ocassionally knock the lever off the catch. The easy way to avoid the problem is to not wind the camera until you anticipate using it. Carry and store it unwound.

Watch eBay. You can pick-up a clean but "jammed" mechanical Pentax for cheap, fix it in two minutes and have a very nice camera.

Regards,
Tim

01-08-2009, 12:49 AM   #9
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Hey all..this is my first post here, so I suppose hello first off!

Second, I am having this identical problem. Wind the film lever, release the shutter, and the mirror stays up. I have the base plate off, and what is going on is the lever that allows the mirror to release is not moving far enough out of the way. It stays in place, keeping the black metal piece with spring from returning toward the rear of the camera in its slot. I'm under the assumption that maybe the spring tension is shot not allowing the "L" shaped bracket (as it was described before) to return...or there is too much tension on the black rod with spring against said bracket, or something else is going on here, as I cannot figure this one out on my own. I suppose it is time to send it for an estimate, unless anyone here has another suggestion?

I have had the lever completely off, spring and all...no worries, all is back to its original positions and functioning just as poorly as ever.

To note, I received the camera and accessories today. Asahi Pentax SPII. SMC 50mm f/1.4 and SMC 135mm f/3.5 lenses. A couple of converters, 2x and 3x, and a whole host of other stuff (including a Vivitar flash unit). All free...thank you freecycle!

Sam
01-08-2009, 01:06 AM   #10
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Hey Sam! Welcome.

Anyways, I wasn't brave enough to crack open my SP-F because the majority of it is mechanical, and what isn't mechanical (the open-aperture metering system) consists of about 15 wires soldered in over a dozen locations. Not my cup of tea. I'll take your word for it on the source of the fault.

I sent my camera to Eric, our "Pentax Guy". He was a tech with Pentax for over 30 years, and now does camera repairs in his home, as he has long-since acquired the parts, the contacts, and the equipment to service these cameras. He's reasonable, and gives great service (he's turning my SP-F around, fully CLA'd, in three days so that it can get back here in time for my honeymoon). He charges $65 US to do a full CLA on these cameras.

He can be found here. All you have to do is get the camera to him. I can't wait to get mine back. I've got tons of film waiting for it.
01-08-2009, 01:32 AM   #11
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Hey thanks Drew!

Wouldn't ya know, as soon as I posted up, I found a source of cause...or at least a way to correct. There was a metal tab that is ever so slightly adjustable in there...so I tweaked it about 1/2 a mm or so using a very small flat head screwdriver...now she slides right off the mirror release with authority!

I will send my camera into him to be CLA'd eventually. Really want to throw a couple rolls through first. I hate getting new toys (even free well used ones!) and instantly having to send them in for repair...always nice to play with first IMO.

Anyway, now that I've got that handled for now...next step, de-smoking the camera, leather, and cases. Heavy heavy smoker had this camera for a very long time. You can smell it on the inside of the film door!
06-25-2009, 09:48 PM   #12
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Hi, I have a similar problem like yosemitesamiam, can you please give more details of that metal tab you mention, maybe that can help me solve my problem too.

Thanks in advance.
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