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12-16-2008, 08:30 PM   #1
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ZX-30 mirror lockup

Hello guys, this is my first time in this forum, i am looking for some help with a pentax ZX-30 camera i just bought secondhand. The unit looks good cosmetically, just light scruffs here and there, but overall not bad. But here's the problem,
I CAN'T GET THE MIRROR TO COME DOWN!! argh, its been driving me nuts, i read somewhere the mirror lock up is a feature of newer cameras to prevent excessive vibrations when the shutter is opened at like 1/15th or 1/8 or something. I dont care either ways, i just want the mirror to come down, i can't see anything in the viewfinder. The batteries i bought are fresh, two CR2 energizer batteries. I need some help please?

12-17-2008, 07:08 AM   #2
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First: Welcome to the forum.

Second: This post should go in the SLR section, but I guess here its OK.

Third: It seem you may be suffering the "sticky mirror syndrome". It happens to most SLR's (all brands) that are several years old. There is a black thick foam frame that dampens the mirror slap when it goes up. This foam frame is surrounding the focusing screen. Within some years and depending on storage conditions, this foam becomes sticky to a point that it holds the mirror up when shutter is actuated. Try to pull back the mirror, gently and "feel" how sticky is this foam. If mirror does not want to go down, DO NOT force it. It mey be something else.

The solution, if this is your case, is to replace that foam frame. Of course, by knowledgable hands.

Good luck
12-17-2008, 07:35 AM   #3
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the foam feels fine, not sticky or anything, is there a button somewhere i can push along with the shutter release button that can cause the mirror to unlock itself?
12-17-2008, 01:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackbirdoor Quote
the foam feels fine, not sticky or anything, is there a button somewhere i can push along with the shutter release button that can cause the mirror to unlock itself?
Hmmm.. I guess there is no other function /button / lever to move to prevent this from happening. In fact, this camera has no mirror up function (via 3sec delay timer) as others. You can check the operatiing manual at Pentax ZX-30 manual, user manual, free instruction manual, pdf manuals It is downloadable as 3 parts as pdf.

I guess your camera needs some proffessional help here.

Let us know how did it go.

12-17-2008, 02:55 PM   #5
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thanks for the shrug about which board this thread should go in, btw.
since i don't know how to un lock it, and i've looked at the manual, it says nothing about unlocking it. However it said to replace your batteries as soon as you can when the low battery indicator goes off. I guess the guy whom i got this from didn't even care about that.
I think im just going to sell the lenses i got with the camera. Since its going to be of no use for me to keep it anyways, i figure i can recover my loss by selling the lenses that came with it (.
12-17-2008, 03:14 PM   #6
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I had an MZ-30 for a bit and the mirror locks up when the batteries are stone dead. Have you popped open the film back? Are you getting readouts in the viewfinder and LCD when you change the settings?
12-18-2008, 02:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackbirdoor Quote
Hello guys, this is my first time in this forum, i am looking for some help with a pentax ZX-30 camera i just bought secondhand....
There's a design defect in this particular series of cameras. A plastic gear on a motor inside the camera cracks after a while. The repair is well beyond the ability of most amateurs. ZX-10, ZX-30, ZX-50, and possibly some other models suffer from this, and should be avoided on the used market unless they come guaranteed. Even if you happened to get one that is working, it wouldn't have stayed working for long.
12-18-2008, 09:31 AM   #8
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to answer CSoars, i did everything i could without physically wacking it, lol. the readouts on the LCD is very nonfunctional, it stays static everytime i turn the knobs to different settings, the viewfinder displays what i turn on the knobs.

to sluggo, thanks for the news, if only i'd known about it then what i know now. do you have a link on this particular problem?

12-19-2008, 05:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackbirdoor Quote
...do you have a link on this particular problem?
Here are a few.
1
2
3
4

The replacement part isn't that expensive, but the camera is a bear to work on, a mass of intricate plastic workings, nowhere as easy to get apart and together as the older Pentaxes. I have fairly good mechanical horse sense -- my film body collection is mostly full of units I bought as-is and repaired -- but I haplessly destroyed the last ZX I tried to get apart. If you want it done, you should probably send it off to somebody who does Pentax repair for a living.

Since the problem is so nearly universal, I hope that sometime a repair pro, or a gifted amateur, will post good disassembly and repair instructions -- with pictures -- on the web, so that a lot of these otherwise pretty good cameras would stand a chance of being rescued before they hit landfills. As a matter of precedence, the Yashica Guy site's explanation and repair instructions for the Electro rangefinders' infamous "pad of death" syndrome has almost single-handedly reintroduced that classic camera into widespread use, after almost all of them at a certain age had started developing the same symptoms.
12-19-2008, 06:27 AM   #10
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Wlachan in this forum has a good diagram and photos tf the problem
It seems doable, but I found cheaper to buy another one.

QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
Here are a few.
1
2
3
4

The replacement part isn't that expensive, but the camera is a bear to work on, a mass of intricate plastic workings, nowhere as easy to get apart and together as the older Pentaxes. I have fairly good mechanical horse sense -- my film body collection is mostly full of units I bought as-is and repaired -- but I haplessly destroyed the last ZX I tried to get apart. If you want it done, you should probably send it off to somebody who does Pentax repair for a living.

Since the problem is so nearly universal, I hope that sometime a repair pro, or a gifted amateur, will post good disassembly and repair instructions -- with pictures -- on the web, so that a lot of these otherwise pretty good cameras would stand a chance of being rescued before they hit landfills. As a matter of precedence, the Yashica Guy site's explanation and repair instructions for the Electro rangefinders' infamous "pad of death" syndrome has almost single-handedly reintroduced that classic camera into widespread use, after almost all of them at a certain age had started developing the same symptoms.
12-19-2008, 08:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
Wlachan in this forum has a good diagram and photos...
Having a photo of the disassembled camera is interesting, but it's not a diagram (unless I'm missing something), and it's nothing like instructions on how to get to that point.

Which is to say, when somebody has actually done the replacement and documented the process for the benefit of others, I'd love to hear about it.
12-21-2008, 07:51 PM   #12
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thanks guys for the pics of the damned motor thing, now i know what it looks like.
can't believe such a precise instrument like a camera can have so much plastic parts in it, granted, its saving weight and cost effective, but when a defect is imminent, there's nothing you can do but cross your fingers.
if i had my ways, i made the most crucial moving parts of the camera at least metal or metal alloy ( maybe titanium). plastic is ubiquitous.
12-21-2008, 07:55 PM   #13
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just out of curiosity, i have an old pentax SF10, is the motor unit also plastic or metal based. Its been put to work for quite some time now, and it never failed on me.
12-21-2008, 08:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
Having a photo of the disassembled camera is interesting, but it's not a diagram (unless I'm missing something), and it's nothing like instructions on how to get to that point.

Which is to say, when somebody has actually done the replacement and documented the process for the benefit of others, I'd love to hear about it.
I have been tempted to document the whole procedures many times in the past not just for disassembling cameras, but lenses too. The problem was that the amount of time and effort involved would be multiplied many times, not to mention I was working alone so there was nobody to photograph what I was doing. Besides, when I was fixing something, I tried to do it quickly so that dust would not be an issue (and dust does accumulate fast!! (depends on how picky you are)).
12-21-2008, 08:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackbirdoor Quote
thanks guys for the pics of the damned motor thing, now i know what it looks like.
can't believe such a precise instrument like a camera can have so much plastic parts in it, granted, its saving weight and cost effective, but when a defect is imminent, there's nothing you can do but cross your fingers.
if i had my ways, i made the most crucial moving parts of the camera at least metal or metal alloy ( maybe titanium). plastic is ubiquitous.
And I think Pentax have not learnt their lesson. SDM is the latest example. Just how many times you have read the SDM gave up AF?
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