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12-11-2009, 11:44 AM   #1
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Problem with my LX

I just got my first few rolls of film back taken with with my newly acquired Pentax LX and my love affair with that camera has come to a screeching halt. Can someone tell me what's going on with my camera? It looks like the horizontal plane shutter isn't clearing totally out of the way when an exposure is being made. Not all of the pics are like this, but I'd estimate 2/3's are.

I really really wish I would have tested this camera out with some cheapo film before running Velvia 100 through it.

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12-11-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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The image looks remarkably similar to a problem I had with an ME Super shutter, except mine was top to bottom, not side to side (ME Super shutter is vertical, not horizontal). The shutter assembly was replaced after other efforts didn't fix the problem. For me, it happened at the higher speeds. Looking at that shot of yours, it doesn't look like light that would need 1/2000. See if you can find a pattern based on shutter speed.

I'd suggest that you send your file to a repair place and see what they think. The standard here is Eric Hendrickson- Home
12-11-2009, 11:54 AM   #3
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The dark spots are all in the same places on the negs? Is this your only roll through it? Were they at similar shutter speeds when the spots appear...I'd guess around 1/60s?

It seems like it is the shutter...
12-11-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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I wish I would have written down the speeds I took these at, I'm totally in the dark as to what shutter speeds its happening at. I'm going to run a cheapo C41 roll through it tonight, take notes, and see if it happens to it also. And yeah, it sounds like it might need to take a trip to Eric. Anyone have any idea what kind of repair bill I'm looking at here?

Grr, this is turning out to be one expensive little camera...oh well, I still love it, well, assuming he can fix it.

12-11-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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Looks like you've just got a bit of a draggy shutter curtain. (LX'es have horizontal-travel shutters? Did not know. Most old Canons do, anyway. )

Any shutter tuning or lube ought to clear it right up.


If it's any consolation, if I finally get an LX, I'd want to have Eric make it just right ASAP, anyway. All the AF and other stuff is for practicality: LXes are for doing the old school just right. Probably as 'put together' a camera as was ever made. Don't shirk the maintenance.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-11-2009 at 04:13 PM.
12-11-2009, 04:09 PM   #6
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I emailed Eric. He hasn't gotten back to me yet but hopefully it won't be much of an issue for him to fix it.

In the mean time this gave me just the excuse I needed to buy a Nikon F100. Just got one in mint condition off of eBay for $180. What a raging bargain that camera is these days. Crazy really, $1400 camera a few years ago, $180 now. But then again, the K10D isn't far away from the $180 mark on the used market these days either. I don't think I'll ever buy a new camera again, there are very few that hold their value like an LX has or a Nikon F3 has over the years.

QuoteQuote:
If it's any consolation, if I finally get an LX, I'd want to have Eric make it just right ASAP, anyway. All the AF and other stuff is for practicality: LXes are for doing the old school just right. Probably as 'put together' a camera as was ever made. Don't shirk the maintenance.
I couldn't agree more with that. That F100 is just going to be used when I have something that needs to be done, my LX will be for things I enjoy doing. I had planned on sending mine to him eventually anyway just because I want to make sure it lasts me 20 more years, but I wasn't planning on doing it this soon.

Last edited by Art Vandelay II; 12-11-2009 at 04:23 PM.
12-11-2009, 05:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Art Vandelay II Quote
I emailed Eric. He hasn't gotten back to me yet but hopefully it won't be much of an issue for him to fix it.
I'm really guessing it won't be. Always wanted an excuse to 'need' an LX, ..never figured it would because film would be no good in certain arenas. It still remains that once I have my digital stuff, I'll want to add another F-1N to the stable and have all that old stuff serviced before everyone forgets how. For Pentax, I think I need to go with a more automated film body, but LXes are so nice.

QuoteQuote:
In the mean time this gave me just the excuse I needed to buy a Nikon F100. Just got one in mint condition off of eBay for $180. What a raging bargain that camera is these days. Crazy really, $1400 camera a few years ago, $180 now. But then again, the K10D isn't far away from the $180 mark on the used market these days either. I don't think I'll ever buy a new camera again, there are very few that hold their value like an LX has or a Nikon F3 has over the years.
I think in real-world dollars, F3's are quite reasonable compared to what they used to cost. Trick would seem to be finding one that isn't beat.

If you have an F100, though, peek at KEH for grips and batteries stuff: my Nikonian friend (Stephen Colbert shoulder hug and point ) has one, and I noticed they had some of that stuff cheap.
12-11-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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Your LX has a skicky shutter. Sometimes this will work itself out after a while, other times it need to go in for adjustment. I had my LX dome by Eric last year, I think the CLA cost about $220.00.

It was worth it.

As an aside, I also own a Nikon F100. It is one of the finest film cameras I have ever used. Faster autofocus then my K10D. Very comfortable to hold. Great viewfinder, with plenty of information in the LED. It is the camera that convinced me to look at a Nikon DSLR. Now I own a D200 along with the F100. They make a really good matched set. The controls are almost identical, they feel the same, the viewfinder info is the same, the controls are the same.

That said, I don't intend to sell my LX. It is the finest manual focus camera ever made.

12-11-2009, 06:49 PM   #9
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$220? Ouch. That doesn't sound none too good. I was hoping (and am still hoping) it will be $100 or less. I don't guess I have much of a choice though, I cant sale it like it is, nor do I want to anyway. She needs a little work, but it will be pristine when I'm done with her. It took a while to find one this clean for a decent price...I guess I know why now, beauty on the outside, but...

Oh well, If I can get this fixed I think I've found the most perfect street camera ever made. Even if you take into account the $300 price + the $200 repair bill it's still a whole lot less than a Zeiss Ikon or anything with a red dot on it.

I'm a former D200 owner myself. I sold off my K10D to buy one after using a friends and falling in love with the magnesium build and ergo's. But like the K10D it was just too noisy for me (same sensor and all), so I sold it to buy an E-P1. Then I bought some rangefinder glass, then a Voigtlander rangefinder. That made me realize I like film more than digital. After realizing that M-Mount glass price tags are insane I started looking at classic SLR's. Which brought me back full circle to Pentax and the LX. It's been quite the adventure.
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12-11-2009, 10:15 PM   #10
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CLA'ing your LX will be worth it

Once Eric has finished with it, you'll have a camera that will serve you well for years and years. The LX is a masterpiece and if I myself were only going to invest that sort of money into one camera, the LX would be the one.

If you end up with a perfectly working LX for around $500 then you've got a bargain.
12-11-2009, 10:24 PM   #11
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That is truly a camera after which to lust. Eric will make it perfect.

When the Pentax Service Center was still doing CLA's on these (as recently as 2004) I believe the cost approached $300 (and those were real dollars, not our current mini-dollars). I'd also wonder how long new parts will be available. I know Eric has run out of certain cosmetic parts for Spotmatics and now cannibalizes parts cameras when necessary. Not the case with LX, I don't think - but why wait?
12-11-2009, 10:40 PM   #12
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I know, I actually don't view this as too bad of a thing, it's better to have it done now then when its too late (out of parts, Eric retires, etc..). He sure seems to know his stuff. He got back to me via email, this was his response from just looking at that one photo:
QuoteQuote:
You're not looking at a serious problem. The second curtain is traveling at a faster speed than the first and at higher speeds it is actually catching up with the first causing the underexposure. A routine clean and lube will take care of it
I'm happy with his estimate so I'm going to ship it to him first thing Monday morning. I already can't wait to get it back.
12-11-2009, 10:54 PM   #13
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I know Eric is like a god here, and I recommended him to you. At the same time, do a low-cost test roll when the camera returns. He recently worked on a couple of my cameras and the ME Super came back with the same shutter problem that caused me to send it to him in the first place, a problem similar to yours. And the flash sync on the MX is still flawed, with a sliver of shutter curtain showing in the frame.

He's honest, stands behind his work, and I believe that he has earned his reputation through quality service again and again. Still, he's human and is dealing with complex little machines with lots of unique ways to go wrong. And some of those ways can't be diagnosed on a test bench, only in actual use. So run through the shutter speeds and check flash sync when the camera returns.

Your advantage is that I get the sense that he likes the LX. I also get the sense that he'd be fine never working on an MX again More than anything, I think that parts for the MX are getting pretty rare. If he had the parts, I think he'd be happy just swapping out whatever subsystem creates the problems with my MX.

The ME Super that he repaired is working very well. Since I never used the flash on the MX, it's only an issue if I go to sell, and Eric has made it clear that he will do another round of work on the MX if I want. Just my luck to have two cameras that fall to the outer edges of the curve...
12-11-2009, 11:07 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tip, will do. That doesn't sound too promising though, I was thinking about looking for an MX next. Why is it all the lust objects are also the expensive ones?
12-12-2009, 09:24 AM   #15
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Art, ask and read around about MXs, and about repair work on them. I'm just one person. You can write Eric and ask him directly, also. He sees lots of cameras and knows which models have problems, which ones are just getting old, etc. He's never written to me that he doesn't want to work on MXs; I'm just reading between the lines, and my MX body gave both of us some problems.

Last edited by dandaniel; 12-12-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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