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Pentax LX - Message Board/Guestbook

Industry wide indications and ceasing film body development by Pentax altogether in early 2003 more than suggest the manual focus Pentax LX will not be having an upgrade (except, perhaps for very rare Limited Edition Models hand assembled by special commission by the new HoyaPentax Corporation). In 2008 Pentax became a division of Hoya Corporation, which had together with Pentax released jointly developed professional grade optics (since 2005); Pentax has shifted its attention to development of auto focus Digital SLRs having build qualities constructed for the long run--now with weather seals--like the LX. You may use this site for common support and sharing of mutual users knowledge or experiences among yourselves. You may also use this message board as a guestbook for the advanced users Pentax SLR cameras from the LX forward, including many such auto focus film cameras, and Pentax digital SLR cameras. We keep the site going too for the WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here as to its magnificent K mount system user archives: as have been shared here for many years. Have an inquiry related to Pentax gear? First try KEYING IN YOUR KEY WORD(S) for a preexisting archived response on your subject of inquiry from this LX site. If your inquiry or sharing is from advanced users K10D, K20D, or K200D SLR needs, proceed on to t NEW PENTAX ADVANCED USERS K10D, K20D SLR site.

This LX site was specifically created for the great Pentax LX SLR camera model(s), and now has incorporated increased opportunity for an expanded interchange with the introductions of the Pentax K10D, K20D, and K200D SLRs to include advanced and professional digital user models. Interchange is encouraged with the intention to continue as a forum for advanced system users of past K-mount film based SLR systems and the mentioned Pentax DSLRs. With decreasing forum traffic here, and enthusiasts moving on with SLR digital imaging products futures, we hope the continued convenience of this site and its past Pentax advanced LX users data archives--provided by the database KEY WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here--can be very useful to you. Most past site user techniques, systems components, and lenses of Pentax advanced applications--as have been past examined by users on this site--are still of use regarding the newest Pentax SLRs. Please don't mail us with other than constructive suggestions or to rectify mistakes found within this site, thank you. Since this is a non-profitable resource site, maintained by professional and advanced system users, the developer of this site reserves the rights to censor or delete any inappropriate, unrelated, misleading or excessively hostile messages posted herein. If your intention is to dispose of your Pentax cameras or its accompanying accessories and/or you are looking for a used model, or even for any of its system components: please use a separate section with a higher volume of related traffic for these purposes: on the
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1. From : Michael (mrworkwood@verizon.net)
Url : http://
Date : 12:58 PM Sunday 06 February, 2005

Hello again all. I have read with great interest Mr. Tallman's predicament and request for advice concerning the need for service on his "sticky mirror syndrome" afflicted LX. I was in the very same predicament back in April 2004 just after purchasing my very first Pentax LX. (I have purchased 4 additional LX's since than.) First of all I would like to tell Mr. Tallman that, based on my experience, he should only entrust his cherished LX to a facility that specializes in the repair and service of the Pentax LX. That said, and based on the comments from the major contributors to this fine resource, it is my opinion that he should either send his LX to Pentax USA in Golden Colorado (my first LX was ultimately serviced by them - more on that later)or to the gentleman repeatedly recommended by AB - Robin Gowing of Harrow Technical in the UK (eBay I.D: poundapint/email: info@harrowtechnical.co.uk). I have not had any of my LX's serviced by Robin, but AB has had more than one and having read his feedback remarks on eBay and his comments on this resource, I am pretty much convinced that it will be he that I would chose to service my next and all other LX's in need of service - if I can convice him to do business with a US based owner. You see, I inquired with pondapint (Robin) via email concerning my interest in having him service my LX's and, unfortunately, he conveyed to me that he prefered not to deal with overseas customers. In my case, the USA. He did, however, appear to leave the door open if I could arrange to make payment to him in pounds sterling drawn on a UK bank. So I believe that he could be nudged into helping we poor and abundant non-UK based LX owners in need of his expert skills. More now on my "sticky mirror syndrome" service experiences and further reinforcement for my above recommendations: Back on April 2, 2004, the day I received my mint, cosmetically flawless, like new LX back from one Portland, Oregon based Pentax Authorized Service Center, I wrote a long winded request for opinion to this forum (posting no. 371 - MR. TALLMAN, PLEASE READ IT!) concerning the unfavorable outcome of service perfomed on my mint, like new LX. Basically, and to reiterate my posting in brief, the following were my observations of the work done on my LX upon return of the unit: 1-A. Obvious "hump" under left vinyl covering. Turns out that the tech bent the shutter rod cover - part A-8 - while peeling off the vinyl cover. New part costs $0.60 and is still available from Pentax. This part was also not glued down properly with Plio-bond as is specified in the LX repair manual. 1-B. Mirror shock absorber was replaced with an incorrect foam piece. It was a straight narrow and far too thin piece of foam and not the special LX die cut with narrow center and triangular ends. During focusing screen changes, the screen would get hung up on the foam and too little foam was exposed on each end to prevent the delicate reflex mirror from whacking against the screen clip. The proper Mirror Bumper - part B90 - could have been ordered by this Portland based Pentax Authorized Service Center for all of $0.60 USD! 1-C. Shutter Speed Flag (Blue) was not aligned with chosen shutter speed when looking through the viewfinder. It was dead-on when it was sent in to them. This is known as the Match-needle adjustment and is covered in the LX service manual in paragraph 39 - Positioning the Match-needle. 1-D. The Multi Function lever and button were loose. 1-E. The reflex mirror had traces of shutter oil on it and a smudge that was not there when submitted. 1-F. The right and left vinyl body coverings were lifting. 1-G. Ouch - they scratched my LX. A 1/4" scratch was evident to the black painted banding and bottom cover just where the tech would pry his sharp needle nosed tweasers to remove the vinyl covering. Boo-hoo!!!. I wrote a detailed letter to this Portland, Oregon based service center and they offered to send my LX off to Pentax USA for a proper service. After inquiring with this forum and upon reading the gracious and supportive responses from Jay, AB and Globetrotter, I decided to take them up on their offer and have Pentax USA straighten out all of the newly created problems. Now, Pentax USA did a very good job correcting all of the induced maladies suffered at the hands of the LX inexperienced but they too scratched my once beautiful and flawless LX. Just behind the speed dial is now a semi eliptical scratch about 3/4" long. Either the Pentax tech was wearing a ring when he was rotating the speed dial or he scraped it with a tool used to remove the speed dial assembly. I'm not sure and I never bothered to send it back for a new cover. I was very discouraged at this point but at least my LX was free of the "sticky mirror syndrome". OK, so whats next? Well, I recently purchased another LX body on eBay of which the seller described as "minty". He explained in his posting that it had been CLA'd by a Pentax Authorized Service Center in Thousand Oaks, CA. Wow, I thought that this was great. I would finally receive an LX that would not have to be serviced. Ummm. Interesting how this one worked out. Upon receipt from the seller, I was once again overcome with the deflating sick feeling I had felt before upon opening a corrugated box and finding a body far more flawed than was conveyed in an eBay auction posting. Here are my observations concerning the servicing to this newest LX: 2-A. The mirror bumber was once again not correct in both die cut shape and thickness. It was, once again, not the $0.60 USD Genuine Pentax replacement part B90! The mirror was not getting any foam at all with this one and was crashing directly against the Focusing Screen retaining clip to the point that it was leaving marks on the delicate mirror. Yes, this was installed by a Pentax Authorized Service Center!! 2-B. The vinyl coverings, both right & left, were re-attached with a very thick and sloppily applied glue - possibly Plio-bond. Remnants of the amber colored adhesive could be seen all around the perimeter of the coverings. Also, the edges of the coverings were not tucked in tight to the body. [Plio-bond is not recommended for the re-attachment of vinyl body coverings. Double sided tape is strongly recommended. Other mediums suggested but not tried as of yet by this author are sanding disc adhesive and label adhesive. Not plio-bond or other thick contact cement]. 2-C. The right area of the bottom cover was not seated completely against the body casting. The technician attempted to obscure this by forcing black silicone (appeared to be non-Pentax) into the gap. Also, there was evident black silicone squeeze-out at all of the sealed joints. Another aesthetic compromise to an otherwise great body. I promptly contacted the seller and was responded to with a flat out and corrosive NO. A little preassure via PayPal and this Pentax Authorized Service Center flawed body was heading back to the seller. I believe that I am now a seasoned observer of what not to do with your "sticky mirror syndrome" afflicted LX. The LX is a very sophisticated instrument the likes of which the average camera repair technician obviously cannot handle. It is a far too valuable and delicate piece of equipment to place into the hands of the inexperienced and uncaring. And we have to face the fact that all LX's manufactured will have to have addressed the deteriorating cushions responsible for this malady at one time or another. I was very fortunate to have recently landed another like new late model LX with the revised lock knob. Much to my suprise, it too suffered from the SMS. I refered to a number of early postings by Mico (thank you Mico!) and learned that the replacement of the accessible rubber cushions within the lens mount opening might, at least temporarily, correct the problem. After reading everything I could find published by Mico, I very carefully replaced parts B115 (Mirror Seat receptical Rubber) and B81 (Mirror Seat Sub-receptacle). Eureka! It worked like a charm. But I know that it is only a matter of time before the internal cushions need replacement. (I do not recommend that the "thick thumbed" amoung us attempt to replace these parts as serious damage can result). My hope is that we can identify more highly experienced and commited LX technicians like Robin Gowing with the commitment and meticulous character necessary to service the LX. In the interim, perhaps we could appeal to Robin to open a PayPal account and offer his highly valued skills to Pentax LX owners and lovers throughout the world. Perhaps AB can talk to him about this. Lastly, thank you to all that contribute and support this great LX resource.


2. From : William D. Tallman (wtallman@olypen.com)
Url : http://
Date : 04:42 AM Sunday 06 February, 2005

Thanks for all the responses!

Portland, OR (Bremerton is nearby) is a day's drive for us, and I think I'll plan a trip for the near future. I can have them check out the camera while I'm in the area. The Spruce Goose (world's largest airplane, made of spruce by Howard Hughes for the military in WW2) is nearby, and is a "must see". That visit should give them time to figure our what should be done.

I've got modern Canon EOS gear with a range of lenses, yet I find myself picking up the LX with a standard lens to take on walks. So getting it serviced for the next decade or so seems appropriate. Maybe I'll just have them do the entire service in any case...

Thanks again,

Bill Tallman


3. From : Jay (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 01:03 AM Sunday 06 February, 2005

What is needed is a repair mechanic who does not present as many imprecise errors, as are typos as in my former posting: as to his whole way of representing what he himself does. Then mirror rest parts won't be left out, and unnecessary other "parts" (letters, misspellings, and words) won't be put in unnecessarily. Make sure he goes through his work more than once.--Jay


4. From : Jay (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 04:37 AM Saturday 05 February, 2005

Hi again, On LX Service. My experience has only been with factory trained technicians--one was always available at Pentax USA, now in Golden, Colorado. They have actual calibration equipment made specifically for the LX. As for LEDs being off, this is usually in concert with the under ISO/ASA dial variable resistor used for meter setting. It does eventually go bad, and is a standard replacement part for all the $190.00 variety overhauls by authorized service centers. Only the shutter parts themselves are currently unavailable, all other parts are available. But, if you plan to hold onto an LX another 10 years, you may wish to purchase and save a set of rest and foam parts while they still are. Co a word search on our site, as Mico specified them in one posting, complete with part numbers. I have owned Leica, Nikon, Mamiya 6 X 4.5, Pentax 6 X 7 and some other gear--all used professionally. The LX is a fine long-lasting camera body, which I favor over Nikon and Leica. The lenses of its era of manufacture show that quality control and build quality are excellent with the system. Like any other piece of gear with many many percision moving parts, it may need to see a good mechanic once in a while. My Nikons I had adjusted annunally. The LX I have adjusted about every seven years, on average. What the repair fellow did not tell you is that is takes the right trained mechanic, or someone who learned the unit during its heyday, not a generic shop that fixes all any any to make a buck. --Jay


5. From : Dan (dgrimes@unlv.nevada.edu)
Url : http://
Date : 12:55 AM Saturday 05 February, 2005

Thanks to all that responded to my question aboutthe *isD vs. scanning negatives. I very much appreciate the advice and plan to put the money into an excellent scanner. Since I have 6x8 as well, I will be looking for a good scanner to do both formats. I will look into the Epson scanners or purchase a Minolta for the time being. Thanks again. Dan


6. From : AB (nuzzlemuff@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 04:46 PM Friday 04 February, 2005

Well, the last one sounds best. In my experience SOME LXs are a nightmare and basically can't be brought to spec. The only thing to do is to send yours in to an understanding technician and let them put in on the bench. If you come away with the $89 bill I think you can be very happy - even the more expensive outcome isn't too bad. Remember you're having a top-of-the-line pro camera worked on here. Good luck AB


7. From : William D. Tallman (wtallman@olypen.com)
Url : http://
Date : 10:29 AM Friday 04 February, 2005

Here are some results from a check of repair outfits in the Seattle area. Here,s CameraTechs, Inc.:
--------
Hi William, I wish I had something to good to say about your LX but they have been a nightmare for service problems and we can only recommend Pentax factory service. They seem to always fail when you need them the most. Many a customer have returned to say that they wish they had listened to me long ago when I advised them to buy a less fancier Pentax than repair their LX. Thanks for your inquiry.
--------
Another firm is Meiers' PhotoTechnical Service, and they list some estimates on their site. $135.00 for cameras like the LX. Not sure what that entails.

A check of the PentaxUSA site gives Advance Camera Inc. in Bremerton, OR as the authorized repair facility in the Pacific northwest area. An inquiry to them got the following:

--------
Bill~ Yes, we work on the Pentax LX. If we have the technician completely strip the camera down to clean, lube and adjust the shutter speeds, curtain travel times and meter the cost is $190 in labor and about $30 in parts for all the seals. If the camera does not need all this work, which we can determine after we see the camera you would be looking at around $89 in labor. If you send it in we can check it out and give you a more precise estimate. Let me know if you have any other questions.Jordan
-------

That's what I've got so far. Comments? Bill Tallman


8. From : AB (nuzzlemuff@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 06:30 PM Thursday 03 February, 2005

William I bought my latest (and hopefully last) LX from a guy in Switzerland (eBay) it had been serviced by Pentax CH three years ago but the seller took it back for a service just prior to selling (he sent me a copy of the receipt). When the camera arrived I started using it. There was some odd behaviour with the shutter timing (oh-no! Here we go) so I sent it in to my tech for appraisal, he found the following.

1. The elastic rest for mirror was completely absent and the metal platform had been adjusted so as to give correct focus.
2. All mirror box foam was in poor condition.
3. The LED display gave a reading that was three stops out! He couldn't find any problem with the shutter timing despite prolonged testing - this is a worry as it was definitely flaky - I have the film to prove but it hasn't done it since. My first LX I got from Jessops (a major UK retailer with a reputation to uphold) it had sticky mirror so I took it straight back and they sent it off for repair under guarantee. They put a thin shim on the elastic mirror rest and that fixed it ... for a couple of years. A different type of sticky mirror has now returned due to the deteriorating mirror box foam. I have just sold the camera as needing a CLA

What am I saying? Well, how could Pentax CH simply remove (not replace) the elastic rest and let metal strike metal? How could the LEDs be that far out, didn't they test it? Apparently not! They probably couldn't be bothered to replace the foam (a tricky and skilled business) I can forgive Jessops as they were probably doing a quick fix not a full service. The guy I use has a checklist of things that he does to service an LX for a set price, this includes replacing all foam (expertly, I have scrutinised his work with a magnifying glass and it's extremely clean) the elastic rest, lubricating and adjusting etc. What's the big deal with Pentax CH? (Pentax UK is even worse in my experience) and Pentax Europe wrote off one of my LXs!!!!

I know I'm repeating myself but the topic keeps coming up. We need to find and employ independents with LX expertise - if you replace several mirror box foams a week, you get good (and quick) at it and thus don't have to charge the earth, (my guess is that the average current Pentax technician wouldn't know where to start regarding the replacement of foam) you get to know the camera and what needs replacing and what will likely be okay for a few years. I'll shut up now. AB


9. From : William D. Tallman (wtallman@olypen.com)
Url : http://
Date : 04:19 AM Thursday 03 February, 2005

Thanks for the responses. I don't know where the camera was repaired prior to my purchase, only that it was. I declined to purchase it with the sticky mirror, and the next time I saw it, the mirror problem had been fixed. But that was a few years ago in another area. At this point, a CLA seems appropriate. Problem is, I suspect, that not all service people do well with an LX. So I'd like a recommendation for someone in the Seattle area, if one can be made. Thanks, Bill Tallman


10. From : Jay (IBCOM@ONEBOX.COM)
Url : http://
Date : 01:23 AM Thursday 03 February, 2005

Words of wisdom follow below on the issue from the site cohorts. Perhaps, and this is a minor possibility, you may be using the wrong batteries in the camera. Do a keyword search here on batteries, as it has been discussed in detail on the site previously. Some of the proper voltage fail in amperage. --Jay


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