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Thread: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Hello all,

    Today, I was out in my local area, when my Pentax 645Z stopped working properly. The camera is still electronically alive, but it will no longer successfully capture an image - just a blank file. Live view also produces a blank screen.

    I don't know if this suggests a dead shutter, a dead sensor or something else (is the shutter involved in live view?).

    Any advice eagerly sought! Especially since, at this time, getting it looked at and repaired from Australia may prove difficult.

    In the meantime, no camera!

    Thanks in advance,
    Ed

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    That hurts Ed, nothing funny about a dead camera, especially if you don't have another one.

    To troubleshoot if it's the shutter (might be stuck close) or the sensor/connection of the sensor to the board try to look inside without a lens on "Bulb"
    If you see the shutter closed it's a sutter failure, if you see the sensor it's the sensor/electronics at fault.

    Unfortunately I have no advice what to do in either case other than send it in for a repair.

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Tough break Ed. It seems if the shutter isn't opening you would notice the lack of noise during an exposure (it isn't the quietest shutter after all). You could simply set the camera to B and without a lens , take an exposure and watch to see if the shutter opens and the mirror is raised. Light must strike the sensor for live view to work. If both the mirror and shutter are operating normally, then it must be something with the sensor or downstream electronics. If you haven't yet, remove and then reinsert the battery - seems to fix lots of problems. Good luck,
    Tom

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Hi Ed,

    Truly sorry to hear about the issues. In addition to all suggested, I would do the following, even if it doesn't make sense.

    I would clean the lens contacts on the camera body, use a different battery (see below) and SD card, and then try camera with both a newer lenses like the DA 28-45 and also a legacy lens like the FA 45-85. Lastly try with a all mechanical Manual Focus lens. When you pull the battery to insert a different battery, I would turn the body to the "on" position without a battery and wait 30 seconds, then insert a different battery and turn camera on. There is a sound reason for this.

    I hope following previous advice as well as that in this post, yields something positive.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 3 Weeks Ago at 18:35.

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    My heartfelt thanks to you all for your wonderful replies, sympathy and ideas to assist. I have been asleep since posting my message, dreaming dark dreams of a world without a camera!

    I will try out the ideas and suggestions above today (when the kids allow it!) and report back.

    You guys are all amazing :-)

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Right, having followed all of the guidance above, I think I have established that the problem is the shutter not opening. The camera functions electronically. The display works well for reviewing older images. The mirror opens and closes as normal. But the shutter is utterly motionless. So the repair seems do-able. The only thing is that getting these things fixed from Australia takes an extended period, even in normal times - let alone during a pandemic. So we shall see how long I am without it in this case... I am assuming that C.R. Kennedy is my only option in Australia (acting as Pentax's agent) to get this repaired.

    Thanks everyone again for your magnificent advice and support. I am feeling slightly calmer now than I did last night, though I will be without my beloved camera for an unknown period of time...

    By the way, to answer the questions above about what happened, I was shooting the moon and a coastal scene near by my home. The camera was working as normal for various shots, then - without warning - the camera simply stopped recording anything other than apparently blank files. The sound changed (I now realise it was the absence of shutter noise, though the mirror still worked). I tried with and without cable release, I demounted and remounted the lens (and tried other lenses), I removed the battery and replaced it, I took the memory cards out and replaced them with others. All to no avail. I now realise why...

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    Senior Member AlanS's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Good luck with the repair Ed, hope you are not out of action too long. (the withdrawal symptoms do subside a bit after a while)!

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    This firm in UK should do the service >>>
    Asahi Photo

    020 8560 6856
    Wishing your camera back in action.
    Last edited by B L; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:56. Reason: added phone contact

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    I do feel your anguish Ed. It was worth a try, attempting everything suggested. One or more of those procedures have in the past have rescued a number of electronic cameras that appeared to become non-functional and addressing the fault. I know in the past, it was possible to actually send Pentax equipment directly to Pentax Japan (which I have done on occasion), but since their acquisition by Ricoh, I'm not sure if that main service center is still functioning. I know a few people who sent their Pentax 645D bodies to them (in Japan) when the sensor (which is comprised of two sections), would visually show a vertical line demarking these sensor sections in their images and required a sensor replacement. I don't know if it would even be economically feasible to send it to Pentax directly or whether the local agent might actually do the same for you as opposed to it being repaired locally. It probably depends on parts availability and whether it's more of a mechanical repair (shutter needs replacing) or whether it's on the electronic side of things that control the shutter opening and closing. All conjecture on my part but I know you want to get back to shooting as soon as possible. Please keep us posted.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:19.
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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quick update for anyone who might find this useful...

    C.R. Kennedy (the agent who acts for Pentax in Australia) have been very efficient, helpful and communicative so far. The camera was sent directly to their H.Q. in Melbourne (to save time going via their Sydney office). Within a day of receipt, they had assessed it and advised that, as suspected, it needs a new shutter (and associated work - gears, etc.) - which isn't a job they can handle within Australia. So, off to the Phillipines it had to go.

    They shipped it the following day. It took rather a circuitous route with DHL (due to the impact of Covid-19 on flights), but it got to the Pentax facility about 10 days later (which I consider not bad under the circumstances). Two days later, they had assessed the problem (which was just as expected), quoted me and agreed to do the work. Throughout all this, C.R. Kennedy have been very good, keeping me informed (even of progress with DHL).

    The cost is AU$935.00 all in (including supplying a new eye cup and the required ring to attach it).

    So far, so good. It's a pity Pentax isn't set up to do repairs like this within Australia, which would speed things up considerably, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What I don't know yet is how long the repair itself will take, and the shipping back to me. I'll keep you all informed.
    Last edited by Ed Hurst; 4 Days Ago at 16:44.
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Ed, Thanks so much for the detailed update and although its never pleasant when such repairs are necessary, I'm glad to hear there's been timely progress. Here in the States, there is a third party representative that handles Pentax repairs but based on past reports, most 645D and 645Z needing major service must be shipped out. It used to head back to Japan but I wonder if the repair facility in the Philippines, is now the sole repair center for medium format equipment? So much has changed from the past when the Pentax corporation was located in Colorado (U.S.). In any case I hope repairs on your camera proceed quickly.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Ed, Thanks so much for the detailed update and although its never pleasant when such repairs are necessary, I'm glad to hear there's been timely progress. Here in the States, there is a third party representative that handles Pentax repairs but based on past reports, most 645D and 645Z needing major service must be shipped out. It used to head back to Japan but I wonder if the repair facility in the Philippines, is now the sole repair center for medium format equipment? So much has changed from the past when the Pentax corporation was located in Colorado (U.S.). In any case I hope repairs on your camera proceed quickly.

    Dave (D&A)
    Yes, I remember back in the day, I was living in the UK and using two Pentax 67ii's, with various lenses. If I had any issue, needed it servicing, etc., I just popped into the service facility in Slough. They had technicians, equipment and parts on-site. They could do whatever was required themselves and if I needed to chat to the people doing the work, there they were. Stuff got done, people felt connected, little wrinkles and decisions could be chatted through. The result? Efficient work, a sense of being looked after/understood.

    It's how a professional service, supporting professional people using professional gear, ought to work. At least in a developed country.

    I miss that. Badly.
    Ed Hurst, www.spiffingpics.com
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurst View Post
    Yes, I remember back in the day, I was living in the UK and using two Pentax 67ii's, with various lenses. If I had any issue, needed it servicing, etc., I just popped into the service facility in Slough. They had technicians, equipment and parts on-site. They could do whatever was required themselves and if I needed to chat to the people doing the work, there they were. Stuff got done, people felt connected, little wrinkles and decisions could be chatted through. The result? Efficient work, a sense of being looked after/understood.

    It's how a professional service, supporting professional people using professional gear, ought to work. At least in a developed country.

    I miss that. Badly.
    Ed, you've described to a "T" exactly how Pentax U.S.A. performed service in Estes Park, Colorado. They were also the main importer and distributor for the Pentax corporation. Only on one occasion (for myself) did they have to send a particular lens back to Japan for disassembly and a complete rebuild. It was one of their most exotic lenses at that time...the Pentax SMCT 15mm f3.5 lens. It was manufactured with one of the aspherical elements completely decentered. Still it only took 4 weeks round trip to have it back in my hands. Everything else was done in the U.S.A.. For quite a few years I had a close working relationship with them and their engineering dept. and it wasn't unusual to modify a piece of equipment for "one off use" in a particular shooting environment or situation. Discussions and feedback was provided. This occurred on a "as need" basis. In the waning days just prior to takeover by Ricoh, key staff was let go and the facility downsized in quick order till it was no more. Since then, Pentax has never been the same, unfortunately. Pentax Corp in Japan (Asahi Optical) was a family owned company I believe founded in 1919 and had a strong relationship with their employees and customers but economic hardship necessitated their selling the business from what I understand. Oh, loved the 67II's. Always dreamed that one day they would make a digital version of that body.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Oh, loved the 67II's. Always dreamed that one day they would make a digital version of that body.

    Dave (D&A)
    Me too, Dave! I guess it's a vain hope now... But wouldn't it be smashing?
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurst View Post
    Me too, Dave! I guess it's a vain hope now... But wouldn't it be smashing?
    Absolutely! I have a feeling we're not alone in this wishful thinking.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Absolutely! I have a feeling we're not alone in this wishful thinking.

    Dave (D&A)
    Super high resolution and 'fat pixels' all in one ;-)
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurst View Post
    Super high resolution and 'fat pixels' all in one ;-)
    Love it Ed! I say lets start a collection for development. Maybe we can call on Elon Musk...I hear he has a few extra dollars to invest on big dreams .

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    My amazingly positive experience of C.R. Kennedy (the repair representatives for Pentax in Australia) continues...

    Today, I received this message from them:
    "This repair will be completed on 8th June and will ship on 8th or 9th June."

    Pretty swift repair and excellent communication. I am most grateful to the specific people who have been in contact with me, who have been extremely good. Just have to hope the shipping itself is fairly quick too.

    Overall, I think the process has been smoother than I dared hope for, especially in current circumstances.

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurst View Post
    Quick update for anyone who might find this useful...

    C.R. Kennedy (the agent who acts for Pentax in Australia) have been very efficient, helpful and communicative so far. The camera was sent directly to their H.Q. in Melbourne (to save time going via their Sydney office). Within a day of receipt, they had assessed it and advised that, as suspected, it needs a new shutter (and associated work - gears, etc.) - which isn't a job they can handle within Australia. So, off to the Phillipines it had to go.

    They shipped it the following day. It took rather a circuitous route with DHL (due to the impact of Covid-19 on flights), but it got to the Pentax facility about 10 days later (which I consider not bad under the circumstances). Two days later, they had assessed the problem (which was just as expected), quoted me and agreed to do the work. Throughout all this, C.R. Kennedy have been very good, keeping me informed (even of progress with DHL).

    The cost is AU$935.00 all in (including supplying a new eye cup and the required ring to attach it).

    So far, so good. It's a pity Pentax isn't set up to do repairs like this within Australia, which would speed things up considerably, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What I don't know yet is how long the repair itself will take, and the shipping back to me. I'll keep you all informed.
    Hi Ed,

    Good to hear. Cost seems acceptable. Hope you have some back up gear!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Erik

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    Senior Member Ed Hurst's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikKaffehr View Post
    Hi Ed,

    Good to hear. Cost seems acceptable. Hope you have some back up gear!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Erik
    Sadly no - I don't have back-up gear. My old 645D is in Europe (at my Mum's house) and I can't otherwise afford to run more than one medium format camera. In fact, even one is a stretch ;-). (Not that the 'D' would allow me to do my astro work anyway)

    That's one reason getting this sorted out quickly has been such a stress for me.

    Still, light at the end of the tunnel!

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    Re: Pentax 645Z trouble - advice sought

    Ed, Good to hear repairs to your 645Z are almost completed and will then be on its way back to you. I'm actually quite surprised at the speed of the turnaround, especially in these times of Covid. I would have anticipated it taking much longer. Have to give hats off to all those involved in assisting with this repair. Thanks for this "good news" update!!

    Dave (D&A)

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