K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Started Jul 15, 2011 | Discussions
Jim Radcliffe
Jim Radcliffe Forum Pro • Posts: 11,976
K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Like many here I have recently begun to experience the "Runaway Mirror Flops" with my K5. At first I thought this was a heat related problem as it just recently began while I was using the K5 in 90 to 102 degree outside temperatures.

After reading a number of posts here and in other forums which suggested it might be a battery related issue I decided to run a test on my K5 and was able to "force" the mirror flops to occur. Here is what I did.

I have three genuine Pentax batteries. One of them was left half discharged and the other two were fully charged overnight in preperation for testing this morning.

The outisde temperature during this test was 85 degrees this morning at 7:30AM.

I began shooting with the battery that was half discharged. I shot over 25 frames using that battery without a single mirror flop. I had the DA* 50-135mm mounted as this was the same lens I had mounted when the issues began several weeks ago.

I then removed the battery and placed one of the fully charged batteries in the camera and shot 3 frames before the camera's mirror began to flop. It flopped when I did a half press of the shutter and it also flopped when I pressed the AF button on the back of the camera. I then removed the fully charged battery and put the half charged battery back in the camera and continued to shoot without a single mirror flop.

I then removed that battery and placed my second fully charged battery in the camera and began to shoot again.. four shots into this process the mirror flops began again. I took that battery out and replaced it with the half charged battery and began shooting again...20 frames and not a single mirror flop.

I then decided to switch the lens to see if that might have had some connection to the mirror flops. I mounted the 43 Ltd and continued to shoot with the half discharged battery... no mirror flops.

I then removed the half discharged battery and replaced it with one of the two fully charged batteries and almost immediately the mirror flops began with the 43 Ltd. mounted on the camera. I pulled that battery and put the half discharged battery back in the camera.. 10 frames and no mirror flops. I then put the second fully charged battery in the camera, shot two frames and the mirror flops began again.

To me this seems to suggest that the issue is related to either the voltage output of the fully charged batteries or a voltage regulating component in the K5 itself.

The serial numbers of the batteries which caused the flops are: 201101 and 201012. The half discharged battery serial number is: 201011.

The two extra batteries I purchased (201011 and 201012) both came from B&H. My gut tells me that if I fully charged the half discharged battery that it would also cause the camera to mirror flop. I will charge it fully tonight and see if that occurs.

The more confusing issue is that the mirror flops did not begin until 5 months after I purchased the K5. This leads me to believe that some component in the camera is beginning to fail in some way and makes itself known ONLY when a fully charged battery is being used. This is in line with others saying that the camera finally "settles down" and operates properly. It seems that once the battery discharges a bit after a full charge the issue goes away.

Note that the mirror flops have never occured until the last month of use and I have been using the camera a lot since I purchased it in March of 2011.

To me, the test I ran this morning with half discharged and fully charged batteries is a clear indication that there is an issue with voltage regulation within the camera itself and this is causing the mirror flops. At no time does the camera ever actually take a picture during the mirror flops.

I feel good that I was finally able to actually force the camera to malfunction in this manner and hope that Pentax will look into this problem.
--
Jim Radcliffe
http://www.boxedlight.com
Blog: http://boxedlight.com/blog

The ability to 'see' the shot is more important than the gear used to capture it.

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moving_comfort
moving_comfort Veteran Member • Posts: 8,242
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Good work. I'd say pentax owes you a free k-3 for your discovery!
--
Here are a few of my favorite things...
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Model Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 3,892
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

I feel good that I was finally able to actually force the camera to malfunction in this manner and hope that Pentax will look into this problem.

Splendid work!

It's a pernicious issue, I too hope that Pentax are working on a solution for the benefit of those who get afflicted at some time in the future.
--
Mike
http://flickr.com/rc-soar

stanic042
stanic042 Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

excellent job Jim

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bkpix
bkpix Contributing Member • Posts: 924
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Nice work!

Would it be worth trying to repeat the experiment at 65 degrees F, just in case?

Bob

(who doesn't own a K-5 or would try it himself...)

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korat68
korat68 Senior Member • Posts: 1,717
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Thanks Jim for posting what you found while testing your camera. Unfortunally I doubt that Pentax will respond to your efforts to trouble-shoot the problem for them and may never address the problem at all.

I've been wanting to purchase a K-5 for some time now (was waiting for my retirement in Jan 2012) but am a little put off by the little problems the K-5 is having. I'm not even sure if the sensor stain issue is fully fixed. Whatever camera I buy next, it will probably be my last ever so I don't want to make a mistake.

Still shooting k20

Mike

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GarySloman Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

I experienced my first mirror flop yesterday when shooting with a newly charged battery in 85 degree weather in bright sun (Camera was probably hotter). I was amazed, because i have been reading of these mirror flops, but had never had one.

The flops only occurred once or twice and then did not repeat. I don't remeber exactly when I bought it, but have had for 6 or 7 months. I was using a genuine Penax charger and a Pentax battery. I wonder if something is starting to fail, which is why we are all first seeing this now.

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Elliot H Senior Member • Posts: 1,570
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

recently there was an article regarding the non lead solder
formula
and how it breaks down thus affecting electrical
connections, this could be one of, if not the problem here

this article was not Pentax related, but could be in this case

miles green
miles green Veteran Member • Posts: 7,587
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Maybe mirror flopping is the Pentax way to get the camera to ventilate itself in hot weather? Just kidding.

Good work recreating the problem and pin-pointing the cause. I second your free K3 proposal!

Fortunately, it doesn't sound like the problem causes any real issues while taking pictures... I try to keep cameras (and all other battery-operated stuff) in the shade during the hot months. We've already had weather over 100 farenheit this summer, no flopping yet. But in that kind of heat, leave me in the sun for a while and I start flipping!!!

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Miles Green
Corfu

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solarider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,843
That's silly

korat68 wrote:

Unfortunally I doubt that Pentax will respond to your efforts to trouble-shoot the problem for them and may never address the problem at all.

Silly statement. Actually, really silly.

I'm not even sure if the sensor stain issue is fully fixed.

Silly statement no. 2.

The issue has been well attended - - Pentax did their due diligence.

Where have you been hiding anyway?

Whatever camera I buy next, it will probably be my last ever so I don't want to make a mistake.

Better not buy any electronic camera ever again.

Still shooting k20

Mike

-- hide signature --

At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit
agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts… Anyone who
challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
effectiveness. - George Orwell

Col K10d
Col K10d Veteran Member • Posts: 3,216
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

I like the fanning itself idea Fortunately it doesn't sound like an issue that is going to effect us UK users, until we go on holiday.

Interested that the "flop" also occurs on pressing the AF button, sounds like the K-5 starts to perform a contrast AF and then corrects itself?

miles green wrote:

Maybe mirror flopping is the Pentax way to get the camera to ventilate itself in hot weather? Just kidding.

Good work recreating the problem and pin-pointing the cause. I second your free K3 proposal!

-- hide signature --

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DrewE Senior Member • Posts: 2,053
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Elliot H wrote:

recently there was an article regarding the non lead solder
formula
and how it breaks down thus affecting electrical
connections, this could be one of, if not the problem here

While I wouldn't say it's impossible, I highly doubt the cause here has anything to do with RoHS-compliant solder. The main problems with lead-free solder (that I'm aware of, at least) are generally lower structural integrity than lead-based solder and a propensity to develop "tin whiskers" that can cause shorting of fine-pitch leads. Problems of either sort would typically cause a large number of symptoms and general unreliability, not a single consistent oddity in a device that otherwise works as expected.

Also, lead-free solder has been used for awhile now (years), and is reasonably well understood even if not particularly well liked. It would be a surprise indeed if Pentax were to suddenly have problems due to lead-free solder on their newest camera when they haven't generally on previous generations of cameras. (Most likely, Pentax subcontracts out the PCB assembly to some other company, like practically all makers of consumer electronics these days.)

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--DrewE

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tdwesbo
tdwesbo Senior Member • Posts: 2,109
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Could you put a DVM on those batteries and see what voltage they have when fully charged? Would be interesting to know. I'll measure mine tonight.

W

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korat68
korat68 Senior Member • Posts: 1,717
Re: That's silly

solarider wrote:

korat68 wrote:

Unfortunally I doubt that Pentax will respond to your efforts to trouble-shoot the problem for them and may never address the problem at all.

Silly statement. Actually, really silly.

I'm not even sure if the sensor stain issue is fully fixed.

Silly statement no. 2.

The issue has been well attended - - Pentax did their due diligence.

Where have you been hiding anyway?

Not hiding at all, I read the forum regularly and have seen reports of sensor problems after the "fix" was done. Had there not been the large number of sensor problems that there were, I don't believe Pentax would have been as forthcoming as they were.

I'm not trying to bash Pentax. Pentax is the only brand I've ever used in SLR cameras, both film and digital. I just think the problem will be ignored unless there is a landslide of returned cameras with the same mirror flop issue.

BTW, I like your George Orwell quote

At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit
agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts… Anyone who
challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
effectiveness. - George Orwell

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Kerusker
Kerusker Senior Member • Posts: 1,284
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found -/great!

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

I feel good that I was finally able to actually force the camera to malfunction in this manner and hope that Pentax will look into this problem.

Jim,
thanks for not giving up to find the cause of the mirror flop problem.
It's of great value for all of us K-5 users and for Pentax(Ricoh).

Pentax reads this forum, but this forum isn't a Pentax customer. So please inform Pentax about your findings as their customer and ask for a fix.

It's a great relief that you obviously will continue to use the K-5 for your excellent work.

I've observed that Live View (LV or Video) pulls down the capacity of the battery more than still shooting. Could you please test with a full battery having mirror flop to switch to LV for a minute or so and see if this cures the problem? You already invested so much time and I will not be disappointed if you don't want to do it (maybe somebody else can).

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][.Kerusker
we don't see that we don't see (eye's blind spot)

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Jim Radcliffe
OP Jim Radcliffe Forum Pro • Posts: 11,976
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found -/great!

Kerusker wrote:

Jim,
thanks for not giving up to find the cause of the mirror flop problem.
It's of great value for all of us K-5 users and for Pentax(Ricoh).

Pentax reads this forum, but this forum isn't a Pentax customer. So please inform Pentax about your findings as their customer and ask for a fix.

It's a great relief that you obviously will continue to use the K-5 for your excellent work.

Well, I really enjoy using the K5 and I have invested in seven lenses so I do not plan on jumping ship due to this issue. Pentax cannot afford to ignore the issue. I'm just looking for an official acknowledgement from them that the problem exists and they are working on a fix. I can't really ask or expect more at this time.

I've observed that Live View (LV or Video) pulls down the capacity of the battery more than still shooting. Could you please test with a full battery having mirror flop to switch to LV for a minute or so and see if this cures the problem? You already invested so much time and I will not be disappointed if you don't want to do it (maybe somebody else can).

Well, yes, the LCD is being used continuously and drawing power from the battery so that would drain the battery faster.. but at the same time the mirror is locked up so I doubt there would be any mirror flops using Live View. I don't use it that much but I will certainly try it with a fully charged battery to see what happens.

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Jim Radcliffe
http://www.boxedlight.com
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The ability to 'see' the shot is more important than the gear used to capture it.

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Alwina H Regular Member • Posts: 374
If it were AA's...

... the anti-AA crowd (AAA in short) would have jumped in

Good work! I like it when people take the experimental route and replicate their findings.

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A.
(single A)

Britney Elvis Veteran Member • Posts: 5,373
not silly

solarider wrote:

korat68 wrote:

Unfortunally I doubt that Pentax will respond to your efforts to trouble-shoot the problem for them and may never address the problem at all.

Silly statement. Actually, really silly.

Haha - not silly at all... Pentax ignored many known issues..

Hoya really only dealt with the sensor stain issue after it was reported by review sites/mags... and then they had no choice since it was an obvious issue... The issues with the K7 and Kx went unanswered and the US folk ran from the forum when pressed for answers

We have no idea how Ricoh is going to address issues they have been handed from Hoya...

So in my opinion it is not that "silly" a statement.

I'm not even sure if the sensor stain issue is fully fixed.

Silly statement no. 2.

The issue has been well attended - - Pentax did their due diligence.

Have there not been new issues recently reported on this and other forums about sensor stain issues popping up with 'new' sensors after the cameras have been used for a bit?

I hope that Ricoh jumps in and starts looking at the existing problems with SDM and camera issues... but businesses with quick retail cycles, tend to always be looking forward.

Whatever camera I buy next, it will probably be my last ever so I don't want to make a mistake.

Better not buy any electronic camera ever again.

Still shooting k20

Mike

-- hide signature --

At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit
agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts… Anyone who
challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
effectiveness. - George Orwell

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'Nothing is worse than active ignorance'

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

BFD Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Battery grip?

I have experienced the mirror flop,but not when the battery grip is on the camera.

solarider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,843
Re: not silly

Britney Elvis wrote:

solarider wrote:

korat68 wrote:

Unfortunally I doubt that Pentax will respond to your efforts to trouble-shoot the problem for them and may never address the problem at all.

Silly statement. Actually, really silly.

Hoya really only dealt with the sensor stain issue after it was reported by review sites/mags... and then they had no choice since it was an obvious issue... The issues with the K7 and Kx went unanswered and the US folk ran from the forum when pressed for answers

a.) Well if we stick to the point of the sensor issue... not really

b.) Gee, you're telling me that they would let something like a bad Sony sensor pass them by? yikes . You're sounding upset rather than making sense in this one instance.

We have no idea how Ricoh is going to address issues they have been handed from Hoya...

So Pentax, which basically runs itself (like a good self winding Swiss watch), suddenly forgets to do what it knows best. Yes this time it is Silly me, I apologize. Ricoh/Pentax suddenly goes to hell because... they just forgot to do what they already know what's what. I am a fool.

Thank you very much

So in my opinion it is not that "silly" a statement.

I'm not even sure if the sensor stain issue is fully fixed.

Silly statement no. 2.

The issue has been well attended - - Pentax did their due diligence.

Have there not been new issues recently reported on this and other forums about sensor stain issues popping up with 'new' sensors after the cameras have been used for a bit?

I hope that Ricoh jumps in and starts looking at the existing problems with SDM and camera issues... but businesses with quick retail cycles, tend to always be looking forward.

Whatever camera I buy next, it will probably be my last ever so I don't want to make a mistake.

Better not buy any electronic camera ever again.

Still shooting k20

Mike

-- hide signature --

At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit
agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts… Anyone who
challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
effectiveness. - George Orwell

-- hide signature --

'Nothing is worse than active ignorance'

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

-- hide signature --

At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit
agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts… Anyone who
challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
effectiveness. - George Orwell

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