Instructables

How to fix a ceased/"stuck" mirror on a Pentax ES Spotmatic

Picture of How to fix a ceased/"stuck" mirror on a Pentax ES Spotmatic
This tutorial is designed to help you repair a Pentax ES Spotmatic body in which the mirror has become stuck in the "up" position. However, these instructions will also apply to most other bodies within the Spotmatic family.

If your body is afflicted with this fault, you will see nothing but absolute blackness upon looking into your viewfinder (even with the lens cap removed), yet your film transport will continue to advance as usual when cocked and fired. In this condition, the camera will still take photographs, however you will not be able to frame, focus or meter the shot you wish to take. In other words, the camera is of no constructive/creative use to you. If sounds like your camera, this tutorial is here to help you.

Contrary to what some messageboards will advise, this fault is not electronic and is not the result of a died battery or failed circuitry. This is true on more advanced Pentax bodies, but does not apply to the Spotmatic series.

Before attempting this particular repair, check the foam "bumper" that cushions the mirror during exposure. It may have become sticky with age and just needs to be cleaned. In some instances, cleaning the top of the mirror with some rubbing alcohol or brake cleaning fluid, and dabbing a teeny-tiny bit of graphite lubricant across the foam with address this. However, this particular method will only work with mirrors that become seized every so often, particularly when shooting at slower speeds. If sounds like your camera, do this first.

Also, this repair method will not help you if your mirror has become seized, meaning that it is stuck mid-swing and/or will not move if even you try to force it by hand. Thanks to Kiteman for bringing this to my attention.

 
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Thank you, good sir, for posting this great tutorial! Within an hour of getting my Pentax SE I was able to fix the jammed mirror! Thank you!
mbradley137 months ago

Fantastic! Thanks for posting this tutorial! I just repaired an old K100 following these steps. Thank you! Simple & easy to follow steps.

alansim9 months ago
Great tutorial, thanks. I just freed up an old K1000 that I bought from a fair, the mirror got stuck up the top when (mostly but not always) slow shutter speeds were used.
I took the baseplate off and used some Ronsonol (lighter fluid) on the gear and pivot. It freed it up and with finishing up with a spot of 3 in 1 oil, seems to be working perfectly, just wish my ME Super was as easy to fix....
crrimson2 years ago
This looks like just what I need, I'll have to give this repair a try to fix my spotmatic 2. Very clear and well documented instructable.

Thank you!
jessew322 years ago
Thanks alot for this instructable. I just fixed a spotmatic 2 that I bought at goodwill for $8.
Trans_Am5 years ago
When you say "ceased", do you mean "seized"? Maybe you don't, but I've never heard of ceased being used like that. Very detailed instructable though. 4.5
cameraninja (author)  Trans_Am5 years ago
Yeah, Kiteman brought that to my attention and I've made a note in step one. I used "ceased" (as in stopped) instead of "seized" (as in stuck or caught) because the mirror itself isn't seized. In some instances, the mirror can become seized, becoming caught mid-swing or refusing to move even by force. That's another problem altogether, and I don't know how to fix that. In this case, the mirror return moves freely, but it's ceased (at rest) where it needs to be, just out of sequence. However, this is cause by another component being seized.
I have a Pentaz ZX m with the same problem...replaced batteries but still not working. Is the process the same or different?
Excellent instructable! My SP II had the same problem and I 'wrongly' put grease on the escape end of L lever. My camera would get stuck once in a while. Tonight I followed your instructables and my camera won't stick anymore!.. Once I heard that most of the stuck Pentax Spotmatics on ebay have the same problem. So fellas, if you need an M42 mount SLR, helluva bargains out there! :-) Thanks mate! K.
LinuxH4x0r5 years ago
Nice. I'm getting a free camera monday with a stuck shutter.