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  1. #1
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    COLD weather help/ideas?

    I had my Spotmatic CLA'd by the Pentax guru last year. I thought it would hold up in the cold weather. WRONG. Mirror got stuck after about 20 minutes in 15 degrees.

    Is this normal? What temperatures were 1970s cameras supposed to work in? What did pros do? What can I do? I'm looking for a 35mm or medium format I can use in 0-20 degree weather.

  2. #2
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Many cameras in this era were used by many pros in frigid temperatures. Could simply be the camera/age. Your camera anyhow. Don't know of any high brand cameras having a bad reputation 40-50 years ago. That could be the key, though. Perhaps there is something the CLA dudes could do differently if they know ahead of work time that you wish to use this camera in extremes.
    Thank you.
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  3. #3
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the mirror mechanism has some kind of lube on it that is normally not cleaned/changed in your normal CLA? In my bit of research, the damn thing should have worked fine in 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. #4

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    15 degrees F shouldn't be a big problem for the camera, it least it likely would not have been during the time the camera was young.
    As for the camera now, it could be wear that wasn't detected in the CLA, or a lubrication issue. Keeping the camera under your coat may help, or perhaps a hand warmer in the bag if you use one.
    This is assuming the camera returns to normal operation once it's warmed.

  5. #5

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    The ES had a cold weather problem. And I know exactly where the problem was inside the bottom cover. I can't recall the last time I worked on a Spotmatic, but I believe the design was the same--prone to cold weather like that.

  6. #6
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    It appears to be working normally inside now. Keeping it inside my coat is certainly an option, though not exactly what I had in mind. I picked this thing up a year or so ago it is pretty much mint condition appearance-wise. I only mention that as it was never "used and abused." Mirror bumper was changed with the CLA. I took the lens off and the mirror would not come down with minimal force applied. Maybe I'll send a note to Eric Hendrickson, the guy who did the CLA.

  7. #7
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    My SV will start acting up in the cold, but usually at temperatures quite a bit colder that 15F. Usually when it drops into the sub-zero F temps then it will start sticking. If I keep it under my coat while not using it sometimes it will last a bit longer, but usually not much longer. On the other hand my K1000 has never died on me, even at 40 below in Northern Minnesota, so I doubt it is something inherent in the design.

    Now for the bad news. Your normal, everyday CLA may not change this behavior, in fact it probably won't. You will have to pay to have it completely taken apart, have all the old lubes cleaned off, polished and then re-assembled with new lubricants. In other words you will need to have a full overhaul. This all takes time and will almost surely cost more than the typical CLA. But, if you intend to keep this camera for a long time, and perhaps pass it along to your children, then it may be worth it.

  8. #8
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post

    Now for the bad news. Your normal, everyday CLA may not change this behavior, in fact it probably won't. You will have to pay to have it completely taken apart, have all the old lubes cleaned off, polished and then re-assembled with new lubricants. In other words you will need to have a full overhaul. This all takes time and will almost surely cost more than the typical CLA. But, if you intend to keep this camera for a long time, and perhaps pass it along to your children, then it may be worth it.
    Not necessarily bad news if it were sure to work. I'll contact Eric and see what was done exactly and what it might potentially cost to "fix."

  9. #9
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    I have had several of my cameras worked on by Eric and I am sure he can bring it back to life. One of these days I will have to send him my SV and have him totally tear it down and clean it up.

  10. #10
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    I've shot with various 35mm, medium format and large format cameras in temps as cold as -30 to -40 C including a Pentax K1000. The biggest problem I find is that as things get really cold the focus will become stiff as the lubricants seize up. Never had any problems with shutters or mirrors.

    If you just got it worked on there could be extra lube in there but 15 F doesn't seem cold enough for it to seize up.

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