Breaking Things, or On the Value of Leaving Things Alone


This will be a short post, and will also be the last in a while about cameras. Long story short, I broke my Pentax Spotmatic SP. After doing the meter switch repair, I found that the mirror would sometimes get stuck up after releasing the shutter. So I decided to apply lubricant to all the parts I had not lubricated before, including the shutter winding mechanism. This may not have been the cause, but soon afterwards the shutter button got stuck, so I unsuccessfully forced the self timer to run several times in an attempt to unstuck it. I probably broke something in the process, because after realizing I could release the shutter by holding the lever out at an angle, the problem would keep returning. Now my Pentax has a working light meter switch, but a half-broken shutter mechanism, which is arguably a much worse problem than what I started off with. It is also a problem I probably cannot solve without completely disassembling the camera, and I lack a spanner wrench and spare leatherette to reasonably do so. I have also poured several hours into fixing (and subsequently breaking) this camera.

On a semi-related note, my Pentax MG's film winding issue also turned out to only be partially fixed. When its shutter is left un-cocked for extended periods of time, it will not cock without several winds. So it's not really fixed. But at this point, I don't really want to bother anymore.

I like all my blog posts to come with a lesson of some sorts. Even if that's kind of pedantic. In this case, the lesson is to not fix what isn't broken, and also to not fix what you can't afford to break. And maybe also to consider cutting your losses at some point. For the effort I spent fixing these cameras, I could have taken enough art or editing commissions to buy a nice, refurbished film camera off eBay. As little concern as I have for cost effectiveness (I use cassettes and film, for pete's sake!), what I've done with these Pentaxes has sort of crossed my cost effectiveness line. So yeah, I'm gonna be selling the camera bodies on Craigslist (expect a dead link if you're reading this more than a month after post date). Cutting my losses here. That'll leave me money and room for maybe a Soviet Kiev or Fed rangefinder, which I have been eyeing for a while.