talkin bout camerasa blog by Branden Frederick

Pentax K-50 Saga

Published 28 Jul 2018 – Updated 28 Jul 2018

Wherein I learn about aperture block failure

I love bright and crazy colors, so a few years ago when Pentax made the unusual decision to produce their K-50 camera in a huge array of toy-like colors, they had my attention. I was not in any way looking to buy a new SLR system at the time, so I didn't, but I never forgot about it.

Now last week, I wanted a dSLR because I have uncontrollable G.A.S. (heh) and I have no lens investment with any dSLR brand, so the camera world was my oyster. Plus, reputable used equipment vendor KEH had one of these crazy-colored K-50s listed, and at a good price. So I bought it.

The Pentax K-50 with kit lens

The box came and I was excited to try out my new camera. It was these lovely obnoxious shades of pink and yellow – even the lens was getting in on the action. I knew this would get attention from strangers, and I love talking about cameras, so I was really looking forward to taking this out shooting.

So you can imagine my disappointment when all the photos were coming out dark – like eight stops dark. I investigate: it's definitely broken. I research: this camera model is known on the Pentax Forums to have something called "Aperture block failure". Great.

Apparently, for several years, Pentax produced cameras with a part called an "aperture block" that was prone to fail after time, regardless of usage. The problem is fatal, and the solution involves an expensive Pentax factory repair, with no guarantee that the problem won't return. Basically, Pentax SLRs produced from 2012 to 2017 are garbage.

Now I have to RMA this beautiful camera. And any appetite I had for exploring Pentax's equipment is completely lost. I cannot believe a major camera manufacturer allowed this problem to persist in their main product line for five years. What a joke, how did Pentax even survive this?

You can even set the display screen to pink

about Branden Frederick

I am a photographer: I have fun taking photos, and I always have.

I've had a camera in my hand my whole life, a 110 camera as a kid, and the high school's 35mm SLR later. In 2008 I spent six months doing nothing but taking photos and loved it. From that point on I've had my camera surgically attached to my hand (I lie). I went digital in the year 2000, and I came back to film in 2013. My parents tell me my photos are "nice".

bf@branfred.com