Mirror stuck up is a common problem of old Pentax 6X7/67 cameras when their mirror gets stuck in the upper position after the shutter has fired and remained open. There are several reasons for the mirror to lock up all the way with the shutter open, but the most common one has to do with the shutter holding magnet. The core of the magnet gets magnetized and stops releasing the second curtain. Usually cleaning the magnet and electrical contacts solves the problem. So, let’s begin the repairs.
Attention! Do not attempt to repair your camera until you read this article till the end! Well, to get access to the magnet and electrical contacts, you need to remove a few covers from the camera body. First, you need to take out the leatherette finishing (skin) which covers the screws.
Next, let’s see a disassembling scheme on how to remove the covers. You can find it also on page 96 of the Pentax 6X7 Service Manual. See the image below for the details. I marked in red the parts that should be removed.
The original service manual available on the web is for earlier versions of the Pentax 6X7 camera with no mirror lockup unit. But the disassembling of Pentax 6X7/67 MLU cameras do not differ significantly.
However, there are some very important points.
1. Note the screws highlighted with the green arrows. The former is not shown in the original manual but is present in actual cameras. I’ve included it in the scheme.
2. Screw highlighted with the red cross in step #3 should NOT be unscrewed. It fixes the spring of the MLU lever. This spring prevents the lever from dangling. See the image below for the details — the red cross indicates the same screw as on the scheme.
3. The green arrows indicate the screw mount places of the side cover which should be unscrewed — two screws under the leatherette finishing (left image) and other two screws from the side of prism/waist finder (right image).
Now you have access to the magnet and other electrical contacts. See the image below. The areas marked with the red arrows should be cleaned with a special liquid electrical contact cleaner or absolute ethanol.
To clean the magnet (marked with the left red arrow) you should cock the shutter, then take out the battery and press the shutter release button. The mirror will get raised by half, releasing the lever above the magnet. This will allow you to clean this spot well.
CAUTION! Do not spray cleaner directly on the contacts. Pour some liquid on a thin cotton swab instead and clean the contacts.
Now the cleaning is done. It’s time to check the camera. If the problem appeared during a shooting on slow shutter speeds, then start testing it on the fastest shutter speeds and vice versa. Watch this video for more details of the process. Do not forget to select HD quality of the video.
In its operating manual Asahi recommends checking a camera’s performance at least once a year to maintain it in good working condition. In my practice, it should be checked more often and it rather depends on the camera’s condition.
For instance, I had a camera body that was heavily used by its previous owner, and its mirror got stuck every time it had not been in use for two months or even less. However, I’ve noticed that “dry fire” helps to extend the period until the next mirror stuck.
I think the dirt resulting from gear friction near the magnet sticks to it tightly when a camera is not in use for a certain period of time. And the older your camera gets, the shorter this period becomes. Eventually, I disassembled my camera body and successfully repaired it. This experience enabled me to write this article. So, I think that it is a good practice to carry out a “dry fire” series if you don’t use your camera for at least two months.
Mirror stuck repair FAQ
Since publishing this article about repairing a mirror stuck on Pentax 6X7/67 cameras, I have received a lot of questions and comments about the details of this process. I decided to sum them up in a special FAQ section:
1. Is it necessary to remove all covers indicated in the diagram?
When I first disassembled my camera, I did not manage to remove the necessary covers indicated as step #3 and step #4 without disconnecting the cover in step #1. Subsequently, when other people began to use this mirror stuck repair manual, it appeared that it was not necessary to remove the cover on step #1, because it does NOT close the contacts that need to be cleaned to prevent the mirror stuck. It is also clearly visible on these photos made by Stefan Seip.
2. I can’t get the side cover in step #3 off at all.
It seems that this is the most difficult part of the process because it remains one of the most frequently asked questions. Some people report that they have one extra screw in their cameras in step #3.
Strictly speaking, the disassembling scheme describes the oldest Pentax 6X7 w/o MLU, which may indeed differ in the number and position of the screws.
A careful analysis of this scheme gives rise to the feeling that the screws that need to be unscrewed are not indicated correctly on the original scheme. I updated it to match the actual Pentax 6X7/67 MLU camera more closely.
Also, the cover could get stuck in the camera body because of old ingrained dirt. If after unscrewing the cover is still “glued” to the camera body, try to remove it by gently inserting a thin screwdriver or knife between the cover and the body.
And finally, if you haven’t detached the bottom cover in step #1, it may prevent the removal of the left side cover as if it got stuck in the camera body. So, try to remove the bottom cover too.
Finally, look carefully and try to identify the area that prevents it from being removed and try to determine if there is an extra part of your particular camera. Refer to the photo of the side cover to determine positions of the screws which fix the cover to the camera body.
3. I have removed all the appropriate screws, but it still seems to be stuck near the little silver lock that holds in the prism.
Put the camera in front of you with its bayonet facing you. Then pull the left side cover to yourself and gently to the left. Also pushing the prism the lock button may help.
4. I have cleaned the contacts, but it did not help me.
When I started looking for possible solutions online, I discovered that cleaning the contacts under the shutter speed dial could fix the problem for some people. Unfortunately, it did not help me at all. Maybe, it works only for certain shutter speeds. However, why not try it if other solutions in this article prove to be ineffective in your case.
Also, a Pentax 6X7 user told me that cleaning the contacts did not help him, but he noticed that the “timing lever” to the left of the top red arrow in the photo was not moving freely and the spring which set this lever in motion was dry. So, he put a drop of oil on this spring, and the camera started working again! However, it should be noted that in his case the mirror stuck in halfway up. It resembled releasing the shutter with a dead battery. It is possible that these two issues are related to each other. In any case, you should also pay attention to this joint. Thanks to Goran Hrubi for sharing this information. Refer to the original post about solving his problem of mirror stuck halfway up for more details.
Ok, I hope that your camera is up and running again! In any case, I will be happy to hear about your own experience of mirror stuck repair. Leave your comments with details and I will gradually supplement this article with them. And, live long your Pentax 67 camera.
Thanks for reading! I would be very grateful if you point out my possible mistakes, add extra information, or just share your experience. Scroll down to the Leave a reply section and share your thoughts about it. Your opinion is important for me. I enjoy answering your questions as the answers may often benefit many other readers and the process of answering allows me to better piece together my existing knowledge and find ideas to improve my articles.
Thanks, this saved my beloved Pentax 67
Thanks mate, It worked for the 6×7 I had that didn’t work. I couldn’t be happier, Thanks Sasha
Very good article!
You should do a thing about the contact on the other side of the mirror housing. They are the bits that turn on and off the meter from AUTO to MAN. Mis-alignment over time from the stationary contact, it bends from use or simply gets dirty. That would help some folks with mysterious meter issues that may work for MAN mode and not for AUTO mode.
Great guide and video. It worked for my Pentax 67 body that had the issue at slower speeds. Very little difference step 3 in red had one extra screw and i had to be careful that the spring for the meter prism lock didn’t leap out. the contacts to clean are in a little different spot but same area. One thing to add as well is some people have found cleaning the contact under the shutter speed dial some times have fixed this issue as well.
Great guide thanks for tanking the time to post it.
Thank you, Michael! You are right, there is one more screw in the step #3, which is not displayed in the manual. It should be added to the scheme.
I have two Pentax 67 bodies and both seem to have this problem: one of them plays up on slow shutter speeds and the other, on fast shutter speeds. The first solution I’ve discovered was cleaning contacts under the shutter speed dial. And it did help many people, but not in my case, unfortunately. Some time has passed and I forgot about this solution. Now you reminded me of it. Thank you for this.
I think it is a good idea to add it to my text as an additional solution or, maybe, even create a separate article.
Hi Sasha, I don’t know if you can help me with my problem but here goes; I have a Pentax 6×7 and I was dry firing a few shots (firing without film) and apparently, without the tension of the film, the shutter curtain got off track and locked up the camera. With 35 mm cameras, I have been able to use my fingers to get the shutter curtain back on the track. Can I use tweezers to do this on the 6×7 or do I need to disassemble it to repair this problem?
I’m so sorry for the late reply. I hope you already fixed the issue with your camera. Anyway, it’s hard to say something about using the tweezers, it’s up to you. As for me, I would try pull it out gently, and without applying the force of course.
Great detail of the beasty’s ‘innards’!
In the Pentax 67 owner’s manual it is stated that leaving the selector on any speed for an extended period of time will cause the shutter speeds to become inaccurate. Ditto, it is also stated that if the shutter is cocked for an extended period of time, the same thing will happen. This has to do with the shutter/mirror solenoid? What constitutes an “extended period of time” is open to conjecture, but I suspect quite a few months of inactivity / shutter cocked, rather than transient use. It would seem reasonable that frequent “exercise” is the best prevention, followed by keeping the camera out of an environment where inside attack can occur e.g. shooting in salt spray at the beach, in a very dusty environment or in extreme heat.
Thank you, Garyh!
Yes, you are right. I’ve just revised the manual. Sure, Asahi recommends to check a camera’s performance “at least once a year”. So, I suppose it refers to one year as “an extended period of time”. In my practice this period lasts much less than a year and depends on a camera’s condition. I had a camera body which was heavily used by its previous owner, and its mirror got stuck every time it had not been in use for two months or even less. But at the same time I’ve noticed that “dry fire” extends this period. I think the dirt resulting from gear friction near the magnet sticks to it tightly when a camera is not in use for a certain period of time. And the older your camera is, the shorter this period becomes. Anyway, I had to disassemble and clean it. I should include this info to the article’s “maintenance” section, it is a very important addition.
Hi from Czech
Thank you for save my AP 6×7 first version.
Sorry for my bad english.
It’s my pleasure! And have a great photos with your camera in 2017!
Hi Sasha, thanks for the instruction.
At one point the winder stuck midway. I can’t figure out where the problem is. I cleaned the contacts first, did some tests and the winder stuck. I put a fresh battery in, no luck. Do you have a fix for this? Thanks!
It seems to be a problem in winder mechanism. It is very difficult to disassemble this part. I personally recommend to send for the repair service. It may be a problem in one of the gear but you don’t know which one should be replaced. To understand it you will need to disassemble a half of the camera. It is better way made by the specialist!
Hi Sasha, Great article … I have a P67 related question if that’s OK?
I have a P67 that drains its battery over a period of ~7 days. I do not have a metered prism, just the plain version. I sent the camera for service/repair in the UK, and no problem could be found. I’ve done lots of searching for answers, but everything points to problems with the meter … As I don’t have one, I’m a bit stuck. The only solution is to take the battery out when it’s not in use, which is not ideal.
Many thanks for your time.
Hello, Martin! Thank you for the question. Pntax 67 drains the battery when mirror is locked in upper position. Are you sure that have not accidentaley activated MLU lever while putting it back to the case? Anyway, with MLU turned on it should drain battery for a couple of hours. Also, you may have a connection issue. I would try cleaning all the contact points near battery for the first.
Thanks a lot for your great work on this article! Seems to work again now. Although i still do not trust it fully. When i assembled it, it got stuck once again. But after resetting it all worked fine. Will see how it holds the coming days.
It’s my pleasure! Have you installed a fresh 4LR44 battery? It seems like to be unsufficient power in the battery.
I believe I have the 28L from duracell in it. Must be a month ago that I installed that one. Are the 4LR44 batteries better?
Not better. Duracell is a good choice of course!
Recently did the cleaning of the contact points because i had the same issue where everything from 1/125th would stuck the mirror. Now opened it again every speed works fine, yesterday took my camera and now its very unconsistent but still having issues, with mirror half stuck. sometimes at 1/60th sometimes 1/125 sometimes 1/1000, opened it again but cant seem to find a solution. Would you have any recommendations?
It seems your camera might have another issue. Usually, the mirror stuck half-way up when battery has not enough power. Did you check it?
Thank you for the instructions on the repair. I am going to try DIY however I need the cleaning solution. Do you know where I can purchase some or is can something else be used?
thank you for visiting my site and for the question. I think you may try to use any electrical contact cleaner available at your local store. I think, ideally, it should contain ethanol or take pure (96%) ethanol. Anyway, never spray liquid cleaner directly on the contacts. Pour some cleaner on a thin cotton swab instead and gently clean the contacts.
Would doing this repair expose any part of film that’s in the camera to open light? I’d hate to lose any pictures on this roll.
I don’t know it exactly. But I think not. Anyway, it is better to do a series of “dry fires” to check the mirror. And of course, this solution doesn’t guaranty the result.
It worked for my 6×7, that occasionally had a lag after pressing the release. Especially in the cold. When temperture was low, a mirror stick could be the result.
Feels much better now, but must confirmed during the next days and weeks.
Thanks again and all the best,
Thank you Stefan for sharing this information! It is very important to know about different cases with this issue.
Hey Sasha, I love the detail on this post! I’m having a hard time removing the upper left cover from the camera. I’ve removed all four screws from step 3 but the pentaprism pin is in the way. How can I get past this? Thanks.
Hi Dan! Thank you for reading the article! Considering your question — I don’t remember exactly, it was some years ago but you may try these options:
1) The covers may stick to the camera body due to the reason of time and grime. If the cover after unscrewing is still “glued” to the body try to get it off by inserting thin screwdriver or knife between the cover and body. But do it gently!
2) Try to remove cover #4 at the first. It may prevent removing the left side cover if it was “glued” to the camera body.
3) Put the camera with bayonet faced to you. Then pull the left side cover straight on yourself and a bit left with gentle. Also pushing the prism lock button may help.
Thanks Sasha I’ll give that a try! And sorry for the double post, looks like I accidentally sent the previous revision of my original question.
It’s Ok Dan, just removed it. Let me know please about the result!
Hi Sasha! thanks for your Pentax 6×7 recovery post. I have a problem on my Pentax 6×7 MLU serial number 407xxx. the problem occurs mainly on the X sync time. sometimes clicking the first curtain opens regularly, but the second curtain closes very late (the mirror works correctly). I sent Pentax for maintenance by a repairer, but the problem after time came back. what can it be? Thank You so much.
Hi Renato! It’s too hard to advise something. But it seems the camera is switching to the “Time” mode. As for me, I would try to clean contacts under shutter dial. There are many information on the net about cleaning these contacts, it is easy to disassemble this joint. As far as I know, this may help with some shutter issues.
Sasha ! How are you ? I recently bought a 6×7 non MLU and in my first roll I got all the frames blanck. So I fire the camera with the back door open and see that at speeds from 125th or above the curtains don’t open is like it moves but not open , do you know what could be ?
Hi Marcos. I’m not a repairing master and can not say anything special considering your problem. It seems the first curtain opens too slowly. I think, anyway it would be too difficult to repair by yourself.
Pentax 6×7 mlu purchased a month ago. Photographed 3 films. No problem. Premium photos. How do I know how the camera’s shutter speeds are accurately and correctly worked out? Because the wide dynamic range of analog film forgives all errors. Can I just take photos before the first breakdown? or should I carry out maintenance myself right now, or take it to a specialist for prevention?
I think you’ve nothing to worry about right now. Pentax 6X7/67/67II has an electronically controlled shutter which makes the shutter working accurately. Moreover, on the long speeds, I guess you won’t be able to notice the difference. Probably, it may be seen only on the fast shutter speeds. But I never heard about this problem on Pentax 6X7/67. And, as you said, the film has wide exposure latitude to has no worries.
I have the problem, that the mirror in my
Pentax 67 comes up while i wind to load the next photo. Sometimes after one, sometimes after a few pictures..
Actually like MLU, but i never pull that button..
If it once started, it does not stop till i take the camera inside. I have the feeling when its cold outside it starts to happen.
I tried once a roll at home.. worked fine.
Today i went out with camera, same happend after 3 Photos..
Ever heard of something like that?
Thanks for your Help
Thank you for sharing your experience. What temperature actually was outside of your home? Battery power seriously drops in cold weather. So, probably you may need “Pentax 6X7 Remote Battery Cord”. One end of this cord is inserted into the camera’s battery compartment instead of the battery. The other end of this cord is a battery compartment. It allows keeping the battery warm inside the pocket of your coat having the battery power constant.
Hi Sasha and Dimitri,
Dimitri’s exact issue is happening to me. Here is a video: https://youtu.be/_Zdcr4p4Dxk
Check what happens with the mirror when I drop from 1s to 1/4. Mirror comes up and does that for every additional increase in shutter speed. Don’t think it has anything to do with temperature in my case.
it seems the issue is not quite common. But I found a thread about the same issue on PentaxForums. I guess you would better send it to repair facility.
Hello and many thanks for this thorough help sheet.
I am experiencing the exact same problems as above…only my mirror locks at frames 2-4 only, from 1/1000 – 1/30. The advance lever siezes also.
The only fix to release both at present, is to remove the lens and manually release the mirror in its half up position. I remove and replace the battery thereafter…and she will work til the next frame 2-4!!!
She dry fires without problems…only when loaded with film do I experiencethis problems??
So basically, my question is this sir… if i undertake your procedure in cleaning the contacts and magnet… and continue with your advice of dry firing 1x a month, leaving to rest in X or B etc… would this be fixed? Or just a temporary solution until further problems arise?
Slowly becoming disheartened with the 6×7 reliability
Many thanks in advance
I’m so sorry for the late reply. Did you fix the issue?
Considering your question — it’s quite difficult to give an advice. I haven’t heard about winding lever stuck issue with the mirror stuck at the same time. In my case the mirror stuck in its full up position, not the half up and it didn’t depend on either dry fire or fire with a film inside. I’m not sure is it the same problem. It’s seems the problem depends on the film advance as if the battery lost the power (or power circuit inside brakes right after the film advance) making the mirror stuck half way up during the shutter release. Did you try to press the reset button in this case?
Thank you Sasha for your guide. Very well presented and a great assistance! I have repaired several of these cameras in recent years.
One of the common faults that I encountered was that the “feed” spool seized. This can be accessed under the shutter speed, needs to be cleaned and adjusted. I found that ALL of the switches and contacts must be clean…so I polish the surfaces. The shutter curtain drums and rollers have to be lubricated and usually this takes care of the shutter speeds and curtain bounce problems. I once pulled out the complete transport. even though I marked and made images as I went along. Washed all the parts, nothing was broken BUT battled to reassemble as refitting the little springs is very painful. Took me weeks but the camera has been working well ever since. I dont think that I will undertake that task again. I live in Africa where the access to advice and spares are almost non existent for the 67. Necessity is the mother of invention. Thanks again!!!
Thank you for reading the article and for this information! It’s extremely important not only for me but for all Pentax 67 users. I seriously hope this article might become a knowledge base!
Congrats! You did a great job! One of my Pentax 67 bodies has near the same issue. I disassembled the shutter speed dial and cleaned contacts and gear under it with pure ethanol. The feed spool became less seized but it is enough to make film transport better. I’m absolutely imagined by your job. I hope you will write an article about this procedure!
thanks for this excellent tutorial, I have just repaired one of my Pentax 6×7’s which was having blank frames at 1000th and 500th second, (the mirror was not returning properly at those speeds) using your guide, I also have a couple of tips of my own to add. Firstly, in terms of contact cleaner I use Deoxit D5, which is second to none in my experience. It’s not cheap, but it has worked on every thing I’ve used it on in terms of cleaning and restoring electrical contacts, it’s something of a magic bullet in my experience, if it doesn’t work nothing will. I’ve used it for many different applications and it never fails (if electrical conductivity/lubrication is the issue). I have restored a number of folding camera shutters using it, just by dropping some in the shutter mechanism. Also, in terms of refixing the leatherette, I found Beacon Fabri-Tac to be excellent, it’s not too strong that you can’t remove the leatherette in future, but it fixes it back in place nicely.
I’d also recommend lubricating any moving parts and springs using clock oil (readily available) whilst you have the covers off the camera, this will help protect the moving parts and keep them running nicely for a while. I’ve noticed vert de gris on a few parts on the cameras I’ve opened up, which tells me that damp does make it’s way into the working parts, clock oil will help combat this.
These cameras should carry on working for years as they’re very well made, but like all mechanical cameras a little oil goes a long way. Anyway, keep up the good work, God Bless, Tony.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s so important to all Pentax 67 users. At present, I have P67 body that required cleaning contacts once again.
Yes I also recommend Deoxit D5 – I had the mirror stuck on my 67, and Deoxit resolved the issue. I have also had excellent results with it on a number of other cameras.
Thank you for that. My beloved (50+ years old) Pentax 67 was sticking on the low shutter speeds and had not been used for years because of this (and the difficulty of finding someone who knew enough to fix it). I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take the cover off without your instructions. I got some JIS screwdrivers and it worked like a charm. The covers could be a bit hard to get off because of crap but they came off in the end. I accidentally undid the red “do not remove” screw but it was easy enough to put the torsion spring back on. Used a spray can of electrical cleaner and lube and a can of compressed air. Cleaned up everything I could, and ******it worked*******. Yeay to you! Put the covers back on, glued on the leather and it is good-as-new. I’ve just run two films through it. They are a beautiful camera to use (bit of a luggable because of their weight). Love the clunk of the shutter too – none of this candid photography.
Thank you for putting the effort in to your well-documented website.
How is your Pentax 67 after 3 months?
All seems to be good. Haven’t used it for a month or so but will give it a run through in the next few weeks.
It sounds great!
Great Description! I tried the repair 3 times now, the first times it helped. However it is stuck again, this time, after the repair you described, no improvement. The problem is depending on the camera position, upside down no problem, but in the normal position the mirror is always sticking. If I hit the shoot button again it works. So for now I have to press twice. Not a good status. You have any idea?
I am sorry for the late answer. It is a quite strange operation of the shutter release. I guess it might be another issue related to the “mirror stuck”, and they should be fixed separately. Maybe some contact should not be shorted in the normal position of the camera? But when the camera is turned upside-down this contact became opened or something like that?
Looking at the site, I discovered I did the Pentax repair on Jan 26h this year (now Dec 24th). Intermittent use of the camera and no problems but took it out to the bush for a few rolls of films. All worked – no problems, and got lovely negatives to play with in the darkroom. There’s no other camera like it – that solid “klunk” as the shutter fires. Attracts attention too – not the camera for the quiet, unobtrusive street photographer.
Thanks again for the website.
Thank you Leon for visiting my website and for sharing your experience!
I really appreciate what you do and how you share your knowledge and experience in the field of film photography. I am asking you for advice. I’m changing my system from Mamiya RZ 67 to Pentax 67 and I’m wondering which camera should I choose. I would love to buy a Pentax 67II but I have read a lot that this model has very frequent problems, including with the film advance lever locked. Would a better (less risky) choice be the Pentax 67 (previous generation). Which camera do you recommend me. I will be using the camera for professional work. Thank you very much in advance for your help.