Minolta Autocord – shutter

As with many old cameras the slow shutter speeds are not accurate (are not working at all), or the shutter is stuck open/close. This Minolta exhibited odd slow speeds. To get to that part of the camera we need to open up the Seikosha shutter and clean it out.

This is the part where some of you may start running … don’t worry as this isn’t all that difficult to do (the second or third time you do it).

Tools: slotted screw driver, fine point tweezers, dental chisel (or something else to scrape with), rubber lens ring tool (if you don’t have then then try jar lid pliers, or a thick elastic band for grip), and Ronsonol.

Note: I may not be using the correct names for these parts.

First you have to remove the leatherette from the front of the camera. This stuff will probably chip off into little bits, so it will fly everywhere. Some have suggested using Acetone to soften the material, but I have found that the only way to get this off is to chip small bits off. You should do a clean job now so you will not have to go back later and do it (before you put on new covering material). Once you have scraped it off it will reveal the five screws. If you have lacquer stuck to them use Acetone or Nail Polish remover on them.

The bottom one, under the taking lens, is shorter than the other four.

Unscrew all five.

Move the Sync lever to the X position.

Now you can pull of the cover. You will need to angle it around the Sync lever to completely get it off.

The next step is removing the front element group.

Use the lens tool to grip it and then turn counter clockwise to unscrew it. Do not be tempted to pull out that monkey wrench to get a good grip, as you may crush the lens element housing. If you have to use the thick rubber band around the lens, use the lightest grip with wide pliers.

Place the group in a clean area

Remove the three screws that hold the Sync lever

Remove the Sync lever

Try not to drop large heavy object onto the exposure shutter leafs.

If the shutter does not open/close properly … drip some Ronsonol on the edges. Let it soak in. Wind the shutter and fire away. Keep doing this until it starts freeing up.

Note, that you may see liquid falling onto the lens element underneath. Don’t worry, you will clean that later.

Let it dry out a bit. Then continue working the shutter. Sometimes after the Ronsonol dries the shutter will stick again … just continue to add fluid and exercise.

Once you are done the shutter clean you can then work on removing the shutter cover.

Using the two points of your awesome stainless steel tweezers, turn the locking “screw” so that it is not engaged in the groove.

Then you can turn the shutter cover counter clockwise slightly to match the three grooves. Then you can just pull it off.

Now you can see the shutter speed cam

This controls what gears/springs/levers are set when a particular shutter speed is dialed.

You can pull this off to.

If the shutter is cocked, the shutter may release when you pull this cover off as it also holds down the shutter release cam underneath it.

Now you can get to the stuff. This image shows the shutter release cam after it has been fired. The lever (blue) locks the cam when the shutter is wound. If the cam slips upward (which it will since the cover has been removed) then that lever will slip underneath.

The red circled area is the slow speed gears/spring. The brown arrow indicates the movement of the slow speed gear. You can move this by pushing down. If the shutter is cocked then this gear will have full movement. Put some Ronsonol over this area and push the slow speed gear down to exercise it.

The green is the bulb engagement lever. For those shutter that don’t work in bulb mode (shutter just opens and immediately closes) it is because this lever is gummed up and no longer contacts the shutter release cam. Put some Ronsonol on it and exercise it.

The orange is the 1/500s speed spring … not sure why I am pointing this out.

Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, put the shutter speed cam back on.

Note: you might have to hold the slow shutter speed lever down so that it does not sit underneath the cam.

Then put the cover back on.

Important: the cover should slip back in without too much effort. If it does not turn (clockwise) then the shutter release cam underneath is not pushed down into its proper position. This is usually because it has slipped upwards and the shutter locking lever is sitting underneath it.

Lock the cover.

Wind and exercise the shutter. Turn the shutter speed cam to every speed to make sure they sound right.

Set the shutter speed to bulb. Wind and hold the shutter open (note that the dial around the shutter button turns to lock it in position). Open the aperture (the lever is on the right side) to reveal the lens element underneath. Clean this good before putting the front lens element back on.

Put the Sync lever back on.

Look through for lens for dust, as you may have to remove it and clean the lens elements a couple of times.

You can put the cover back on … unless you want to take on the next part of the servicing, which is the focus lever and helicoid.

Now you are done. Great, you have worked on the most difficult, and most important, part of this camera. It’s Miller time (well not really I don’t like Miller beer … it is Moosehead time !!!).

3 thoughts on “Minolta Autocord – shutter”

  1. Hi, I used your post to help fix an issue with my shutter (bulb mode wasn’t working because the lever that trips the cam was bent!). Thanks a lot! However, I noticed an issue with my shutter. At the highest shutter speeds, I noticed that out of focus specular highlights (aka, bokeh balls) have a starfish bright outline (looks like a white starfish inside of the bokeh ball). I realized that it must be the shutter blades. Using my IPhone highspeed setting, I believe the shutter is opening at a slower than normal rate (it closes real fast), thereby exposing the image just slightly more as the blades are opening, giving this characteristic outline. What do you suppose is the issue? Spring going out or sticky shutter mechanism (where should I put lighter fluid?). I already cleaned the blades using your method described but did not put any lighter fluid in the shutter gears. Thanks!!!

    1. Hmm, based on your description I am not sure that this effect is being caused by the shutter. From my understanding, bokeh is influenced by the lens elements and the aperture, though being a leaf shutter it also will have some influence.
      I do not know … you may want to inquire a forum or two about this.

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