Two years on … no, not the Bee Gees …

Hey, I have made it past two years … hmm, I think I said the same thing after the first year …

Interesting … I thought I would either get bored of doing this, or nobody cares, or I would run out of stuff to fix (probably not going to happen) … and none of those has happened yet.

I am most surprised to find that many people have found/seeked the information on my blog, hahah (is that a real word?) I am finally interesting enough to pay attention to.

Looking over the two years since I started this blog I noticed that my info concerning the servicing of the Minolta Autocord has been viewed the most … obviously the Minolta is still a great camera that people need to get them back into working condition, like having a Rollei (that’s not a Rollei). Really too bad that Minolta did not make a 2.8 version. All I need to find is a cheap 3D metal printer then I can sell focus arms and make billions off of you Autocord fans.

Weellll, thanks to all of you that care about the stuff that I do.


Yashica-Mat EM – winding and focus

Most of the time I usually do not go deep into the winding side of the camera, as this tends to be working … I do open it up to clean and lube … but this time I had to go in.

When I got this camera the winding knob was loose. It appears that over time the bolt loosened, but was not tightened before worse things happened … so when I got it, the cams on both sides had slipped out of position.

First remove the strap holder arm.

Next is the winder arm. Push out the pin from the middle of the pivot point.
A pin punch would be handy right now … luckily the pin was not seized.

You can now pull off the arm.

There will be two other pieces under it that will come off.

You can now remove the seven screws that hold the cover plate on.

Upon removal of the cover plate you may find that a black spring washer may be attached to the back of it (due to old grease).

The winding mechanism (bottom section) can be removed as one piece.

The rest are gears for the counter and film take up spool.

Note: some are not secured so don’t let them fall out before you are ready to remove them.

Press the film door push pin and note how the gears and mechanism shift/engage.






The film counter dial is secured with a single screw.

The centre part has a spring mechanism built in so you will feel that release when you take this apart.

Note: when the back is open the counter red dot is pointing to the corner of the camera.



The long arm that goes down the front side will need to be unscrewed at the bottom to allow the removal of the winding mechanism.

You can also detach the film door push pin arm. Detach one end of the heavy spring, then remove the two screws that hold the arm.



The curved arm, above the central winder, will have to come off. It is secured by one gear shaft. Unscrew the pin.

Keep a note on the spring wire, and any others you may encounter.

The golden gear that couples to the winder rotates around a gear shaft. Unscrew the gear shaft and remove the gear … note the gear shaft is somewhat attached to the gear itself.

There are four large screws that hold the central winding mechanism onto the body. Remove these and you should be able to lift the whole thing out.

You can now see the focus cams on this side of the camera. There will most likely be a lot of old grease.

To remove the cams you have to remove the center securing screw.

You can now give this a good cleaning.

See the below illustration to put them back together … also add some new grease.

Note: make sure both the left and right focus arms are at the same length.

This is an illustration from a Yashica-Mat 124 service manual showing the two focus cams.

The focus wheel side has a mirror image of this.

Now we need to open the other side up.

Remove the strap holder on top.

Unscrew the plastic cover in the middle of the focus wheel.

A single bolt holds the focus shaft in place. Use thin pliers or a thin socket.

Remove the focus knob … note that there should be a washer in there also.

There are five screws holding the outer plate on.

Now you can access the focus cams.

You will probably see the same old grease as you did on the winder side.

Give a good cleaning.

To fit the focus cams back on you will need to first align the ones on the winding side … so get those two set first.

If those are not set properly you will not be able to fit the ones on the knob side in … I hate to say it this way, but … if the focus shaft is not fitted into the cams on the winder side correctly then there will not be enough shaft length on the knob side.

Put this side together first, as the focus knob will keep the cams in place while you put the other side back on.

When putting the winder mechanism back on you will need align the slot in the arm to the pin.

The arm with the pin extends out to the front of the camera and couples with the shutter cocking arm. If you don’t get this right the arm does not move while winding … and of course the shutter will not be set.

Take your time with this side to make sure the springs are attached and all the spring arms are in the proper position.

A word about support tools … broken stuff and a friend.

A friend of mine who has spent most of his life making and fixing things always collected broken/discarded parts to salvage for tiny screws, bolts, springs … etc.

He has shelves full of small containers and those organizer things, each with different pieces. This way he had a replacement for something … or a good enough replacement. I am always surprised when he can go over to one of the hundreds (and I am not kidding, I helped him pack/move them) of containers and find the thing he was looking for.

It’s also handy to have someone with decades of knowledge to ask.

Always good to get a hold of broken cameras of the type that you typically work on. Many use common sized screws and parts … and also other broken things with small parts.

Whenever I replace my computers (mostly laptops),the old ones are not worth it to resell, so I salvage the small parts from them. Some of these can be also be used for cameras.

One of the reason’s this Yashica repair took so long was the many missing screws (someone in the past tried to fix it) and the number of seized screws that broke while I was trying to remove them … which I needed to replace.

Whenever you can find a giveaway camera, take it … there probably is some thingamabob that you can use from it.

Yashica-Mat EM – lens and shutter

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I got this as a parts/repair item. The shutter does not move, the camera is covered in stuff, levers are stuck, finder is falling apart, and the focus knob is falling off … a complete tear down is needed.

Tools: dental chisel, screw drivers, qtips.

The first thing I did was remove all of the leatherette, and as expected some came off easy while other parts needed chiseling.

Safety tip: always hold the camera so that your hand is not positioned in front of the chisels movement … otherwise you might end up with a deep gash (I only did this once to get the hint) … don’t point the sharp end at parts of your body !!

Soooo, let’s start with the front.

There are multiple sets of screws holding the different plates on.

The outer four are the largest, and they secure the entire lens assembly to the focus rails. Remove the four large screws and pull off the assembly from the rest of the camera.

The next four set of screws holds the alignment/cover plate on. Remove those and pull off the outside plate. This plate also has the shutter button attached.

The last inner cover is secured by five screws. This cover holds the gears for the aperture and shutter speed dials.

This tends to get stuff gumming up the works, so I give it a good wash of Ronsonol.

At the top of this cover is a clear plastic window that displays the aperture and shutter speed. Most of the Yashica’s that I have encountered have a lot of crap stuck under the window and it has also yellowed over time (though I am not sure if it was slightly yellow to begin with).

Set the aperture and shutter to B / 22 or 500 / 3.5 (as you rotate both dials you can see the movement of the inner rings) … then scribe some reference marks on the bottom rings

Use a spanner wrench to remove the locking rings (note these will be on tight so you may not be able to take them off).

You can then remove all the pieces and do a good cleaning … just remember how they go back.

Set the inner ring aligned with your marks while putting the top set back in.

Now back to the other thing …

The front element group of both the viewing and the taking lens can be unscrewed.

In order to get to the shutter mechanism you need to remove the taking lens front group.

Unscrew it counter clockwise.

If you are here just to clean the shutter or aperture then you do not need to go further. You can access both now.

There is a small screw on the left that will need to be turned in order to unscrew the ring that secures the top plate.

Note the red dot should like up with the screw (in this image it was not aligned yet.

Remove the cover plate.

The speed cam plate aligns with a couple of things underneath so make a note of its position before removing it.

The three slots and shapes set the shutter gears underneath to the various positions for the different speeds.

Now you can clean out the shutter mechanism.

The slow speed set in at 2 o’clock.

Self timer is at the bottom

Shutter cocking is at 11 o’clock.

Shutter release is at 8 o’clock.

In most cases a good dose of Ronsonol and some exercise cleared things up to get everything working again.

Concerning the back end of this …

The shutter is held on by the circular light baffle. You can unscrew this, though it really is not necessary to do so to work on the shutter.

Note: for cameras that have an electronic flash sync (like this one) there is a wire attached to the shutter section that can easily be broken off … so take care.

The shutter release cam will fall off so you may want to detach the spring first. You can now clean this area … and you can access the rear taking lens elements for cleaning.

When putting the front cover piece back on (over the shutter) make sure to set the shutter speed and aperture to fast/wide open, then set the front cover to match … this will align the two pieces. If you turn the dials you should feel the click stops of the shutter speeds and you can view the aperture from the back side.

Yashica MAT EM – some history

The EM is similar to the earlier Mat-LM that also has an uncoupled selenium light meter built into the nameplate. It was in production between 1964-67. This particular camera came to me in very bad shape. I kinda expected that based on the images that were shown. The focus knob was crooked, there was evident gunge all over, the leatherette was peeling off … light meter crooked. I guessed that this was going to be a fixer-upper … well I was right. The shutter blades were stuck open, the aperture blades were stuck open (moving the aperture lever showed the blades buckling), there was a greasy sludge all over the lenses, the light meter/logo plate was only being held on loosely by one screw … etc.

Note: Dave Gauer has a great restoration/repair page on the Yashica D with a Copal MVX shutter.

Working on TLR’s is fairly easy if it is just for cleaning the shutter and lens. Dealing with the winding, and focusing mechanism requires a bit more work taking things apart.

This one took me a while as there were many screws that could not be removed by normal means, and I got distracted by other things in life …