Category Archives: Cameras

Life is like a box of chocolates …

You never know what you’re gonna to get.

My last surprise was the Ricoh Wide.

The new surprise … to me it was just another broken camera that was able to pickup cheap and put back into working condition … was another Mamiya Six that I got last year.

Welllll, it appears that it was not just any Mamiya Six … it happened to be an uncommon version of the many variants that were made.

I like to make sure I describe my auctions accurately so I do a lot of searching on the web. I listed the camera as a IIa version and was questioned by Don@eastwestphoto … I did agree that it was unusual to be this version, and there was only one reference to a IIa by Dirk Spennemen but Don has not seen any other references that it did actually exist. After some discussion back and forth he figured out that I actually had a 1942 Mamiya Six IIa.

“Its a very late model lla = tear drop exposure counter, three screws in acc. shoe, f/22 on DOF scale, two strut rails, round front larger standard for a 00 shutter. Known lens & shutter of the period 1944, its a WW2 booty camera, they were never imported in the USA. Quite RARE ***** star rating in Sugiyama’s 1984 collectible Japanese camera book is for model ll, lla is even rarer! . I just found a reference to a model lla, I think maybe you are correct?”

Don has a new addition to his large Mamiya Six collection.


Canon … Canonet QL17 G-III … shutter, well almost.

Hmm, sticky shutter … seems to be a common theme with older cameras, at least the ones the I get a hold of.

Tools: spanner wrench

DSC00512 Unlike the Olympus that I worked on previously, the front lens plate is secured by an outter locking ring that is unscrewed.

The inner ring can be removed if you need to get in between the front lens group … this will not get you closer to the shutter blades.




DSC00511Under neath is a plate that changes the amount of light hitting the exposure meter.










Ok here is where you will need the special tool … welllll I don’t got one, so I am stuck with only going this far.

I tried using a rubber friction tool, but this front group was really secured … probably never taken off before.

Not much access to anything here.

So, how did I free the shutter? As is common with many shutters, the rear lens cell can be unscrewed. This allowed me to access the blades, and get some fluid on it to loosen it up.







Rolleicord … the front end.

I was finally able to get a hold of a Rollei TLR. This Rolleicord III came in a pretty banged up state. The front cover metal was bent out of shape … and I think some prevous owner continued to use the camera. The mechanisms all appear to work, so my job is to get it somewhat back in shape.

I will say that TLR’s are one of the easiest cameras to work on … hmm, I think I may have said this before … as they seem to be so mechanically similiar that it is easy to work them out.

The hood did not close cleanly … this is because it was also bent out of shape. This was the easy part, as all I needed to do was lightly twist (and push) the opened hood until the metal leafs were back in alignment.

The magnifier was also too flappy … the pivoting pin has slipped out of one side. It appears that one of the metal sides was also bend out of shape, so just needed to be pushed back into position to keep the pin from moving sideways.

I ned to get the front cover off. Carefully peel off the leatherette. You should be able to get it off in one piece as it has a paper backing.

Note: if you just want to get at the blades you do not need to remove the cover. You can just unscrew the front element.


Next unscrew the knobs from the shutter, aperture, and speed arms.

The four large shiny screws hold the entire front onto the the rest of the camera. I suggest you go with the inner layers. Remove the four small brass screws hold the outside cover plate on. The next set of five screws holds the lens/shutter.

Lift and jiggle to get these two covers off.


You will notice that there is a hidden arm (lower left corner) that is coupled to the lens/shutter plate … this arm is used to move the paralax correcting screen in the viewfinder. Make a mark to note its position if you take the screw off.

Lets look at the shutter since we are here …



Very typical.

Unscrew the front lens element.

Then turn the lock.

Twist the cover to match up with the notches.






Always note the position of the speed cam … and all the little thingies that ride the grooves.










… and there we are.

The shutter cocking ring sits in the middle here and is spring loaded … so it may pop out. This image shows it in firing position.





You can continue to take of the rest of the front by removing the four large screws … and as I noted before, the arm for the parallax correction.


Note where the shims go.

At this point you can also get at the viewing mirror to clean it … but watch out for the ground screen.





The front cover was the major fault on this camera. The sides and top of the cover had been impacted by things (it had to be more than once to affect that many areas).


You can unscrew the retaing ring and all those layers of dials will slide right out.

Use a wood dowel and a hammer to tap out the dents.

Before putting it back together, remember to clean the old lube off and make the numbers easier to read.

Add a little dab of new lubricant between the dials. After you secure the retaining ring, make sure everything is moving smoothly.

Set the shutter and aperture to their topmost position so you know where they are when you put the front plate back on. Don’t secure it until you know that the dials have coupled with them properly.

Olympus-35 SP, inside the top

So next step, even though I didn’t have to, is to open the top of the Olypus to clean the rangefinder.

Note: for horizontal adjustments to the rangefinder patch you do not have to take the top cover off. Open the film back and you will see a screw in the top middle of the film plane. Unscrew this to reveal a smaller recessed screw. Turn this to adjust.


Use the spanner wrench to unscrew the cap on the winding arm, and then take the parts off. Open the film back and jam the rewind, then you can unscrew the rewind knob.


You will see in the above image that the top of the camera has scratches from the winding arm. Due to the cover securing nut coming loose the winding arm was not sitting high enough.

Using the spanner wrench again you can unscrew both sides before you can pull off the cover. Note that there is a wire that connects to the hot shoe, so try not to yank too hard.


The rangefinder area is covered with black paper. You will also figure out if the spotmeter button is broken. In my case the plastic was broken, but there is enough of it to keep the button from falling into the camera.


Carefully pull off the paper. Now you can clean the insides.

I did not fiddle around with figuring out what screw adjusts the vertical alignment of the rangefinder patch … but it could be the circular knurled black plastic thing in the middle lens (some others have mentioned the recessed screw between the diodes, but it is said that is not correct).

Olympus-35 SP … the shutter.

This camera had one issue … the self timer lever got loose and fell into the body of the lens, which cause other things to jam up. So now time to get to the shutter mechanism.

Tools, well you should be able to figure that out by now.

Warning … there are many unsecured things in this complicated shutter!!

DSC00520As I swore about before … the first thing to remove is the nameplate. On this particular version the nameplate is glued on … you might find a model that has this as a threaded ring, so check before spending the next hour trying to get it off.





So after prying it off (without bending it) you can now unscrew the front group of elements with your spanner wrench.

Under that you will see three screws that hold on the rest of the rings.






There are three rings that will come off.

After removing the screws, carefully take off the securing ring and then the shutter speed ring.







Once you get down to here, you will find this inner plate and underneath there will be some brass washers and a thing for the aperture ring steps







OK, so these are those things left over that you should now see … put aside the washers and the step metal thing,

Set the focus at minimum. remove the five screws holding the cover on, then take it off.







Remove the shutter speed cam plate.

Note its position.

Try to keep this camera on its back, as there are many shutter items that will fall out.





The shutter cocking ring, in the middle is spring loaded.

Note the many levers, gears, and things that connect to this ring.

Remove the ring.

The self timer lever is at 11 oclock and it has a spring to keep the arm in a clockwise position.




DSC00503This image shows it after I screwed it back on.

Self-timer gears are at 9 oclock and slow shutter speed gears are at 6 oclock.

When putting the shutter cocking ring back on you will need to move some levers in their set position … like the two at 1 and 2 oclock. Th ring should sit low enough that the shutter speed cam plate does not impede its movement.

You will need to move the shutter speed cam plate around to get the little arms to engage in the slots … before you put the cover plate on. Things should rotate cleanly after you put the cover on, if not, take it off and adjust things.





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