Category Archives: Shutters

I know this ain’t going to be pretty!

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So I have a camera with a problem.

As you can see there is something wrong with the shutter blades … yeah.

This ain’t no simple blades popping out of the slot issue, this one I know is really broken.

Well time to take a look inside.

I was advised that getting to the shutter on a Nikon FM2 was not that difficult … there is a pretty good video on YouTube showing how to get the mirror box off.

Now I have to warn you that the images show some parts that were taken off already … I don’t tend to document in sequential order as I go …

Ok, lets start from the top.

DSC00713First, remove rewind knob using the typical method is used. Under it is a tension clip thin and a washer.

The shutter speed dial is secured with 3 screws. Remove and pull off.

Advance lever … first remove cover leatherette, then unscrew the cap. Remove the lever and be aware of the spring underneath.

Finally the top cover, it is held on by five screws, pull off top plate.

DSC00714Note that there are two plastic parts, one on each side of the prism that will fall off as they are only held on by the top cover.

For a mechanical camera, the FM2 has a complicated electronic light meter system … it actually has dual SPD photosensors, so there is a lot of wires. I decided to loosen some wires by desoldering some of them.

Remove the bottom plate. Three screws.

DSC00718I desoldered the black wire to battery terminal (blue wire), red and orange to winder contacts … loosen white wire from glue.

Now open the back door.

Remove the single black screw.

DSC00715OK, now the front of the camera.

The lens mount … four screws.

 

 

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There is a metal ring underneath … note it’s orientation … then take it off.

DSC00716Now there are some things left … there is a plastic ring with string attached and an inner metal ring that is tapered – thin side down.

DSC00717You can pull those out and put the one with the string aside.

Now you can unscrew front plastic cover two screws … pass plastic ring through it.

Self timer lever … take off the leatherette. Remove screw and self timer lever.

OK getting close now. Remove front two leatherette patches.

There are five screws that hold the mirror box/prism on. Remove.

Annotation 2019-06-16 163208There are three screws on either side of the viewfinder port … and one below the shutter speed dial that has a spring (not the other screw).

OK, this is the hard part … peeling off the top and moving it aside. You will encounter some old sticky foam.

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Now here is where the video (I noted at the beginning) ends.

The shutter housing and the gears can be remove just by taking off the two brass top screws … do a little wiggling and pull off shutter.

DSC00720The back side of the shutter housing plate is held on by a couple of screws.DSC00721Then slide off.

 

 

 

 

More layers, more screws.

Make note of the tiny springs that are attached to both of the shutter blade sets.

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You can now remove both sets of shutters.

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So here is the second curtain. One of the blades actually snapped the metal into two … well that is not something you repair, just replace.

Putting the camera back together was not all that difficult either.

This one is now relegated to the parts bin … just to wait for another FM2 or an FE2 to land in my lap.

Hmm, I just realized I didn’t even check if the light meter was working …

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… every act has a closing curtain.

Shutter curtains … hmm. I like leaf shutters cause they are easy to restore. Focal plane shutters, well that is a different story.

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Leaf shutter

Leaf shutters have blades (though sometimes there is only one) that opens and then closes to expose the film.

Easy peasy. Kinda like taking off the lens cap and then putting it back on.

When you encounter these that don’t work, it usually just takes a cleaning of the blades to get them back in working condition.

Sometime in 1883, a guy named Ottomar Anschütz invented the rouleau shutter in order to take high speed images, as the leaf shutter was not fast enough. This roller shutter became the focal plane shutter that we know today.

horizontalshutter
Horizontal focal plane shutter

One shutter opens and the other follows it … this is like have two lens caps, one you take off the lens with one hand and then with the other hand you put the other cap on.

The timing of the two creates a slit that passes in front of the film to expose it for x number of seconds. The early focal plane shutters were horizontally traveling … and eventually became vertical using metal blades that could move faster.

Each curtain is connected to two rollers, one to set the shutter and the other attached by ribbons that are pulled by a spring loaded roller when the shutter mechanism is released.

Leica started using rubberized cloth focal plane shutters to achieve higher speeds in their infamous Barnack cameras, this was very helpful for an interchangeable lens systems as it didn’t require every lens to have a shutter built into it. Now of course everybody else had to copy this.

Over time, problems appeared with cloth shutters on old Barnack type cameras … or in many old cameras that used rubberized cloth … the type of problem that I have encountered most commonly is a deteriorated rubber on the shutter curtain(s). The Minolta-35 is famous for it. Another is the glue holding the ribbons has let go of the cloth or from the rollers … then there is the issue of degraded rubber causing light to leak through …

In the image below,  it is one of the ribbon tapes (top left) that pull the second shutter curtain that has come off of the spring loaded roller.

s-l1600_1Here is the crooked shutter … telltale angled wrinkles. The top is leaning because the curtain ribbon tape is no longer pulling the curtain.

In my case the ribbon was torn just after the point where it was glued to the roller, so it needed to be replaced. So I would need to get inside this thing to replace it.

You might want to read over Rick Oleson’s doc on a Leica shutter repair first … just to give you an idea. You can even watch Nobbysparrow do a replacement.

DSC00680Now wait till you get a hold of a multi-bladed vertical focal plane shutter !!

That’s another story to tell …

 

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.

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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.

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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 …

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Very typical.

Unscrew the front lens element.

Then turn the lock.

Twist the cover to match up with the notches.DSC00528

 

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.

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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).

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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 … 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.

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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.

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There are three rings that will come off.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

QL17 … the final frontier

After I figured out the shutter release and cleaned up the gears, I still had a problem with the aperture … so part III.

Tools

  • Screw driver
  • Soldering iron
  • Spanner wrench
  • Dental spatula
  • Ronsonol
  • Lots of Q-tips

The first thing to do is to remove the two leatherette pieces from the front of the camera. Have patience and you will be rewarded with singular pieces. Start from the outer edges and work your way in towards the lens.

Remove top cover. Then remove four screws holding the lens assembly, and pull it off.

Flip it over.

Remove the two screws that secure the baffle.

Pull off light baffle.

Unsolder the wires. Note that the longer one is on the left.

Unscrew rear lens group first. Then you can unscrew the retaining ring that is hidden underneath. This holds the lens/shutter assembly to this plate.

Pull off lens

There are three rings here.

Dark one sets the shutter.

Spacer in between

Silver bottom one trips the shutter release (in this image it was moved off the pin).

Remove them.

OK, now down to the nitty gritty (whatever that means).

The aperture blades are gummed up. The red arrow points to the arm that is moved to open the aperture. The green arrow points to a (pathetic) spring arm that pulls it into an open position.

I washed out this area with Ronsonol … then exercised the aperture … then did it again. Use Q-tips to clean off the blades. Continue the cycle.

Let it dry

Continue the clean, wipe cycle until it flows like butter, or at least until the little spring can pull its weight.

The best way of cleaning the blades is to take the whole thing apart and individually clean everything … I am not that ambitious.

… I would like to thank a couple of Japanese bloggers that posted their experience with taking this camera apart, the photo’s helped (but the translation failed).