Tag Archives: Minolta-35

… bad Luck.

Follow up to my last post …

The shutter is … well, lets say that I should start seriously looking into on how to replace curtains.

It did not take much to tear the material. Just exersizing the shutter put enough stress on it that the second curtain fell apart.

Minolta really put some poor quality material there … oh, well.

Lucky … no, not my cat.

“Luck, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet” – Pierre Trudeau

… yeah, I have a cat named Lucky … cause he is.

Sooooo, in my current hunt for broken stuff I decided to go back to a risky comfort zone item. This is the Minolta-35 LTM rangefinder camera.

The risk part is the high probability of finding one that has a degraded shutter, and replacing shutters is not something I like to do … I’ve attempted it a couple of times and it ain’t easy.

The comfort part … well, I’ve probably worked on about a half a dozen of these.

Anyway, I took a chance on an auction and got a body with a lens at a pretty low price … and luck was on my side, the shutter is in almost working condition !!! Woo Hooo !! Bonus !! The rest of the camera I really did not care about as I have two parts bodies sitting on my desk.

… and after I restore it, someone will be lucky to be a new owner of a working Minolta-35.

The living dead

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.” ― Voltaire

I thought I would post an image with all three of the cameras that I have worked on so far.

All three are now in working condition. Actually I have gone through four Autocords, three 35’s, and two chrome 50mm’s … these just happen to be the last ones that I have now off the bench.

The Minolta Autocord has new grey Griptac leatherette from Cameraleather.com. The Minolta-35 has some nice brown leatherette, from eBay seller camera-shop-pl, that I custom cut. The Canon IIF didn’t need a recovering.

I will say that restoring/repairing is quite satisfying … cameras are supposed to take pictures, so having one that is just a broken mantel piece does not fit well with me. I would like to restore all the cameras that I have, but sometimes you just can’t … some things are just broken beyond repair or replacement parts no longer exist (though that leads to buying more cameras).

Minolta-35 – the shutter and speed gears

If the slow speed is not so good then you will need to pull out the insides. This also provides access if you are bold enough to do a shutter curtain replacement … which requires a lot of boldness.

You will need to have the some of the top items removed, so look at my previous post about removing the top.

Tools: slotted screw drivers, spanner wrench, q-tips, Ronsonal,

First take off the bottom plate.

Remove screw by tripod socket.

Unscrew the lock screw over the door lock dial with the spanner wrench (or tweezers).

Pull off lock dial

There will be a compression washer underneath.

Note that the part on the inside will fall out in the body.

Remove screw (I think on Ver. B there may be more than one).

Pull off the bottom plate.

I decided to unscrew the other two parts under the door lock, though it is not necessary.

From the front of the body there will be four screws that need to be removed.

The two on the bottom my look odd … in my case, the head was shaved down on one side so that the bottom plate would fit properly. Looks like a slight design opps as they did not make the lower body wide enough account for the size of the screws.

Open the camera back.

Remove all the screws that hold the cover plates on.

Ver. A has only one screw on the right plate.

The large cover plate is take off by lifting the left side to allow the right side to pivot away from underneath the film takeup spool.

Remove the last screw (on the top left).

Finally back to the bottom, remove the two screws.

Now you can pull out the insides.

This image is the rear view.

The shutter release gears and high speed gears are all located in the top portion.

Give this a good wash with Ronsonol.

Looking at the front side you can see the slow speed gears located in the bottom. Ronsonol and exercise … you can press the little lever on the right side of the gears.

Put the winding knob and shutter pin back in so you can work all the mechanisms.

You can view the condition of the shutter curtains. The material used on the Minolta-35 does not age well if the camera has been left unused for a long time. The curtain material gets stiff and will form to the rollers. When this happens it causes resistance that will either throw off the timing or cause the shutter not to close properly … or worst case, torn curtains when some idiot just winds the hell out of it.

Each curtain has a take spool and a spring loaded roller that the straps are attached to.

One day I may talk about replacing a cloth shutter … right now I will leave this subject alone.

The rest of the body shell showing the self timer gear box.

You can put some Ronsonol on that to clean it up … and also on the focus actuating arm.


Minolta-35 – top

This camera is one of those that I have repaired/restored numerous times. For some reason or another I ended up with three of these, and I have this feeling that is not the end of them. All of them needed at least a cleaning and two of them required some much additional servicing. The Minolta-35 model II version A and B is described in this document. The differences are slight, and I have mixed up images from both of them (I did not thoroughly document either of the repair jobs as I went a long.).

Tools: screw drivers … lots and lots of screwdrivers, Ronsonol, Q-tips, pliers, rubber band.

Let’s start from the top …

There are a number of things that need to be removed before you can get the top plate off, so have your handy trays available to keep all the loose screws and components.

Starting from right to left …

For the winding knob you have to loosen the lock screw (you do not need to take it out) then unscrew the knob counter-clockwise.

Remove the shutter button collar, unscrew counter-clockwise.

The shutter speed dial on both the A and B version differ on its removal:

Ver. A – Loosen the single lock screw. Unscrew, counter-clockwise. If it is really tight do NOT force it, as there is a register pin underneath that will get snapped off if you put too much force on it. To be on the safe side … lift the speed dial and use an elastic band and pliers to keep the column from rotating, then you can apply some force to unscrew the speed dial.

Ver. B – Loosen the three screws on the shutter speed dial and pull off.

Remove the diopter:

Ver. A – There is a recessed screw on the left side of the body that you will need to loosen before pulling out the diopter.

Ver. B – Turn the diopter, it will extend to reveal the three screws around the outside. Loosen the screws and pull off diopter.

To remove the rewind knob, open the back and use a stick to keep the column from rotating, then unscrew the knob

Ver. B, is securing with a locking collar with a screw (as illustrated above). Ver. A does not have this.

Pull off the washers and spacer that is under the counter dial if you had not done it previously.

Pull off the winding release lever.

Remove the three screws that secure the top plate.

Remove the four screws from the flash shoe. When you pull off the shoe there will be a metal piece underneath that goes with it.

Unscrew shutter release button (you might have to hold the column with small pliers to).

Pull off top and watch out for the spring by the film takeup spool hole that is located on the left side (not sure what the function of the spring is).

Pull off the rest of the parts under the winding column and you can also put the shutter release pin aside.

Now you can clean the prisms and lenses.

If you view the camera from the front, the rangefinder prism is on the left and the viewfinder split image prisms are on the right … with the eye piece behind it.

If the rear face of the rangefinder prism (on the right) looks dirty, or you got fluid behind it, you will have to remove it by unscrewing the three lock screws. If the rear of this prism is not clean then it will lower the quality of the image reflected into the viewfinder. Use Acetone or nail polish remover if it has lacquer on them.

Clean the inside of the top plate (and inside ports) before putting it back on.

If you intend on going further with the inside cleaning then just secure the top plate with the three screws and leave the rest unassembled.