Tag Archives: Sony

Waz DAT ?

Sooo, a couple of days ago I heard a small snipped of a song on TV which I remembered that I liked a lot … then I remembered that I actually had a copy of it on tape … yes, TAPE.

Back in the olden days we used to record music on magnetic tape, but I ain’t taking about yrrr typical compact cassette, I’m talking about Digital Audio Tape. Sony introduced DAT in 1987 … it recorded 16-bit digital on magnetic tape and supported recording program numbers and ID’s, which is why it was most common in recording studios. Back in my yuut I had much money, and being a tech geek, I thought paying $600 (I was able to get it at cost price, and it was the lowest consumer model) was great for a digital recorder.


Sooo, back to the story … I rummaged around my tapes and found it … Panic in Detroit, by David Bowie. Great !!! I popped it into my Sony DTC-750 DAT deck and created an MP3 on my MacBook. Hmm, since I am here, lets look for some other songs … and that’s when the problems appeared. It started with not pulling the tape back into the cassette (a DAT loading is like a VHS tape … hmm, not sure how many of you remember those either … the tape gets pulled out and wrapped to a helical scan drum), so when it was ejected it left the tape exposed and crinkled. I realized that there was a problem with the pickup spools not being engaged by the motor properly … or the motor is dying, as FF and RW are very sluggish !!

Well, since I don’t have any cameras that I need to work on (actually, that is a big lie as there are two cameras that need the seals replaced, but I am stalling on that job) I am going try to get this thing working.


I did some presearch on the web to see if this was common or if anyone else had documented taking this thing apart … and I was in luck.

It was not too difficult to get the main part out.



DSC03994Looking over the gears, I did not see anything obviously broken.

Stuff turned, moved …

Hmmm, so I put it back together and seated it back in … powered it up, and started watching the mechanisms as it loaded, played, reverse play … ah, there seems to be a problem here.

When the reverse play is engaged, the drive motor does not move … so this causes the pickup spool not to turn … which in turn causes the tape to turn into a pile of spagetti.
DSC03993 Well, the motor does turn and the belt looks ok … so I am guesing the motor is dying (the thing is 30 years old).

I figured that it probably was not worth it to get a replacement part … so I just sprayed some Lighter Fluid into the openeings, and hope for the best. I thought it would clean out any gunge (even though it would flush any lubricant on any bearings).

Letting it dry, I put it back together and exersized it by FF and RW a tape over and over … well, it appears my bet paid off … now I can sit back, listen, and relive the 80’s.

Sony SAL16105 … DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

I don’t tend to work with modern lenses, but I got this one anyway just to work on something newer.

It was described as having a problem with the focusing. It could be used manually, but the auto focus had problems … I made a guess it was something stuck in the focus gears.

Should either be an easy fix … or something that I would need to replace part(s).

It turns out that it is was both ??

First is to remove the inner ring

Remove the two screws holding the contact pin pcb

Remove the three screws on the black ring

When pulling out the black ring you will have to maneuver around the pcb

Now you can remove the mounting ring.

Remove the four screws

Be careful will pulling off the ring as there are shims underneath it.

… also the screw drive pin may come off with the ring.

Gently take the shims out.

Do not bend the shims and keep them right side up.

Pull out the focus drive pin

The outer cover (the one with the orange ring) is held on by three screws. You will first need to pull off the rubber zoom grip. This should just slide off with a little work. It is held on by tension … there should be no adhesive.

Now you will see an area that has a metal plate

Underneath there is another place with mutliple contacts.

You really do not need to remove these … though you need to be aware of them as the thin metal can be bent easily when you put this back together.

Remove the three screws.

Pull off the outer cover.

Remove the three screws

There is one more thing that needs to be done in order to take this layer off.

On the sides of the lens you will see three long screws within slots. These are coupled to the inner zoom ring.

Unscrew and remove them.

You can now pull the assembly off gently as there is some metal contacts within.

Take the piece that you just removed … sadly, I am missing the picture I took of the inside … Look inside and you will find a ring that looks like this.

You can gently pull it out … note the contacts that are attached, try not to bend them too much.

As you can see from this image this ring is broken. This is called the focus differential ring.

The screw drive from the camera turns this ring. The protruding part couples with the focus cam, which moves the lens element group.

When the AF mechanism is engaged this ring will jam … which is why it was described that manual focusing worked.

OK. Now I just need to figure out how to fix it.

I tried a number of adhesive ideas, but they all failed … you can’t just plop a bunch of epoxy on it as it needs to fit back into the lens assembly … though it could also be because I am not the most knowledgeable person about using adhesives.

I gave up after a couple of weeks and ordered a $20 replacement part.

Getting back to the rest of the lens … you should now be left with this.

Since I was here, I decided to clean out the back to the lens assembly.

You can unscrew the rear element with a spanner wrench.

When putting the lens back together, remember that some of these components have metal contact arms … these do not like to be bent too much, and some have very thin fingers.

You will need to position the aperture arm and focus arm so that they fit the levers below.

When putting the lens mount ring back on you will need to use another screwdriver to align the holes in the shims.

Sony … rhymes with boney

Ah, Sony … what can I say … hmm.

Now what the heck is a modern electronics company like Sony doing in a blog about restoring photographic equipment? Well, I have Sony digital cameras and lenses so eventually this should pop up.

Sony got in the digital SLR business when Konica-Minolta started negotiating with them to cooperate in making cameras. Sony said all or nothing … so KM sold the photo division to Sony in 2006. Konica-Minolta had produced two DSLR’s, the 5D and 7D before it all went to Sony.

Sony continued to keep the Maxxum A-mount and that kept people like my wife happy as she had an investment in Maxxum lenses. Sony utilized KM’s extensive camera background with their knowledge in sensor technology to advance what was left off … plus Sony already had a long relationship with Carl Zeiss !!

I, sadly, made the decision to sell all my Canon stuff and switch to Sony. Looking back at it now I should have kept my lenses to mount on my Sony NEX camera … crap … little did I know that Sony was going to make mirrorless cameras that had a short flange focal distance (which makes it possible to use many types of lenses/mount types with a simple adapter).

Anyway … the next post will be about a Sony lens repair.

Sony NEX tool

Tool of the day. Well not that kind of “tool”, I mean a real tool.

A digital camera that can accept different types of lens mounts is a handy tool check a lens. All cameras are designed with a specific mount type with matching lenses.

Some cameras can use an adapter to permit mounting of a different type. Today, these typically these are mirrorless cameras, because of the short flange focal distance. Most of these will have a FFD of less than 20mm which means they can accept lens types that have a longer distance with an adapter. Most SLR mounts use 40mm or longer, and even the Leica thread mount is about 29mm.

So here is my cool red Sony NEX-3, Fotga M39-NEX adapter, and Canon 35mm f/2.8 rangefinder lens.

I can easily check minimum and infinity focusing.

See how much affect haze and fungus have on the lens elements.


I can also take digital images with this … hmm, I wonder if they thought of that when they made this thing ?