Tag Archives: TLR

Yashica Mat-124 G … winder side, not side-winder.

This camera has a problem with setting the shutter. A complete wind does not set it, so you can never take a picture … hmm, sounds like something is not coupling correctly.

The first thing you have to do … and you already know this … is to remove the leatherette. Take off the one back/strap holder arm before removing. With the one that I have here it was fairly easy to peel the leatherette off without damaging it. Take your time.

Push out the winding arm pin. Remove the arm and the four items that go with it.

Now you can unscrew the plate.

The rotary disc for the winding arm it attached with a circular nut.

Note the position of the golden arm.

Unscrew it and remove the stuff underneath it.


Remove the spring from the counter reverse lever (right), remove screw and take out arm.

Remove the 12/24 exp indicator plate, first pull off the two springs.

Pull out the silver gear.

The counter change gear arm (bottom) is the next to go.

The counter dial has a spring loaded screw in the middle. Take that off with the dial and the dial plate underneath it.




The counter reverse lever (top) is held on by one screw on the right. Slightly lift the arm on the left to pop it off for removal.

One screw holds the winding stopper arm (centre) , and you should release one arm of the spring.

The middle golden gear (bottom) has one pin screw in the middle that is unscrewed clockwise … very important.




Now you can remove the winding assembly by taking out the four screws.

Now you can see the shutter cocking arm … and in my case it is bent upwards. This means that it will never push down to its full distance.

You can try to rebend it back into shape.

If you want to take that part out you will need to remove the front lens/shutter component.

Here is my bad attempt at bending the arm down … which actually caused more metal fatigue, so when I put it back in it bent itself out of shape again.

Note: on the back side of this part is a riveted switch that prevents double exposures … do not damage this part, as it will cause a lot of headaches. If this part does not freely move, the winder will be in a locked position after the shutter is released. I am guessing this is why some people force the winder and bend the arm.

As I mentioned before, the Yashica Mat-EM has the exact same part (just not golden) so you can just replace it.

When putting back together you should be very careful that the arm is positioned above the shutter release mechanism.

You will also need to reload the spring on the counter dial. If the counter dial is not spinning freely, then loosing the screw and move the dial around so it sits properly.

… and be aware of the little springs that are all over the place.

Yashica … MAT-124G … flaw ?

Out of all the TLR’s out there, I’ve noticed that the Yashica MAT-124G is one of the most sought after cameras … even more than the Rollei because it is more affordable (hmm, actually all TLR’s are more affordable than Rollei’s).

The G, is the moderized/improved version of the plain old 124/12/24. The G refers to the addition of gold contacts in the meter. Some parts were changed from metal to plastic, and the chrome is covered in black paint … to make it a darker camera. In terms of IQ, it has the same optical components as the other models … so don’t think the G is the best Yashica TLR in that respect, especially when the price of the G can be much higher.

You can read more at the yashicatlr.com site.

In my repair of this camera I came upon a subject that has been mentioned on the web before … incomplete shutter cocking. After taking it apart and doing a lot of mental battles about how the mechanisms work/interact, I came to the “personal” conclusion that there is a design flaw with the newer winding mechanism.

The shutter cocking plate has an elbow that is pushed down by another arm that is connected to the winder cam plate. As the cam plate rotates it pushes/pulls the shutter cocking arm … this arm pushes down to rotate the shutter cocking plate. The problem I have with the design is how high the elbow sits … it seems to me that they placed it too high … and since the shutter cocking plate moves in a circular motion and the shutter cocking arm moves in a linear motion it (the arm) requires most of its force when starting the movement from its highest position.

Now this all works fine when the camera parts are all in original condition, but I think after some time the arm has a greater chance to become stressed (typically when some users unfamiliar with the camera, force the winder when they shouldn’t). Once the arm is bent it will no longer be able to obtain the full motion to complete the shutter cocking … and it does not take much deviance in the arm … and once the metal gets fatigued it will continue to bend out of shape easier … and even after it is straightened (as the straightening process placed additional fatigue on it) it will continue to do so.

The image (in my repair post) shows my sad attempt at straightening the arm … it’s riveted in place which made it not so easy.

Now … to the good news. I made a guess … yes I still have brain cells that can do that … based on the number of Yashica TLR’s I’ve taken apart, the parts appear to be the same. The Yashica-mat EM that I just repaired (and nobody wanted to buy) now became a parts camera … and my guess is right, same part. I think the E, LM, EM, 12, 24, and 124(G) share most the same mechanical parts.

Baby Yashica (44)

The Yashica-44, as described earlier is a 127 format TLR … and this one had a problem that the shutter mechanism was jammed.

In order to get to the shutter you have to take the front panel off and that means revealing the screws. The leatherette is brittle (like the Primo-Jr) so you will not be able to salvage it. You will need to take off the leatherette underneath the shutter cocking arm and the sync lever.

Remove the four screws from the front plate. Set the sync to between M and X. Carefully pull off the cover … and note that the flash port has a wire attached to it, so you will not have much play … tilt the left side of the cover plate up and then shift the cover to the right.

Now typically the problem with shutters is that they get gummed up with something … and with a lot of cameras with Copal shutters you can just unscrew the front lens element and then flush the shutter with Ronsonol … I decided to take a closer look.



Since the shutter was jammed I took the covers and speed cam off of the shutter and took a look. The shutter would cock, and the release released … but not much happened. I cleaned up some gummy stuff and put some Ronsonal on the shutter blades. This helped a bit, sometimes the shutter would release but most of the time not. Hmm, confusion … so I searched the web.

There appears to be a problem that plagues certain Yashica TLR’s … the shutter jam (and not the blueberry kind). In researching the disassembly/repair of the Yashica-44 I came across a number of forum posts concerning shutter jams. In most cases there is a warning from others about forcing the self timer lever if the camera is set for M Sync, or if the shutter is gummed up.

I added some arrows to point at different levers that line up with the speed cam

I took a really close look around the self timer mechanism and discovered … wait for it … still wait … a bent arm. A shutter release arm/lever moves down when the shutter is released, and normally fits into an open slot of the self timer arm. If the self timer is engaged the shutter release arm/lever will will stop at the self timer arm until the slot turns around to the correct position … thus letting the shutter completely release. I am guessing the shutter arm/lever (whatever you want to call it) was bent by the action of someone forcing the self timer lever while the shutter mechanism was partially engaged (possibly due to gummed up shutter blades).

Note: when the sync lever is set to M, a metal cover comes up to stop the self timer arm from engaging … so don’t try to force it, because it is supposed to not work.

Remember to check the pins after putting the speed cam back on … also the shutter release lever is on a spring so it will need to be pushed down a bit when putting the front cover back on.


The Yashica-44 was Yashica’s answer to the Baby Grey Rollei. It was one of the first Japanese copy cats (it is believed the Primo-Jr came out first) of the 4×4 Rolleiflex … and it was so much a copy that Rollei took them to court about the appearance of the camera … Yashica was forced to make some colour changes, and the first version did not last long before it was replaced by the 44A (the 44A’s got teeth). There are 7 (8) different colour versions … and they also made a version with a light meter (LM).

If you really want some great info on Yashica TLR’s, including the 44, you should check out Paul Sokk’s site … everything you wanted to know about Yashica TLR … so I won’t say much more than this.

… and 127 film is still available for purchase.

Primo-Jr … RTFM !!

Made by Tokyo Kogaku in 1958 is reportedly the first Japanese copy of the Baby Rollei. The Primo-Jr is a 4×4 TLR using the 127 film format. It was made only in black. It was exported to the USA under as the Sawyer’s Mark IV.

Unlike most 4×4 TLR’s, the Primo-Jr has a bright f/2.8 taking lens … and some will say it is better IQ than any other baby Rollei.

This little guy came to me with a stuck shutter/winder … now, being someone who has tinkered with many TLR’s in the past I thought it should not be a problem to fix this one … so I started researching disassembly. It appears that there is no info on the web from anyone taking one of these apart.

So I tackle the front.

The “leatherette” material on this camera is brittle so it will just flake away … no chance of re-using the material.

There are four screws that hold the front plate on.

Set the shutter speed to B and set the aperture to f/2.8. This will make it easier when you put this back on to fit the pins underneath.






Pull it off.

The shutter button may come out, and also there is a small pin that sits within the shutter button that will probably fall out.

Not much to see here.

You can clean out the shutter


The four large screws hold the entire front assembly to the focus rails. If you take them out then you can remove everthing.




Ok, now for the winding side.

Remove the strap holder.

Scrap off the material.

You will see from my image where the five screws are … do not remove them yet.

Push the pin out for the winding arm to remove it. Remove and put aside the two screws.

Pull out the middle plate.

There are two spring pressure things on either side … so be aware of the springs underneath.

Put the two screws back in (which is shown in the left image)

There are two spring pressure things on either side … so be aware of the springs underneath.

Remove the five screws and unscrew the counter reset knob, then remove the outer plate.

Now you can see all the gears … and you can see the reason for putting the two screws back into the middle.

At this point I still had issues with the winder being stuck.

I fixed a gummed up shutter button with Ronsonal but that did not fix the problem.

Then I started thinking … and it came to me … Read The F@%king Manual.

The Manual clearly states:

1. Do not move the Exposure Counter Activating Button (15) when the camera is empty.

2. In case the Shutter Release Button (10) or the Film Winding Crank (13) becomes jammed on an empty camera, open the Back, remove the Film Take-up Spool and turn the gear with your finger tips until the Film Exposure Counter advances to ZERO mark .

Soooo, I did that … and now it is working.

Remember boys and girls, the first thing you should do is understand how the camera should be properly operated before thinking it needs to be repaired.

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