Tag Archives: Yashica-Mat EM

My latest victims …

The Yashica-MAT EM had been sitting on my workbench for the past two years … finally got assembled today. It came to me in rough shape, the focus knob was almost falling off, the winder was stuck, the shutter was jammed, broken screws, etc.

The only thing I could not fix was a glitch in the winder release mechanism … sometimes after winding the crank it will not complete, so you have to press the shutter button again to engage the winder release. Also I could not get into the light meter because all the screws were jammed. I don’t think I will continue to restore it with new leatherette, as I have grown weary of it.

The Canon IV sb with lens, was rusting all over … and I took the chance on buying it on the hopes the lens did not have haze/fungus.

The Canon IV sb and the Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.8 were a lot easier to handle. The IV sb needed a cleaning and removal of the top plate. Rusted/seized screws prevented me from going further, so I could not check the shutter for leaks.

The lens was completely disassembled and cleaned. The lens did not end up with any haze or fungus … but I did discover some decementing of the rear elements starting to occur.


The family of Yashica TLRs and Canon Barnack type rangefinders are all very similar in design, so if you have worked with one model the rest are almost the same … including lenses and shutters.

Well, my fixer upping will be going to slow down for a bit as it is becoming economically more difficult to get cameras … I will keep hunting for BB (broken bargains.)

Ah, forgot about this …

One thing I should have added about the Yashica restoration … stuck shutter button.

Now it is not a difficult thing to pour Ronsonol around the shutter button to free it from being pressed down … it is another thing if the shutter button does not come back up. This requires getting behind the front panel.

There are three levers that push against the shutter release button.

The first lever pushes against two others. In the picture, look at the bottom section. The farthest left lever trips the shutter, the furthest right releases the winding mechanism (note that the shutter button lever is in the middle … I forgot this part and could not understand why the cover with the shutter button could not be attached properly.)

If these levers are gummed up they will not move freely. To clean up the crap you need to take this apart and clean it.

First remove the upper spring from the large cam so you do not stretch it.

The light baffle ring behind the lens just unscrews counter clockwise.

After that is remove you can clean up.

When putting it back together, remember the shutter button lever is in the middle.

Yashica-Mat EM – winding and focus

Most of the time I usually do not go deep into the winding side of the camera, as this tends to be working … I do open it up to clean and lube … but this time I had to go in.

When I got this camera the winding knob was loose. It appears that over time the bolt loosened, but was not tightened before worse things happened … so when I got it, the cams on both sides had slipped out of position.

First remove the strap holder arm.

Next is the winder arm. Push out the pin from the middle of the pivot point.
A pin punch would be handy right now … luckily the pin was not seized.

You can now pull off the arm.

There will be two other pieces under it that will come off.

You can now remove the seven screws that hold the cover plate on.

Upon removal of the cover plate you may find that a black spring washer may be attached to the back of it (due to old grease).

The winding mechanism (bottom section) can be removed as one piece.

The rest are gears for the counter and film take up spool.

Note: some are not secured so don’t let them fall out before you are ready to remove them.

Press the film door push pin and note how the gears and mechanism shift/engage.






The film counter dial is secured with a single screw.

The centre part has a spring mechanism built in so you will feel that release when you take this apart.

Note: when the back is open the counter red dot is pointing to the corner of the camera.



The long arm that goes down the front side will need to be unscrewed at the bottom to allow the removal of the winding mechanism.

You can also detach the film door push pin arm. Detach one end of the heavy spring, then remove the two screws that hold the arm.



The curved arm, above the central winder, will have to come off. It is secured by one gear shaft. Unscrew the pin.

Keep a note on the spring wire, and any others you may encounter.

The golden gear that couples to the winder rotates around a gear shaft. Unscrew the gear shaft and remove the gear … note the gear shaft is somewhat attached to the gear itself.

There are four large screws that hold the central winding mechanism onto the body. Remove these and you should be able to lift the whole thing out.

You can now see the focus cams on this side of the camera. There will most likely be a lot of old grease.

To remove the cams you have to remove the center securing screw.

You can now give this a good cleaning.

See the below illustration to put them back together … also add some new grease.

Note: make sure both the left and right focus arms are at the same length.

This is an illustration from a Yashica-Mat 124 service manual showing the two focus cams.

The focus wheel side has a mirror image of this.

Now we need to open the other side up.

Remove the strap holder on top.

Unscrew the plastic cover in the middle of the focus wheel.

A single bolt holds the focus shaft in place. Use thin pliers or a thin socket.

Remove the focus knob … note that there should be a washer in there also.

There are five screws holding the outer plate on.

Now you can access the focus cams.

You will probably see the same old grease as you did on the winder side.

Give a good cleaning.

To fit the focus cams back on you will need to first align the ones on the winding side … so get those two set first.

If those are not set properly you will not be able to fit the ones on the knob side in … I hate to say it this way, but … if the focus shaft is not fitted into the cams on the winder side correctly then there will not be enough shaft length on the knob side.

Put this side together first, as the focus knob will keep the cams in place while you put the other side back on.

When putting the winder mechanism back on you will need align the slot in the arm to the pin.

The arm with the pin extends out to the front of the camera and couples with the shutter cocking arm. If you don’t get this right the arm does not move while winding … and of course the shutter will not be set.

Take your time with this side to make sure the springs are attached and all the spring arms are in the proper position.

Yashica-Mat EM – lens and shutter

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I got this as a parts/repair item. The shutter does not move, the camera is covered in stuff, levers are stuck, finder is falling apart, and the focus knob is falling off … a complete tear down is needed.

Tools: dental chisel, screw drivers, qtips.

The first thing I did was remove all of the leatherette, and as expected some came off easy while other parts needed chiseling.

Safety tip: always hold the camera so that your hand is not positioned in front of the chisels movement … otherwise you might end up with a deep gash (I only did this once to get the hint) … don’t point the sharp end at parts of your body !!

Soooo, let’s start with the front.

There are multiple sets of screws holding the different plates on.

The outer four are the largest, and they secure the entire lens assembly to the focus rails. Remove the four large screws and pull off the assembly from the rest of the camera.

The next four set of screws holds the alignment/cover plate on. Remove those and pull off the outside plate. This plate also has the shutter button attached.

The last inner cover is secured by five screws. This cover holds the gears for the aperture and shutter speed dials.

This tends to get stuff gumming up the works, so I give it a good wash of Ronsonol.

At the top of this cover is a clear plastic window that displays the aperture and shutter speed. Most of the Yashica’s that I have encountered have a lot of crap stuck under the window and it has also yellowed over time (though I am not sure if it was slightly yellow to begin with).

Set the aperture and shutter to B / 22 or 500 / 3.5 (as you rotate both dials you can see the movement of the inner rings) … then scribe some reference marks on the bottom rings

Use a spanner wrench to remove the locking rings (note these will be on tight so you may not be able to take them off).

You can then remove all the pieces and do a good cleaning … just remember how they go back.

Set the inner ring aligned with your marks while putting the top set back in.

Now back to the other thing …

The front element group of both the viewing and the taking lens can be unscrewed.

In order to get to the shutter mechanism you need to remove the taking lens front group.

Unscrew it counter clockwise.

If you are here just to clean the shutter or aperture then you do not need to go further. You can access both now.

There is a small screw on the left that will need to be turned in order to unscrew the ring that secures the top plate.

Note the red dot should like up with the screw (in this image it was not aligned yet.

Remove the cover plate.

The speed cam plate aligns with a couple of things underneath so make a note of its position before removing it.

The three slots and shapes set the shutter gears underneath to the various positions for the different speeds.

Now you can clean out the shutter mechanism.

The slow speed set in at 2 o’clock.

Self timer is at the bottom

Shutter cocking is at 11 o’clock.

Shutter release is at 8 o’clock.

In most cases a good dose of Ronsonol and some exercise cleared things up to get everything working again.

Concerning the back end of this …

The shutter is held on by the circular light baffle. You can unscrew this, though it really is not necessary to do so to work on the shutter.

Note: for cameras that have an electronic flash sync (like this one) there is a wire attached to the shutter section that can easily be broken off … so take care.

The shutter release cam will fall off so you may want to detach the spring first. You can now clean this area … and you can access the rear taking lens elements for cleaning.

When putting the front cover piece back on (over the shutter) make sure to set the shutter speed and aperture to fast/wide open, then set the front cover to match … this will align the two pieces. If you turn the dials you should feel the click stops of the shutter speeds and you can view the aperture from the back side.

Yashica MAT EM – some history

The EM is similar to the earlier Mat-LM that also has an uncoupled selenium light meter built into the nameplate. It was in production between 1964-67. This particular camera came to me in very bad shape. I kinda expected that based on the images that were shown. The focus knob was crooked, there was evident gunge all over, the leatherette was peeling off … light meter crooked. I guessed that this was going to be a fixer-upper … well I was right. The shutter blades were stuck open, the aperture blades were stuck open (moving the aperture lever showed the blades buckling), there was a greasy sludge all over the lenses, the light meter/logo plate was only being held on loosely by one screw … etc.

Note: Dave Gauer has a great restoration/repair page on the Yashica D with a Copal MVX shutter.

Working on TLR’s is fairly easy if it is just for cleaning the shutter and lens. Dealing with the winding, and focusing mechanism requires a bit more work taking things apart.

This one took me a while as there were many screws that could not be removed by normal means, and I got distracted by other things in life …