Tag Archives: Yashica-Mat

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.

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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.


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