Rough Shutter Cocking on Canon FTb

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by momus, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. momus

    momus Member

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    My Canon FTb arrived, but the film advance is quite rough and ratchety even w/o film in it. The shutter curtain assy looks like it moves freely, so it's not that. Shutter speeds sound good, but the shutter knob is a little stiff to change the speeds with. Not too bad, just a little tight. The camera had been setting up for a long time according the seller, but for all I know it may have been like this when it was set up. Any ideas?
     
  2. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Dirt in the gears, have it cleaned or maybe you can clean it yourself. Good Luck
     
  3. momus

    momus Member

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    I checked that, at least on the bottom. Pulled the bottom plate off and it looked OK, but I gave it a little lube anyway. Took the film advance lever off and gave a drop of oil down the shaft. Still the same. The return lever seems to hang a little going back to its rest position and needs a little shove, and there's a squeek coming from the advance lever shaft area when I cock the shutter, so it looks like the top will have to come off. The camera took a header at some point in its life and the prism has a good size dent in the front corner, but everything looks OK. No prism issues when I look in the viewfinder and the meter needle is even lively when I put in a battery, although that circular part its supposed to line up with (I think) doesn't want to come off the bottom of the viewfinder. Shutter speeds are on the money until 1/250, which is where they start to get one stop slow. Drat.
     
  4. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I have a Spotmatic that feels as though I am stripping the gears when I advance. Even without film in it, it is the same. It's not debris because I flushed everything out with lighter fluid until completely clear with the top and bottom off the camera.

    There are many variables here with this sort of thing: curtain apron fault (even twisted strings!), loose gears, corrosion where the curtain slides causing friction, even too much curtain tension.

    Momus, have you felt the tension on those curtains? Advance half way so that the metal strips at the ends of each curtain are in the middle of the film aperture gate. Then, carefully lift the mirror and tape it's underside to the top of the lens mount area so that it stays up (maybe this Canon has a mirror lock so that that will not be necessary). Now, with the camera back facing you, carefully and gently with your fingernail, move the curtains one by one (ie, move the second curtain's metal strip toward the right and the first curtain's metal strip move toward the left. That will open the curtain area as if for exposure. The level springiness will indicate how much tension there is on those curtains. If too much (they should have only light to moderate tension) you need to turn the tension screws to lessen the springiness. On the Canon mechanicals it is a bit harder to do as those curtain screws guiding curtain tension have small levers attached to each and must first be loosened in order to remove the end of each lever from the ratchet which they employ in order to prevent slippage. It's rather difficult to describe in words but with the Spotmatic all one need do is put a drop of lighter fluid on the two set screws which hold those curtain tension screws tight and then you can freely adjust that curtain tension. - David Lyga
     
  5. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've owned a FTbn that I bought second hand for about thirty five years, but I do think expecting camera of that age to work smoothly without any cleaning adjustment and lubrication is unrealistic, these cameras may seem relatively cheap on the face of it but you need to allow the price of a professional service I.M.O. if you need a reliable working tool., I had my FTbn given a complete service and had the light seals and mirror bumper replaced about four years ago after over thirty years service which cost far more than it's market value, but I chose to. I.M.O. paying to have your cameras maintained by a professional repairer occasionally is part of being a serious photographer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    +1
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    A lot of photographers instead of buying more and more crap cameras that are junk would be much better served by having the ones they actually use (if any) serviced.
     
  8. MDR

    MDR Member

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    The costs for repairs has often become more expensive than the camera or in fact several cameras besides not everyone has the money to afford good repair.
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If having reliable equipment is important, you pay for it. And one cannot be serious without reliable gear, whatever it is. When one looks at the cost of say a Nikon F on the used market plus the cost of a CLA by a competent tech, and compares it to the cost of an F when it was new (roughly 1/4 the cost of a small car) - it looks like a steal.
    The alternative is an endless series of dysfunctional cameras.
    If you want unreliable crap, spend your money at lomography.
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    What you write is true, all I'm saying is people should take that into consideration before they buy 20+ year old cameras of unknown history from people or company s they don't know without any warranty and expect them to be reliable working tools, and not end up being shelf queens.
     
  11. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Emil I own dozens of cameras some needed a CLA and some haven't had a CLA since the time they were bought 40 to a 100 years ago amongst them a Nikon F. Yes I will do a CLA if necessary but I also believe that a lot of people that buy bargains expect or hope that their cameras will work without expensive CLA. Dismissing anybody that can't afford a CLA but still wants to take photograph as someone who want subpar quality is a bit much imo.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    My view entirely,well said.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Like others have said get it clean!

    Jeff
     
  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    If you're willing to pop the top & clean the transport, more power to you.
    It's not difficult.
    You're already aware of lubing the transport, so the meter follower is next.

    Relying on my faulty memory, the lollipop is a mechanical linkage on the top, rewind side of the camera & is pretty obvious when the top is removed. It may simply be stuck from sitting.
     
  15. momus

    momus Member

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    Yes, I DO expect an old cheap camera to work smoothly right out of the box, and if not, I can usually straighten them out. Why pay someone when I can do it myself? That's the fun of these old cameras, and more than half the time I have had to send cameras back to "the experts" to have them fix what should have been fixed the first time. More aggravation than it was worth and a waste of good money. These mechanical cameras ain't exactly rocket science. If you have mechanical aptitude and common sense you can fix most anything. Thanks for the good tip John. I suspect the lollipop is just stuck.

    I decided to just load it w/ film and say the heck w/ it for now. Strangely, it is smoother w/ film loaded. There are some light leaks to fix (seals in the back from the look of it), but the shots are pretty nice for the first roll, and the light leaks surely dropped the IQ some.
    The lens is one of those old chrome nose 50 1.4 lenses. Samples below are Tri-X w/ a yellow filter shot at box speed, and developed in Acufine 5 1/2 minutes full strength @70 degrees. The coffee cup was shot at 1.4 and there sure isn't a lot of DOF at that aperture, but it's sharp.

    Someone hollered "nice camera"! while I was out on my bike w/ it today. This old baby is much nicer than the A1 that I sold. I like it so much that I just bought two more from Roberts Camera. $31 for a chrome one, $37 for a black one (free shipping on both). They're tested and guaranteed to be working properly, and come w/ 6 month warranties. It's a fine way to start the new year, and makes up for some of those purchases that didn't work out too well. I'll replace the seals in this one, then address the film advance and lollipop.....next year.

    small f4.jpg

    small cropped f1.jpg

    small f6_filtered.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'm not dismissing "someone who can't afford a CLA" - I'm pointing out the false economy of buying another old camera. Although, anyone buying/using gear 20+ years of age and expecting it to keep running without maintenance is either poorly informed or delusional. I expect to work on any camera, shutter, etc. I get. Anything I use and expect reliable results from (which means everything) is serviced and functions as new. Even the stuff made before WWI.:wink:
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If I buy a camera more than 20 years old that I want to use for serious work before I part with my money I find out how much a C.L.A would cost, and if the total cost is too much I don't buy it.
     
  18. momus

    momus Member

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    I fixed it. Getting the top off was not so bad at all using the link below. Once it was off I turned the camera upside down and two screws fell out, as well as half of a broken chrome crescent piece (see photos below). I managed to pry the rest of the broken chrome arm out without further disassembly. If I hadn't, it looked to be somewhat more difficult to remove w/ lots of springs here and there, so I got lucky on that.

    Strangely, everything works fine now, and all the speeds are as good as before. Wonder what that arm did anyway? It's obvious that the screws fell out when the camera took a big header (never did see where those screws came from either, but I didn't look too hard) and jammed things, causing the chrome crescent arm to break and lock everything up. The screws may have come from inside the battery housing as there are two small holes in there, but they didn't seem to quite be long enough when I tried them. Or more probably they came from the hot shoe internal attachment, which is right by where the big top dent is. While the camera was open everything got a little lube and I cleaned up the prism/viewfinder. I'll fix the dent in the top housing and the stuck meter lollipop later. Time to repair camera - 1 hr. Bill to myself - $125, from what I can see looking at other people's repair rates. I'll spend it on some good cheap wine and more Tri-X. Now to go out and shoot the camera after replacing the foam seals and mirror bumper foam.

    Thanks to a tip on Matt Denton's website, I went down to Walmart and bought a big pack of self adhesive 2mm closed cell foam sheets for $4. Eight of the sheets were different colors and only two were black, but those two 8x10 sheets will do a LOT of camera seal jobs. I wonderg why people recommended sending the camera out. Thought this was the camera repair forum.

    http://mattsclassiccameras.com/light_seals/

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/classics/forum/messages/13061 /8469.html?1168658480

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  19. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    Canon FTBn clean

    Very helpful link to Matts Classic cameras BUT the other link did not work -- I have taken off the base-plate of my FTBn cameras and lubed the cogs and pivots -- I put a drop of oil into a dish and pick up a minute amount on the end of a piece of fuse=wire and touch the cogs and things and it works well. Americans seem to mention 'Windex' to clean out the old foam -- never heard of it in England and we do not have those 'Walmart 'stores either.