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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Taxachussetts
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    Yashica mat 124g repair questions (washers and crank winders)

    I bought a problematic Yashica mat 124g thinking that I could tackle it, but I think I'm getting more than I bargained for. I cleaned the lenses, mirror, and unjammed the shutter so far (works perfectly now), so my spirits are still high.

    I have removed the lens board from the camera, and I noticed two washers (shims?) on the viewing lens side that go between the board and the focusing rail. They're very thin, brass colored, and I managed to lose one of them.


    My questions are: Do I really need these washers? Can I focus accurately without them (i.e. board sitting bare on the rail)? Also, shouldn't there be four of these washers? It seems odd that I only encountered two when the lens board attaches to the focusing rails with four screws (two on the top, two on the bottom). Does this mean that the taking lens focuses at a slightly different place than the viewing lens?


    And finally, what is the best way to pull the pin off of the winding lever? I want to get under the hood, but this pin won't budge.


    I really don't want to send this to Mark Hama - this camera is too beat up to be repaired professionally. (Well, it's not bad, it's just that I can't justify it). I'll take any help I can get.

  2. #2

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    Feb 2009
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    Update

    Update: I was able to drive the pin that connects the winding arm to the crank. I used a pen and, with intense force, I pushed the pin while rocking the arm far enough until I could pluck it out with needle nose pliers. I was really nervous about using so much force, but I guess Yashicas need tough love.

    Unfortunately, I found out that I *really* had no business dealing with the crank assembly. I initially wanted to go under there because the winder would jam in mid motion, but the problem somehow resolved itself when I reattached the lens board back on. The other thing that I realized is that I never considered how important having a real roll of film in the camera would be to the whole operation of the camera. A fresh roll of film coming in would drive that film counter wheel, and a closed back would engage that gear onto the counter, creating that correct "ratcheting back to the original position" that has been elusive to me.

    So that winding forward indefinitely problem was me being an idiot and not thinking things through. Though I doubt the person who had this before was thinking it through either - this camera definitely had more than one diy repair in its past.

    However, my question about the washers between the lensboard (lens and shutter assembly) and focusing rail still stands. The lens board was screwed onto the rails with four screws, two on the top and two on the bottom. When I took the board off, there were two washers between the board (one on each side) and the rail, and none on the bottom two. Are there supposed to be four washers all around? Or are two on the top actually correct?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Hello;
    Put the camera back together as it was taken apart. Make a new shim to replace the one you lost. It is common practice for the japanese camera's to use shims to align the lens properly with the film plane. Have a Mamiya 645 and shims were used to align the front mount. Good luck, Steven.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Yes, you need those shims. Some kind of shims, anyway. When I restored my LM, I did not get all of the shims back in. Somehow when it was reassembled - even with most shims in place - the lens assembly was far enough off to cause one side of the frame to be out of focus. I checked alignment and sure enough, it was off by a mm or so. I made some thin plastic shims and installed them on that side and it corrected it well enough that I couldn't see a problem with it any more.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Taxachussetts
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    I was afraid of this, but I'm glad that there are other people here that can confirm my problem. I'll have to scour my work area for it, or figure out what else would make an acceptable substitute for a shim. I Honestly thought I could get away without it.

    Say, do you think computer paper/inkjet photo paper would make a good substitute for a metal shim? Also, cramej, did your LM have four shims all around? I only noticed two in my camera, which leads me to the conclusion (among other things) that someone mucked around on the inside long before I got it. (Unless manufacturing processes weren't all that good then, and Yashica only used as many shims as it took to balance the focusing field).

    I actually ran a roll of film through it two days ago, just shooting whatever's around the house (outside). Seemed like everything was working in order, I have noticed that every wind gets progressively shorter, but I assume that's due to the takeup spool getting progressively wider. It would be interesting to see what I'd get, once Christmas is out of the way. Considering that I shot it on tri-x at f/8 - f/16, I don't think I'd see anything weird.

    Though, this morning I was playing around with the camera (unloaded), and I was composing a shot of my window, and I noticed a shift. I also noticed that the viewing lens exhibits pincussion distortion. Could anyone confirm that this is true, or just a symptom of misalignment? Thanks for the replies.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Hello;
    Please, no paper or plastic! Beer or Pop Cans make great shim material, measure about .0045 inch thick. Cutout small horse shoes just to fit over the screws. Good sharp scissors will cut the material and a leather punch will do the holes. Steven.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Taxachussetts
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    Just got back in yesterday with a whole new problem to share.

    I was playing with lens tests with a subject and a large rubber grid mat for quilting, and I dialed in the top and bottom lens to the point where I'm going crosseyed trying to tell the difference. To be honest, I couldn't really tell the difference between with coke can shims and without, but I left the shims in. I think it straightened out the plane, but I don't have any real way to test this. It just felt a little better. Either way, I'm feeling very confident about my first roll (without shims). Thanks for the suggestion snederhiser.

    So I put everything back together today and glued the leather back on, and decided to take it on a walk in the woods during sunset. I had a tripod, and was using the timer lever for extra insurance against camera shake. well, 3 shot through I must have jostled the M - X lever and I jammed the timer lever, which left me very pissed. I'm going to salvage this roll right after this post.

    I have a pretty good idea on what has to be done - I plan on opening up the shutter enclosure to take a look. I hope I didn't break any springs. I also hope I don't have to take the lensboard off again, I don't want to go through lens testing again.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Hello;
    You will need to do a CLA on the shutter. The timer is a clockwork mechanism that is regulated by a pawl. By turning the gear by hand the shutter will release. This is a common problem with all shutters that have timers. I use watch oil on all of the pivots of the clockwork. Take your smallest jewelers screwdriver (flat blade) and pickup a small drop. Get some Superlube and a artist brush for sliding contact, remember a small amount is needed. No oil or grease is needed for the shutter or iris. I wil not flush out a shutter if it is fairly clean. Just take apart clean parts with lighter fluild and reassembe with correct lubrication. Hope this helps, Steven.

  9. #9

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    Feb 2009
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    Phew! I dodged a bullet!

    I just got to evaluating the camera this morning, a two days after I unloaded the camera in frustration, and I found that after opening the back of the camera, the frame counter wheel reset itself. With a full rotation to cock the shutter, the timer freed itself, thereby freeing the shutter. The timer seems to work fine now, and I taped the (M - X) lever down to prevent this from happening again.


    I guess this is it! Thanks snederhiser + cramej!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    If you don't want to waste film in the future, try opening the back up and putting some tracing paper on the film plane to test focus. It's not nearly as accurate as film, but it could be a decent approximation.

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