Kodak Medalist II Help needed
From internet searches I have found this question asked three times, but no one has yet to really answer it. How do you remove the front lens from a Kodak Medalist II with a "Flash Supermatic shutter"? One place I found the answer from someone said, "I think it should just unscrew off the shutter", but he never had done it on that camera. Three others and now me have tried to unscrew the lens from the shutter, but had no luck, it won't budge. I'm scared to force it more and break something, so has anyone themselves taken a lens off of one of these cameras? The camera is in great shape as it was hidden for years in someones dresser drawer. When I got it (last week) the shutter would not fire. I guess it was stuck from setting so long. I dumped some lighter fluid on the outside of the shutter and let it seep in between the shutter F stop ring. After a while it fired just fine and all the speeds seemed to be as they should. I fired it around 60 times during the day of and on, but the next morning it was stuck again. If anyone has removed one of these lenses/shutters from one of these, please let me know how to remove the shutter from the camera and remove the lens with out breaking anything. After that, I think I can work on the shutter to clean it myself as I have done several others with out much problem. Thanks for any help you may have. Sorry for such a long first post.
i really can't approve of just dumping lighter fluid on the outside of a flash supermatic shutter, Bill -- pretty random. If I were you, and wasn't at all sure how to get into one of those, I'd send the camera to someone who knows what they're doing. Essex Camera Service will do a full service for $150 --
just for example.
But, it's your camera -- noodle around and find a repair manual on-line. there must be one.
I don't know how much you know about the Kodak Medalist cameras, but from your question it seems like you have limited knowledge of its workings. These camera are very complex and have to be operated it a certain "orderly" fashion. Many people think their shutters are stuck or won't fire because of being gummed up. If your camera is as nice as yosay and has been setting where you say for all this time your shutter could be fine. The trick in testing the Medalist shutter is to first extend your lens out. Your camera shutter will "NOT" fire with the lens retracted and if you force it you will be in trouble. Look at your focus scale on top of the camera and make sure it is set between Inf. and 3.5 feet. Next, cock your shutter with the little lever on the back under the rangefinder view window. Check on a speed of 1/100th of a second. Now, push down the shutter release plunger. Then check on 1 second the same way. If it works your have had some luck. If not you can then remove the front and rear lens group assembly as they both will unscrew from the Supermatic shutter. If I were you I'd get a strap wrench from a place like Menard's or Harbor Freight. It's just a little rubber strap type thing with a handle. The rubber strap forms a loop which you put over the metal ring around the lens group. You then snug up the rubber strap and put pressure on the handle in the direction you want to go. It works great and has all the power you will need. The nice thing is that the strap wrench leaves no marks and applies even pressure all the way around the lens ring so it doesn't destroy the shape of the metal ring. The real group has a serrated rim and I can sometime use my two thumbs inside the camera and test the group out. If that doesn't work you'll need a spanner wrench to do the job. I will agree with the advice already given and that is for you to get a repair manual off of eBay or where ever before you ruin something you'll regret later. I use lighter fluid and Naphtha all the time for cleaning sticky shutters. I first remove the lens element groups and when I flush the shutters I always lean the camera "shutter assembly down" so as not to flush the insides of the camera itself or the rangefinder assembly. I then usually use a can of compressed air to blow dry the shutter. You may have to got through these steps several time, but they usually work very well. Both the Medalist I and II are truly professional cameras that when treated with respect will deliver results as good as a Hasselblad or Rollei. I own three and think they are super cameras when working properly. Good luck, JohnW Oh, be very careful not to cross-thread the lens groups upon re-assembly.
Thanks for your answers it will help. As far as using lighter fluid, I have cameras I used it on to get working again and it's been several years and they are still working fine. I hear good and bad things about lighter fluid, so it's hard to tell who is right about that. I do have a manual for the camera and did operate it as the manual stated, but when the lighter fluid dried up, it stopped working. I didn't get to flush the shutter out because I wasn't sure how to get the lense off due to others having the same problem and not wanting to break something.
Thanks again for the help, Bill
Bill, if you can get the strap wrench I'm talking about it will do the job. Also, you might want to apply a 50/50 mix of penetrating oil and lighter fluid in the gap between the metal ring of the front group and the face of the shutter. Let it sit in a warm place overnight and use the strap wrench after it has had time to work. Don't over do it as a little goes a long way. I never discourage anyone from working on there old camera, but I do remind them that some mistakes are irreversible. I can not tell you how many cameras I've rendered inoperable, but they were that way when I started anyway. Sometimes you have nothing to lose especially when the repairs cost more than the camera is worth. I just have to remember to buy very cheap that way a mistake is much less painful. Good luck!
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from memory (it's been a good 15 years since I serviced one) you unscrew the shutter/lens unit from inside the back of the camera. Remove the rear lens unit first, and then use a tool to unscrew the locking ring. The tool I used was custom made from a small pair of pliers - the tips were bent outwards, and the the points bent back inwards and filed with flat sides - that way you could get them in to tight places and unscrew difficult locking screws...
There is no locking ring/screw on the front lens unit - you should be able to unscrew it. If you are ahving a problem try using a rubber block that fits inside the filter ring - push down on it and turn anti-clockwise and it should come out. If not you may need to cut a couple of small key ways into the filter ring and use a tool (like the blade of a blunt knife) to twist the lens unit off...
The only way to fix the shutter is to remove it, strip it and clean the shutter unit/shutter blades/governor unit. Any technician who is comfortable repairing a Copal shutter shouldn't have a problem doing it..otherwise you are only cleaning the dirt you can see, not all the dirt/gunk hidden between the shutter plates and the shutter blades..
If you are going to use the camera a bit I would get it serviced by a professional - done correctly you shouldn't have any problems with it for another 20-30 years.....
Thanks for all the great information. I did get the front lens off. It was stuck on good and to use a lot of effort to get it loose. Once I got it out, it looked like it had some type of glue/thread lock in two spots. Once loose it was no problem. I took the shutter part way apart and did a soaking of the internals. I got out a lot of fine metal specks and dust, and now the shutter seems to be working fine. I got the camera cheap (as most I get) so I didn't mind trying to mess with it. I made a home made strap wrench with a leather strap and it was so tight I broke two straps in a row trying to loosen the lens. Then, I got a very large pair of channel lock pliers and put thick leather around the lens housing. Using as little force as I had to, I gripped the leather with the pliers and it came loose without hurting or scratching the lens housing. I will take some pictures with the camera as I like to get all my old cameras working and have an example of what type of picture it will take. Here is a shot from a 4x5 I recently reworked with a slide in 120 back on it. I'm new at my own developing, so it's not perfect, but I think it's Ok since I used the kitchen sink for developing it.
Thanks again for all your posts to help me. What a great site! Bill
As they say, "Necessity is the mother of invention" and your Medalist repair is a good example of that. I always hear people on this and other photo related forums say never do this or never do that or send it to a pro or etc., etc., etc.. I always have just one question in the back of my mind when I have a situation similar to yours with the Medalist and that question is, "What do I have to lose"? I weigh everything in like the cost of the purchase/camera, condition of the camera, the value if working, the value if not working, the cost of the repair by a "PRO", my time involved, type of repair(mechanical or electrical), tools needed and parts or spare parts on hand. I think you get the drift. Of course the most important question of all is the one of collectability. If the camera is rare and of high value I won't touch it, but that's more common sense than anything else. After following my "common sense" questions my repair rate of success has been pretty high, but there are some cameras that I know are lost causes before I even start.
By the looks of that veggie shot of yours I'd say you did just fine and you now have a camera with one of the finest lenses I have ever used instead of a shelf camera, paper weight or door stop. JohnW
I know you paid very little for the camera, but a properly serviced Medalist II is both a fine performer and fairly valuable, especially if it has been converted to 120 film.
Ken Ruth at Bald Mountain is a respected resource: http://www.baldmtn.com/index.html
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
glad to hear you've got the camera working. As you've discovered they are a great picture taker, and reloading 620 film is not a major pain. I sit in front of the TV and do it in a changing bag. If it helps I find T Max easier to respool than any other film - I'm not sure why - maybe the backing paper is a bit stiffer? And I find when I am rewinding the film onto the 620 spool when I hit where the film is taped to the backing paper all I need to do is flatten it down. I've never had a problem with loose rolls, or the film coming unstuck from the backing paper..
PS - yes, I've heard Ken Ruth does a great job converting Medalists and Chevrons to take 120 film - but for the cost I'd just buy a suitable camera that takes 120 film...