I recently bought an old Rolleiflex 3.5 E3 with a clean Planar lens for a good price. The main problem with the camera is that the shutter did not fire. I don't have much experience with leaf shutters, but I decided to attempt a repair.

Upon removing the front plate and taking off the front of the shutter, I determined that a release lever had broken. I hunted around for shutter parts, but all I could find was a new shutter for a Rolleiflex F on eBay. I bought the shutter intending to simply remove the lever from the new shutter and install it in the old shutter.

The new shutter arrived, and I got to work. As I got into the old shutter, I found a few more problems, and I began to think that it would be better if I simply replaced the entire assembly with the new shutter. Unfortunately, the new shutter had a different type of release, and different interfaces for the shutter and aperture dials.

Swapping the old rings was an easy enough task, but the release was a different matter. On the E model the release is below the shutter speed dial, on the new shutter it was on the back side. I found that on the top the mechanisms looked the same. I was able to pull out the release assemblies on both shutters and compare them. The only problem was that the housing on the new shutter didn't have a slot for the release lever. No problem, a few minutes with a file was all I needed to create the slot. I put it all together, and it seemed to fit.

The only problem I ran into was that winding the shutter lever did not fully cock the shutter. I was able to adjust the length of the winding throw a little until the shutter cocked properly. I reassembled the camera, and it now works perfectly. It was a bit of fun to see how a Rolleiflex works on the inside, and I was happy to be able to get the camera running with a new shutter cheaply.