Canon VIT Top Plate Removal and Frame Counter Repair
I finally had a little time to sit down and get my Canon VIT apart. I bought it a while ago, but it arrived with a film counter that did not reset, and eventually became stuck at 40. The camera is almost spotless except a small dent right on the right side, this is bump could have been what messed it up. I am writing this because for awhile I had searched for information or a repair manual for this camera and there was nothing. Its not as popular as the P or the 7, which manuals and guides are super easy to find. I did end up finding a small image of an exploded view of the camera, that I am attaching here. I have highlighted all the points that need to be removed, pulled out, and what needs a spanner to take out to make the original easier to understand.
There are a few tricky parts to the disassembly, first the cold shoe, on these cameras the automatic parallax pin that pushes finders upward, is actually a screw that needs to be removed with a tiny spanner. It took me a good 5 minutes staring at it, and prying from the bottom, edges and sides to really take a close look at the pin. The spanner holes are tiny, I used a sharpened pair of tweezers. Second, the front range finder patch window is comprised of 3 parts, the outer most part unscrews, you can use a piece of rubber for friction. Within seems like another screw that you have to use a spanner on, it will just rotate and rotate if you try to unscrew it, ask me how I know haha. You need to pry that piece out, there are no threads on it. Under it is an O shaped ring that requires a spanner to remove. Third, the flash sync port, once you unscrew it with a spanner and remove pc port, underneath you will find the shoe that the accessory flash locks onto, it simply pulls straight out.
The other parts that need to be removed are pretty straight forward if you have worked on other cameras before. These include shutter speed dial, the locking collar around the shutter release, the top winding knob, and the back right winding knob release button. Make sure you note what your shutter speed and locking point are before you take them off. They are each held by 3 tiny set screws. Interestingly enough, you do not have to remove the film rewind knob, the top cover will slip out with it on.
As for the stuck film counter, there is a retaining ring you need to remove with a spanner, and a small brass O ring/shim under it. This is located under where the top winding knob would be, and it uses the shaft to align it all together. The counter has teeth and a spring under it, which is supposed to ratchet after every shot, and reset back when the camera back is open. You need to have the film door open to adjust it, just lift if off, clean the area, and realign it to S, reattach the retaining ring and wind on to test. My spring has worn out as well, maybe it was stuck in that tensioned 40th frame position too long, it will not have tension in it until it reaches the 6th frame, but resets easily after that point.
Assembly is the reverse pretty much. I also cleaned out the range finder prisms and mirrors of dust with a blower, but they were already quite clean.
Attached are some images of the disassembly.