Well, if you forget machining marks visible on the inside, this camera has some excellence to it. "Old" times, beveled viewfinder and rangefinder windows (it's harder to stick a finger in it that way, believe or not), vulcanite, rather than leatherette, and you can wear it on a strap. Even the winding knob will hurt your fingers less (Barnack-like first models of FED and Zorki have silky film advance BTW). Pity there's no self-timer.
Despite dragging curtain, I'd "waste" a piece of film, load the camera and shoot 3-4 frames to check for leaking light and evaluate the lens. In case of the lens needing a service as well, I'd return it.
What you're describing is a typical state of a camera after nearly 60 years of occupying a place on a shelf, only being used every now and then, and that's what I'm usually afraid of buying. So yes, thickened grease is what it looks like, it'll need some C, L and maybe A afterwards.
As I've said earlier - either it's an opportunity, or a waste of time to service it on your own, depending of who you are (patience level), and how much time you have on your hands or how much will to get your hands dirty and learn to service stuff, rather than making photos. Those are fairly simple cameras to repair (there are simpler models though), but some basic experience is needed regardless. I'm not good in terms of service myself, I do only the stuff I know. In a similar case, I've taken out the shelf of the lower half of the camera, cleaned the couple of big wheels at the bottom of the camera and added some fresh lubricant everywhere I could reach with a thin screwdriver with a drop of machine oil at the tip (did I write you only need a Swiss Army Knife to service it?). From "sticking" it progressed to "slowing down in the cold", so I've repeated lubrication, and finally it's working in sub-freezing. Not an ethical practice, but I hope to be able to pay for a complete CLA of all my cameras in a couple of years, and DIY lousy service is all I can do now.
So, I think what you have is 90% a problem in curtain drum and rollers. All needs fresh oil. You don't need to disassemble the top of the camera to make it all work, I think, just the lower part. For a preview of what CLA looks, google for "Zorki 4 CLA" or download Meizenberg's book, where he writes: Zorki 3C - same as Zorki 4, but without a self-timer... The sprocket wheel, if it's stiff, will also need some grease to go inside it, as well, as whole set of wheels going from the film advance knob, you see it when you look from the bottom of the camera towards the top.
If you have any thin lubricant (just not dare to use vegetable oil, please) and a small brush to clean the wheels, simple cleaning and lubrication it's worth trying, I think. It'll take one to two hours doing it the first time, and you'll have the opportunity to really clean the camera, as it looks mighty dusty.
What's a meaningful lesson, I think, is that the manual describing the service of every popular FSU camera prior to the date of publication is comparable in size to service manual of Pentax LX alone. Those are cheap, but reparable cameras, and that's why there's so much of it on the market, unlike fancy SLRs.
Last edited by q_x; 12-11-2013 at 04:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Use the Force, Luke!