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01-01-2012, 07:32 PM   #1
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First Roll of Film and Some Questions

Hey everyone. I went out with my new to me Spotmatic and some Fugi 200 film to test out the camera. When I picked up the negatives and scans at Walgreens, I noticed half of my images were not even on the film. It looks like the shutter isn't opening fully at 1/1000th as all the bad images were exposed on the left side and were clipped by about 2/3.

The problem though is that if I look through the back of the camera when I press the shutter at 1/1000th I can clearly see the full aperture of the lens through the back, so I'm not sure why it is clipping.

Here is a clipped image to see what I'm talking about.




Is there something I can do to fix this? I don't really want to spend too much money fixing the camera as I have another and don't know if it would be worth it.


Here are the other shots. It looks like it is overexposing on the left side of many of these images. These were at 1/500 I believe. Maybe the shutter is too sluggish making the left side overexposed.

Any help would be appreciated.



















01-01-2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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It looks like a problem with the second curtain on the shutter, the closing curtain. This is a repair that is probably more than the value of the camera, usually about an 80 to 120 repair. If you are lucky it is just an adjustment on the brake, but most repair shops would still probably charge 50 or so.
01-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #3
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I will be the first of the great chorus...


...send it to Eric Hendrickson...

If you want to have a vintage camera as a user, the first step is to swallow the bitter pill of paying for a CLA from a competent tech. Eric will do minor repairs as part of his standard CLA. With any luck all you camera needs is a little TLC.

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01-02-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Classic shutter capping - the second curtain moving faster than the first and catching up before it traverses the frame. This is often variable, so will happen on some frames and not others. It will also occur most at the 1000 speed. If you shoot at slower speeds and smaller lens openings you could get by for a while. Probably doesn't need parts - just a CLA. Send it to Eric and get an estimate.

01-02-2012, 08:29 AM   #5
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Just a question out of curiosity: if one were to do a DIY repair on a capping shutter, exactly what operations would have to be done?
01-02-2012, 10:32 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Capping is caused by different speeds of the two curtains: the 2nd being faster than the first. It can have a number of different causes, but typically requires cleaning out old lubricants and applying tiny amounts of very light shutter oil to the correct bearings / bushings that have to move freely as the curtains move. If there is no other problem that will often correct the issue. Getting access to the mechanisms of course requires removing the top and bottom covers, and usually removing the front plate (lens mount) and mirror box. You can get reprints of the repair manuals, which can be found on eBay for Spotmatic and the S & SV series. You need basic tools: miniature screwdriver set, and sometimes a "pin wrench" (spanner) to remove parts with opposing slots or holes.
The screws are very tiny and can be easily broken if you don't know which are normal and which are left-hand thread. I've bought a few Spotmatics with the screw holding the frame counter broken off under the cover, because someone didn't know it was left-hand thread!
Under the top cover you can also watch the timing mechanisms spin as the shutter travels. Generally anything that spins fast with the shutter needs cleaning and fresh shutter oil. A camera that "squawks" as the shutter moves (old Canons) usually have dry ball bearings on the shutter shafts.
Often you don't need to completely disassemble all parts to clean and lube, although that's a great way to learn how it all works. You can flush with a small drop of solvent (naptha) and blow it out with compressed air, if you can do so without getting solvent on the shutter curtains or viewfinder parts. Once clean and dry you can usually reach the bearings with a needle oiler. If you start with this method you may not cure the problem, but can learn a lot about the camera in the process!
Capping is rarely due to lost spring tension, as the springs are not stressed enough to relax. But I once sent an MX to Eric for CLA, and it was capping when I got it back! Some MX production used plastic gears in the shutter tensioning mechanism, and one had deformed allowing the adjustment to "skip" and relax during shipping. I replaced the plastic gears with metal ones from a donor MX. After adjusting tension for correct speed it was fine after that.
The cheapest tool to judge curtain speed and consistency is an old analog CRT television. I keep one connected to a DVD player so it can display a picture (or blank blue screen). Remove the lens and open the back, then look through the shutter at the screen as you trip it at 1/1000 sec. You will see a thin slash on the screen from top right to bottom left, or over some portion of the frame. (You usually won't see the entire frame width since the start may occur anyplace on the width depending on the instant the shutter trips.) Trip the shutter repeatedly and look for consistent width of the slash. It should also not vary much from click to click. You learn by experience what 1/1000 should look like. Often I find old cameras with dry shutters are much too fast (too narrow a slash) as timing parts can "jump" without consistent damping of an oil film.
Pentax are ideal cameras to experiment on, as there are so many that can be bought cheaply, and a lot of manuals and printed material available. I especially like the SV series, as they are purely mechanical, without meter circuits to clutter things up.
01-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I think I'll go looking for a pdf of the Spotmatic. I'll try my hand at fixing the capping issue first, before resorting to sending it to Eric (I don't really have the money right now to put into it).

I am a very mechanical person, own a full weld shop and manufacture small parts with Cnc., so I think I can handle this (I HOPE! ). Besides, I like fiddling with things to see how they work.

Anyone have any links to a service manual you'd like to share? I already have all the mico tools needed. The only real thing I lack is a shutter timing tool, but I don't want to adjust shutter timing anyway.
01-02-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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It is easy to take a camera apart. The skill comes in when putting it back together, without any leftover pieces. Good luck.

01-02-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Captmatt Quote
It is easy to take a camera apart. The skill comes in when putting it back together, without any leftover pieces. Good luck.
1+


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01-03-2012, 07:37 AM   #10
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Well, I took the top and bottom off and cleaned and lightly oiled all the small gears. I also cleaned the dust off the shutter. After exercising the shutter many times, it looks like that fixed it.

There is no obvious capping any more as I can see the whole screw mount from the back side when the shutters are tripped. I'll run another cheap roll of film through it to make sure though before getting some Ectar 100 for it.
01-03-2012, 08:56 PM   #11
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Hi CJ,
Just be aware that oil is generally not used inside camera's for lubrication, because it can run on to other parts and/or gum up. Generally gears are lubed with a graphite powder and cams are lubed with a molybendum type grease. Look on Fargo Enterprises, Inc. - Micro-Tools for tools and generally used lubricants. Matt
01-03-2012, 08:58 PM   #12
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Hi CJ,
Just be aware that oil is generally not used inside camera's for lubrication, because it can run on to other parts and/or gum up. Generally gears are lubed with a graphite powder and cams are lubed with a molybendum type grease. Look on Fargo Enterprises, Inc. - Micro-Tools for tools and generally used lubricants. Matt
01-04-2012, 05:31 AM   #13
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The Asahi repair manuals for these cameras have a lubrication chart, specifying which lubes to use and between which parts. Dry graphite was not used originally, but can be useful on large sliding surfaces that have to move fast, if polished into the surface and the excess removed. Four different shutter oils were specified for bearings of curtain shafts, timing gears and cams. This is applied with micro-drops just between the bearings/bushings and shafts. A few different greases were specified on cam contact surfaces and such.
The shutter oils are highly refined to not evaporate or migrate, but the key is careful placement with a pin-point oiler so they don't get where they shouldn't be.
Yes, sloppy oiling does gum up the works, and spread to places it shouldn't be. Common oils can make temporary improvements, then thicken and have to be washed out to lubricate properly. I'm just in process of cleaning out an oily mess from a 55 Takumar that someone "improved."
As Matt said, MicroTools is a good source for the correct lubricants. (But a "set" of the different lubes will cost more than a single used Spotmatic!)
01-04-2012, 12:46 PM   #14
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I was assuming the mirror box was not removed where he could actually get to the few spots that require oil, I guess I shouldn't assume.
01-04-2012, 06:44 PM   #15
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No, I didn't remove the mirror box, I just cleaned up the gears on under the bottom plate and lightly oiled a few of the gears, the shutter adjusters and the mirror sear (the engagement surface of the mirror latch). I only used a very small amount of oil, just soaked a toothpick slightly and lightly applied oil sparingly.


Seems to work so far. I am testing it looking through the back of the film compartment every day when I get home, and it seems that the capping has went away at the 1/1000th setting.
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