Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yashica D resurrection

I found my uncle's old camera when sorting some old things, a Yashica D. It has been non-operational for the last 20 years, used mainly for projecting images through the viewfinder onto the ceiling with a flashlight. Now I started wondering if the camera could be used for photography again. The camera looked to be in a nice condition, but the shutter was stuck.

Kalle came to the rescue, armed with an excellent guide to disassembling the shutter on the Yashica D. We followed the guide, disassembled the shutter mechanism, and found that two shutter blades had stuck. We cleaned the blades and assembled the shutter again, and it worked!

While taking the camera appart, we had to unscrew a lens without damaging or scratching it. A bottle opener turned out to fit the lenses well and gave a suitably gentle but firm grip.

The shutter is designed in modules, with the self timer and the shutter speed regulator working as independent units. Each one is a kind of clockwork with several cogwheels in series. At one point we opened the wrong screw, and the shutter speed regulator came apart. Putting it back together again was a real challenge, as it contained several small wheels and springs. It was difficult to get all the pieces positioned correctly, so that the top cover could be put back on. What worked for us in the end was clamping a few pieces of cardboard to the desk, and to keep the timer module and its various parts in place with pins stuck into the cardboard.

I am very impressed by all the small mechanical parts in the shutter, especially considering that it all must have been designed without using computers. It was very pleasing when we got the camera put back together again, and to actually see it work. Kalle has already shot a couple of film rolls with it, here are a few samples.

The shutter disassembly guide by Dave Gauer was invaluable to us. We also found it useful to take photos of the parts in various stages of disassembly, in order to check the placing and orientation of the parts later when reassembling, and to keep the screws and small parts that came off in each step in a separate bowl.

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