Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Started Jan 23, 2011 | Discussions
d2f Regular Member • Posts: 240
Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses
1

For the older photographers in our forum, that use or plan to use Mamiya TLR cameras and lenses. Here are my lessons learned from repairing a couple of used "chrome" Mamiya TLR lenses. The usual disclaimer, use the lessons learned at your own risk.

Zero, before you start handling the lenses wash your hands. Use a clean white towel on a well lighted table as your work area. Should a part or screw fall out it will not go far and can be seen.

First, do not remove the lens from the back plane frame, there is no need to access the lens from that side. Front and rear optical assemblies unscrew. There is no need to use a spanner wrench on the retaining clamps that secure the lens to the supporting frame.

Second, if the shutter will not cock the chances are a single screw has come loose within the shutter assembly that can be restored. This screw is located at the two O'clock position viewing the exposed taking lens shutter assembly straight on with upper rings and cam plate removed, viewing lens at 12 o'clock.

Third, if the shutter cocks but does not operate the blades when released a different screw is loose or has fallen out, that can be restored. This is located just south of the release lever mechanism. Check all screws for tightness.

Fourth, never use oil on any part of the shutter mechanism or ring assemblies or aperture assemblies.

Fifth, if the aperture blades mechanism is stuck or sticky, this can be cured using small amounts of 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol applied with a damp Q-tip. To access the aperture internal assembly, This will require unscrewing the rear optical assembly. Work the mechanism manually using the aperture selector arm, do not touch the blades with your fingers and use another Q-tip to remove excess and any grime. Do not use oil. Be sure to remove any lint left behind by the Q-tips prior to reassembly.

Sixth, if the shutter ring is sticky or the clicks indents are not "sharp", disassemble the two rings and clean them with isopropyl alcohol. Slightly bend the metal finger on the cam plate that engages the indents on the shutter selection ring.

Seventh, screws are tiny, and can be lost in a flash. For most repairs I have done only one screw has to be removed.

Eighth, acquire the proper tools, i.e. jewelers screwdrivers, needle nose tweezers, etc. A spanner wrench designed for lenses is required (see lesson 10) to remove the optical retaining rings that hold the individual elements. If you do this be sure to note on paper which side is up, in or out facing. Do not rely on your memory.

Ninth, use ROR per the instructions to clean the optics, and do not use canned air.

Tenth, use rubbing alcohol mentioned above with your finger tips (no fingernails, just skin) in a circular motion to remove fungus clouds from optical surfaces. It may require several times to completely remove the fungus. Do not allow excess to drip anywhere. Clean with a lint free, chemical free (no anti static chemicals used in the dryer), white cotton t-shirt. Then use ROR with a t-shirt to remove any residues.

So far, I have restored two Mamiya TLR chrome shutter lenses and both are working fine now. They were a lost cause when I started. They are simple in design and easy to restore.

If you have any second thoughts I recommend taking your lens to a repair facility. But if you are a risk taker and have some common mechanical sense, my lessons learned may prove useful. Search the web for other information sources, and photographs of the lens assembly.

Good luck,

d2f

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OP d2f Regular Member • Posts: 240
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

A photograph of what the disassembled lens looks like.

d2f

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Oly Canikon
Oly Canikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
thanks

I have a C330 Pro F and all is well right now but this may be useful for me someday. I'll save your notes.
cheers

joharis Regular Member • Posts: 419
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

I am one of those older photographers that once was the proud owner of a C330. It was a wonderful piece of first class mechanics and the lenses performed very good. Thanks for your interesting tips that brought some sweet memories of those analogue days.
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KenCK41 Regular Member • Posts: 221
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Good information (I repaired these shutters for 30yrs before I retired)

You are right to stress that NO oil is used and can destroy the shutter if it is soaked in oil.

A very SMALL amount of grease is needed for the cocking ring and the gear and shaft that tension the main spring. A proper repair involves separating the shutter housing an individually cleaning the blades. However if not too gummy, your method of cleaning the blades with a q-tip should last for a while (we didn't do it because many didn't make it through warranty before they gummed up again)

Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia will also clean fungus (old Leica formula).

Do beware as some of the old chrome 180's get a chemical deterioration of the coating that is foggy and will not clean off. It has to be chemically (acid) removed and the lens recoated. (not even close to an economical repair)

OP d2f Regular Member • Posts: 240
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Lucky for me the shutter was in good shape and did not require cleaning, only the aperture blades.

I remember reading about the Leica formula, was it 98% distilled water and one percent hydrogen peroxide and one percent ammonia?

I think the ROR that I use might be the same thing. Maybe I should add a drop of Hydrogen peroxide to the bottle and see if that helps suppress fungus growth in the future.

I also remember somebody writing that you could soak the shutter in lighter fluid, but that did not seem to make sense to me. Is there any truth to that cleaning method?

Can anybody tell me where I can find tools to work on lenses and cameras? Also where can I find the screw and other micro sized parts that go with them?

Thanks,

d2f

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Mustafa Senior Member • Posts: 1,327
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

I have one somewhere in the attic, with four lenses. Still doesn't make me want to get it out though!

pocketfulladoubles Senior Member • Posts: 1,986
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Thanks for your post. Not long ago I disassembles a Copal #1 shutter to fix a blade. That was bad enough - so I admire your efforts. I found that using VM&P Naptha with a QTip was a good way to get the grease off.

durr3 Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Hi

I just saw your post as I was looking for help with my C33 and 80/2.8 lens. I used the camera and lens just yesterday and the shutter cocked and fired fine at several speeds. Now this morning the shutter will not cock or fire. I unscrewed the lens from the front and saw the little screw that you were talking about. it is there and screwed in. What do you think would be the problem.

thank

GMack Senior Member • Posts: 2,928
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

d2f wrote:

Can anybody tell me where I can find tools to work on lenses and cameras? Also where can I find the screw and other micro sized parts that go with them?

Try here: http://www.micro-tools.com/store/home.aspx

A good dry lube for the shutter and aperture blades is moly-disulfide powder applied with a brush and blown off that's on their site too. It's buried on page 3-4 of their Lubricants section.

Mack

touzeen Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

i have a Mamiya C3 with the Mamiya-Sekor 105mm f3.5

everything seems to be working fine except the Aperture selection Lever which is stuck at 3.5.No force seems to be enuf to budge it.
The shutter fires at all shutter speeds.
Any help on this?
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mernamora New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

I have a C3 which is a bit of a basket case however the more reading I do makes me keen to have a go at repairing it as it only cost me $10 at a garage sale including 65mm and 135mm lenses. The shutter on each fires accurately and the diaphrams are in good condition BUT particularly the 65mm lens has a foggy fungus like appearance at the rear of both lenses. I have unscrewed viewing lens element from the rear and tried to remove anything from the surface of the lens with no luck. If it is not fungus however, I am keen to get anyone's opinion. I am wondering if the lenses have had some separation with the glue? I have included 2 photos but it is quite hard to get the detail. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

KCK14 Contributing Member • Posts: 749
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

See my post a few messages up.  When we regularly fixed these lenses, that hazy mess on the inside of the lens appeared to be a chemical problem with the coasting.  On my personal lens, I had to send it to a lab to have coating removed and the lens recoated.  Too expensive to be commercial viable.  (I knew fellow that did the work and he owed me a favor).

At this point you will have to keep looking for one in better shape.  Don't bother with the chrome shutters - these are very old.  Only consider the black models.

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KCK14 Contributing Member • Posts: 749
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Or - if you have lots of free time, you can polish most of the crud off with a whitening toothpaste, a drop of water and lots of q-tips.  Of course you will now have an uncoated lens.

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wartooth New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

nice thread! i currently have a Mamiya C3 with a Sekor 105mm, the bottom shooting lens has a dust/dirt in the back part of the lens.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigotefactory/14880195011/

df2 stated that "do not remove the lens from the back plane frame, there is no need to access the lens from that side."

the problem is the dust is in that back side of the lens. (at the first glass before the shutter blades).

I'm really scared of disassembling the lens i had a tragic incident with a yashica slr 50mm lens, I've removed the screws to clean it and popped goes the shutter blades and impossible for me to assemble it back

anyhow, i wonder if i still can clean it without popping out/misaligning the shutter blades or breaking anything, thanks!

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Tapta New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Lessons learned from restoring old Mamiya TLR lenses

Hello,

I recently bought Mamyia c330 pro S and I noticed white spots around the inner frame of the lens. Could anybody tell me what they are? I attach picture of the lens.

Thank you

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