Who are we?  Featured Cameras  Articles  Instruction Manuals  Repair Manuals  Books
Favorite Classics Camera & Repair Articles Fujica AX-1 Supplement

Please refer to our Repair Manuals section to download the Fujica AX-1 repair manual. This email is in conjunction with those pages:

Subj: Fujica AX1 Supplement.
Date: 4/26/01 8:07:39 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: ethos@uq.net.au (Stuart Willis)

This is not intended to be a dissertation on the very considerable
merits and fine engineering quality of Fujica 35mm cameras - save to say that
I lament that this quality manufacturer has pulled out of 35mm camera
production. That Fujica never quite "made it" in the corporate image
stakes, I attribute to marketing deficiencies. Certainly they knew how
to produce an SLR which was up there with the very best in the
marketplace - and better than most.

The Fujica AX1 and the Pentax ME Super are almost of identical
specifications and appearance - though they are not clones. According
to my camera history data, Fujica got there first, however.

These days it is very easy to pick up an AX1 in garage sales and flea
markets. Usually one does so for next to nothing because the camera
shutter isn't working. The Pro Techies shy away from them because there
is little technical data available and no spare parts - which is another
way of saying they don't know how to fix'em and the cost of explorations
would be prohibitive. And I guess that is fair enough.

I have several SLR's - including three Fujica AX1's.
Shutter speeds are 100% electronically derived. As with most
electronic SLRs of that era, there is a flexboard PCB overlaying the
prism and containing most of the electronic brain. But my experiences
have been that this section of electronics virtually lasts forever. The
shutter trouble sources can usually be found under the base-plate where
there resides a little pcb and the main operating solenoid which
controls the second curtain delay.

The aforesaid pcb is held by two screws which when removed enables the
pcb to be lifted slightly. Immediately under the front edge one finds
an electrolytic capacitor of 47mfd 6VDC. This provides the "oomph" for
the solenoid. On all three of my AX1's I was to find that, as
electro's are apt to do, this component had dried out. On later
production models it was replaced by a tantalum of like value. The pcb
is of the double-sided variety so one needs to be very careful with the
soldering iron - but replacing this component with a tantalum may be
all that's needed to restore a "dead" AX1.

The other problem which one finds on AX1's is a non-functional highest
shutter speed. This is the one shown as 1/500 -1/1000 in the viewfinder
scale. In my experience this can be quite easy to fix. It was made
even easier for me by Channel Islands Fujica Collector "Chris Eve" to
whom I am indebted for extracts from his original AX1 technical service
manual. Chris kindly consented that I post those extracts here for the
benefit of others.

There are two tantaum capacitors hanging over the edge of the
under-baseplate pcb.
They exist wholly and solely as fine tuning components for the high
shutter speed and their values are mathematically calculated at the
factory as each camera is assigned its test certificate.
If these capacitors are removed completely the camera will still work
but without the high shutter speed. The values of these tantalums is
very low. Indeed, for the half dozen possible capacitance values listed
in the Fujica Service manual, only two of these are commonly available.
You would have to find a specialist supplier for the extremely low value tants.

Now tantalums are low leakage capacitors with a service life which would
well surpass the life of the camera. It is not likely that these are
the root of a nonfunctional high shutter speed. Dry joints are another
matter altogether - and I have found such capacitors to drop off in the
hand when but one leg was desoldered. These connections are well
worth resoldering - even tho' they may look OK. Bear in mind that
tants are polarised. See the Service Manual extract and mark the
positive leg with a spot of red nail varnish before desoldering.

The other "high speed shutter glitch" culprit can be the solenoid. The
Service manual extract gives a clue to this. On one of my "dead on
acquisition" AX1's, the answer was "oh so simplistic". Clean the
mating sufaces of the two solenoid contact pairs. If the magnets do not
mate perfectly, shutter speed errors may occur.

With a good battery in situ, set the shutter speed to "B".
When the release button is triggered, one half of the solenoid magnets
will close and the other half will open. (ie: the first curtain is
triggered and waiting for you to release the shutter button so as to
trigger the second curtain). Slide in a strip of ordinary masking
tape and allow the magnets to close on to the sticky side. Masking tape
is of course only very lightly adhesive - but it is enough to pick up
any foreign matter from the magnet surfaces. You will need to do this
four times (one for each mating magnet surface). Then do it all again
using a strip of photocopy paper which you drag through to polish magnet surfaces.

This solenoid cleaning has been the most productive service work to
which I have subjected my AX1's.

In passing, I mention that a contaminated fresnel screen is easily
cleaned without removing the camera's top plate and becoming involved in
the complexities of the flexboard electronic overlay and prism removal.
The fresnel is not "user changeable" as with such as the Nikon FE ...
but it can indeed be removed from inside the mirror-box via two small
screws which are close to the mirror buffer strip.

And for what it may be worth - Fujica produced an adapter so that M42
(Pentax/Praktica screw mount) automatic diaphram lenses could be used.
A bit hard to find these days but they are out there somewhere
languishing in the backs of dusty drawers and cupboards. Tamron also
produces an Adaptall for the Fujica bayonet.

I thank Chris Eve for his invaluable technical data.

Stuart Willis
Sunny Queensland, Downunder.
mailto:Ethos@uq.net.au