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Favorite Classics Camera & Repair Articles Resetting cameras

Resetting cameras

Cameras function like lined up dominoes. When the first one gets knocked over it knocks over the next...which knocks over the next, etc. Each and every domino must knock over the next in line or the entire process stops. In a SLR the shutter button triggers the mirror to raise, which triggers the first curtain to release, which triggers the second curtain, which triggers the mirror to lower, etc. It can get much more involved than this, with lots of intermediate steps, but this is the basic concept. So, when a camera locks up something has failed to trigger the next function and therefore the entire camera jams. The very last step is always releasing the wind lock. Rangefinder cameras with lens shutters follow this same domino concept, only with different steps.

The wind lock is the mechanism that prevents the camera from being wound again until an exposure is made. Winding recocks all functions...lines the dominoes back up. When we reset a camera we are only putting it back to a pre-shutter release state. Often this will get a camera functioning again. However it is not a panacea. Whatever made the release sequence stop may happen again. If resetting fails to get the camera releasing again further diagnosing will be required.