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Yashica Minister III Repair
There are some cameras which are complex, difficult to service and which
one would not touch unless armed with a suitable technical manual. There
are other cameras which are known "lemons" - and a hundred technical
manuals won't change their status. The Yashica Minister III fits neither
category but it can be a tricky little workpiece if being tackled fairly
intuitively from one's past experience with popular priced rangefinders
of the 60' and 70's. If when I sleuthed a shutter problem on my particular
sample I had known what I know now, I could have saved myself lots of
frustration and unnecessary work. My purpose here therefore is to provide
for the guidance of others a short summary of key considerations - and
to support that summary with a few meaningful pictures.
Quick overview of the patient.
Coupled rangefinder. Non coupled meter as with selenium cell radial
around the front lens element.
Purpose of my surgery.
Every camera tells a tale and my newly acquired Minister III spelled
it out its history loud and clear.
The top plate is retained by a screw on each end; the film advance
leverwind and, the film rewind knob.
The Citizen shutter mechanism is accessed from the front.
The iris and shutter blades can only be accessed from the lens/shutter
The correct route is to desolder the meter wires at the galvometer and desolder the flash sync' wire from its top plate connector. Peel the leatherette from the front panel, remove the four Philips-head screws and withdraw the front panel complete with the lens/shutter block with its three trailing wires. You can now get the lens/shutter block on the workbench to address its shutter blade or iris problem. You might like to make a note that the series ballast resistor to which the blue wire was connected at the galvometer, is of 1500 ohms value. If it gets lost, eaten by the dog, or whatever, quarter watt resistors of this value are commonly available.
Now is the time to remove that retaining ring as around the rear lens element andwithdraw the lens/shutter block from the camera's front plate. The focusing ring and its helix stay with the front plate - but at this point do take a look inside the cavity just vacated by the lens/shutter lock. You see a chequered flat plate ring with a tang which protrudes through the front plate to interface with the shutter release mechanism in the camera body. The chequered plate rotates when the shutter release is pressed. It is at this point that you can see the reason for the brass cleat which secured the meter wires to the front plate rear. The cleat controls the positioning of the metering wires as they pass through the inside of the focusing ring. There is hardly any tolerance. The wires must leave the chequered ring free to rotate when the shutter is released and they must therefore rest naturally at the top of the tang. If they pass at the bottom of the tang the wires will be jammed as the chequered plate rotates and the shutter will not release due to this mechanical interference. Tricky !
Opening up to check out the shutter blades and activator ring.
The iris comes off as a complete module. First unscrew the lens rear
In my malfunctioning shutter, I was to find it jammed in the cocked position.
Upon gathering up the blades from the fish-tank, and various other landing
sites I began doubt my mathematics ability.
I quickly cleaned and polished the first five blades and installed them. The sixth I decided to discard since I could see no logic in its presence. The shutter then worked like a charm. I can only assume that Yashica adopted this Citizen shutter configuration as an "off the shelf" component which had been designed with six blades for some other camera application (and reason).
As to checking the shutter escapements from the camera front.
Remove the shutter cam-plate with gossamer touch.
In summary .......... the Minister III is nicely engineered - particularly its rangefinder. But it is not quite an intuitive stripdown job if the shutter blades are your object of address. I hope these few notes and pics will be helpful to Minister III adventurers.