Procedure: Kodak slow shutter mechanism

Thanks to: Mike Watters

Disclaimer: This data is provided for informational purposes only. You must assess your ability to perform the operations described. Neither the individual contributor nor Rocky Mountain Memories assumes any responsibility for damage you may inflict on your camera by following these directions.

It's REALLY common for the Kodak shutters to slow down. Unfortunately, the shutter is a real weak point since the camera is really pretty good besides that.

Try tripping the shutter a LOT. If you are lucky it will loosen up and work fine. (more common than we should ever let the camera dealers know. :)

Note: Mike provided two descriptions of his procedure for using graphite to fix the problem in two separate email messages. I have included both here.

In past I've gotten them working again by jetting in some dry graphite lubricant (made for locks mostly) directly onto the shutter mechanism. To do this you have to pull the camera half apart though (top, bottom, front center cover). You can then puff in the graphite from the hole in the center onto the gears and things situated around the right lens (i.e. the shutter itself). For cameras like the one described where they seem OK except for the low speeds being slow, that tends to work quickly and well.

If that doesn't work, the following will probably take care of things: You should pick up a tube of graphite powder at a hardware store. It will probably be in the auto section as it's used to lubricate locks. You'll need to pull the top off the camera. Then you pull the front off. (via four screws, two on top, two on bottom). This should reveal a little window into the shutter mechanism from the front (where the viewfinder was). Trip the shutter a couple times so you can see where the moving parts are. Then tap in a small (gotta be careful here) amount of the graphite. Trip the shutter some more and see how it is now. More graphite as needed. If you use too much graphite you risk having it end up inside the lenses. That's cleanable, but bothersome. If that doesn't help the shutter probably would be fixed by soaking it in a solvent (I use acetone) to pull out the old lubricant then re-lubing with graphite.

Note: There was some discussion within the group about the merits of whether or not to lubricate the shutter mechanism before re-assembly. Advantages: reduction of wear and protection against rust. Disadvantages: The lubrication could act as a "trap" for dust, causing the problem to reappear. John Bercovitz contacted several repair experts. Here is a summary of what he found:

I called two places that do SLRs and three that do mechanical cameras. The SLR places can't believe anyone would clean a camera and not lube it while the mechanical places say don't lube the shutter. The best explanation came from Charlie Piper who said that the Kodak came with a lube on the leaf pivot points but it migrated onto the leaves and messed up the shutter speeds. So Charlie cleans them in his ultrasonic cleaner and leaves them dry. He does lube certain other points especially in the transport but the shutter stays dry. One of the SLR shops told me that the way you lube a camera is with a pin and an extremely small drop of oil. Sounds just like lubing a watch or a clock if you're familiar with that.

Rocky Mountain
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