beatuniversity 3:47am, 14 December 2008
Hi, I've had this camera for 20 years but it's been in storage for awhile. I just retrieved it a few days ago, & although it seems to work just fine, the shutter doesn't open & close as I'm testing it.

I thought the problem was with the timer. This morning I slid it over to activate it. Since that time, the shutter hasn't opened, but I'm not sure it was opening before this.

I'm really concerned because I just sold the camera this morning to a very nice young man, & I do not want to sell him a lemon. If it takes a lot of money to repair it, it won't be worth it in terms of dollars spent. The camera could be a total loss.

I can say that in the two years or so that I used it, it took incredible pictures. But I don't remember if you need film in the camera to activate the shutter.

I live in Seattle & have looked already for a repair shop, & found at least one, so he will take it there for an estimate unless some very experienced person here can enlighten me. Is the problem most likely owing to the fact that there's no film in the camera, or is it lubrication or something worse, in your opinion?

I plan to refund this guy's money if the camera can't be operated without an expensive repair.

I would appreciate any experienced photographer's opinion on this matter. Thank you.

mymamiya1 9 years ago
You'll need to take the front and rear lens elements out and clean the shutter blades with Lighter Fluid on a cotton swab. It usually takes several clean dry cycles to get the old goo out.
this is a very easy fix.
I got a putty knife and filed it down to fit the lens rings and a contour for the lens so it won't hit the metal. Use it to unscrew the lens rings.
Neil Kesterson 9 years ago
My Yashica-12 (a very similar predecessor) got it's shutter broken by my accidentally putting the flash trigger on "M" instead of "X" and activating the self-timer. Mark Hama fixed it and completely overhauled the camera (it was already in pristine condition) for around $150. This may be the problem. When it broke, I would cock the shutter, but the blades wouldn't fire. This quirk is one of the few negatives about this camera. Good luck!
beatuniversity 9 years ago
Thanks, both of you.

Kestersonn, do you think it's worth $150 to repair a camera of this caliber? It is tempting, when you consider that you'll probably have the camera for the rest of your life & hand it down to your kids, as well.

mymamiya, thanks also to you. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do what you say, but I do have a nice set of jeweler's screwdrivers, so at least I could take it apart. The idea makes me nervous, though.

Can either of you address the possibility that the problem might be righted simply by inserting film? Or do you both think it's the kind of problem that needs an actual repair?

It is certainly possible that I did the same thing you did, m.

thanks again.

John Falkenstine PRO 9 years ago
My advice is to refund the money, or just give him the camera. Here is a good example of a destroyed unit, (I guess somebody thought they were an expert, or followed some advice). This camera was in a boxload of items I purchased some years ago.

keltic_tom 9 years ago
I would let Mark Hama make the call on value verses repair costs .

His work is fantastic and his costs are competitive.
beatuniversity 9 years ago
Thank you all for your replies.

I did manage to find a local camera tech who has the
camera in hand now. His bid for the work is comparable
to Mark's, & he's local to me. He'll have the job done in
a day or three.

So the young man who bought the camera will now be
able to pick it up, & we shared in the cost of getting the
shutter unstuck--a common, common problem with
these cameras.

I would not have felt too confident in making this decision
if this group had not been around. I did know about Mark
Hama, & we had exchanged one email before I even listed
the camera for sale. But just hearing the opinions here
was what put my brain into problem-solving mode.

Again, thanks.

Like a duck to onions 9 years ago
hi beatuniversity
This comment is probably after the fact - given that you last posted 4 days ago, but it might be of interest anyway.

I had the same problem with a yashica mat that i bought from a thrift store a month ago (the shutter release was stuck).
I took it apart and found that a black spring in the self timer was bent, this stopped the self timer from returning, which stopped the shutter release.
if you are interested there's a note on this photo that shows the problem part after I straightened it out:
yashica mat innards

The camera works fine now, I took some nice photos with it (which I would link to but I was going to give them as christmas presents so i didn't post them... but becuase I was too prepared and printed them ahead of time I forgot to pack them)

Regards, Tim
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