Cleaning the shutter of a Yashica Minister D

Cleaning the shutter of a Yashica Minister D

This article is a little different. Without knowing it, I'm starting a little collection of old camera's. I've always been attracted to old camera's, but all of a sudden I found myself buying them...

A second hand camera is not always in mint condition. Not even when the seller tells you it is. You have to be ready to get disappointed. Or you have to be ready to do some repairing or cleaning...

A few days ago, two new second hand camera's were delivered. One of them is the Yashica Minister D (1977). Please take a look at the beauty:

This camera has a shutter built in the lens. So, no curtain behind the lens in the body. Shutter-leaves in the lens. This was actually the main reason for buying a camera like this. Those shutters are extremely quiet. You all know I'm a street photographer and sometimes it just would be very convenient to have a quiet shutter...

Well, this one was too quiet

No movement at all!

What to do? I had no idea. So guess what?


Googled on Yashica Minister D shutter and, bingo! On a forum I found the explanation of how to get at the shutter on how to clean:

"Remove front lens by unscrewing it. Clean the blades with some thinner. Let it dry properly."

Sounds easy. But how on earth are you going to unscrew the front lens without damaging the thing? I mean: the front lens sat there for the last, almost, forty years.
It was stuck.
I was stuck.

Then it came to me: It's not strength, it's all about grip!
So, I took a leather belt and folded it around the outer black ring. Tightened it and tried to turn... YES!!!
...The black ring came off...
The lens was still on the camera. So, I tried the same trick with the belt again and succeeded:

Now I could reach the shutter-leaves:

I used some nail-polish remover from my wife. Using a Q-tip I gently cleaned the leaves.
After that I tried the shutter. And yes! It opened!

What I didn't read on any forum but what turned out to be very important:

Keep clicking!

Try to keep the movement in the blades. Changing shutter-speeds can do no harm either. In the end I found my self clicking for five minutes, let the camera rest for five minutes and then click for five minutes again.


When you let the camera rest, be sure the shutter is open (set the speed to bulb to do so) and let it stand on the lens so no dust will come in.

It is very likely you have to clean the leaves more than once. Make sure you use enough thinner and you clean the leaves thoroughly.

I've been "exercising" with the shutter for two days now and it seems to work okay now.

If everything works out well, I'll shoot my first roll with it tomorrow!

So, I guess that's all folks.
If you have any questions, please use the contact-page.

For now:

Remember: #FilmIsAlive!

Use the light to write!