Roll 237. The shutter massacre.

I bought this Nettar 515/2 two years ago when I first got into film photography. I got it together with a 30 years older Voigtländer folder.

The Voigtländer still worked like new, the Nettar had a sticky shutter. I discovered the latter when I developed my first roll of medium format film. So it sat unused until the day I decided to tear it apart to get the film advance mechanism for a pinhole project. Then the shutter suddenly started to work again. So I shot a roll and forgot about it again.


This weekend I pulled it off the shelf, and the shutter had started sticking again. Since it had been on its way to the bits bin once already I decided I would try to service it myself.

(Now, I don’t recommend doing anything of the below listed things to a camera you care about. Just so we’re clear on that point.)

I unscrewed the front element, the holding ring beneath (by abusing my calipers), and the front covering of the shutter mechanism. Then I couldn’t figure out how to reach deeper. So I cycled the mechanism a hundred times, and marveled at how all those little bits and pieces, cogs and springs, worked together to time exposures of my films.

Then I took the camera out on the balcony douched the entire thing in lighter fluid and cycled the shutter a hundred times. It was sticking badly at this point. And I managed to get the lighter fluid between the two rear elements in the lens.

But now, when I got back from work the following day the shutter worked well. There are four different time settings, and they all produce exposures of differing length, but I don’t have a shutter tester so I can see how long.

Cloud cub. Shanghai GP3 in HC-110 1+50 for 12min at 20C.

Cloud cub. Shanghai GP3 in HC-110 1+50 for 12min at 20C.

The dried lighter fluid had left stains on the inside of the lens.

So I opened the camera back, pried lose the rear element retaining ring with a screwdriver. Removed the element and cleaned both it and the rear of the second element, which had previously been inaccessible.

And after some swearing I got everything back in place again. I verified the focusing by holding the frosted plastic lid from my lunch box over the film gate and watching the image go in and out of focus as I pointed the camera at things at varying distances.

After all that abuse the camera still works.


This entry was posted by Wilhelm.

4 thoughts on “Roll 237. The shutter massacre.

  1. Pingback: Roll 238. Enter the dreamland | Photofying

  2. I had to do something similar with my Argus C3. It’s tricky, but feels great when you get it working properly again. I used wax paper to dial in the focus. Frosted plastic is such a better idea, thanks!

    Also, great shot. I picked up some Shanghai GP3, and can’t wait to use it.

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