Minox shutter problems, again! And how to DIY fix

Discussion in 'Minox' started by street photography by dimitris kioseoglou, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. For the last ten years I am a Minox 35 cameras user. I am very satisfied with
    the print quality of them but I have very disappointed with the shutter
    problems they have! I use especially Minox GT or ML. Last years I have tried
    more than ten different cameras but have the same problem! I like ML more than
    GT because it has the AE shutter lock which is very useful for the street
    photography. I have also a GT-E soft touch which is very reliable and never
    had the shutter problem, but in this camera I am not satisfied with the lens.
    I believe that the old Color-Minotar is by far better than the new MC Minoxar.
    The old lens is sharper and you can make easily 40x60cm b&w enlargements. On
    the other hand the Minoxar perhaps produces better color shades and rendition
    but it is softer. So in order to conclude I will ask the following questions:
    1. Is there a good camera repair shop in Europe which can repair the
    shutter problems of my GTs and MLs?
    2. I believe that the poor sharpness of the new MC Minoxar is an effect
    of the built in UV filter. So perhaps if I pull out this filter the image
    quality will be better. Has anybody tried to pull out this filter?
    3. The last question is very interesting. Now I have a good working GT-E
    with a soft lens and a lot of Minox 35 cameras with the shutter problems but
    with the very good Color-Minotar lens. Is there any camera repair shop which
    can replace the MC Minoxar on my GT-E with a Color-Minotar? This will be the
    perfect solution for me!

    I am waiting for your help and comments!

    Best regards from Athens, Greece

  2. Dimitris, you may check this out with DAG at http://dagcamera.com
  3. Early models of ML has shutter problem, but with later version, the
    circuit was upgraded, no more shutter problem. You better have the
    electronics of you ML upgraded
  4. IMO the best thing to do with these lovely little cameras is to throw them in the trash. When the shutter fails, there is no way to know it, and you can waste many rolls of film and lose many great pictures if you happen to be using it on a trip.
  5. "When the shutter fails, there is no way to know it,", not true.

    When any Minox 35 shutter fails, the failed shutter makes only a feeble "click" sound, an experience user can easily recognize the

    A ML is worth repairing, I spent CAD 175 to get mine repaired by
    Kindermann Canada in Toronto, they replace the magnets and upgraded
    the electronics. And it works smoothly ever since.
  6. "waste many rolls of film and lose many great pictures if you happen to be using it on a trip.".

    If you bring one camera on a trip, that could happen. It unwise to bring only one camera without backup.

    On travel, I usually bring three 35mm cameras, a Leica R5 with Vario Elmar 28-70 as main shooter, a Contax T3 and Minox 35ML as second shooter or backup. Every outing at least two 35mm cameras, two 8x11 cameras, the chance of four cameras all failed is practically zero.
    If any one of the 35mm pair or any oen of the 8x11 pair fails, I replace the failed camera with a 35mm camera or one 8x11 camera kept at hotel.
  7. Martin, I can recognize the sound of the shutter when it fails but the problem is that I have already missed a good photo! The problem for me is that I have all the time with me a Minox GT or ML camera and I carry it as my standard everyday street shooting camera! I missed a lot of good photos due to this shutter problem! I need to a reliable one with me. I agree that MLs worth repairing and I will try to find a reliable and specialized Minox repair service in Europe.

    Bill, I am very happy to meet you again! My new mail is dimkios@otenet.gr. Perhaps you are now in Limnos island!?
  8. Most street shooter use Leica M for good reason
  9. Dimitris, you does not seem to know much about Minox camera. Pull out the UV filter from Minox GT-E ? You are doing the hard way. If Minox camera is that important for your street shooting, why not get yourself a Minox M.D.C, it has a Minoxar lens without UV filter [​IMG]
    Minox M.D.C, the flagship of Minox 35
    35mm/2.8 Minoxar lens, without built in UV filter
    Exposure lock, P mode like Minox 35ML
  10. >1. Is there a good camera repair shop in Europe which can repair the shutter problems of my GTs and MLs?

    ?????? Yes MINOX !

  11. Martin, I believe that all the shootings are important and we must use a working and good camera every time! I use Leica M or Mamiya 6 when I have enough time for street photographs but for the every time candid shooting I am using Minox cameras.

    I will contact with Minox for the repair of our cameras!
  12. Martin, I remain unrepentent. If an Olympus XA shutter isn't working, the
    entire film transport freezes up. If a Minox 35 shutter isn't working, there is no
    way to tell it. The shutter is so silent that it can not be heard in normal working
    conditions, only in a very quiet room.<P>Besides, I've put away all my little
    pocket babies, (Minox, Olympus, and Konica), and have gone digital.
  13. Bill, I suspect you may need a hearing aid
  14. Actually, Martin, I now wear a pair of them, but in theold days when i had the
    Minox 35 I had hearing like a lynx. It was just the quietest shutter I was aware
    of. Great when it worked, a disaster when it didn't.<P>Incidentally, are Minox
    still selling Agfapan 25 for the 8x11?
  15. Bill, Minox is still selling Minopan 25 and Minopan 400.

    I was mislead by one camera's shutter sound, and lost many many
    valueable pictures on Huangshan. That camera was not a Minox, it was
    Leica R5. Its shutter made the same loud KLIK CLAK sound as usual,
    but several rolls of film were never exposed, because the shutter was
    not failed in stuck, rather both the first curtain and second curtain
    move at the same time, there was no slit opening. Since both curtains
    move, the sound was as loud as usual. This type of shutter failure
    is very hard to detect, even though I have some experience in catching
    shutter failure in Minox 8x11 and in Minox 35, the shutter failure
    of R5 completely caught be by surprize.
    I got the shutter of R5 repaired at Kindermann
    Now, before I load new roll of film into R5, (or any film camera )
    I always point the lens at sky and release the shutter one or two times just to see whether the shutter is working; in this way
    if there is any shutter failure, I will catch it in time.
  16. The "failure" of Minox 35 shutter in most case is caused by dust get into the magnet which control the shutter, see Dust causes Minox 35 shutter to fail
    My failed MInox 35ML was bought used, it was very dusting in the viewfinder, I have no doubt that the magnet must be very dusty.
    If you use a Minox everyready case or belt case to protect the Minox 35, and avoid the temptation of put a bare Minox in the pocket, which is full of dust and lint, you go a long way to avoid dust accumulation in the Minox camera magnet and greatly improve the longevity of Minox 35 camera.
    I alway use Minox everyready case for my GT-E and ML.
  17. Martain, my "other" irregular shutter failure is with my oldest Pentax LX. About
    once a roll, it will fire at 1/2000 second (maximum speed), regardless of the
    actual meter reading from the shutter curtain. Pentax/Denver couldn't/
    wouldn't fix it, and at least there is always SOME image on the film to print.<P>
    With a digital camera I know for sure if I got the picture.<P>The time delay
    after pressing the shutter release on a digital camera is about the same as
    taking my Minox LX out of its case and pulling it open to shoot. A no-win
  18. I recently purchased a GT on EBay, after reading various posting on this Forum I was well
    prepared for the "shutter problems". So first of all I purchased a battery adaptor to
    maintain the 5.6v, then proceeded to test the camera without film and guess what the
    shutter did not work. So I removed the cone from the rear and cleaned the inside must say
    that it was fairly pristine for a 1983/4 manufacture. But during my previous exploration I
    noticed that the ASA rating selector had some influence on the shutter none function, so I
    removed its cover and gave that a clean also and guess what it works perfectly know.
    Guess what I am trying to say is that maybe the ASA selector has more to do with the
    shutter failure than actual dust etc on the magnets, Looking forward to shooting some film
    with it now. Hope it proves to be a good companion to my Konica Hexar AF.
  19. I have ALL the Minox 35mm cameras. I have also being using many. I like the ML because I prefer the way the meter works and the results are stunning. The Goldtop, GTE, GT-X match the quality and sharpness but there is not the same visual impact when I review the results.

    I have purchased and sold many ML and MB cameras. The later ML has the improved circuit and units repaired by Minox may have been 'upgraded'.

    I only had a few cameras needing attentions, and only a couple came back having developed a fault after the second or third roll of film. Andrew Britton, cf. MS Hobbies, repaired them for a typical modest price of 40GBP. This is roughly the cost of the camera from Germany but well under the typical UK price for one second hand. Only one camera was beyond repair and was stripped for working parts for other cameras.

    When Minox repairs a camera they must offer a warranty by law. This means that they must check more than is really needed to just fix the current fault, and so the cost is higher. Minox will advise you if they think the cost is too high and may offer you an exchange deal on a current model (if there is one). On the very positive side you get back a camera that works like a new one and will continue to run with out trouble for another decade or two.

    I think it is wonderful that Minox can and will still repair most of the cameras they have ever sold. Some companies can't repair your camera even if it under warranty because parts are no longer made and have to supply you with a different model.

  20. When I retired 12 years ago I bought an ML which developed the historic shutter problems, but by then had acheived sufficient high quality results to warrant proper repair by Minox in Germany. Full overhaul cost 200GBP but came with 2yr warranty. A lot of cash but well worth it. Recently I acquired a virtually unused GT for 30GBP as back up. It's had 12 films thro it all exposed OK. But when the shutter 'goes' I shan't hesitate to have it properly serviced; something Canon can't or won't do for my EOS 600 & 620! Minox suit my street photography style that surreptitiously I can still get away with in the UK's PC strangled society and more easily in less paranoid cities of the world. Minox, TriX in Xtol will do me nicely for any years granted beyond my present 72. We must all make choices and modify them with experience. You will do the same with a little help from your Minox friends.
    By the date this is posted you've probably got your answer. Good luck
  21. I too had the occasional blank frame problem with my Minox GT. Just the other day I decided to investigate and was surprised by what I found. I was able to make an adjustment to the shutter cocking mechanism by loosening two screws, adjusting and then retightening. The adjustment really was very simple. By making small adjustments I could make the shutter fail all of the time, some of the time or not fail at all. After seeing how the cocking mechanism is adjusted in this way my theory now is that most shutter problems are caused by a gradual movement or wear of the mechanism over the years. If anyone is interested in some instructions and pictures then please get in touch.
  22. Hi Stephen, let us all know. Any tip is appreciated that will add to my GT's longevity. Regards.
  23. Stephen, thank you for your answer. Sure, I am interesting in reparairing some of my out of order GTs and MLs. I am not a technician but I will try! I am waiting fot the details!
  24. Stephen. Details of your shutter cure. Yes please. I've just sent my ML off to Germany via Minox UK, after 4 film failures on return from Barcelona. Before passing it on Minox UK confirmed they could not get the shutter to operate. It will probably cost me again as I'm one year out of a complete factory overhaul 3 years ago that cost 200GBP!* Meanwhile I've still got a GT in mint condition that I paid 30GBP for a year ago. Win some lose some. Still I love the cameras they are so discrete for street photography - something difficult to practise in the UK, particularly in London. It seems anyone using a camera, taking shots with people in them, is considered a terrorist.
  25. I can try to describe the fix by referring to 3 pics. First remove the plastic cone by using your finger nail at the positions marked by the red arrows. This will reveal the shutter mechanism.
  26. Next, loosen but do not remove the two screws indicated by the red arrows. This will allow the shutter cock lever to be adjusted. The lever can slide as indicated by the blue arrows. The screws should be tight so use the correct screwdriver.
    ralf_j. likes this.
  27. Next adjust the position of the lever by trial and error so that when the film winder is wound on, the rear of the silver piece is pushed past the shutter catch by approx 0.5 to 1.0mm. Note the similar mechanism opposite (not shown in pic) for the shutter close. The silver piece on that side should also push past the shutter catch by 0.5 - 1.0mm. Don't adjust so that the silver piece pushes too far. If the silver pieces do not latch on both sides of the shutter then the shutter will not work. On the second film wind stroke the spring will cause the silver piece to relax back and rest on the shutter catch. The copper springy parts are part of the solenoid electrical circuit so must be clean and bright. Also no dirt or dust must come between that part and the silver part. I tested that by placing a thin piece of paper between the copper and silver parts and as expected the shutter did not work. There are two solenoids, one for open and one for close shutter. The open shutter solenoid actually pushes out causing the shutter catch to pivot inwards towards the lens. That releases the sprung shutter and the shutter opens, which in turn breaks the electrical supply to the solenoid (copper and silver bits seperated breaks the circuit). The close solenoid works in a similar way but it is triggered later in time.
    ralf_j. and stephen_morris|3 like this.
  28. Thanks Stephen. This looks excellent info very clearly explained. Thanks again for the time you have taken.
  29. Stephen, great !
  30. Thanks for the compliments guys. I just hope this can help a few people. I am sure that this is not the only cause of shutter failure but it should help in some cases. I am sure that those screws will be misadjusted on some cameras that have been tinkered with. Please post with any success stories.
  31. Thanks all! I just saved a 35 GL from the trash! Some adjustment and pinhead drops of CRC brought it back to life. I can't wait to put a film through it tomorrow. Thanks again.
  32. stephen, i hope you're around somewhere... because your're still helping people! :)

    looks like my GT has more stories to tell, thanks to you

    gratias ago
  33. Thanks Stephen, you just helped me as well! I bought a ML today from an ebay like site here for € 15 ($20). First film role wasn't exposed. Guess what, shutter failure! Followed your instructions and its working now. Great!
  34. Stephen, I hope you still follow this thread. Thank you so much for your tip!
    I received a working ML which stopped to open the shutter when I put it to "P" mode and tried then to use the self-timer. I lost a film but especially my nice mood when I discovered that. Internet search gave quite a black figure, with prices for repair or with no hope. But your post changed the situation completely.
    I did not even open the shutter mechanism. Just loosened the two screws, shifted them a bit down and fixed again. It costed me 1 euro, the price of a tiny screwdriver. Now the "P" mode does not still work (the shutter does not open), the same for self-timer. But in manual aperture mode everything goes as it should do. Will put soon another roll to see the result.
    It is such a pleasure to see it working back. Thanks again!
  35. Dimitris.
    I love the ML had 2 in last 17years both with shutter problems. Even when fully serviced by Minox Germany at 200GBP a time they have soon exhibited the perennial shutter problem. The plus side of Minox servicing is the are good people to deal with and return the camera with a 2 year guarantee.
    My 1st ML, a retirement present, lasted 15 years with service until I dropped it and damaged it beyond repair. My current one in mint condition from Ebay had shutter failure on 1st film. Honest private Leica ebayer returned money and told me to keep the camera. Serviced by Minox I've lost a few frames and wont have time to return it to Minox before my hols so I'm taking an Olympus XA as back up.
    As I don't do as much shooting now I've resorted to regularly firing the empty camera at all stops plus P and Timer, but not sure if under or over usage will help.
    When guarantee runs out in a year I may resort to trying the DIY shutter solution well described in this Forum. In these hard times saving 200GBP a service becomes a key consideration.
    Good luck with these otherwise excellent cameras!
  36. Hello
    Of course, in the UK, Andy Britton's MS Hobbies can repair and service Minox 35's.
  37. Thanks for the Uk contact details. I assume you are Andy? I'll be in touch after my Hols in Sept. Despite what I said above about resorting to DIY my hands are too shaky at 78 and I'd rather leave the delicate shutter fault correction it to the experts.
    Thanks again.
  38. Here we go again! I've 2 excellent 35mls apart from both with sticking shutters. The worst, still under warranty from Germany was returned recently with 'no found faults'. With a holiday in May I'm reluctant to send it off to Germany again. Does anyone know of a reliable repairer in the UK?
    At 78 my fingers are not nimble enough to carry out Stephen Jamieson's clearly explained solution, dated May 25,2008.
  39. Hey, he is working again. My shutter opened up when I advanced the film but after adjustment all is fine. Thanks guys.
  40. Does anyone have any idea how the camera figures the different speeds? I think that circuit may be the problem.
    I just got a Minox 35 GL, the meter works great, the shutter also works but its speeds are off by a lot... like instead of 1/30 it shoots like 1/2. This is consistent, I can adjust the aperture and they go faster/slower, also adjusting iso they adjust.
    Therefore I am excluding oil issues, sticky shutter etc.. It really seems some problem with the electronics.

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