Yashica D TLR: awful smudgey blur over images

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by mark_macdonald, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Just got my Yashica D back from the shop for a clean/lube/assembly. Ran a few rolls through it and was disappointed at the results.
    The developed images are swirly and out-of-focus, like they were shot through water or vaseline. Nothing is sharp, even the focus point. It seems to get worse near the edge of the frame, almost looking like a fast-motion smear in the really extreme areas. Everything looks fine through the viewing lens, of course.
    The tech suggested that the lens elements might be misaligned, and to try tightening the front lens cell. I tried, but it's pretty tight already (I can't make it any tighter with my thumbnails). Another suggestion was that the film was curved or not loaded properly. I guess that's possible, but I would've had mess it up identically on 3 separate rolls (two C-41 and one B&W).

    Any ideas on what this could be? I'm hesitant to mail it back (shipping is expensive), but the camera is essentially useless in this state.

    Here are pictures of the problem:
  2. The taking lens was reassembled improperly. The results look much like "Brownie Hawkeye with lens element reversed" pics. Check to see if the rear element assembly is tight. Or even present.
  3. The CLA shop clearly screwed up the lens reassembly. An element is backwards, improperly spaced, or missing. You should not have to pay extra shipping because of their error.
  4. Yep, they goofed up badly. Send them these images and insist that they pay return shipping both ways plus redo the repair. Looks like a Nikkor 43-86mm that I worked on one time and reversed one of the elements. Should be quite an easy fix, but make them do it since they have the correct tools.
  5. Thanks for the responses. I will try to get the shop to repair this.
    Failing that, however: what is the expected configuration of the lens elements? My camera has the 3-element Yashikor f/3.5 lens. The rear element (which I managed to remove, carefully) currently has its convex side facing the front of the camera, and the flatter side facing the film — is that correct?
    The front elements appear to be fastened together as one unit, and I don't see how they could've been screwed in backwards. Neither the front nor rear element was noticeably loose or badly-seated.
    Can anyone confirm that my placement of the rear element is correct? I did find some camera assembly diagrams but they don't show the orientation of the individual elements. And is there any way to verify visually if the problem's been improved without sacrificing a roll of film?
    Appreciate the help, thanks.
  6. Mark, now would be an awfully good time to stop tinkering with this as you've probably already violated your warranty on the repair by removing this element.
    Screw it back in and leave it alone while negotiating with them for a return and re-repair.
  7. At risk of encouraging you to make a mess of things, here's a discussion of triplet lens design that includes a basic diagram-
    Is the rear lens element loose and easily flipped over? Sounds as if you might have it in backwards.
    Considering the severity of your problem, I bet a piece of matte scotch tape over the film opening and a magnifying lens, with the shutter set to B and opened up, would show you something.
  8. Hey, what a great "look." I'd like to have a camera like that. Seriously. Speaking of Brownie cameras, I just purchases a Brownie Reflex. A similar camera was the first one I ever owned -- before 1950.
  9. Mark,
    I just pulled my Yashica D out of the closet. It's difficult to tell visually, but using a cotton Q-Tip to "feel" the contour of the rear lens element facing the film, I can confirm the convex side is towards the film.
    If you have a piece of ground glass or similar frosted plastic, you might be able to hold it to the back of the camera where there film plane is to view an image and get an idea if reversing the lens corrects the problem.
  10. I recognize this. It is exactly what I got from an old Agfa 6x9 folder when I inadvertently flipped an element (I think it was the rear) backwards. Correct assembly can be determined without film. A piece of ground glass or scotch document tape (the white half see-through variant) in the film's position will do. Open aperture and shutter fully and point the camera towards a bright object while in a unlit room at night and you can see the image projected easily (I use some street lamps from a distance, they make good pointy objects for setting the infinity mark).
  11. Hello Mark
    If I hadn't seen the exact same results from my cleaning the lens on my YashicaMat,I'd be a bit concerned.As others have said the lens elements have been incorrectly assembled.After I do things of this nature now, I check with a frosted piece of glass fitted to the film rails. I only discovered my mistake after getting all my rolls back (taken while on vacation in Mexico),think of that sound that Homer Simpson makes.
  12. Thanks for all the help and references. It was indeed the rear lens element which was reversed: the curved side needed to be facing the film plane (same as in the diagram that Dan linked).

    The technician did not admit it was their mistake. I'm now certain that it was, but I opted to fix it myself rather than haggle and wait. Maybe not the wisest course of action, but it worked out OK.

    I used some instructions for the similar Yashica Mat 124, which explain how to remove the taking lens: http://www.usedcameradb.com/blog/2009/08/yashica-mat-124-cleaning-1-of-4-taking-lens/ . The most difficult part is unscrewing the ring that holds the rear lens element in place. If your tool slips at this stage, you can easily scratch the lens.

    As Dan suggested, scotch tape spread across the film rails allowed me to view a bright image through the lens so I could verify the problem was fixed.

    Unfortunately I wrecked several rolls of important photos before discovering this problem. Lesson learned: always shoot a test roll first from now on!
    Regards, Mark
  13. Curious Mark if one of the reasons you sent it for service, was the shutter at slower speeds getting sluggish? That's about the only issue I have with mine presently, although it's not bad in warmer weather.
  14. Mark: in my case the shutter had completely frozen up. I recall it firing erratically for a while before it got completely jammed, but I can't say if the timings were off… I wasn't making very careful observations.
  15. Who was the repairman? I plan picking up a Yashica TLR again in the near future and it's only a matter of time before it will need a CLA and would like to avoid someone who won't back up their work.
  16. I actually like #1! I think you should get it fixed, though . . .
  17. Next time, send your Yashicamat to Mark Hama. Check out http://www.markhama.com. The best in the business for repairing Yashica TLRs.

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