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Shutter lubrication

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I've been gathering information on camera repair for the past 1-2 years and

performed minor surgery on old beaters (Petri Color 35, Rollei 35, Olympus 35RD)

without excessive concern. (Moderator: yes, the C220 is post-1970, but a) it has

ancestors well before that; b) I believe this forum is my best chance to have

useful answers). But today the shutters on all three lenses (55/80/135) of my

Mamiya C220 stuck (more or less) during a picture taking session; the negative

is now hanging in my darkroom as evidence of the shutter failures. That is one

of my two prime cameras, and I'd like to benefit from the expertise of the PN

people. I had all three lenses CLA'd by a professional a few years back; I since

then heard negative comments about the guy. So I'd rather do it myself this time

around. But do what? Some say NyOil, some say separated WD-40, some say run the

shutter dry (would not do that after watching the residue of metal powder when I

cleaned the Petri shutter). I do understand that the shutter has to be cleaned

to start with, using lighter fluid (Ronsonol in the US) or isopropanol. I do

understand that the shutter blades MUST be dry. So my question concerns the

actuating mechanism. I tried to do my homework, browsing through:






Still confused...


The shutter is engraved "Seiko".


Please submit advice that is verified by personal experience and field use

(i.e. not just a test roll just after the repair), not hearsay or pure opinion.

Thank you by advance to those that might help me (and possibly others)!

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Varies by the shutter. On some the timing train runs dry, on some it runs with the slightest bit of high quality oil. A little oil does go a long way.


Wiping surfaces often get some grease.


It may also be that some surfaces need smoothing.


You can try and find the correct service manuals for those shutters. Or, entrust them to Carol Flutot, who reportedly is an ace, and reasonably priced.

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First, try looking inside to make sure nothing is loose. My 80mm for my Mamiya was acting up, not firing sometimes, aperture was hard to change and the aperture ring felt loose... when I unscrewed the front element I discovered a screw from the aperture ring laying inside the shutter... put it back and everything works well. I would start out by trying to clean the shutter and see how it runs. It sounds like your repair person may have tried to lubricate the blades or used too much lubricant somewhere else in the shutter and its gumming up your blades. Def would not go back to him if all three shutters are down for the count after only a few years.... these leaf shutters are pretty darn durable and should last for a long long time between services.


To my knowledge, the Seiko shutters on these cameras are a copy of the German Prontor shutters. If you cant find specific instructions on the Seikos, just find directions dealing with the later model Prontors... I cant remember at the moment what the Prontor with 1/500th was called... maybe "Pronto". I would suggest just cleaning the shutter blades and go from there.... try to clean them without taking them out of the shutter.... trust me, thats a headache that you dont want to go through.

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John, Patrick, Lauren,


Thank you for the advice. I live in France, so, shipping to a US repair shop adds a lot to the cost of the repair service. Understood: slightest amount of oil on bearings, slightest amount of grease on cams. Grease: I have lithium grease, is that OK? Oil: would clock or watch oil (any preference?) be OK, or is there anything special in that NyOil?


Patrick: Any life-saving tip that I should know of when (partly) dis-assembling the lens front element, then the shutter/diaphagm assembly?

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I have an old Prontor service manual. And NO lubrication of the shutter gears is mentioned there. All they say is that the blades are "specially coated" (there is a process during which particles of MOS2 are "hammered" into the surface of metal components). They recommend to wash the gears in lighter fluid and to wipe the blades with a tissue moistened with solvent.


The Compur service manual mentions lubrication - but only of the shutter cams and parts of the bayonet mount (for shutters with interchangeable lenses).


So in most cases a shutter should run dry after cleaning the shutter gears and blades.

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The primary problem with Siekosha shutters not releasing is not migrated grease but worn out retard parts. There is an excessive side load on the drive arm of the retard, and this causes the hole to go egg shaped and eventually bind the gear next to it. The fix is either to punch the side plates of the retard (yeah, you have to take the whole thing apart for this), re- drill the holes, lube them with heavy grease, and then putt the whole thing back together. Or you could try to get a new retard from Mamiya--but good luck with that.


Now to answer your question: The lube used depends on the factory specs. F. Deckel (compur) uses good old fashioned grease and oil. Prontor called for no lube at all, but can be made to function now with some oil and grease. For the Japanese shutters I like mostly oil with just a bit of grease in the high wear spots, and some MoS2 for all the flat surfaces that move past one another. This said, you may get by, putting a drop of oil on the main spring, as it is a barrel type and can have internal friction.


Really though, Mamiya stuff is not the place to start leaf shutter repairs. As there are lost of little things one must know. I would start on the Compur line and then perhaps a prontor or two. Most Japanese shutters are copies of one or the other.

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  • 9 years later...
I have had similar experiences. As a last result with cameras i was ready to give up on I soaked the shutter assembly in naptha for 24 hours. Others on PN said this was a technique that is not uncommon. I found that at first the condition got worse and then miraculously the shutter worked perfectly 2 days later. I had 3 unqualified successes and 2 failures. That is not bad considering that I was going to trash them. I guess that it depends if the are components that should not soak in naptha
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