Getting half overexposed or simply way overexposed film back from the lab? It's time for an inspection, your Zenit is most likely suffering from old age!
So you get faulty exposures and you just don’t know why?
You go to the lab to pick up your film and you find out that they are all badly overexposed or they are half overexposed. This could be due to a faulty shutter curtain this is sadly a pretty common problem with old Zenits.
We’ll start off with a introductory story.
Stashed away at the attic in an old box is a lonely neglected Zenit E, the owner an eighty years old man, flips trough old dusty albums full of super nice pictures, washed by the essence of time. While swimming through memories of the old and sunny days, he suddenly realizes that his photography stuff is still packed up in the attic.
With crackling bones he rises out of his chair and makes his way to the stairwell. After a 4 minute climb, he arrives at the hallway on the second floor. While muttering about his old bones he reaches for the cord to pull down the ladder. While ascending the ladder, the man slips, and with a loud huff, he blowed out his last puff while breaking his back on the floor.
A few days later his children come to the house to remove the belongings of their late father. ‘If it still looks good, we’ll sell it on Ebay’, said his oldest son.
And so the old Zenit E found his way to a new owner via Ebay. The new owner didn’t know much about the camera and after fiddling with it for a bit he loaded a film and set out to shoot. He sent his film to the lab and after a few days, went back to pick it up and was horrified by the outcome…
’The Zenit is sick," he cried out and went to his room, crying for the rest of the day.
Now, this is a sad, but fictional story that leads us to a problem: faulty Zenits!
The shutter curtain may be the problem so let’s do a check up, pop open that sexy back and wind on, release the shutter and see if the curtain closes nicely. In case it does not, it will either not close at all or get stuck somewhere half way.
This is due to the curtain losing the tension after several years
But fret not! This is easily fixed, my friends!
There are but few things you will need for this repair:
- a very small screwdriver, flat head
- an unbreakable concentration
- a potion for steady hands
- a big pot of patience
- about 10 minutes of your life if you are well prepared and handy with very, very small screws.
Now, let’s get started!
So we grab our feisty little screwdriver, ready, steady, unscrew that bottom!
Now, the bottom plate is off and we get a nice look at the not so very interesting inside. We see here, a couple of screws…
So you should hold it like in the picture, we zoom in on the important part, to the left.
The two star-shaped screws are the ones that are in connection with the shutter curtain.
So the one we need is the one I am unscrewing on the photo’s below.
First, we need to unscrew the teensie tiny ‘locking’ screw. That done we can now turn up the tension on the curtain.
As you turn that screw, you can feel the tension building up, that is what we want but don’t go too far! If you do, the spring might break and that would be a very, very sad ending for your glorious Russian friend.
So you turn up the tension afterwards lock the screw by fitting in that teensy tiny locking screw. When you finally, got that screw back in it’s place and locked down the star shaped tension screw you can cock the shutter and release to check how it’s doing.
If it shuts like a train on all shutter speeds, you are a hero and you fixed this in no time! Bravo!
If not, you will have to unscrew the locking screw and turn up the tension some more and try again until it’s working smoothly again!
Remember, this is a repair done by an amateur and I cannot guarantee that you will succeed with your own competence, as I cannot see if you are capable. Be patient and cautious as not to break anything.
Now, this tipster on repairing the Zenit E is sort of part of my guide to using this wonderous Russian camera.
That guide is to be found here: Zenit E: The Sturdy Metal Heart of Russian Photography.
More articles are coming up containing shooting tips and reviews on cameras. You can always contact me to ask questions about all sorts of stuff! Or, you can become my friend so that you’ll be posted with my new reviews and tips for ever and ever, aaand ever.
Thank you for reading and have fun!
All information for this article were taken from Tom tiger’s Lair.
You can find more repair tips and photography tips and stuff on this site, have fun reading!