Friday, April 15, 2011

Dissecting a Minolta SRT MC-II

Recently, I was gifted a couple of Minolta cameras and a lens by Andy Lynn. The Minolta SRT 202 is in need of some affection in the way of cleaning it up (particularly its insides) but otherwise appears to be in good, functioning condition. The Minolta SRT MC-II is also in good condition, but there is a loose shim in the viewfinder that floats about and obstructs one's view of the subject. The Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm f/2.8-3.8 is a really nice lens but fails to focus at infinity.

So I have embarked on making these items fully functional again, relying heavily on the advice of the photography wizards at Follow this link to the thread in which I was given so much inestimably valuable advice and instruction.

MC-II preparing for surgery, those two screws are the first to be removed, along with another on the right side.
I decided first to tackle the MC-II. I began by removing screws that would allow me to remove the camera's top-plate. This required the removal of: three individual screws, the shutter speed dial, the shutter cocking lever, and the film rewind knob and baseplate. This last item is where I hit my first snag, and was the last obstruction to removing the top-plate.

Baseplate for film rewind knob, which has already been removed.

It was apparent that I needed to turn the baseplate via the notches next to the threaded post. But not having a spanning wrench, I had to do so by nimbly using to flathead screwdrivers to turn it lefty loosy. Once I was able to finagle the screwdrivers to work simultaneously the plate turned easily, and became easy to remove; then off came the top.

Various angles of the MC-II with top-plate removed.

What you should do next and what I did do are two different things. What you should do: Take the film rewind knob that you removed in order to take of the baseplate, and screw it back onto the post. I didn't do that, and as a result, that top brass disk that can be seen above (far right) fell off causing the metering strings to come unwound after losing tension. After more than an hour, I was able to restore them to what appears to be their prior positions, but I won't be able to make sure the camera meters correctly until I get a battery. This camera may be relegated to a meterless life from this point forward.

Next step: get into the pentaprism to remove the obstruction.

View from above the pentaprism
 This step is pretty simple. It only requires unscrewing the two screws in the bottom middle of the above from, then gently lifting the prism out. You have to be careful not to touch the glass, or it'll require even more cleaning because of oily little fingerprints. Once the prism was out of the way, I could immediately behold the object of my duress.

View of focusing screen after removing prism, obstruction on left.
So using a silk cloth, I gently slid the shim out and (not being able to find where it originally belonged) removed it entirely. Using my camel hair brush and a little compressed air from my lungs, I gave the focusing screen a little dusting. I then reassembled the MC-II and having no leftover bits, declared my quest a success. Feeling victorious, I undertook the same task with the SRT 202, and accomplished the task much more quickly, in less than a quarter of the time and repeating none of my initial mistakes.

This morning, I took the newly reassembled MC-II out for a little fresh air and to get its photo taken.

All that's left is to go get a battery, insert some film, and see if the meter reads accurately.

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