Repairing a 35mm rangefinder

tags: cameras / film /

I recently found a Yashica Electro 35 GX in an antique shop in surprisingly good condition!

Yashica electro 35 gx held in one hand

Still, it had a fogged up rangefinder patch making focusing difficult. The patch is a small diamond-shaped patch of your image that you align with the main view in order to focus the lens. I also noticed some dust in the lens, and it needed a pair of batteries

tweezer-like wrench for dissassembling camera

I got a special wrench with two tweezer-like prongs for disassembling the dials and lens movements.

tweezer-like wrench for dissassembling camera

Using the wrench, I was able to take the top case off and take a look. It was all in good condition aside from cleaning off the rangefinder viewfinder and mirrors.

lightmeter assembly from yashica 35 GX

Above you can see the front lens cover and lock ring. On the right the black ring controls how much light gets to the light meter according to the current aperture setting, a cool analog adjustment technique!

I put one roll of Ilford HP5+ through the camera after my fixes to get an idea of the lens and whether the light meter was choosing correct shutter speeds (this is an aperture priority camera.)

Test picture with good exposure of a grassy yard

Out of 36 exposures, I’d say three quarter’s turned out well, and all of them were correctly exposed. A good few photos had severe light leaks, especially when I was making pictures in direct sunlight

I think that I just need to replace the foam seals around the film door in the back of the camera.

Test picture with lightleak of harvard square

Otherwise, the meter works perfectly and the lens is nice and sharp!

I developed this roll at Memphis Film Lab, which offers really good scans and economical developing. Would recommend if you aren’t in a rush!

Test picture with yard waste

I have a roll of Fuji Superia 400 that I think I’ll put through this camera next on a Vermont artist’s tour in an attempt to capture some green foliage. More Yashica blog posts to follow this one in the future!