View Full Version : Seiko B shutter - From a Nightmare to a Fairytale

12-Mar-2015, 01:45
Brothers, Sisters...

I come to you in the wee hours of the morning victorious and filled with adrenaline. My wife is sound asleep and I have no one to tell the good news, so I will write it here in hopes to perhaps inspire others.

Last week I ordered a Fujinon 90mm f/8 in a Seiko B shutter from KEH. Listed in full working condition, I was extremely disappointed to find that the shutter speeds were off - right out of the box. 1 second would sometimes be ~1 second, but would mostly be closer to 1/15th. The slower shutter speeds were all intermittently off, but the faster speeds seemed fine.

I only have one other lens- a Fuji 210, so I was very excited to receive the 90 and begin shooting. As I'm sure many of you can relate, it was like receiving a broken gift Christmas morning. Pure dejection.

That's a bit dramatic, but I knew I would have to return it which meant a few more weeks without the wide angle. The inconvenience was two fold because I have more time to shoot at the moment- and that window is rapidly closing.

Because of this urgency and sheer disappointment, I decided to do what no unqualified person should do: try to fix the lens. To be fair, all I wanted to do was to expose the mechanism to see if there was anything obvious out of the ordinary. Still a very stupid decision because this was my first Seiko shutter and I literally had no idea what to expect. Still, I opened her up and looked at her guts. I was overwhelmed at first, and also surprised at how easily and how many pieces fell out through simple gravity.


Long story short- my arrogance made the lens essentially unusable. Through touching some things and moving others I had managed to somehow get the timing gear to fire consistently at the correct speeds, but it wouldn't engage the shutter petals at all. So not only did I receive an error riddled lens to begin with, but in trying to fix it I could no longer return it. What a moron, right?

I left the lens on my table for a few days- not even wanting to look at it. Tonight, however, I got bored and decided to do some more fiddling. I figured worst case scenario the lens stays broken- but best case I fix it. Nothing to lose at this point- ish.

So I opened her up again. Now having more patience and a cooler head, I started to experiment and figured out some of the internal mechanism's purposes. Through trial and error, I would occasionally get a correctly timed and proper shutter fire- open and everything. Problem was I couldn't exactly tell what was different from the very few times it worked correctly and the many times there was no shutter performance at all. After a couple hours or so my ratio improved. I was learning. Finally, after a perfect shutter fire, I held everything in place with significant pressure. Still maintaining pressure, I fitted the various covers and silver speed setting ring in place. Once tight, I fired the shutter at one second.


Surely not again, though. Something has to be off, right? I fired again. Perfect again. I went through the entire range. Every shutter speeds fired as expected. What's more, the speed settings are tighter now, and the lens feels more solid- somehow.

I got SUPER lucky. After being subjected to my meaty mittens I'm surprised the lens is functioning in any way at all- yet somehow its in even better shape than I received it in. I work as a photo equipment manager and tech specialist, but I've never quite felt this degree of relief/pride from fixing something.

I'm probably somewhat delirious at the moment because its 2:45am. I'm sure some of you, if not many of you, have had similar experiences or even would have been able to fix the same issue faster, but this was a first for me.

Now the lens is sitting comfortable with elements attached in a lensboard on my Shen Hao itching for tomorrow's rays. Can't wait to take her out in the field.

Thanks for reading

-A very lucky SOB.

Leszek Vogt
12-Mar-2015, 02:14
Thanks for sharing, Zach. Well, this story had a Holly ending.


12-Mar-2015, 08:44

Congrats, I had +/- the same luck as you opening and lubing a Ilex #3 shutter - later sold here - and a Copal press shutter which came "as-is" from ebay with a Tominon 4.5/105 which I'm using for table top with, great success,