Yashica Mat LM Revitalisation

Recently, I’ve developed a most wonderful hobby: browsing the “Vintage Camera” section of Ebay. I’ve come into the possession of a number of functional film cameras at reasonable prices, but perhaps no deal beat the $17 I spent on a Yashica Mat LM TLR. Now, it’s quite obvious the nameplate of this camera says it’s a “Yashica A…” (shown in the below photo) but it’s not. I assure you, this is a Yashica Mat LM with a Yashica A nameplate. Why? I have no clue. I don’t know the story behind this camera… I just have it from an Ebay seller who prior to my purchase had zero feedback…

These photos are from the second time I cleaned the camera, after I removed a thick layer of dust.

Given the price I nabbed this for, the camera is in remarkable shape. Though most of the leatherette is torn off/cracked and lots of the paint has rubbed off the edges, it’s completely operational. The shutter fires at all speeds (except the “bulb” setting) and the lenses are remarkably clean. The only operational problem with the camera is a screw & grommet that hold the pressure plate in place, which I hear I can buy replacements for from the esteemed Mark Hama.

The focus wheel did stop working, but (after probably 2 hours of Google searching), I discovered that this could be fixed by tightening a bolt inside the focusing knob. (Note: Some dis-assembly required). Problem solved.

I wish I had a “before & after” shot of the focusing screen to illustrate just how thick the layer of dust I had to remove was… but the screen is now clean and reasonably bright.

The latch on the bottom had quite a bit of gunk, making it difficult to open and close the latch, but water, dish-soap, and a toothbrush cleaned almost everything off.

Aside from the aforementioned water & dishsoap, I cleaned with an air blower, countless q-tips and plenty of paper towels. Dismantling was done with precision screwdrivers (I only used the smallest two flatheads) and a spanner wrench.

As I said, this is only after the second cleaning. I didn’t think to take pictures before the initial cleaning, which removed all the dust caked onto the camera body, nameplate, lens assembly, and focusing screen.

And of course, I had the most helpful of helpers assisting me.

If I can get the replacement screw & grommet for the pressure plate, I’ll run a roll of film (I have some ISO 100 Fuji Superia waiting to go) through it. If the shots are good, I’ll order a leatherette replacement from Cameraleather.com, and I’ll have a completely functional, good as new Yashica Mat LM for under $50. (well… it won’t have the light meter, which is attached to the LM’s nameplate, but… oh well.)