No. 271

Dr. Love's Tips – Mirror Mirror In My Camera...

Jon Campolo | Jan 17, 03:00 PM

The good doctor.

Another topic we got requests for was when the mirror in the camera gets stuck up out of place or mid cycle for one reason or another. This can often be recognized by a black VF and a camera that won’t close all the way.

There’s actually a couple tricks to getting your mirror back in place. If your camera is empty and you have an empty pack, you can try to put that in the camera and fire it a few times, or put the pack in, pull it out, back in, out a couple of times letting it cycle each time you close the door. This may get the camera back into the proper rhythm of things so that when you put a full pack in, everything is where it should be for proper operation to take pictures.

If this doesn’t work, or if the camera cycles but is still ‘off’, there is a more manual way to reset the mirror. Open your camera and look to the side of the camera behind the shutter button. You’ll see there’s a long strip of black plastic that runs the length of the camera next to the bellows. This plastic covers the drivetrain or gears to the camera that moves the power from the motor to the rollers and controlling the pick arm and mirror movement along the way as well.

To access the gears, you remove the plastic by pulling up from the front first, it will come up slightly in the front, then move a little further down and pull the rest up with a little ‘wiggle’ so as not to pull too much as to break it. Once the cover is off, you’ll see the series of gears. To reset your mirror, find the last gear towards the back of the camera that you can comfortably put your thumb on. Start winding the gear in the direction of least resistance. If you wind and after a few turns it suddenly has more resistance, wind the other direction. It could take about 30+ seconds to hand wind the mirror back in to place so be patient. Simply wind until you hear that usual ‘snap’ which is the sound of the picking arm resting, and what you hear when you normally take a picture. Once you hear this, look through the VF and you should see clearly though it, the camera should be able to close completely, and if you open the film door you should see the mirror on the top flat and flush with the top.

To put the black plastic cover back on, start at the back, and it should fit neatly back into place without forcing anything, and make sure nothing is outside the chrome or plastic outer body. This may take more than one try, but the main thing to remember is don’t force it.

Once the cover is back on, the camera should be able to close freely and completely, and you can again try the camera. If the VF is still black but the camera closes completely, be sure the top VF is fully extended for if it isn’t, the mirrors do not align properly to see an image. You can test the VF by pressing down on the top front and making sure it has a ‘springy’ response to your pressure. If the VF doesn’t spring back, you may need to put the spring back on the mirror as described in the cleaning and maintenance post.

If you still experience issues, your camera may need repair, but at least you now know how to reset the mirror so that you can close the camera and it can travel safely to a repair shop.

Keep your rollers clean, -f

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