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Minolta 58mm 1.4 lens Woes

Russ Rosener , May 13, 2010; 12:18 a.m.

Picked up a nice Minolta SRT 101 with 58mm Rokkor PF f1.4 lens. Everything on the camera works fine inspite of a couple of dents...and the lens is clean and focuses fine. However the aperture blades won't stop down. It's wide open at f 1.4 and dismounting the lens and jiggling the manual lever on the back does nothing. I'd like to try a DIY repair, but before I tear into the lens anyone who has done this or worked on a similar Rokkor lens PLEASE chime in with some advice.
I'm sure you can imagine where I bought this from.... ;(


Andy L , May 13, 2010; 12:54 a.m.

Are the aperture blades visibly dirty or oily? Do they move at all or completely locked up? Does the lever move but not the blades or is the whole thing locked up?

When I started my first photography class I borrowed my mom's SRT and 58/1.4 and immediately overexposed everything. Oil from some other part of the lens had leaked onto the blades, making them stick. Common problem - any good repair guy can fix it. Most of the time this is what causes inoperative aperture.

Russ Rosener , May 13, 2010; 01:07 a.m.

Lynn I can't see the blades at all. It's stuck full open. The lever on back moves but not the blades. Sounds like the same problem your Mom's SRT had. I may take the back off and see what I can do. Not sure it's worth the repair cost. The one guy we have left in town charges pretty much. Thanks for the info!

Andy L , May 13, 2010; 01:46 a.m.

Try emailing Garry at Garry's Camera Repair. I had him service an XD11 a while back and he did a good job and didn't charge much. If it's going to be too expensive, ask the Ebay seller for a return and buy a different one. With Ebay you're entitled to a return of a defective item unless the seller made the defect very clear. (This "I don't know how to test it" crap doesn't fly with the Ebay resolutions department.)

Ralf J. , May 13, 2010; 02:01 a.m.

Russ - I recently brought to life a vintage rokkor that came mounte on an SR-3 I picked up. It was one of the very early ones with semi automatic aperture which requires cocking just like the camera does before you take the shot. The blades on it were lazy, so I used a spanner wrench to remove the plastic bezel that has the lens describtion in the front, then used the same spanner to remove retaining ring that held the front lens group together. It came out as whole block; this gave me access to aperture blades from the front.

Just being cautious, I went ahead and removed the rear group as well and the lens was bare with no optics. I firstly cleaned the blades with lighter fluid; it helped a little but not much. Then I gve the mechanism a flush with CRC electronic cleaner picked up at Radio Shack which I swear by; it is even better than good old lighter fluid. That brought the aperture to full operation. I exercised the blades via the actuation lever for the next 30 minutes, gave it another squirt with CRC can and repeated process. The blades were responsive and snappy. I left it alone for 24 hours and all was well. I cleaned the optics with microfiber cloth and re-assembled the lens easily. Here is an example from it some time this past March

White Flowers, Exposure unrecorded on Superia 200

Tom Scott , May 13, 2010; 09:37 a.m.

I have to agree with Ralf, Minolta Rokkor Lenses are some of the easiest do dissasemble and clean of any I have seen. Also the CRC Electronics cleaner is great for cleaning it. It evaporates quickly and leaves no residue. It is also available at Auto Zone or Advanced Auto Parts stores.

Jeff Adler , May 13, 2010; 10:16 a.m.

I have two 58/1.4 MC Rokkors. I was warned by my repairman that this lens has hard coating only on the front surface of the front element. This means that you must be careful with the rear surface of the rear element all the time and if you disassemble the lens, with the other elements.

Russ Rosener , May 13, 2010; 01:10 p.m.

Great info guys! Ralf I'm going to try this repair. Where did you get the spanner and can you post a pic of it? The lens is pristine, and the SRT101 works great, even the meter. Just needs new foam which is par for the course. I think for once the seller may honestly not have known, since I missed it at first too.The whole SRT 101 rig including flash, leather case and vintage Minolta booklets was only $47.00 My goal is to get a group of these for students to use in my Analog color class next semester. The SRTs are so rugged and basic the kids seem to love them...and I like shooting with them too!
This is why I love this forum. Good advice!

Cliff Manley , May 13, 2010; 09:22 p.m.

The one guy we have left in town charges pretty much.

I don't!

Russ Rosener , May 14, 2010; 06:14 p.m.

You sure don't Cliff! I'm going to try this one myself, and if I get in too deep I'll ship it off to you.

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