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Ansco Autoset (aka Minolta Hi-Matic)

Rod Rhoads , Nov 14, 2010; 06:08 p.m.

I purchased this Ansco Autoset camera some months back at an estate sale and checked it minutely prior to purchasing- the item was in excellent condition- very mint condition and all bells and whistles seemed OK, even the selenium cell meter gave valid readings and the shutter released faithfully whenever the needle was not in the red. It joined several other rangefinders on my shelf, with the admonishment to myself to load it and shoot some film. However, six months or so went by until the other day I popped in a roll of film and found , to my chagrin, that the shutter wouldn't release no matter what intensity of light it was exposed to. What could have happened in the short time to this gem of mine? Anyone with experience with these cameras have any ideas. My current thought is that it was high summer when i last tested it and quite a few degrees warmer. Could November's chill have frozen/firmed up the grease in the leaf shutter? Am I missing something-I have never used this camera. A real puzzle -I have certainly experienced lenses dying on the shelf after years of inactivity but never a total freeze up in a few months. Any ideas?

Responses

Stuart Gross , Nov 14, 2010; 08:55 p.m.

Hi Rod,

I have the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s, 9 and 11. All of them arrived in near mint condition. However, the leaf shutter was sticking on all of them. A very common problem and an easy fix. The front element needs to be removed and a drop (one) of lighter fluid on the blades will take care of it.

Leave it for a day before re-assembly just to make sure you don't need a second application of lighter fluid.

Jim Momary , Nov 15, 2010; 01:24 p.m.

I've restored 6 Himatic 9 cameras for myself and friends. 5 of them had sticking shutters.
Stuart is right on.

Jim

Chuck Foreman , Nov 15, 2010; 02:08 p.m.

I sincerely hope Stuart and Jim are correct in their predictions. I unlike them have no experience with this model. But file this under the "what could go wrong" category. I may be showing my ignorance but if the shutter won't release when the "selenium" meter is in the red. IS the meter consistently in the red? Could the selenium given up the ghost? I've read that theses meters hold best when not exposed to light..hence on your self exposed to light the meter gave it's last..and/or I've read that the biggest enemy for selenium is moisture and after being taken out of his clean dry hiding place for the last xx? years this brief exposure to humidity has defeated the selenium meter.  This is of course pure speculation and I think that the other guys are likely right.. a little Ronsol.....is the answer!!
 

Rod Rhoads , Nov 15, 2010; 02:47 p.m.

I thought the Ronsonol answer was the best idea UNTIL I tried to unscrew the front element. Wouldn't budge. Then I let my German heritage take over and I tried FORCE- succeeded in bending the filter ring nicely but still stuck- will try a fabric loop wrench kind of apparatus next or give up and donate to my junk box. Too bad as it was mint. (past tense).My bad.

Stuart Gross , Nov 15, 2010; 04:14 p.m.

I should probably add that any attempt at camera repairs without the proper tools such as lens spanners, etc., and knowledge, being either repair manuals or at least some instruction downloaded from the web may result in disaster.

A bent filter ring can be repaired using the proper tool made for the job.

DIY camera repair is not for everyone.

Rod Rhoads , Nov 15, 2010; 07:59 p.m.

The impatience of old age along with a modicum of experience tinkering=fatality in classic fine mechanisms. C'est la vie!

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