Monday, September 21, 2009

Chaika camera shutter not working?

I found a Chaika 3 half-frame camera at the little camera shop on Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg for about 20 bucks. It takes photos that work really well with my sense of composition. Imagine my disappointment upon breaking it before I got to the second roll. What follows is for the random person who buys one and experiences shutter failure, as I did.
It turns out that the film advance/shutter release mechanism is rather finicky. If you don't pull the film advance lever all the way back, the entire mechanism will jam. You will then fully depress the shutter release button and nothing will happen, nor will you be able to advance the film. Here is what to do:

1. Turn on a really bright light and grab a magnifying glass or loupe; you may need it.
2. Unscrew and remove the lens.
3. Look at the very top into the body just below where the lens screws in. You'll see a peg and a little triangular tab. If you don't, use your magnifying tool.
4. Use an unfolded paper clip to move the peg, you should see the shutter release. The tab is supposed to move the peg when you release the shutter. The tab is jammed. Simply move it toward the peg, it should push the peg, release the shutter, and un-jam.
5. Put the lens back on, and make sure that when you advance the film, you pull the lever as far back as it will go, so that it doesn't jam again.