Leicina Special: Repair

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WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: DIY maintenance is a way to save money if you do it right, or totally ruin a good camera if you do it wrong. Cameras are delicate, precision, optical instruments- not washing machines! Already someone has misunderstood/misread these service tips and caused havoc with their valuable camera. Please understand that this advice is given in good faith and that YOU will be responsible for any damage you do to your camera if things go wrong. Read and understand everything before diving in, and if there is anything that seems unclear, ask questions! the forum at filmshooting.com is a good place to ask. If things are still unclear or you are not confident in your abilities, don't be a fool- take your camera to be serviced by a professional repairman with insurance!

How to open the body for cleaning and repair[edit]

Opening the body of the Leicina Special Super 8mm movie camera is very easy- just 3 screws to remove the main side panel.

Update 03/07/08: Some models require the removal of all 4 screws from the front lens mount panel for removal of the side panel.

You have to set the mode switch (. 1 T) to the opposite of 1 to avoid distorting switches.

Next carefully peel back the leather at the top right corner (right looking at it) and at the right edge almost in line with the Leicinamatic contacts. This is the front of the camera, the panel with the lens mount. You should find 2 deep holes with small slotted screws inside. Remove them but don't lose them!

Update - 03/07/08: I have a Leicina Special (serial No. 08035x) that requires the removal of all 4 screws on the front lens mount panel (two on the right and two on the left) to remove the side panel (see below). Further, the screw holes aren't deep but surface mount screws that are located right under the leather cover. Remove ALL 4 to get the side panel off.

After the removal of the 4 front screws, you will see two additional screws that must be removed in order to take the side panel off of the camera body. They will be located directly behind the front lens mount panel.

Update - 03/07/08: Another important note here - If your goal is to clean the viewfinder mirror and or filters, do this work first. The reason for this is that the front panel (lens mount panel) has wires that go from it back to the main camera body and these wires will break loose from the camera body if you flex them too much. The normal movement that occurs during cleaning and lubrication is enough to break them loose. What I've found that works is I do my work on the front of the camera (clean mirror/filters) also remembering to remove the two hidden screws holding the main side panel on and then I replace the front panel (lens mount panel). I just put a single screw back in the front lens mount panel to hold it in place while I lubricate the rest of the main camera components. This way there is no worry that the wires will be flexed too much and break loose

The third screw is at the back inside the battery compartment- a small countersunk slotted screw. Remove it.

Now you should be able to gently lift the cover off with the setting knobs attached- try to lift it from the bottom first and then up a bit to clear the top run switch. During reassemply, make sure the run switch is pushed flat from the inside or the reed switch arms will be bent.

Inside are several switches to clean- the main ones are the main run switch operated by the solenoid at the top, and the shutter axle switches which are accessible after removing a few nuts/stand-offs. There are other less critical switches that you will see that you can clean too. DON'T use anything abrasive to clean the switches- they are precious metal plated finish and you don't want to wear through that. The best way to clean them I have found is with contact cleaning strips- a specially impregnated card/paper available from RS. Otherwise just plain paper is good. A pencil eraser also works well and can be shaped with a sharp knife to fit any configuration. Be careful not to distort the switch arms which are quite delicate and set up accurately in the factory.

Cleaning the viewfinder is possible too, but it may be the mirror which isn't really cleanable without scratching except with opticlean paint on polymer cleaner. Don't be tempted to clean it with a cloth or brush as you will end up scratching it!. If you want to get to the mirror/filters etc, there are 4 Allen head screws in the corners of the front plate accessible by peeling back the leather.

While you are in there, clean and lube the shafts on which the claw armature runs with a light smearing of grease, and the ends of the shutter axle with a drop of oil, and the film counter mech with grease. Don't be tempted to lube the nylon intermediate drive gear as it's meant to run dry and lube wrecks it fast.

While you're inside drop a drop of synthetic lube onto the lower run button shaft - it often jams otherwise - maybe the same for the 54 fps button.

When you come to putting the cover back on, keep the mode switch in the same position, pull out the top run button, carefully lift off the disk in the middle of the ASA dial, and the bar underneath, and "feel" the speed dial and viewfinder pattern dial onto their shafts. Reset the ASA dial to line up with the slot in the end of the shaft correctly - if you get it wrong, don't force the pot.

Glue back the leather with something not too strong - I use UHU plastic cement but I don't think its perfect. DON'T use superglue! Something rubbery that could be peeled off in the future would be best.

Update - 03/07/08: For gluing the leather back down I have found that 3M Spray Mount works perfectly and allows the removal of the leather later as needed. What I do is spray a piece of cardboard creating a small pile of the glue and then I use a Q-Tip to dab the glue on to the leather. I also use this same 3M spray mount to reattach the disk from the middle of the ASA dial.

How to fix a loose Optivaron zoom lens[edit]


I understand that you have opened up the Optivaron lens on the Leicina Special to fix the looseness that often develops. I sat down and decided to tackle one of mine and ran into a puzzle.

I have pictures of what I have done so far: http://www.mondofoto.com/tips/leicina-special-optivaron-repair/

First I had tried to remove the Leicinamatic motor from the lens. I opened it from the bottom (four screws) and could see the PC board and motor but no obvious way to release it from the lens...so I left it on.

Then you can see in my pictures that I removed four rings quite quickly.

I see 4 holes in a wide brass ring but using a pin wrench lightly did not easily budge it. I also could not see an easy way to remove the macro ring, perhaps that is the next step?


Well done for getting past the last ring you took off- the one with the grub screw that is easy to miss! You will have to take off the Leicinamatic I'm afraid and its a little difficult.

However I think the only thing holding you up at the moment is the macro lever which engages in the macro assembly via a slot. You simply unscrew that lever and IIRC the macro disc should lift off.

To go further though, you will have to remove that Leicinamatic and it's a little difficult.

To do this you will need to remove the little circlip that holds the PCB in place- it usually breaks off with the tiny plastic spigot! but don't worry as the foam (or a new bit of foam if its perished) will hold it in place fine when the bottom is put back on.

Next you will need to remove the zoom motor- to do this remove the 2 screws that hold it to the brass support bracket at the front, and the one screw that attaches the grey plastic rear bracket.

Next carefully rotate the grey bracket upwards till it clears the main housing and it and the motor should pull out. BE CAREFUL NOT TO LOSE THE HIDDEN SQUARE NUT IN THE GREY BRACKET!- I have a Leicinamatic sitting here waiting for me to make a new one as it popped out onto floor as always never to be found again!!

Now you have access to the 3 large headed silver screws that attach it to the lens. These are VERY tight so make sure you use a suitably thin but wide screwdriver and apply plenty of pressure or you'll wreck the heads.

Now you can remove the Leicinamatic and the rest of the lens disassembly should be straight forward.

On replacing the Leicinamatic, make sure that its base is parallel to the camera base before tightening the screws, and adjust the iris collar on the lens so that its ramp cuts off the motor power at the f1.8 end of the scale.

(tips from Sparky at the www.filmshooting.com forums, transcribed by Reed S. 18:19, 7 Mar 2005 (PST))