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Pentacon Pentina strip down

A few days ago I bought a Pentacon Pentina 35mm slr from an ebay auction for a couple of pounds. It was cheap because it was faulty and needed a repair so I thought it would be an interesting camera to try to improve my repair skills with.

Pentacon Pentina images

The problem reported with the camera was that the mechanism was locked – it was not possible to advance the film, fire the shutter or see through the viewfinder. When I received the camera and did an initial assessment I confirmed that this seemed to be the case, and since I found that the self timer mechanism was engaged I proceeded to take the shutter apart to see if I could free it.

Once I started working on the shutter I found several issues:

  • The camera has been dropped or bashed and the lens has a large dent which stops the focus ring moving more than 1/3 turn. This damage also seems to have bent the film advance mechanism which, after I’d freed  up the self timer so I could move it, I found is very stiff to move.
  • When I stripped the lens down to get to the shutter there is a small latch which has come away from it’s pivot pin and the pin and spring are detached from the lens framework. I believe this latch is part of the flash sync, but I’m not certain.
  • The shutter blades themselves seemed to be stuck in the closed position.

The shutter blades were the easiest part to deal with – I dropped a couple of drops of IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) from a dropper onto the gap at the back of the shutter where the blades should be and they sprang out of their oily home! Once I could see them I could clean the oil off the blades with cotton buds soaked in IPA. Each time I worked the shutter, a bit more oil was transferred out of the the shutter onto the blades and I just kept cleaning them. A word of advice if you ever need to do this – make sure you carefully examine the blades and remove any debris from the cotton bud before you cock the shutter and possibly transfer any cotton threads into the mechanism.

For the self timer I did a similar thing – dropped a drop of IPA on the mechanism to free it up. Ideally I would have taken the self timer out and cleaned it separately but I couldn’t find a way of releasing the self timer without pulling the whole shutter / camera apart.

Unfortunately, the wind mechanism is just stiff to operate because it rubs against the case as it’s moved so because of that fault and the damage to the lens, I suspect this camera will become a donor for another Pentina at some point. I thought it was worthwhile publishing the procedure to open it up however, because I couldn’t find any details when I carried out an internet search, so it may be useful to another Pentina Owner at sometime.

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I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

  1. Michel says:

    Great job!
    I have a Pentina M with dead meter. I have a second Pentina in poor condition. Do you know how remove the top of this camera and disassemble the meter
    Your help would be precious to me.

    1. Hi

      Sorry Michel, I’ve not seen a Pentina M so I can’t advise but thanks for reading the article

  2. Mike Eckman says:

    Simon, just last night I attempted to tear down the shutter on a Pentina and used your screenshots as a guide, so thank you for that. Unlike your’s mine was stuck open, and not closed. No amount of naphtha could loosen it up, and sadly, after getting it apart, I was unable to resolve the problem. Not only was the shutter stuck open, but the film advance lever and shutter release wouldn’t move, as was the viewfinder blind in position.

    Thankfully, I was able to get it back together correctly and although it still doesn’t work, at least it’s a very nice display piece! 🙂

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