How to Repair a Leaf Shutter Lens

Written by shari caudill
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How to Repair a Leaf Shutter Lens
The most common problem in a lens is sticking due to grease. (camera lens image by tamdesigns from

The most common problem with the leaf shutter, or more precisely the diaphragm, in a lens is sticking due to grease. Before opening a lens, you should make sure the diaphragm is the source of your problem. Photographs should be overexposed. You might be able to see the grease by looking into the lens while it is off the camera. Work the activating lever while looking through the lens. Improper handling of a lens can result in permanent damage so you might wish to take it to a professional.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fine tweezers
  • Rubber pad
  • Lighter fluid
  • Lint-free rag
  • Pencil and paper
  • Dry graphite
  • Tiny screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Install the lens on the camera body and open the back of the camera to conduct a final visual inspection. Using the fastest shutter speed and the smallest aperture setting, look through the back of the camera and trip the shutter. You should see a small, sharp opening. Large aperture openings and blurred images are clear signs of dirty blades in the diaphragm.

  2. 2

    Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them to remove oil and other contaminates.

  3. 3

    Use a rubber pad to unscrew the name ring from the end of the lens. Remove the three or four tiny screws. Carefully lay them aside. Now, remove the filter ring.

  4. 4

    Remove the front grouping of the lens by unscrewing it. Then unscrew the rear grouping.

  5. 5

    Analyse the blades of the diaphragm closely. Make a precise diagram of the orientation of the blades and their activating rings.

  6. 6

    Use fine tweezers to remove the delicate blades one at a time. Be careful and take your time. Separate each blade and ring on a clean table.

  7. 7

    Wipe the inside of the lens and both sides of the blades and rings with lighter fluid and a lint-free tissue or rag. Make sure they are completely clean.

  8. 8

    Lubricate the activating rings by rubbing dry graphite on them. Blow the loose graphite off the rings before you reinstall them.

  9. 9

    Re-install your diaphragm working from your diagram once you are certain all the pieces are dry. The last blade is the trickiest to reinstall. You must slide it underneath the first blade.

  10. 10

    Screw the lens back together.

  11. 11

    Install the lens on your camera and shoot test pictures to see whether the cleaning fixed the problem.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a Polaroid camera to take pictures of your lens at different steps or draw pictures.
  • Start the process when you have plenty of time to complete it in one sitting.
  • Never disassemble a digital lens.

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