LightOmatic II repair (3 of 5)

The light meter


There isn't much that can be done with a non-working light meter: personally, I wouldn't attempt to tinker with it at all. The only pragmatic course of action is replacement of the Selenium cell and/or the light meter unit from a donor camera.


All the Lightomatic-types (except for the SP) have a meter sensitivity adjustment. The screw on the top-plate behind the shutter release button is a cover that, once removed, gives access to a shaft which operates the sensitivity adjustment (figure 18) using a 2mm slotted screwdriver.


When disassembling my camera, a tiny mirror that projects the needle pointer image into the viewfinder dropped-off. If you encounter this problem, it needs to be re-glued to the underside of the needle-pointer plate. There's a tiny cut-out with a bracket to hold the mirror beneath.


On my camera, the needle pointer paint is flaking, so ideally this needs to gently removed, and the pointer re-painted.

Removing the lens barrel

  1. The first step is to carefully remove the leatherette covers to reveal the screwheads beneath. While the covers could be pulled back just enough to reveal the screws below, and then re-glued later, I much prefer to completely remove and replace them with fresh new ones. However, this still requires the leatherette to be removed without tearing or stretching, so it can serve as a template.
    Fortunately, the Lightomatic II covers are stuck with a rubbery-type adhesive, which is softened by methylated sprits (known as "denatured alcohol" in the USA). The technique is to start with an edge, introduce a little Meths on a cotton wool bud, and use the tip of a cocktail-stick to gently separate the cover from the camera. Once sufficient material has been freed, it can also be gently pulled to encourage further separation.
    Take your time, and aim to proceed by tiny steps. The process gets faster and easier as more of the cover is detached.
    Once the covers are completely removed, store them between the pages of a book (to flatten them), and clean-up the residual glue on the camera body using the same tools (Meths, cotton wool buds and a cocktail stick scraper).


  2. The second step is removal of the front element lens cluster by unscrewing it anti-clockwise (see figure 19) - primarily to ensure it is safe from damage.
    This step requires a specialist friction spanner: I bought a set from the online UK seller Jack the Hat Photographic, which are show in figure 20. The removed front section of this double-gauss lens is shown in figure 21.


  3. To remove the whole lens assembly from the camera body, the seven brass screws marked in figure 22 must be undone by turning anti-clockwise. The lens mounting plate will now pull free of the camera body.
    It is easier to remove the adjacent cover (to the left of the lens mounting plate) at the same time, as the two will be connected by residual glue from the leatherette cover. All this second plate does is enclose a void in the camera body, through which the light meter wires pass from the shutter to the meter/cell. These wires are clipped on to the backside of the plate, and so removing the two plates together also allows a bit more wiggle room. Additionally, reassembly is easier if this plate has been removed: I cover this on the next page.


Figure 18 - the light meter sensitivity adjustment control.


Figure 19 - with the front covers removed, the next step is to remove the front lens element cluster so it's safe from damage.


Figure 20 - a set of rubber friction spanners.


Figure 21 - the front of shutter three lens elements removed.


Figure 22 - the final set of screws to be undone.