Stereo Cameras

Kodak Stereo Camera Repair

Please note that there is a certain amount of risk involved in trying to repair a camera. No guarantee is made as to the accuracy or suitability of these procedures to a repair you are contemplating. These repairs vary in difficulty - assess your skill levels carefully before tearing into your camera, as we are not liable for any damage to person or property.

Dismantling the Kodak Stereo
by Alexander Klein, Webmaster

What you need are some really good screwdrivers. Don't even try to fool around with your pocket-knife or cheap screwdrivers. This is all what you need to do most repairs of the Kodak Stereo Camera:

1. Screwdrivers 1.0 mm, 1.5 mm, 2.0 mm, 2.5 mm, 3.0 mm, 5.0 mm
2. Phillips Screwdrivers PH 000, PH 00, PH 0
3. two pairs of tweezers (one straight, one slightly bent)
4. two good eyes and good hands
5. several empty film-containers for small parts

Most of the time, it is unnecessary to remove the bottom part. Start with the top part. First, open the camera back and stuff some paper (Kleenex etc.) into the take-up spool (located on the right, when looking from the back). Make sure to push the paper upwards. This helps to prevent that some parts are falling down into the camera. It's not really necessary as this is nothing "deadly", but it helps to save some time later.

Then secure the parts inside the camera so they won't turn (i. e. stick a screwdriver in them) and unscrew the screws on top of the wind and rewind knobs using a large screwdriver. Make sure not to mess-up the parts of the rewind-knob (lever, spring, metal part, screw). Then loosen the two Phillips-screws at the outer end of the metal top plate. Remove the top plate.

You'll want to keep an eye on a few little parts which will probably fall out (view-finder lens and bakelite cover). At this stage, you could clean the back element lens of the viewfinder by opening the camera back and lifting off the small bakelite cover, but I suggest you wait with that until you start assembling the camera again.

Next, remove the diaphragm and shutter-speed dial by removing the two screws holding the appropriate part. The small lever with which you set the diaphragm is held by a tiny screw which has to be removed. Put the lever and the screw in a film container. If you get nervous about the size of the screws: this one is one of the smallest ones used in this camera.

After that, remove the bakelite front part (the one with the Kodak-logo) by removing the two regular screws on the bottom (left and right of the serial number; the screws have fairly thick heads) and the two Phillips-screws at the top (that's why you had to remove the top, as described in the previous step).

Then lay the camera on its back and remove the four Phillips-screws holding the two brown metal lens locking rings round the lenses (the ones that say 'Kodak Anaston Lens'). The screws also go into a film container. Personally, I use just one big container, but you may wish to use several containers and label them. Numbering the containers is probably no bad idea. Then you know which parts to put where at the right time (working your way back to box #1).

The rings lift off pretty easy, probably you have to take a small screwdriver and lift them off (at one of the two holes, so you don't scratch anything). Next, screw out the front elements of the lenses. Label them left and right, as there's no way to tell later.

Then remove the two aluminum scales (depth-of-field [right]/ arrow [left]), held in place by four screws. Now it's time to remove the whole shutter assembly. Open the camera back and loosen the four rather big black screws (they're pretty long). The shutter assembly should fall out. There's NO danger of any hidden springs.

To open the shutter, remove the four bolt-like screws that held the aluminum scales (the screws protrude about 6 mm, so it's quite obvious which screws I mean. The left and right pairs are different. Have a close look!

Now you should have the shutter right in front of you. Describing the whole shutter mechanism is a bit too complicated here, but it's quite obvious if you have repaired cameras before.

By the way: the shutter can be cocked with the protruding lever. If you want to fire it, a small latch near the cocking lever must be pushed in one direction (hold it like that), then press the shutter release "button". To clean the shutter, use medical-grade petroleum ether (mixture of various hydrocarbons, such as n-, i-, and cyclo-aliphates; contents of n-Hexan < 3 %. The boiling point typically ranges from 44 to 62 °C / 111.2 to 143.6 °F, medium molecular weight: 82) or white spirit. By washing the shutter, you remove all old grease and dirt. Then re-lube very carefully. Don't even try to lube the shutter blades... The same stuff can be used to clean lenses (with a special medical-grade cotton-swab). A less agressive way to clean the optics is a lens cleaning solution of 15 % isopropanol and 85 % medical alcohol (benzoline).

When assembling the camera, simply proceed in the reverse direction. At the various stages, check the functions of the camera (i. e. after putting the shutter assembly back, cock the shutter and fire it). Once you screw in the front elements of the lenses (don't forget to clean them before!), put a ground glass (scotch-tape on thin glass works as well) onto the film plane, cock the shutter, put it on B and attach a cable-release. Then keep the shutter open, with the diaphragm set at f 3.5, and focus on a distant reference object (preferably at infinity) with a lot of contrast (focusing on an antenna, distant cables etc. works fine). At this early stage, just do some very crude focusing ... the "fine tuning" will be done later.

Then remove the cable-release and continue assembling the camera, but leave the two brown rings round the lenses away. The only tricky part is getting the frame counter in position. The problem is pretty obvious when you look at it. It's also pretty simple to jiggle it into position to get the top on. Everything in its place and working? Congratulations!

Frame counter note: If you decide you want to remove the frame counter for some reason (I can't imagine why, as there is no mechanical reason to do it), it has backwards screw threads (i. e. turn clockwise to loosen). Several folks snapped off the screw before learning this painful lesson!

Now it's time to focus the camera one last time (the "fine tuning"). Keep the shutter open, the diaphragm also (like before). Turn the lens rings to the infinity-position. Put one brown lens locking ring in place and SLIGHTLY turn in the two Phillips screws. With your fine ground-glass in place and a good magnifier (min. 25 x) adjust the focus to infinity (your distant antenna, cables etc.). Then tighten the two screws. Do the same with the other lens. Cross-check the focus of the lenses at infinity. You may have to play around a bit, but you'll soon notice how it works. With some practice, this job can be done in 10 minutes.

This description is really just very basic, but it should help you to fix MOST problems of the Kodak, to clean ALL lenses, the viewfinder (also all lenses and mirrors) and to re-focus the camera.

Flash adapter

The Kodak just has what used to be the standard bayonet flash plug, or ASA-plug. The adapters are virtually impossible to find new, but you could hunt around for cheap old cameras that used the same bayonet that someone left the adapter on. OR... you can look for an old flash unit (tend to be about $1 in thrift stores), they commonly could attach to either PC or bayonet fittings. Just cut the wires and make your own adapter...

Lens alignment –vertical

Sometimes you may have trouble with your Kodak 3D camera in that the left and right views don't cover the same objects vertically. That is, you could see more at the bottom of one view than at the bottom of the other. This is easy enough to fix in mounting the stereo slides, but of course it is always nice to have a perfectly aligned camera.

It turns out that the Kodak is very simple to adjust. Between the shutter assembly and the camera body is a thick rubber gasket. In many cameras, the gasket material is old and not very plump or springy any more. The shutter assembly is held to the camera body by four long black screws. Actually, it's the heads of the screws which are long; the threaded ends are relatively short. All you have to do is to loosen those four screws, shift the shutter assembly, and retighten. Use a small piece of ground glass up against the film rails and a 7X loupe to see what the film would be seeing. The screws are located near the extreme corners of the film apertures or gates. If you open the back of the camera, you'll see them.

Problems with the cable-release

Several Kodaks have problems with the cable-release which seems to "slip" over some lever when it's being pushed down. This is due to a small lever behind the cable-release-thread which is off-center.

There are two possibilities to fix it. One is the "traditional solution": you have to dismantle the camera and bend a lever inside the shutter mechanism (just a very slight adjustment will do since the "pin" of the cable release itself is only slightly thicker than 1 Millimeter).

Unless you feel comfortable taking apart things like cameras or watches, We'd rather recommend that you keep your fingers off the shutter mechanism.

However, you MIGHT als try the "quick solution" which usually works quite well. Take the camera and a bright light (flashlight or even better a halogen lamp, the sun will do as well). Peek inside the tiny hole that's used to screw in the cable release (let the light shine in as well). You should notice a small lever somewhere on the back of the hole. In your case, the lever might very well be off-center (where it is supposed to be). If it's too far off-center, you might not even see it at this time. In the latter case, set the shutter-speed to B and cock the shutter. Then press the shutter release button and keep pressed. NOW you should see the lever.

All you need is a tiny little screwdriver to put through the hole and to bend the lever until it's in the center.

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Last modified on August 18, 2005
Copyright © 1998- by and Alexander Klein. All rights reserved.