Idiots Guide To Repair a ZENIT 4 – Part 2 The Complete Teardown

If you read part 1. You’d know I got the Zenit 4 working 15 minutes after I started working on it. Did some minor adjusting, lubing, and cleaning. Got it working decent. Of course, next morning when I woke up, reached over to the camera, cocked it and fire, the shutter fires everything seems to work, except I can’t see the viewfinder! Upon further inspection, the problem was the mirror and the back “flap” won’t come down while cocking the shutter, which makes the camera useless with the shutter open, no mirror, and no back “flap” to cover the screen. When that happens, it means the problem will most likely be inside the mirror box. It is pretty much one of the first thing you’ll install on that camera during the manufacture . There is only one solution………. and what’s better to do on a stormy day when you don’t have to work in the morning? So without any repair manual, lets try my knowledge.

First off, you take the prism off. All the controls off the top, unscrew the top piece.

Take the top cover off. Do not break the wires to the selenium cell.

Did a little more looking around before I tear it in too deep. Confirmed that the lever you see in the middle of the photo, is the problem area.

Meter on the left. Ground glass in the middle. Counter mechanism on the right.

The film counter mechanism will come out in one piece. Checked that nothing links to the problem area from up top.

Removed the Ground glass. gave me a little more room. But not enough, You wouldn’t think it’s going to be that easy would you?

Removed the meter hardware, comes off also in one piece. Now i don’t have to worry about breaking the wires. Be careful when you take the meter out or you will break the needles.
Leave the winding gear in tact.

A better view of what I’ve done at up to this point. Notice the winding gears on the right top. Lube them when you’re putting everything back together.
After everything is out, still can’t find anything link to the problem area. Now to the next big thing.

Peel the Original Vinyl off carefully, usually the old glue will come off easy, if not, try some WD40.
Locate the 4 screw that holds the lens mount and shutter assembly onto the body.

Separate the lens from the body carefully. This camera it doesn’t have anything connecting the two parts.

I don’t have to tear into the shutter assembly this time. But this is what it looks like if you’re interested.

Back to the problem. It will be right there on the left. But I still can’t figure out for sure. I decided to loosen the 4 screws up top and take the mirror box out, to understand how it works with a better view. Lube all that shit before you put it back together, also clean the contacts on the right on both side.

This will be the mirror assembly. The back flap, the mirror. If you see right in the middle, there is a “post”. A lever is supposed to link to this post to push it up and down. Lets go find the lever on the camera.

That will be the lever that came off mysteriously. It was pushed back towards the back. Its in one piece and good shape.

Lets put the mirror assembly back and hook it up. The crank is still attached to the body, use it and see if it will work. It does! Time to put everything back.

Everything’s almost back together. Of course the power went out. And at the same time, I got called into work.

Got home from work, it was dark, power was still out. But that’s not gonna stop me from putting the camera back in one piece. Before I forget how. Good Night.

The power came back on in the afternoon the next day. I decided to tackle the broken meter with the knowledge I acquired yesterday. I got the ASA ring apart, took this piece out, and re fit a pin in it with a paper clip, and soldering gun, the match needle moves.

Look, the match needle moves!


Later on i calibrated the meter, it will have to be done under the ASA ring and also the lens mount if needed. Adjusted the focusing screen/glass. Clean. Now everything works. Except I didn’t glue the vinyl on in case I had to tear it down again because of light leaks, since all the light baffle are very very old and I do not have any replacements on hand.





4 thoughts on “Idiots Guide To Repair a ZENIT 4 – Part 2 The Complete Teardown

    • I didn’t but if you go in far enough and know how to put it back together, you will. I just realized that Everytime I comment on your blog, it never went through did it?

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