Itchy Hands and Lack of Knowledge Results in Lots of Frustration
Don’t do it if you have a choice. Don’t do what I did because it can be very frustrating. Especially if you have all thumbs and butter fingers like me.
Well, the itchy hands part came on the eve of a public holiday where I was playing with the R-D1 and was thinking how good it would be if the vertical alignment of the rangefinder was properly aligned. It bugged me especially when I am trying to focus on something that was diagonal. In most cases, it did not present a big problem if I only concentrate on the horizontal portion of the image.
Well, I opened up Rich Cutler’s webpage (link has been changed recently) on R-D1 rangefinder adjustment here:
Before I could reach the 3 screws for adjustment, I needed to remove the hot shoe cover. Instructions are here:
The hot shoe removal was straight forward and quite easy.
Then I started to turn the right most screw (screw 3 in Cutler’s instructions) to shift the patch down. It was easily done, however the images I took were out of focus. What ensued was a number of adjustments to screw 2 (the middle one for infinity focus) and screw 1 (the left most for focus patch adjustment) to get everything right. Screw 2 is especially sensitive and it was a real pain to get it right. Getting infinity focus right resulted in front focusing at close working distances. As per Culter’s instructions to try Screw 1 (focus patch), I tried but could not get close focus to work and adjusting it screwed up my infinity focus.
The only thing to do was to try and remove the top cover and adjust using Screw 4, which is located at the left side of the camera – which I was not really prepared to do.
Calling Epson Japan
I have previously sent the camera to 2 places. One told me that they don’t have the tools (after I tried taking off the top plate, I can understand why they may have said that) and the second one told me that the vertical mis-alignment could not be helped. I don’t know, but was wondering that perhaps he did not try adjusting Screw 4.
So I was thinking maybe I should send the camera to Epson Japan to do this. Ok, my Japanese sucks, but my wife’s Japanese is excellent. I should know, cos she teaches the language.
So with my wife’s help, we called Epson Japan and half way through the 1st call, we were cut off while on hold. The second call was to a rather cold sounding customer assistant person and she basically told me to use a smaller aperture. Duh….
Anyway, they were not much help but we wrote down their address and telephone number (had to send it back to the factory for service) all the same in case we decided to send it to Japan with the help of someone in Japan. So I decided to try again to fix the focus myself.
After trying again the next morning on the 3 screws, I still could not get everything working right and so decided to open up the top.
Again, Rich Cutler to the rescue here:
First, I removed the shutter rewind as per Culter’s instructions.
Shutter rewind and shutter button removed.
Shutter rewind and shutter button parts.
I would like to point out that when Culter wrote in his STEP 4 “Slide the keeper off from the top of the winder arm shaft, and remove the tensioning washer and winder arm” he meant to slide the keeper in the direction shown in the diagram below. A section of the hole is bigger and if you push/slide the keeper in the direction shown, the piece will be able to come off the rewind shaft. Next, remove all the pieces of the shutter rewind and put them in the order that you removed them.
Slide/push the keeper in the direction shown.
Shutter Button and ISO/Shutter Speed Assembly
I was stumped next by Culter’s Step 7 “Remove the collar nut around the shutter button….” that I gave up after a while. I didn’t know how to remove it. Was it twist, pry, tug? What?
Finally I figured it out. I used 2 tooth picks and put the ends into the slots and pushed / rotated the collar in an anti-clockwise direction till it turned and came off.
Turn the collar in an anti clockwise direction.
In Culter’s Step 9 “With the shutter button out of the way you’ll see another collar nut. This one may require a pin spanner to remove (I just pushed on the edge of the pin hole and it came loose)” I used my 2 tooth picks’ sharp ends and did the same. Just push and rotate the collar anti-clockwise to unscrew it and take off the ISO/Shutter speed assembly.
Here you can see the 2 little holes where I put the sharp ends of the tooth picks to push and rotate the collar anti-clockwise.
The Rest of the Steps
The rest of the process in Culter’s instructions are pretty clear. The following are the photos:
The rubber cover/grip has been removed in the photo. I think someone has opened up R-D1 previously and used rubber glue to stick the cover back on.
Here the metal plate has been removed.
With the metal plate removed, you can see 3 wires. Two of the wires have to be disconnected before the top plate can be removed. The 2 wires are the ones on the left and right. The right wire (for the needle dial at the top plate) lies underneath the middle wire and is very fiddly. If you want to take pictures to check focus, you need to connect LEFT wire in order to power up the camera and fire the shutter.
The last thing I had to do was to remove the 5 screws holding the top plate to the camera body.
One screw at the back of the body
One at the Left side of the Body
Two Screws at the Front, one on each side of the lens mount.
The last one at the Right side of the body.
The Top Plate Removed
It was a great accomplishment for me to remove the top plate and not loose any pieces or destroy any items. I was amazed myself!
Now the frustrating part began. It seemed that the only by adjusting Screw 4 (the one at the left of the camera) that I could achieve close focus accuracy of the rangefinder.
So ok, I began by readjusting the vertical alignment and the focus patch. The problem with the focus patch adjustment was that I could not seem to see if the focus patch was in focus or not. I think I did not know how to judge or something. It did not seem to do a thing for the focus of the patch.
The rangefinder assembly is very sensitive and any changes can throw off the infinity adjustment almost always. It took quite a while to get the infinity aligned. The reason was that Screw 2 was so sensitive that a little twist or pressure on the screw will push the infinity alignment out. It was a freaking pain!
After I adjusted the 3 items, it was off to test the close focus. But wait! I did not have a shutter button and shutter rewind lever to operate the camera with.
Not to worry, below was how I operated the camera:
By the way, remember that you need to connect the LEFT wire (the one without the keepers) in order to power up the camera. Lots of fitting the top plate on and off was to follow.
Now I could adjust Screw 4. I noted that there was a very small range to adjust. The screw would turn maybe at most 20 to 30 degrees. Somehow it did not matter how I adjusted it but the close focus situation did not improve. It only seem to throw every thing off when I did it.
After fiddling it for a long time and going to and from the other screws, I almost gave up. It was very frustrating. In the end, I adjusted Screw 4 to somewhere in the middle of its range and readjusted the infinity focus and vertical alignment. The last adjustment of the focus patch screw finally did the trick and now infinity focus and close focus were spot on (I think).
I think the whole process took me half a day and it was a frustrating experience. I don’t want to ever do this again if I can. The worst part of the whole process was undoubtedly adjusting the focus.