I recently bought a perfectly working Mamiya 528AL. Pictures from the first test came out great. As for the second roll of film, after a while I noticed the film advance lever wasn't working as smoothly as usual and the exposure counter wouldn't advance (stuck at exposure #18).

I didn't know whether the film was advancing or not, so I decided to rewind it to save the pictures I had already taken. But the rewind release button was stuck (and still is): I couldn't push it down.

So I opened the back of the camera in a dark room and took the film out and half of it was tangled in the take-up spool. After that, the advance lever was working perfectly again.

I decided to open the bottom of the camera and check if there was something stuck next to the rewind button but I didn't find anything (although I noticed a sticky liquid a bit everywhere...is that normal? Could it be old grease for the gears?).

My question may be silly, but do I need to repair the rewind button - and do you know more or less how much it would cost, just to get an idea - or can I rewind the film without pressing it?


1 Answer 1


I recently bought a perfectly working Mamiya 528AL

The rest of your post directly contradicts this. If where you got the camera from declared it as in mint or great condition, you may want to return it if it is, in fact, not perfectly working.

But, before we get there...

The rewind mechanism is essential. It disengages the film advance so that you can get the film off of the take-up spool and back into the can.

If the button were stuck in, you would still be able to cock the shutter, but the film would not advance, and you'd end up with a double exposure (or more).

However, you state:

But the rewind release button was stuck (and still is)

That statement combined with:

half of it was tangled in the take-up spool,

leads me to believe that the film was incorrectly loaded onto the take-up spool or hopped off through a possible really hard or fast crank on the cocking lever.

To conclude...you shouldn't have sticky liquid anywhere inside the film compartment. The rewind button needs to work. The problem in your last roll could have been due to you cranking the lever or something else entirely. You can try again with another roll and make sure to be easy on the lever to see if this problem occurs again. Though, not having the rewind button means you'll be exiting your film in a darkroom/change bag from here on out until it's fixed.

I recently had two cameras serviced (shutter times adjusted, full cleaning) for roughly ~$250 apiece. I'd expect to pay around that for someone to clean up your camera. This cost is obviously a lot more than the camera's value, so I don't know that I'd actually pay it. You'd be better served returning it and buying from a different seller. (Your camera isn't worth much, but the repairman's time is)

  • \$\begingroup\$ The "sticky substance" seems to have been in the area under the bottom plate when the OP took the bottom plate off to inspect the rewind button, not in the film compartment. Yes, there should be a bit of grease on the gears in there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Ah, I misread. A bit of grease in the gears, indeed. But it shouldn’t be tacky feeling. Sounds as if the camera hasn’t been serviced in some time and the grease or other lubricant is now gumming up. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 24, 2019 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes @MichaelC, the sticky substance is in the gears. I'll try a 3rd roll and see if the film advances and if I can manually rewind it. I think I forced the advance lever and that's why the film got tangled. As for the repair costs, you're right Hueco, the camera is pretty cheap for such an expensive repair. I'll look for another mamiya 528 AL or any other camera with a fixed 2.8/48 lens compatible with the screw-on tele/wide converters I have. On the Mamiya Sekor converters it says "fits DL/DTL Lenses - 48mmF2.8/50mmF2.0": does this only apply for the Mamiya branded cameras? \$\endgroup\$
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MELISSA is there a reason you're sticking with this camera? Screw on converters will work with any lens with the right size thread size. That being said, generally people avoid them because of the lack in image quality. There are some diamonds in the rough...but there's a lot of rough...Lots of vintage cameras out there that may be in better shape from the get-go...why this particular camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do have other cameras, but let's say this had more of an emotional value - also, I was surprisingly satisfied with the quality of the pictures I got using the wide convertion lens. I'm definitely going to buy a compatible vintage camera and I'm open to any suggestion. So far I've been using either Mamiya or Petri-branded film cameras. \$\endgroup\$
    Jan 24, 2019 at 17:06

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