Shutter-release assembly exploded view

Improving the shutter button

The shutter release button on my Epson R-D1 has always felt a bit ‘scratchy’ when pressed—and this roughness was magnified when I tried using a soft release. For some reason, I was particulary sensitive to this minor fault every time I used the camera, and eventually decided to do something about it.

Do not attempt to perform any operation on your Epson R-D1 unless you are comfortable with the procedure(s). Please read the disclaimer.

The solution

I dismantled the shutter-button assembly (a quick, simple job), using a cheap pair of tweezers in place of the correct tool (a spanner wrench). On examining the mechanism, the problem seems to be that the button does not depress squarely, and hence catches on surfaces.

The procedure

The shutter-release mechanism may be modified as follows:

Shutter-release assembly exploded view

Figure 1. An exploded view of the shutter-release assembly of the R-D1. See the text for explanation of labels: (a) retaining ring, (b) shutter button shaft, (c) assembly washer, (d) retaining lip, (e) shutter tube shaft.

  1. The sides of the shutter button touch the inside edges of the outer retaining ring (Figure 1, item a) as it is depressed. Both the button and the retaining ring have a paint finish that is slightly rough. I polished the paint smooth with fine wet-and-dry paper (grades 1000 and 2000), finishing off with car paintwork scratch remover and polish. Do not take the paint down to bare metal – you just want to give the paint a smooth finish.
  2. The lower, tubular, part of the shutter button touches the sides of the shaft in which it travels (Figure 1, item b). I rounded off the square edges of the shutter tube exit, again using fine wet-and-dry paper. I also polished the rough black paint on the tube to a gloss finish, to reduce friction. (I deliberately didn’t polish the paint off, as soft, bare aluminium would then be rubbing on steel, leading to increased friction as the aluminium abrades.)
  3. The shutter button is prevented from rotating by a washer with two upright tabs (Figure 1, item c), and a retaining lip on the button slides against these tabs (Figure 1, item d). I rounded off the angular edges on both the retaining lip and tabs, using fine wet-and-dry paper.
  4. I then bent the tabs on the washer inwards very slightly so that the shutton button is still free to move within the tabs but side-to-side movement is lessened.
  5. The shutter button tube rests on a circular stop on a steel shaft (Figure 1, item e). This stop has sharp edges, which I smoothed off with fine wet-and-dry paper.

This easy modification only took about half an hour but has completely altered the feel of the shutter button: It’s now as smooth as silk when pressed.