March 29, 2014

Nikon L35AF shutter release and on/off switch repairs

If you visit Flickr's Nikon L35AF group, you will find lots of discussion about the camera malfunction.

One of the most common malfunctions is a stuck shutter release or a loose on/off switch.

Here's how I fixed these problems in one of my cameras. You do have to open the camera up. But don't try to remove any of the shells until all the screws are out. Follow all three steps before attempting to pull it apart.

BEFORE beginning, I recommend you setting the ASA/ISO dial to the highest setting. It will be either 400 on earlier models and 1000 on later ones. This will make putting things back together easier.

1.BACK/SIDE SHELL FIRST.  I started with the back panel. It is held with by four screws. They are different lengths. I recommend you lay them in an orderly way on a cleared table so you can get the right ones in the right place.

2. FRONT/BOTTOM SHELL. You will find three obvious screws on the bottom. They too are of different lengths. Take note.

3. BUT WAIT. There are also four MORE screws inside the film chamber. And ONE under the front's flash-side rubber grip. See the next three images below. They too must be removed.

There are two screws on the cannister side.

There are two more deep inside the film take-up side. They are hard to get to and you will need a long thin Phillips screwdriver.
There is only one screw to loosen on the front (yellow circle). On some cameras a lower screw may be visible. Do not attempt unscrew it. It is an adjustment screw and does not fasten the front panel.

4. Phew. The back panel is easy to remove. The front panel holds the troublesome shutter release. Take care in taking it off as a stuck shutter may mean it is fouled with mechanical components. Gentle.

5. If your problem is a stuck shutter, find the shutter release shaft (yellow arrow) which moves up and down through the centre of the on/off cam (ie the part that turns). Often, a stuck shutter is caused by a fatigued, less-springy return spring. But I haven't attempted to replace the spring. Instead I added the smallest amount of lubricant to the shaft. That worked for me. See below.

6. LOOSE ON/OFF SWITCH. If that's your problem, you will have to take another step. See the pink arrow pointing to the silvery C washer? Remove it by prying it. I used an Exacto to lift it and then a tweezer to pull it. Don't bend it or break. You'll need it. Once off you'll be able to take out the on/off cam. We're nearly there.

7. LOCKING SPRINGS. They are made with very thing strips of metal (see above). If you are lucky, they won't be overly fatigued and you can reshape them so they have a bit more bite into the cam. Not too much or you will have difficulty turning it off and on. Mine simply crumbled when I took it out to bend it. I had salvage parts to swap in. You may have to fashion a spring.

If I had to do that, I would use the soft silvery metal from a spent Fuji Instant Film case. I would cut the strip with box cutter to the appropriate width. Then snip the right length with scissors and then shape a new spring with the edge of a ruler or even pliers.

And that's it. Good luck.


  1. Hello JJ, do you have any experience with the L35AF2?

  2. Thanks for posting all the detailed pics. I couldn't deactivate the self timer. I got everything apart and found that the self timer's tension screw was loose. A half turn or so and she's working top notch again. Without your help I'm sure I would have broken it completely.