Yashica MG-1, My Restoration Project

My Dad gave me a few of his old film cameras recently and one of them is a RangeFinder, the Yashica MG-1. I was very excited and impressed with this camera. This is my first RF and I am determined to restore the camera to pristine. This article sort of serves as a record for the restoration process and what I have done to it.

First thing that I did, was to sent the MG-1 to my trusted camera repairman Mr. David Hilos. He helped me cleaned up the camera chambers, view finder and did a general check for me. When the camera is good to go, I collected it back and to work on the cosmetic department.

The below picture shows how it looks like when I got it from my Dad along with an external Flash. 

The camera is still cladded in its original leather case. I removed the camera from the case by unscrewing the placeholder cum tripod mount.


Using Alcohol Swab, Lens Cleaning Solution and a Cloth, I am ready to start.

First, using the alcohol swab, i cleaned the leather grip area area on the camera. Old leather tends to have this “whitish” thingy on the surface which can’t really be removed by most convention cleaners and leather conditioners. I read up somewhere on the net that alcohol swab works and so I tried. The surface no longer has the “whitish” compound now, I guess it really works.

Next, still using the alcohol swab, the original leather case was given the same treatment. Now the case looks really new and shiny.


Next, will be to clean the lens. using the lens cleaning solution, I drip one drop of it onto a cleaning cloth and work my way on the lens surface to remove any possible stains. (I did not use the lens tissue because the lens front element is not very big.


Next, I bought a new 55mm UV filter to protect the front element.


This is how the MG-1 looks like (below) after the new UV Filter is mounted. Cool eh?


Bought a lens cap to replace the original Yashica rubber cap.

After the new lens cap is mounted, this is how the MG-1 looks like now. (Below)


Next, the original Yashica camera strap. It’s such a beauty. I had the strap conditioned with alcohol swab and removed it from the camera for safekeeping.


The original strap will be replaced with this new Yashica Camera strap. (Below)


Now, the MG-1 with a new strap!


Next, I popped open the battery hatch.


I found a mercury battery (HM-4N) which my Dad told me that this is out of production already. Well, the whole world had banned mercury anyway. With the help of a friend Sebastian Chow, he taught me how to use another battery and a battery spring to use this combo to power the camera. I am not showing it here though.


Then recently, another photography (Darren Chin) brought me to another shop (battery.com) who specialized in batteries of all kinds, voila! Found a direct replacement! But in alkaline of course! And made in Singapore too! (Below)


Now to test, both lights lighted up!


Below shows when the lights are off.


And to make sure, I pressed again to check, yes, the battery works and both lights lighted again. Tried the shutter for wide open and narrow down and the speed varied with the apetures, the MG-1 is ready!


Added new batteries (AA) into the flash and mounted on the MG-1, this guy is ready for some serious RangeFinder action again after sitting inside my Dad’s store room for the longest time!


Thanks Dad. I will cherish this camera.


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27 Responses to Yashica MG-1, My Restoration Project

  1. hello.can you tell me.what type of battery you replacement?And where shop you buy?can pos their address to me?

  2. Hi There,

    There is a Direct Replacement (Not Mercury) available at Unicell, that’s where I bought new batteries.

    The shop is at Sim Lim and this is their website. http://www.battery.com.sg/

    You also use MG-1?

  3. zayne says:


    I got this Yashica MG1 from my dad too but the viewfinder and everything is in a moldy state. I am looking for someone to repair it. may I know is there any way to contact this Mr David Hilos that you mention?

    Thanks a million

  4. VY.Photoguy says:

    Hey! Just some questions,where did you purchase the Yashica replacement strap for your cam? Its a good deal dude (: What’s the website for replacement battery too? What’s the use of the battery? Thanks!

  5. iamtom83 says:

    Ive an MG1, and looking for its attachment lenses and viewfinder, do u have them and where can i obtain in spore.

  6. John Lee says:

    Can i know the specific battery u ordered from battery.com.sg? Will a 6V one work properly??

  7. pooja says:

    i have a mg1 too, but it has a problem with the focusing…can you please help me..?

  8. can u please post the link of battery & strap ?

  9. & the lens cap link too

  10. Mike W says:

    I just bought an MG-1 and am hoping that the replacement battery you mentioned or an equivalent is available in Canada. All I have seen so far on the batteries is on the Yashica Guy website and the adapter for the battery they sell. Aside from the foam seals being degraded it is in good working order.

  11. Nikki says:

    Hi, I just recently got this camera my my aunt. It was my grandfather’s. I was wondering if you know anyone in Malaysia that can take a look at it to check if it’s still working. It’s really mouldy, it looked like there was some insect nest in the film chamber and the battery was probably left in there for decades. My aunt doesn’t have my time left. I really hope I can restore it with whatever resources I have for her.

  12. Pingback: Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH – Revisited | SHUTTER JOURNEY SINGAPORE

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