Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mechanical Cameras (chemical that is)

Some time ago, I got myself a collection of 4 "untested" (i.e. defect) vintage cameras for real cheap from a world renowned auction site.

The jewel of the collection was a Minolta A5, with a jammed shutter (blocking the film advance lever). I slowly pealed the layers off that thing, and like an onion, it presented the guts, ever so slowly. Finally, I got the lens barrel holding the shutter mechanism separated from the rest. Some tweaking even got the shutter back to work... However, to the present day, I was unable to reassemble this particular camera.
Main problem: I can't get the lens back into the threaded mount. Potentially this camera is a total loss :-(

Second in place was an Argus C3. This camera had a problem with the cocking mechanism, which opened the shutter incidentally. Not good, that for sure. Also the tripod mount was fill with a broken off screw, which is not good either.
The quick fix for the shutter cocking mechanism was to tighten up the shutter release and fix it in the timed position. OK, now, the bulb mode is gone ... but what is a bulb mode good for, if you can't use a tripod? Mind you, the broken screw in the tripod mount.

In third place, a Fujica Half. Actually, this camera was the main driver to place a bid! Again, the shutter was jammed, blocking the film advance lever, similar to the Minolta A5.
Seems that fixes are much simpler with the Fujica. Carefully removing the black rubber, the front-plate of the camera, which is held by 4 screw only, can be easily removed. W/o the front cover, the shutter release mechanism is exposed. Upon wiggling said release a bit, it loosened up and finally released, allowing for cranking the shutter.
The Fujica Half is back in business! Even the automatic exposure stuff seems to work.

The forth and final camera in the bundle was some cassette film plastic thingy not worth any further mention....

At the end, 2 out of 4 cameras a working fine. A third may potentially be rescued, although, I doubt if there is any incentive to rescue this particular Minolta A5 over just trying to get a working one for cheap.

Long live 135 film!

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