Sunday, October 10, 2010

More old cameras

I purchased some old cameras from a woman in Sand Springs yesterday. There's a Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm f1.4 lens, a Pentax ME Super with a 50mm F1.7 lens, a Nishika 3-D camera, an old Kodak folder for 120 film, and a Minolta 110 SLR with a (broken) zoom lens.

The Spotmatic is one of the early versions of this camera, and in fact, this is the same model I used to learn the basics of 35mm photography way back when. These were built like the proverbial brick sh*t house. I dropped mine off the back of a motorcycle once with no ill effects. The one I bought yesterday works well but shows considerable wear and the frame counter mechanism is missing above the wind lever. I may be looking for another donor camera to repair this one eventually.

The Spotmatic takes screw-mount lenses. I've been looking for a usable camera body for these lenses as I'm curious about some of these older lenses. This one has fungus as you can see from the photo. It will still take decent photos, but the fungus causes a loss of contrast and a softer image. These is a way to remove it, but that involves disassembling the lens, soaking the elements in solvent to break down the cement that bonds the elements together, and then cleaning and re-cementing the lens. That's beyond me for now.

The Pentax ME Super has the mirror locked in the up position. But it came with a nice 50mm F1.7 lens that I can use on other cameras. If I recall right, the ME required a battery for all operations, so I tried fresh batteries, but the mirror remains locked up. This one will take some careful disassembly and research.

This is a Graflex Graphic 35, probably from the 1950s. It seems to work OK, though I had to figure out how the double exposure prevention works as the winder and shutter are not coupled. I think the film has to be advanced and then the shutter has to be cocked manually. At first, I thought there was a shutter problem, but it's more likely my unfamiliarity caused problems. Like many cameras from that period, there are no lugs on the body for a strap. That made the leather case a necessity since the strap attach to it.

The shutter release is that silver lever to the left of the lens assembly. It operates a complicated mechanism that emerges from the body and engages that little device that appears to be a spring on the left side of the lens, and that trips the shutter. The cocking lever isn't visible, but it's on the top side of the lens.

This is the Minolta 110 SLR with a broken zoom lens. It's an interesting camera and I'll probably try to repair it just for the experience. Too bad that 110 film is obsolete, or I'd run a roll through it just to see the results. I was never impressed with 110. It's still available though pricey, and getting it processed would be the tough part.

I took this just to show the relative sizes of the ME Super, the Spotmatic, and the Konica Auto S2 which is turning into my workhorse 35mm camera. As my friend Wade said, the Spotmatic and Konica are guy-sized cameras, big bodies that fit well in big hands with fat fingers. And they're heavy.

All these cameras need a careful, thorough cleaning. I didn't really bother to examine the seals, assuming that they'd all need to be replaced anyway.

The Graflex came in a camera case labeled as a Tiara. Our family princess accompanied me to Sand Springs and was intrigued - as princesses often are - by the prospect of another tiara, so I gave her the case.

Labels: , ,


Blogger PM Summer said...

Very nice. I've been eyeballing an OM-2 body... just 'cuz.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I had an OM-1 that I gave to my daughter. I was impressed by the camera's precision and almost jewel-like feel. The Auto-Eye - which predates it by 25 or 30 years - has that same feel. I wouldn't mind having another OM1 or OM2 for myself if I could get a 35 or 40mm lens for it.

3:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home