Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kiev IIa

I've finally gotten around to putting a page about the Kiev IIa on my vintage cameras web site.

I acquired the camera about five years ago when prices and postage from the former Soviet Union were a lot lower than they are now. I also picked up a very fine Jupiter 12 lens and an accessory viewfinder around the same time. It turned out that the Kiev needed a shutter repair, but that was also obtained at a trivial price from Oleg Khalyavin in Ukraine.

I later did some small repairs on the Kiev IIa myself. One of the most common problems with this camera is irregular frame spacing. A temporary fix is to slightly loosen the screw controlling the clutch under the forked end of the film advance. A better solution is to disassemble the simple advance mechanism for cleaning and re-lubing. At the same time, I replaced the worn yarn light seals where the top deck meets the camera body.

I haven't used the Kiev IIa nearly to the extent that its fine quality demands. I'm thinking I should acquire some more of the great glass that is available for this camera. Please contact me if you have any Contax-mount lenses you might like to trade for some other classic camera gear.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Less is More

The mid-'70s Olympus 35 RC is a full-featured rangefinder camera that fits easily in the palm of your hand. Like the little Samoca 35 Super, the Olympus was the smallest camera of its type available at the time, and it incorporated many innovative design features. A CdS meter provides shutter-priority auto exposure with manual override. The E.Zuiko lens is a five-element design that yields razor sharp images. The aperture is set by the meter through a delicate mechanical linkage that seems like it should be vulnerable to damage, but all three I have owned have had perfectly functioning meters.

A very thorough review of the 35 RC can be found at Stephen Gandy's CameraQuest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Smokin' Samoca

The Samoca-35 Super is a mid-'50s Japanese rangefinder. Mine has a sharp 3-element Ezumar lens. Everything on the camera works fine, though the rangefinder patch has dimmed over the last half-century. A small dot of black tape in the center of the viewfinder window helps to produce a little additional contrast and makes the rangefinder much easier to use in low light.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Russian in Old Town

My Zorki 2-C was a gift from a friend. The bottom plate was from another model and didn't quite fit, but a strip of black tape kept it in place while shooting a roll of Kodak BW400CN. The shutter was about a stop slow, but the Industar 3.5/50 performed nicely and I was happy with the results.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Pinhole

I've been wanting to try some pinhole pictures with a somewhat different style than I have done in the past. The little plastic point & shoot cameras are a good choice to convert for pinhole use. The camera case is simply disassembled , and the simple shutter and lens can be easily removed to make way for the pinhole. This particular camera has a couple more things to recommend it for pinhole use. The lens mount where the pinhole disk goes is close to the front of the camera, so there is no vignetting of the image by the round lens opening. The paddle lens cover is actuated by the pressing of the shutter button, thus giving a relatively smooth release. For maximal sharpness, one would want an optimally sized pinhole, and also the addition of a tripod mount to steady the camera on exposure. Since I was going for a more impressionistic style, I decided to just use some rubber bands to secure the camera to the top of my tripod, and I even shot it hand-held part of the time.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Low Stakes Gamble

I found this Pentax K1000 recently in an Albuquerque thrift store. It was tightly wrapped in plastic with a lot of tape over that, so I couldn't tell much about the camera's condition. At $15, though, it didn't seem like there was much to lose by acquiring it. Turned out that it needed little more than a battery to make it work like new.

I did replace some light seals on the Pentax and also on the Canon TX with the idea that I might sell them. After seeing how nice both the cameras perform, though, I'm having a hard time letting them go. I particularly like the meter and the view screen on the K1000, and the SMC Pentax-A lens is really sharp.