Thursday, June 30, 2011

State of the Art Lens Making, 1939

From Popular Photography, August 1939

Read the full text in a new window.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No.1 Kodak Series III

I found this interesting Kodak folder recently on ebay. The No.1 Series III was produced by Kodak from 1926 to 1932. Conveniently, it uses still-available 120 roll film.

The camera is very well built and has several unique features. The majority of Kodak folders had simple self-cocking shutters, but this one sports the No.0 Diomatic with a cocking lever opposite the shutter release, and speeds from 1/10 to 1/100 as well as B and T. The Autotime face plate under the Anastigmat lens has a windowed swinging dial that really helps to determine exposure, unlike the cryptic version on my No.2 Brownie. With a minimum aperture of f32 the camera easily handles 400-speed film.

When I took the camera out of the box, I was glad I hadn't paid much for it as it was in truly horrible condition. The leather covering had been stripped off and the body of the camera had been sprayed with black paint, even covering over the ruby window. Worse, a light bulb held inside the bellows revealed it to be deteriorated beyond repair.

Since the lens, shutter and viewfinder all looked fine, I decided to replace the bellows. The Kodak bellows are held in place by ten or twelve metal tabs at the rear, and the front is secured behind the shutter with two or four rivets and glue. The old bellows is first cut out to give access to the fasteners. The tabs are then lifted with a hooked tool such as those in a Kobalt kit that I found at Lowe's for five bucks. The rivets can be ground down slightly with and electric drill from the inside to allow separation at the front end. After attaching the new bellows, I found it necessary to seal the rivet holes with some black silicone.

The new bellows proved light-tight, but there are still a few things to be done to the camera. The viewfinder is not quite centered in landscape mode, and that results in misframing. I also roughed up the frame mask while bending back one of the bellows tabs, which produces a band of scratches across my negatives. Still, the results from the first roll were excellent in most respects, and I'm looking forward to working more with the camera.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Broadway Bridge

The Broadway is a double-leaf bascule bridge, a design that dates back to Roman times. It was the largest bridge of its type when completed in 1913, just a year after the Steel Bridge.

The wikipedia article has good illustrations of the bascule design and some history of the Broadway Bridge.

On the water

My Zorki 2-C performed flawlessly on the Portland trip; it's a favorite among my FSU cameras. The pictures from the boat were all with the Industar 22 lens.

I would have done more pictures with the Zorki, but I forgot to put my scissors in the camera bag and had no way to trim the film leader.

Mike does Portland

We were treated to a fine boat ride up the Willamette.

Photo by Margaret

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Fremont Bridge

"The Fremont Bridge is a steel tied arch bridge over the Willamette River located in Portland, Oregon. It carries Interstate 405 and US 30 traffic between downtown and North Portland where it intersects with I-5. It has the longest main span of any bridge in Oregon and is the second longest tied arch bridge in the world (after Caiyuanba Bridge across the Yangtze River, China)." wikipedia

Peregrine falcons have been using the bridge structure as a nest site since 1994.

A crew was working at the west end of the bridge where I was taking pictures. One of the workers asked me if I had heard that the area was over-due for a big quake, and that the city's bridges would not likely survive the event. He seemed to be experiencing some genuine anxiety over the prospect.

Sure enough:

"Scientists and geologists said Portland is not ready for a massive 9.0 earthquake and our bridges would likely collapse. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is one of the most dangerous fault lines in the United States, running 600 miles long from northern California, along the Oregon and Washington coast, into Canada. Scientists didn't know it was there until the 1980s..."

There were three reader comments at the end of the article, all of them moronic.

Good luck, Portland.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Steel Bridge

Completed in 1912, the Steel Bridge crosses the Willamette to Portland's city center. Counterweights in the towers raise the center section to allow passage of boats.

The camera for these shots was one of my frequent travel companions, the Ikonta A 520.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ricoh 500

This Ricoh 500 was an early acquisition some years ago when I first got interested in old film cameras. It bore a resemblance to the mid-century Nikon and Contax rangefinders, and it also had some interesting design innovations of its own. Dribbling a little lighter fluid into the shutter got it working well. The pictures from it were a disappointment, however; they were all lacking in sharpness.

I found some reports of similar experiences to mine with the camera, and it got parked on a shelf for the next five or six years.

Recently, I came across some rather nice images that others had made with the same camera. I decided it was time to revisit the Ricoh. This time I removed the lens retaining ring and screwed out the front lens group so I could get access to the shutter blades to clean them. More importantly, I correctly reset the infinity focus using the collimation process described by Mike Elek. The results speak for themselves.

More photos from the Ricoh 500 are in a brief slideshow:
Old Town Shadows.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Occidental Life Building

Henry Charles Trost was the designer of the Occidental Life Building which was built in Albuquerque in 1917.