Thursday, February 23, 2012

Uniquely Modest

The Finetta IV D, produced in Goslar, Germany in 1950, was a camera clearly designed to be an affordable  image maker which would make sharp pictures reliably throughout the life of a family. The bakelite and metal construction is solid, and the coated Finetar f4.5/43mm lens yields very respectable results.

I acquired my Finetta some years ago.  Nothing worked quite right on it when received, but I reset the infinity focus, cleaned the shutter and advance mechanism, and got it working well enough to shoot a single test roll.  The pictures I got were sharp enough, but not very interesting -- not the fault of the camera, of course.  So the camera was unjustly condemned to years on the shelf, and I only got back to it again today.

When I examined the camera again in preparation for using it, I found that the film rewind mechanism was not working right.  When you lift and turn the Advance knob on the right it is supposed to release the film spindle to turn freely so the film can be wound back into the cassette on the left.  It turned out that the little screw you can see at the lower right above had worked loose.  The result was that the bottom of the take-up spool was not getting above the brass lever assembly which prevents the spool from turning backward.  Tightening down the screw fixed the problem, and I loaded up a roll of Fomapan 100.

That little lever in the picture above flips down to hold the film cassette in place so you can slide the back on  without having the film fall on the floor, a simple but effective design feature that is typical of the camera's construction throughout.

Getting the back of the Finetta off and on again is a little counter-intuitive for most people today.  Like my little Ansco Panda, that knob on the camer's bottom plate is turned in a clockwise direction to open the back and counter-clockwise to close.  My wife tells me the letter indicators stand for Auf and Zu, which translate roughly as Open and Close.  Someone obviously took a screwdriver to the back of my Panda, trying to pry it open, and left some pretty ugly scars.  The Finetta did not suffer the same fate.  Perhaps the last owner was a German speaker.

Tomorrow: Actual pictures made with the Finetta IV D !!!

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