I actually bought two of these cameras from one junk shelf at the same time. One of the cameras had a lens and a battery cover but seemed a bit sluggish mechanically. The other had no lens, no battery cover, but seemed to work mechanically. I decided to buy both as I thought I could take pieces from each and make one good example. In the end, the one with the lens had a number of issues. The on switch was faulty and to get the light meter working you had to press the button really hard to make a connection. The mirror also intermittently jammed and the aperture spring was broken and did not return the lever to the set position. So I took the lens and battery cover and put them on the other example.
The lens was dented so I used my new tool to straighten it out..or circle it out.
There is so much written about this camera on the net that it seems pointless to add any more. Here are a few links to technical and historical details of this camera.
Once I got one good example I put a battery in. I used a hearing aid battery with an adapter that I got from this website. Then I loaded a film, a half a roll I had left from another failed camera test.
What is that black blob?? Was there a piece of paper or something inside the camera? I am sure I looked. I took the lens off and set the camera to bulb. There was a piece of cloth hanging from the inside bellows. Why didn’t I notice that before? Maybe it popped out when I started to fire the shutter. Anyway, I forgot to take a photo of this cloth but there seemed to be two metal clips that used to keep it in place. I bent them back and replaced the cloth using tweezers. Then I fired the shutter…the cloth came out again. I tried a couple of times and it came out each time. So I tried glue. I glued the cloth to the bellows. When I fired the shutter this time, the mirror only when up half way. Oh, the bellows move when the mirror moves. I pulled the cloth away from the bellows and said, “umphhhhh” then made a cup of tea.
When I went back to the camera I was frustrated and just kept firing the shutter while thinking about what to do next. While doing this the piece of cloth magically went back into place. I didn’t touch it, I didn’t do anything, magic or at least mechanics. I think the residual glue caught something and mechanics did the rest.
The cloth now gone, I loaded another film and tested the camera again the next day.
The 55mm f1.7 lens is very pleasing and sharp. The exposure settings due to the TTL are spot on…but there is a light leak of sorts. A line along the top of the negative. I set the camera to bulb again and moved my eye and face around the open shutter. I caught sight of a reflection, a reflection from the glue residue..aaaargh. I scrapped it off and used a black marker to cover any remaining residue.
Then I tried one last time, here are a few from the roll.
Yatta! Fixed and no reflection. It is not a pretty fix, but it works.
I actually liked using this camera, but prefer the Pentax ME Super which is much smaller. This one feels like a brick by comparison.
Keep or Sell: I might actually forgo this section as I feel like keeping everything due to the rising prices. Plus I spent time on this one and fixed it. I am emotionally invested. I will add it to my massive PPP, “Peggy’s Ponder Pile”.