I was given this camera along with a couple of lenses. The skin of the camera was falling off, hanging on by a tiny, wafer thin, thread of glue. So I decided to recover it with a cut off bit of leather I had lying around. I also replaced the mirror foam and the hinge seal.
Super, everything seemed ok so I loaded it with HP5 and took it to a photo exhibition walk around Preston.
I have never been to Preston before, that I can remember anyway, I liked it. It seemed warm and friendly to me. Plus it was nice to be out with a friend who I haven’t seen much of recently, due to obvious reasons.
The first lens I tried was a Pentacon 1:2.8 28mm which I was given with the lens. Here are some photos from that combination.
Interestingly, it was a pretty rubbish day in terms of weather…until we finished for the day and then it was suddenly sunny. Murphy’s law.
Then I tried the other lens I was given, a Pentacon 1:1.8 50mm. Here is a photo of that combination at the Japanese Garden in Preston.
I posted this photo on instagram and immediately a camera friend said, “Is that lens ok? It doesn’t seem to be sitting right.”
I hadn’t noticed anything, but I took a closer look and feel. Sure enough it was wobbling on the mount and slipping in and out of infinity focus. What a good eye he has, but that was annoying. I had already used it a little during the walk. You can definitely see the infinity focus issue in the shot of the line of trees.
When I got home I looked online and it was not an expensive lens, I could get a replacement, in fact I already had one in my box of lenses. It was a little stiff but useable. What about this broken one though?
My mind screamed, “Take it apart! What have I got to lose?”
I have never successfully taken a lens apart before. I have taken elements out, usually the front. But never fully stripped a lens down to the aperture blades. I was so nervous about it that I didn’t take any photos or write down what I did. I just looked for screws on the lens and took it apart by trial and error. I remembered reading about a little ball bearing inside some lenses, I was on the lookout for that. Luckily I found it and didn’t lose it. But, holy crap if I didn’t just go and do it. I took it apart, cleaned the aperture blades which had oil on them, cleaned the glass, put it back together and all seemed ok. YIPPEE!!! But when I looked through it there was huge piece of dust on the inside of the lens, HUGE. So I went through the process again, taking it apart. This time I did lose the ball bearing, swore a lot, found the ball bearing, thanked my handy magnet on a stick and all was ok AGAIN. I do wish I didn’t have a shaggy carpet in my room.
BUT…Did it work? Well, here is the remainder of the film taken in my local nature park and one of my desk straight after the fix. Desk is a huge overstatement, it is a stool. Hence I keep loosing screws and ball bearings.
Not bad for my first ever lens strip down. To be fair it is a very simple lens.
To give the lens a proper run, I took it to a family picnic and on a walk in Leeds city center.
Why can’t cameras capture red flowers clearly? Anyway, a nice “sharper” lens, fixed by me 🙂
Oh, but what about the BCX, the actual camera? Actually, I really liked it. It was produced from 1983 to 1990. It is nice, small, but sturdy. It has aperture priority and manual modes, a judas window in the viewfinder along with chosen speeds on the right. It uses a 4LR44 battery to power light meter and shutter. It accepts film all the way up to 3200 asa and has a top speed of 1/1000th. Nice. I didn’t find many reviews online, but I did find this post about cleaning and fixing one. They are not that expensive, but don’t seem to be that common either. A bargain.