Unfortunately, this is another camera of the dead…for me at least, though it might come back to life yet.
Due to the story of the camera, I didn’t get a chance to take too many photos of it. You can see more on this website and read a great description of how to use it.
When this camera from the 1960s arrived it was very sluggish in every way. I got it very cheap on eBay as it was sold for parts. I thought it was going to stay that way, the shutter blades didn’t open, the automatic winder barely moved and the meter was non-existent.
Then I found this video and decided, I have nothing to lose. I used the information from the 13th minute and cleaned the gear mechanism.
This is what I found when I opened it up.
I got to cleaning, it took a while. Afterwards, I added a few drops of clock oil and it moved so sweetly. The clockwork mechanism worked much better and wound the film on as it should. I put through a spare film that I keep for these occasions, it saves wasting a new film.
Ok so the mechanism now worked, what about the shutter. Well, I didn’t want to take anything else apart for a while so I tried the easy trick of flushing with isopro and lo it worked. The only issue now was the meter. I cleaned all the contacts, but it was deader than a dead thing. Luckily the camera does have a manual mode of sorts. This setting is recommended when using the flash. You pull out the dial on the front next to the viewfinder and you can select the aperture you want. On mine that seemed to work ok.
As I said, nothing was perfect on this camera, but now it did seem to function enough that I could test it. I loaded a film and took it on a visit to a local farm.
Oh if you haven’t guessed or didn’t know, this is a half-frame camera. I bought a half-frame camera that didn’t work. I must have been bored. Basically, I was enamoured by the dial feature. It is a pretty camera, very Austin Powers.
Anyway, when using the camera I found I naturally placed my finger on the rewind button which then did what it was supposed to do and rewound the film. Then I would have to reload it and go past the shots I had already taken. When I had done this twice, I called the test over and stopped using it. Doing this did result in a double exposure, which I quite like.
Like Aly’s vintage camera review, I found setting the zone distance annoying. I preferred using it at infinity.
And now for the ending of the story and why I don’t have the camera anymore.
When I got home from this trip I found a washer on my floor. I knew exactly what it was, it was from the dial, where the clockwork mechanism joined the body. Bugger. Should I take it apart and put it in the right place? It was working, but I must have missed this part??
I decided on yes which was a mistake. When I did take it apart again, I found there was a washer already in the right place. There must have been two originally. I put the second washer on and everything back together…and it no longer worked 😦 I tried again and took the extra washer off, but still no.
The clockwork advance stopped and the counter didn’t count. As I had already tried the camera with a film and didn’t particularly care for it, I decided to send it to a friend who likes repairing cameras. I had hope for the camera and am sure he will be able to get it working again.
This is a beautiful looking camera, but not my cup of tea. Though, I guess if I had tried a better example I might just have a better opinion. I did notice some beautiful panoramic photos taken on this camera on the lomography site. That might be something for me to think about for my other half-frame cameras.
4 thoughts on “Canon Dial 35”
I loved mine-in the day- as an Elvis/UFO camera- but it was new-ish and had no issues. Making diptychs, triptychs and panoramas is the raison d’etre for half frames in my book. A sequence of those little verticals has unique charm
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I haven’t really tried it, but might do over the xmas break.
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Your photo of the gear drive reminds me of what I used to see when rebuilding old motorcycles! Looks like a distributor drive gear.
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I used to ride motorbikes, but never did my own maintenance…so I will take you word for it 😀
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