This camera has recently been the bane of my life. It was such a mistake to buy. I was gassed up by the blackness of it, the full black body being a bit rarer than the dual tone one. Though this camera is hardly rare.
It didn’t come with that lens, you will read more about that later. When I first saw it on Facebook marketplace it had a 35mm Nikon lens on it and that let my heart persuade my head. I wanted that lens. It also came with a couple of other cameras. They were all in terrible condition, there was green stuff on them among other things. But there I was with extra money for a change, usually, I am broke.
Anyway, when I got them all home I started to clean this up. I put a battery in and actuated the shutter a few times. I found the light meter worked and the speeds all seemed correct. BUT, after a few more actuations the wind on locked and wouldn’t move, the mirror was up but could be manually reset. It didn’t help the wind-on issue, which remained jammed. I sent it to a friend and he fixed it. When it was returned I started playing with it again and it jammed once more. Not one to give up I sent it to a repair shop and they said it needed stripping down due to the jam and oil on the shutter blades. I couldn’t afford what they asked so they just fixed the jam and sent it back.
I looked at the shutter and though it was oily, it seemed to function as I watched it on B setting. I loaded a film and did a test run.
Damn, the shutter was sticking occasionally and getting more frequent.
Other than that the photos were ok and it was the first time I had used Agent Shadow from Kosmo Foto so I tried to save something from the shots by cropping the half shutter shots.
To avoid the cost of stripping it down, I spent ages actuating and cleaning the shutter with isopropyl. It seemed to work, the shutter was definitely no longer sticking…I think. So I loaded another film. This time just to save film, I used some expired RAR which I have loads from a bulk roll. I also tried the 35mm lens that came with the camera.
The results weren’t bad but the lens really was in a terrible state.
I was surprised anything got through that front element. I have cleaned front elements before using a variety of materials including toothpaste, but that was for haze or fungus. This was way beyond that so I decided to really go for it and ordered some glass polishing paste to use with a Dremel polishing attachment. I figured the lens was so bad what did I have to lose, toy cameras have terrible lenses and I use those, so why not use a Dremel on a damaged one.
I really would not recommend you do this to your lens so do not follow my example. But for me at the end of a few passes, my lens was improved so I put it back together ready for another test film. There were still lots of scratches on the front element, but at a certain angle, you could see through it without obstruction as evident by the final photo.
The next film I tried was an Orwo NP55 an expired monochrome film. Here are the results with the newly polished lens.
As you can see in a couple of the shots, the sticky shutter was starting to return. But that was not the only issue. When I came to write this post, I picked up the camera to find the wind-on had jammed again. I was not willing to spend any more money on this example. So I tried taking it apart myself and could not fix the issue. I am also not willing to spend any more time on this example and I am certainly not going to invest in a new lens for Nikon camera system when I currently don’t own another vintage body. So now I have a nikon body that can be used for a few parts, screws etc.
As for the camera, if the example I had tried had been a better one I think I would have liked it. I did like the meter window on the top of the camera. Oh well, lessons learned…maybe.