Tag Archives: film

Taking a chance on a broken camera

After my last post about the Chinon CE-4 I wondered if I could fix another with the same process. So I search eBay for listings that stated “for parts” and “mirror locked”. I found a few and sent offer requests, I didn’t want to pay a lot on a gamble. One was accepted, this one…

The listing said the shutter was jammed. I offered £5 and it was accepted. So a few days later it arrived and looked a state. When I put some batteries in it, nothing lit up. This was more than just a shutter jam as the light meter should still have worked and the battery check light should have activated. The mirror was also in the correct place.

I took the bottom off and checked it with my working version. They both looked the same. So then I pondered a bit, always my mind goes back to Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is usually the best. So maybe the batteries? I checked those and they were fine. The battery holder? I swapped the ones I had from camera to camera and yatta…the original working camera no longer worked, and the new broken camera now did.

So it was the battery holder. But then, why didn’t it? It is just a holder, no electronics. Something must be stopping the connection, how to fix that? First I tried some tinfoil in it. That didn’t work, but I noticed a slight green tint on the outside. That must be residue from a leaking battery. There was no damage in the compartment, just a slight, very slight green tint on the holder. Nothing to lose really, so I tried soaking the cap end in vinegar for a few minutes. Once I thoroughly dried it, I reinserted it into the broken camera, yatta, it worked. To be honest I think that is very weird, but don’t knock a gift horse in the mouth. I now have a working CE-4 that only cost a fiver. A camera that looks like crap, but I can fix that. Lo and behold another Spiderman camera.

I don’t need two Spidies so will be selling this one to recoup my high outlay 🙂

Chinon CE-4

I love this camera. Though it isn’t my best camera or my most sophisticated…it has Spiderman all over it!!! What’s not to love?

I had seen a few of these cameras online with the skin either off or falling off. That made them cheap, so I bought one. I was looking for a replacement body for some Pentax lenses anyway. As soon as it arrived I set to recovering it and just happened to be reading a comic. I wonder??? Could my comic be a new cover? Yes it could. I cut it to the right size and glued it on. Gosh, I hoped the camera worked as I was already enamoured with it.

It was produced around 1980 and this excellent blog post compares it to the Pentax ME Super, which is great as I bought mine as a replacement for that camera. A friend had cheekily asked if I would swap that camera and I was reluctant as the prices are rising for the ME. But at the end of the day I don’t use it and I have lots of others. I still wanted a Pentax K mount, because I am me 🙂 So I decided to get this one. That blog post has all the information you might need for this camera.

I had recently been gifted an Ilford FP4 plus film so loaded that up and then took my camera everywhere with me. I just couldn’t stop looking at it and playing with it. That being said, it took me longer than usual to get through the film…and there were ghosts, trials, and tribulations.

Firstly, I took it to Harrogate and took a few shots before feeling like I was getting a massive migraine. So I headed home very quickly…I was right.

Then I took it to the exhibition in Blackpool, but it was raining so I didn’t take many shots there either. I just took a few inside, making good use of the 1.7 aperture.

Then I thought, well, I bought it to replace the ME Super so why not try out the Pentax lens. So for the next trip to Manchester I swapped the lenses. I was going there to hunt for ghosts as it was almost halloween. I managed to capture one before the mirror locked up and the camera became unresponsive 😦

Just before it died, it acted a little weird, the wind on acted oddly. As you can see the first two frames overlapped. I tried some new batteries, as they were LR44 they were easy to replace. But it had no effect, the camera was dead. I carried on the monster hunt using a Brownie and a very old film which didn’t turn out well either. It was supposed to be an experimental combination not my only camera.

Anyway, when I got home I decided to see if I could reset the mirror somehow. There was very little on the net, no fix that I could find. So I took off the bottom plate and had a look. I found a piece that moved and then tried to turn the electronic winder mechanism manually. Basically I was looking for anything that would move. Low and behold my experimenting worked and the mirror came down.

Here is a diagram of what I did.

A coin fits in the winder mechanism quite well making it easier to turn.

With the batteries back in and the lens back on I tried it a few times before putting the plate back on. All seemed well, but what had happened and would it happen again. I suspected the Pentax lens and with some more experimenting I found the issue. Though it is the same mount, the “A” setting totally confused the camera and caused the error.

I could repeat the error and fix it. In the end I decided to play safe and put the Chinon lens back on for the remainder of the film, which I took on a walk around my house. I also added a red filter just for fun.

And here is where another ghost appeared…I took another camera out on the walk to finish some infrared film I have, a Minolta XG2. That camera also suffered a mirror lock up. When I got home I took off the bottom plate and had a look. It seemed to work in exactly the same way as the Chinon.

Yatta, I have learned something new. So I then went on eBay and bought another Chinon CE-4 with a stuck winder and crappy skin for very, very small fee as it is listed as broken. I will see if this works on that one too, though now after posting this I might not be able to get them quite so cheaply.

Selling at a Vintage Fair

Last weekend I was invited to sell some of my cameras at a local vintage fair. I say invited, but I had to rent the table of course. What I mean is, I had forgotten all about it and received and email reminding me and hoping that I would be there.

At first I declined. Last time, I only sold 3 cameras, but gained 4 or something like that. I just about covered the cost of the stall. My wares were a bit of a curiosity, different from the other vintage stalls, a topic of conversation…not real antiques or vintage apparently. But then I remembered HOW many people I spoke to and the man who gave me the Contax RTS III. I still have that, maybe he would come to the fair again and I could hand it back?

So I changed my mind and said yes. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough cameras to sell…ha ha ha what was I thinking and this was before I got a heap of brownies.

I packed the night before and while doing so made a list of prices. Last time I put the price on the camera which seemed to stop people looking altogether. This way the customers had to ask, and seeing as they were talking to me anyway it seemed the way to go.

Last time I was a newby and felt out of place. This time, I was in the club and the other store holders remembered me, it felt much friendlier. Some of the other stall holders asked me about cameras and what to charge. One offered to sell me his father’s old camera, but the price I could offer was way less than it was worth sentimentally to him.

I set my table up in price order, that way I knew where to keep my eyes it if got busy or I left the table for a drink or bathroom break. The person on the next stall happened to be wearing the same jumper as me, so we were immediately friends. We covered for each other.

I sold a point and shoot almost immediately, then later another and finally the Olympus O-Product. It was a camera I had searched for and would have been happy to keep, but ultimately I wasn’t using. The prices for that camera have gone up recently and will probably continue to rise. I got a fair price for it and it happened to be the buyers birthday, lucky for us both. That was another reason for not putting prices on things, prices are going up. The last time I was there the o-product would probably have been half the price I eventually got for it.

Money in my pocket time for cake! They are smaller than they look.

The day went very quickly for me. I was posting photos online and I got a couple of nibbles on one of the camera forums I am in for other cameras.

And of course I chatted with lots of people. I gave demonstrations and answered questions, especially to children. I am a teacher after all. Some of the children had never seen a film camera let alone held one. Seeing a child hold a hundred year old camera was charming to say the least.

One couple said they had a camera at home they would like to sell, they described it to be and I knew exactly what it was. They went home and brought it in to show me, a polaroid land camera. I really wanted to buy it, but at that time I had not sold the o-product so didn’t have any spare cash. I am too honest so I showed them what they were fetching online and gave them a very low price I would offer. I explained I would have to test it and film was expensive. I even suggested they didn’t sell it to me but post it online as they would get more.

And finally it happened a woman came to the store and told me she had a Leica in the cupboard that her father had brought back from Germany after the war. She doesn’t know what to do with it or anything about it, but it is definitely a Leica.

I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!! Please let me see it, please let me try it. I could at least let you know if it is working and what it might be worth????? PLEEEEEASE. But she laughed, took a card and walked away 😦

Bugger.

Anyway it was a nice day and I will do it again as I now have a world of Brownies. Roll on March.

Back to the Mamiya C2

I haven’t completed any reviews for a while, busy life and such. So this is a photo post.

I decided to try out my Mamiyaflex C2 again. It has been stuck in a cupboard for a while, which is a real shame. It started when I took it to Blackpool and the exhibition I am feature in. I had taken a few cameras to show and , it garnered a fair bit of attention. Someone even offered to buy it, but as is the usual case, that made me love it more and decide not to part with it and make better use of it. So the weather being of the typical crap kind and time short I decided to pick a subject that was handy and compliant. Hello Daddy. Stay still, watch TV, don’t look directly at me…I am Medusa 🙂

Once developed, the film had the usual few white hairs which I removed post processing. BUT they had lots and lots of tiny black fibers, what is the deal with that?

White hairs is a blocking of light, an actual hair. A black thing is light getting through, it is within the film base?? yes??

Hmm the only thing i did differently with this film processing was during the agitation stage. I used the little stick instead of inverting the tank. So is that it? All help and thoughts appreciated.

All that being said, I still love the photo of my dad. He can be quite patient at times.

Prinz Mastermatic III

I have a feeling this camera was part of a job lot otherwise I have no idea where I got it. It is certainly not something I would have chosen. The skin of the camera dropped off the moment I picked it up. I decided to recover it even before I tested it with film. Looking it over everything seemed to work so I though why not and why not use a completely new-to-me type of skin.

Animals of Farthing Wood. I got a book from a charity shop and used the old skin as a template. The paper was a little stiff on the curves but once the varnish made the paper a little wetter it was easier to manipulate.

This camera from 1967 was cheap and cheerful at the time and still is. The selenium cell means you don’t even have to buy batteries. Even though it is partly metal, I thought it felt quite cheap. Before the new skin, I thought it looked it too but now it looks awesome. The photos of the cameras are enhanced by the lovely Nidderdale countryside where I took it to try it out. It seemed appropriate.

The meter’s needle indicator on this example was a bit hit and miss, I have a feeling there might be a loose wire inside, but I don’t feel like taking it apart to see. The meter gives a reading in EV mode. The camera can be set to operate in regular or EV mode. It is much easier to change the settings than on some other EV cameras I have tried. There is no rangefinder so you have to guess the distance or use zone focusing.

I have already promised the camera to someone who liked the look of it, so I wanted to try it very quickly. That meant I tried a new developing company. They offered a download link of the scans. Literally the next day from posting the films I received an email with the link, amazingly quick. I paid for the cheapest version of scans and that is what I got. Though it looks like the films I sent were developed very well, I am unimpressed with the scans. I am not going to name names, but I will stick to my regular C41 developer as they are cheaper when choosing a decent set of scans. Unless I am in a hurry again, but then I will try the more expensive scans to check the difference.

Ok that said, I put in a half used roll of XP2 that I was given. Here are the test shots.

Well, the light meter was accurate when it worked. But the focus and lens is “funky”, that is the only word I can think of. I kind of like it, but it is funky with a definite drop off. Focusing at close range was tricky and I would recommend sticking with infinity-ish.

I tried processing some of these shots with the Snapseed App on my phone. I love the results.

Today I sold three cameras including this one, I sort of regret it but I always do and I can’t use all the cameras I have so in the end it is a good thing…keep saying it out loud, selling your cameras is a good thing.

Pentax Zoom 70 R

For a compact camera, this Pentax is massive! Plus it takes two CR123 batteries…TWO!

For that reason alone I initially did not like this camera from 1991.

There was a found film inside and I blasted through it, just trying to lighten my load. I took it to Huddersfield quickly finished it off with the industrial landscape.

Nothing special and that film was poor too. My feeling for this camera just took a bigger plummet. I started writing this blog almost immediately and while doing so I found the manual.

In the manual I saw these two pages…

Look at all those settings! Bulb, bulb with synchro flash, Multi Exposure, Dual Frame Self Timer, backlight compensation…no wonder this camera needs two batteries. I think I better give this camera another chance.

Of course I did play with all the buttons on the camera and did see the symbols, but it is easy to forget them when you have already formed an opinion about something. Changing your mind after a bad first impression is very hard to do, hence all the advice against it during interviews etc.

I loaded a fresher Kodak 200 and decided to focus on the colour red meaning I would carry the camera with me, despite the size, and have something of red in each photo.

That was until I got bored and the rain came down and I just wanted to get rid of the damn thing. The first impression stuck. Here are some shots from the next roll.

As you can see I went to the UCI finishing line in Harrogate, in fact I was a volunteer up two of the main climbs during terrible weather. Today, I am coughing from a cold as a result of a very rainy weekend in a tent. Worth it? Maybe, but I would prefer to be working. The whole week wasn’t the best advertisement for the Yorkshire area in terms of weather, which was a shame as it really is gorgeous. For the UCI I volunteered for the location of Lofthouse, little did I know there were two places with that name in Yorkshire. The one I volunteered for was a couple of hours from my house. So this roll has both Lofthouses on it, I bet that doesn’t happen often.

I also took the camera to Blackpool, hence the deckchairs and that is it, experiment over. I do not like this camera 😦

Travelling with a film camera

I have started to put ideas for posts in my draft box, this was one of them. But then I read this super post by Kosmofoto and realised it said everything and more that I was going to write, so why write it when that post is so much better than anything I could put together.

The main issue I have when traveling is choosing which camera/cameras to take. I want to take something I trust, maybe something that doesn’t have to rely on batteries, something different, and something waterproof…and I want to fit them in a comfy bag.

Recently I went to Cambridge and decided to try out the Kowa H, on my way around I knocked the back door latch and it came undone and fogged the film. I think from now when I try a new camera in a location I might not visit again I will add some tape to the back door to avoid this. That means remembering to keep some tape in my bag along with all the other bits and pieces.

On that trip I also went to my first airshow. One of the stalls there was selling film, at the time I was surprised but pleased. But I didn’t buy it, I had film in my bag. I now feel regret about that as I felt I should have supported the stall holder in his choice. It might mean he stocks it again in the future. I hope he sold it in the end.

And that’s it for this post. I have a cold. I am waiting for some films to be returned for the latest camera reviews. I am going back to bed.

Ricoh FF-9

There is something about this camera from 1988 that I absolutely love. I think it is the way the flash pops up from the side when it is needed. Or it might be the lovely selection of modes that are not easily found on other point and shoots, including multi exposure. It is a nice size for a bag, but not a pocket. AND it has a slot for a cable release, that is quite rare indeed. Quite smart looking all round.

I took mine on a trip to Blackpool when the weather was quite miserable. This camera coped beautifully as you can see by my results below.

What a cracking little camera 🙂 Cheap, cheerful..does what it says on the tin with a little extra class.

Oh and it looks like WordPress are updating their gallery settings, so things might be a bit iffy until they sort that out. Sorry about that, but if it stabilises I think it has lots more options for the creators.