Tag Archives: fix

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 🙂

Mamiya 35 S2

This rangefinder from 1959 was the last camera I bought in Japan, but not the last one I have to review from there. I have one more that is currently being CLA’d and won’t be returned for another month.

In fact, I bought this camera day before I left for the airport. I couldn’t resist it. A Mamiya, a rangefinder, nice and solid…and heavy. Crap, I was already over my luggage weight limit. Maybe I could just wear it around my neck?? And that is what I did 🙂

Everything seemed great. The only issue was the rangefinder patch seemed very dim. Then I stumbled upon this article about adding a square of tape to the viewfinder. As you can see, it worked a treat. Here is another article, with photos. When researching the camera I found one site that stated there were two versions released, the f2.8 and f1.9. All the other sites I found did not mention there were two. Mine is the 2.8, so I cannot attest to the 1.9 version.

There is very little to be found on the net about this Mamiya bar from a few vague lines. They generally say its name and date of manufacture.

From the photos you can gather it has an f2.8 – f22 lens, with a focal length of 48mm. Once the film is loaded you have to manually set the film counter which counts up. There is also a film reminder dial. As there is no light meter it is a simple reminder only. The film speeds range from 1 second to 1/500th with a B and a self-timer. There is also an M and X for the flash types. Ken Rockwell explains the different settings very well here. Basically, X is for the flash sync and M is for flash bulbs which take time to reach full brightness and therefore needs a different setting. The rangefinder has a short movement and can easily be moved by the index finger alone. The winder moves through slightly over 180 degrees. The viewfinder has a square in the corner where you can see the speed and aperture settings. Unfortunately, I cannot make out the numbers due to my poor close up eyesight. Too much reading maybe.

Well, that was quite technical for me. That’s enough of that. How were the photos?

I took a few in Tsukuba before I left for the airport, then finished the film on a cloudy day out in Liverpool.

Can you see where the switch in countries takes place? One of the posters might give you a clue.

Wow, what a super, not so little camera. I definitely had issues focusing while in Japan, but once I added the tape in England there is an improvement.

As the skin started to fall off while I was using it, I recovered it with maps from places in the UK that I love.

How cool is that! So cool that I sold it 😦

Olympus OM-1

I am so excited by this find. Firstly I love olympus cameras, secondly it is an OM-1, thirdly it was less than $20 (without a lens). Luckily I have OM lenses to test it with. So I plonked on a lens and got to loading a film, that is when I discovered the shutter curtain was jammed shut. Many junk bin camera are in plastic sealed bags so you can’t do the checks you want to. If I have to be honest I probably wouldn’t have bought this if I had check it.

But it was now mine and mine to fix. After a bit of internet searching I discovered that this is a common issue with this camera. I am in Japan and there are Olympus service centers, but I didn’t want to pay for it. I found this website and decided, ok in for penny in for a pound and took the bottom off. I couldn’t quite figure it out from the website what to do, but by carefully pressing a few things I found the right lever and pushed it back into place. Low and behold the shutter was free, but when I pressed it again it jammed again. Every time.



I used lighter fluid to clean it as it evaporates quickly. I then used a non-greasy, light bike chain oil to very lightly lube the relevant parts. Then just kept cocking and pressing the shutter then pushing it back until it finally went back on its own. I then put the bottom back on and loaded a film. I was so chuffed with this find and fix that I took it to Tokyo and bought a second hand 1.4f 50mm lens to test it with. I can use it on another camera (OM4 which I also love).

This camera was first manufactured in 1972. It has a light meter that uses the old mercury based battery, so if you have one you will need to find an adapter or buy an expensive alternative. I have a few other olympus cameras so I have some adapters. You can use it manually, but I tested this one using the metering system. Basically when you look through the viewfinder there is a + and – with a needle that moves up and down. If it is too low you open the aperture, if it is too high you close the aperture….or change the speed accordingly. When the needle is between the two marks you are good to go. If there isn’t enough light it will still take the shot, it does not lock the shutter.

Ok moment of truth, does it work….

Yes, oh yes it worked. I was so excited by the whole fixing thing that I forgot about the dangling lens cover and it covered the side on a couple of shots, that is the black part on the right of some photos. But the rest are so sharp. The new lens had a bit of dust, but it didn’t affect the photos. I loved using this camera so much that I almost gave up all the point and shoot cameras right then and there. I am going to sell, keep or give away…I have seen this camera for sale in Japan for over $200 so I don’t think I will have an issue selling it. But oh I so want to keep it. I might be tempted to give it to a friend, but not with the new lens, that’s mine, a 1.8f 50mm is more than enough.

Look at me fixing cameras 🙂 (that is a big, fat, wide grin and head wobble)