I saw some random camera bits on eBay the other week, bidding starting at £10. It wasn’t completely obvious what some of the things were, but some of them looked useful – the small lens hoods looked like they’d fit my Voigtlander Vito B cameras. There were a few filters in there too, and a rangefinder, surely some of these would be useful. So I put a bid in.
No-one else bid, so I won the lot. Some of the stuff is useful, some not…
Small lens hoods: both 30mm and I need 32mm! No use to me at all!
White shutter release cable: not bad at all, that’ll get used
Black shutter release cable: broken, not repairable
Monocular: Seems to work fine. Do I need one? Not really.
Rangefinder: Numbers are almost too faint to read, but it works.
Light Meter: Works ok I think, although it’s designed for old, slow film types
Leather-covered box: Catch works, no key, but great condition (except strap has perished)
Filter Glass 31mm: I can use these with filter holder
42mm Filter: Or is it a lens? Not sure what it does, fits 3 of my cameras
Close-up Filter: Can use with 2 cameras (or anything accepting Series VI)
Small film Spool tin: No use for film, but tin could be handy
Filter Pouch: Ok, I could use this. Probably won’t.
Small Metal Thing: It has small thread and large thread, no idea what this is!
Filter Box: A disappointingly empty filter box. Am using it to store a filter.
Drawstring bag for telephoto lens: If I ever buy a tele lens…
The weird thing with the numbers on it and an eye piece is a kind of exposure meter, which as it has almost no moving parts, is still in working order. The numbers on the rangefinder are almost too faint to read, but it works.
The small black lens hood unscrews to fit the filter glass, I’d never seen one like that before. So I bought one that fit my cameras and now I can use the filters, and there is less to mess about with when taking photos as filter and hood are one piece.
It was a bit risky buying a collection like this, which is obviously the seller having a bit of a clear out…
It looks like all is not lost with my Diana Mini camera. Although I managed to snap the shutter lever off a couple of weeks ago, I think this camera is usable. Good job I didn’t throw it away or buy another one.
I had one of those mad moments when I dismantle something with precision screwdrivers, and then when I’ve got a pile of tiny screws and springs (some of which are somewhere on the floor now), realise I have no idea how they went together, even though I was telling myself that I was being really careful and observant… This time was different, I managed to put it back together so it worked, or at least was only as broken as when I started.
There’s no hope for the shutter lever, I could try super-gluing it, but I don’t imagine it would last very long. I did manage to loosen the cable release mechanism enough to get it working, though. You can’t gently squeeze it and expect the shutter to trip, you have to use a bit of pressure and speed, but at least it’s not going to give you camera shake like the stiff lever was prone to do. So… it works, and I can take photos with it. Result.
I just need a slightly shorter cable release, now, so I don’t look quite so silly using a release cable on a tiny plastic box.
I have my 2nd roll of film back, and this time it’s not blank.
The shots are just of things around the town, nothing special. The shots I lost on the blank roll would have been more interesting, I think, lots of flood water (which has now receded). This is the first camera I have owned with controls for aperture, shutter speed and focus. It also has a ‘bulb’ mode, where the shutter stays open for as long as the keep the release pressed down, ideal for night shots.
The shot above of St. Chad’s (a round church in the middle of Shrewsbury) was taken at 8PM, with a shutter time of about 3 seconds. Unfortunately, I hadn’t wound the film on enough, so I had a massive over-exposed strip on the left. I’ll learn.
A sculpture in the town centre
The camera I’m using is older than me, a Voigtlander Vitoret D.
I got the camera built in about an hour, that was good fun – I enjoy building things. I tested the shutter (looked through the back while clicking) and noticed it only worked properly about 50%, the rest of the time it got stuck open, or stayed open while my finger was on the trigger, both would have lead to massive over-exposure of the film. I thought it might improve with use, as it loosened up.
Building the camera
It did the opposite. Plus, the film ‘counter’ wasn’t counting. It doesn’t actually count, the wheel just goes around to show that you’ve advanced the film by one frame. Well, it wasn’t doing that, even. A quick search later, I find that both are common problems. After a bit of further digging and some experimenting of my own I solved them.
This one should not be over-tightened
The Shutter: Don’t over-tighten the spring-loaded thing between the shutter and the round thing that turns when you press the shutter release thing. It should be just tight enough to do the whole shutter thing and no more. Try to get this right first time, I had to take the camera apart to fix this, and snapped a couple of things off that shouldn’t be snapped.
Film Counter: Squeeze the case on the back at a point halfway between the film advance winder and the ‘counter’. This seems to work. I’ve had to waste a film to play around and discover this, but as it was only from the pound shop anyway, it doesn’t matter that much.
The viewfinder looks surprisingly bright for something that requires no batteries, but not sure how much use it is with the focussing.
Viewfinder (doesn’t photograph very well)
Next: Monday morning, I shall buy some new film and set out to shoot a test roll! (I’d do it tomorrow, but I’m working)