Sunday, 7 January 2018

Vintage Camera Repair Part 1 - Minolta Himatic 9 Easy Flash

I was given this camera by a friend who had seen it, along with other 'older' camera gear for free!  My friends know that I am partial to vintage film cameras and I love it that they look out for me!

A nice looking Minolta Hi-Matic 9 'Easy Flash'.  Not a scratch on it, nice and clean; ........or is it?

There are some problems with it.  The shutter blades are stuck open and,  I can't move the film advance lever; it's stuck too.  Now this sounds like 2 separate problems but it may not be.  Many older film cameras have a failsafe mechanism to avoid film wastage.  That is, if the shutter is not working then the camera will not allow you to wind onto the next exposure and waste the whole roll of film.  The Minolta X-700, for example, has a shutter that is operated electrically.  If the two small batteries for this camera have gone flat, the shutter will not operate and this stops the film winder from winding onto the next exposure.

So, I could have sent the camera to someone who can fix the problem where I would pay them for their time and for any parts they may need.  Or, I could join a Facebook page dedicated to restoring vintage cameras and pick their brains and also Google everything there is online about restoring old cameras.  I've decided to try and fix it myself.  If I can't get it fixed myself, I haven't lost anything (it was a freeby) but, if I succeed in fixing it then I have another working vintage camera and have learned something along the way.

With this camera, there is a retaining ring on the outside of the lens.  There is a special tool called a Lens Wrench that is usually required to fit into two groves on this retaining ring and slowly turn it anti-clockwise until it comes all the way out.  You can see the grooves at the 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock position on the photo to the right.  I don't have one of those but I was able to use a very small screwdriver fitted into one of the grooves and very gently apply pressure to turn the retaining ring (which was surprisingly fairly easy to turn; I had expected it to be screwed down hard). This then allowed me to remove the front lens group, and the shutter and aperture control rings.  I can't remove these off to the side somewhere.  As you can see from the photo below, there are some wires that operate the exposure meter that run back into the top plate.  I could disconnect these and then re-solder them back on but it is actually easier to leave them there.

Once I removed the front lens group, the shutter and aperture blades were exposed and ready for me to start cleaning.  In the photo, the blades you can see are the aperture blades; the shutter blades are stuck open and have withdrawn back under the circumference of the opening.  There are a couple of things I can use to clean the blades; Lighter Fluid  or  Isopropyl Alcohol.  Some people online recommend the lighter fluid and some the isopropyl alcohol.  Personally I think the isopropyl alcohol may be the better.  It is recommended to use a high alcohol content product (from 70-90% alcohol)  This is because the alcohol will cut through any oily dirt buildup.  Once cleaned the alcohol simply evaporates without leaving a residue.

In examining the camera once I had this front end removed, I realised that the self timer was also stuck in the 'on' position.  This is interesting because it means that perhaps it is not the shutter blades that are stuck.  Rather, if the self timer is stuck on the on position and hasn't wound back then whatever position the shutter blades were in, they will be stuck on that until the self timer has been reset!  So, the idea will be to clean the shutter blades and then flood the self timer spring with the alcohol so that it will clean the spring and, hopefully, it will reset itself.  Once the self timer is back in the off position it well may allow the shutter blades to return to their normal position.

I also took off the bottom plate of the camera to check the gears and see if there was any discernable damage.  I do not pretend to know how the film wind on feature works on a camera but it should be easy enough to spot any damage e.g. something stuck in the gearing or a damaged cog.  But that seemed fine (apart from a little cleaning that may be required).

I still need a few things to get the cleaning done and, once I have started, will put up another post detailing how it all went.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 - as it happened!

Don't blink! There goes 2017!  Too late.....

2017 seemed like a slow year for my photography; there were many other things taking up my time.  Looking back now though, it doesn't look as bad as what it felt.  I had a few firsts this year; a wedding, a cake smash and, shooting my first roll of expired film.

My photography year started out with a purchase.... a Canon EF 85mm f1.8 lens.  Lovely portrait lens to have in the bag!

I picked up some older cameras along the way too,  all 35mm film. I had hopes of finding another Medium Format camera but that proved a little difficult; for what I want to use it for and, considering it's only for a hobby, they are still priced a bit more than what I am happy with.  I guess one of these days a bargain will pop up!

Speaking of bargains, this was a freeby!  A Minolta Himatic 9 - Rokkor 45mm f1.7 lens.  My wifes' cousin-in-law knew I was into collecting film cameras and saw this in her local paper - FREE!  Unfortunately the shutter is stuck open.  I can get access through the front lens group and a clean with some isopropyl alcohol should clean it up and loosen it.  Nice solid camera which is in otherwise very good condition. 

This also came with the Minolta above.  A Pentax Espio 105G.  Still in great working condition.  A nice small camera for some Street Photography.

The one thing I love to do is go for a walk with nothing particular in mind and photograph things around me.  Above and below taken with a Kodak Retinette 1A using Fujicolor C200 film.  The Retinette is a lovely vintage camera to use and still gets amazing sharp photos!  Above is taken at Nobbys Beach in Newcastle and below is taken at Morpeth in the Hunter Valley.

Speaking of the Kodak Retinette 1A, here it is here with a 'new' flash attachment.  This Demi Tron 200 electronic flash came with the Minolta Himatic 9 and the Pentax Espio as a freeby.  As an afterthought, I mounted it onto the Retinette 1A and plugged it it.  It worked fine.  This is going to be a project for 2018; do some research and use the Retinette with the flash for some portraits

Above and below.  Great photos from the Minolta X700 35mm using a Minolta MD 50mm f1.7 lens.
Kodak Portra 160 has given some nice colour and that lens is fantastic to use. Both taken at Nobbys Beach at Newcastle.

Above - It was early February and the summer was an absolute scorcher!  When this photo was taken we'd had about 6 days straight of temperatures over 40° C!  I headed down to Warners Bay on Lake Macquarie to catch the cool breeze that comes off the water and managed to capture man and dog walking on the jetty there.

Photo above and 2 below.  I had the utmost pleasure shooting the commitment ceremony for these 2
beautiful friends of mine on the 16th February.  Usually I won't shoot weddings; it is such an important day and I feel that although I have a decent camera (Canon 600D), it is not really my camera of choice to shoot a wedding. 

Not only that but, I'd had no wedding experience and I didn't want to screw up such an important
event for them.  Anyway, they insisted and they even asked my son (Lachlan is also a photographer)
to get in on the act (he has a Canon 5D Mk III which is much more suited for this sort of thing!)  My 
fears were all for nought and I am so happy that I was able to get some great photos for them! You can see more photos from the day on this blog post.

Above and below.  The Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival held in March each year is a great event!  Old cars, great food and people dressing up for the day make it a worthwhile day out!  There are also temporary dance floors set up for those who want to dance to the many bands that play at the festival.  These 2 taken on my Konica-Minolta Dynax 40 using Kodak Portra 160.

This also taken at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival on my Canon 600D and edited in Lightroom and Nik Collection. 

April 2017 saw me out cruising the Hunter Valley.  I like to get out and about capturing the scenery of the valley.  This taken from the Old North Road at Rothbury.

Merewether Beach in Newcastle is a lovely spot to just sit and contemplate the World, the Universe
and Everything.  Sitting down waiting for my wife, Kim, to join me for lunch, I decided to get out the Canon (which I just happened to have with me!) and try out the Canon EF 85mm f1.7 lens. 

Another tryout for the Canon EF 85mm f1.7 lens.  I went on a Sunset Safari down to Lake Macquarie one evening.  Ended up just near the 16 Footers Club to catch the lovely golden tones that were reflected in the lake.  These ducks were on there way home.  I love the shallow depth of field that this lens gives.

This would have to be one of my favs from the year.  My son, Lachlan, and I went up to the Sand Dunes north of Newcastle in June.  It started to rain as we arrived but that was only short lived.  Lachlan took off to see what was over the big dune but I stayed back a little to catch him on the top of the dune.  The cloud formations were amazing!  I'd love to go on a 4WD tour of the dunes out to where there are no signs of civilization; the minimalism would be fantastic!

Peyton turned 1 in July and was given a cake to smash!  She made short work of it; smashing some and eating some!  You can see more of the cake smash on this blog post.

Above and Below.  This particular afternoon in August, I went down to the Public Jetty at Belmont on Lake Macquarie.  It was a very hazy day and so I decided early on that the shots would be converted to black and white.  I was shooting with a Canon 600D using a Canon EF 70-300 zoom lens.  Because that lens is made for a full frame camera, when used on an APSC Camera it is the equivalent of a 480mm lens.  When zoomed in to distant subjects, the photo became a bit pixel-ed and grainy which really enhanced the look of the haze hanging over the distant hills on the other side of the lake.  A little use of the burn tool in Photoshop to pick up on the darker tones has resulted in some nice silhouettes!

In August, Kim & I took a few days for some well earned R&R in Manly.  We toured around and went to places we had not been before.  This was taken from North Head as the Manly Ferry was inbound to Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour.  This taken at full zoom (480mm) and the framing was perfect!

Whilst staying at Manly, a big weather system moved in.  After the rain finished there were gale force winds and the ocean swell created some really amazing surf!  This photo taken at the Freshwater Baths and I love the huge waves with the wind whipping off the top of the wave and creating that fine mist.  It was spectacular!

Whilst at Darling Harbour in Sydney, I took the opportunity to do a little Street photography.  Caught this chap sitting under the Pyrmont Bridge. I love the geometry and angles of this photo.  See more of my wanderings in Sydney in this blog post. 

Pitt St Mall in Sydney is an excellent place for street photography.  So many diverse subjects walking around.  The colour of her coat and scarf and her beret caught my attention as she walked past.

My first trial of an expired film.  This is from a roll of Konica VX 400 Monochrome.  No expiry date but the film went out of production in 2007 so I figured it's at least 10 years expired.  Turned out really nice.  See more from this roll here.
This is also an expired fim; AM Colour 400.  I had never seen this film before.  I believe it may be a re-tagged Fuji 400 of some type. I think it may have been sold by AMCAL Chemist outlets back in the day.  Taken with the small point and shoot, the Pentax Espio 105G.  Great little camera to throw into my man bag!  See more from this film here.

The Maritime Centre in Newcastle, Australia.  Taken on Kodak Portra 160 film in 120mm format with my Voigtlander Bessa 1 folding camera.  That camera is about 70 years old now and still gives lovely sharp results!

Above and Below - My first roll of Ilford Delta 3200 film.  With an ISO of 3200, this film can be used in darker situations without the need for a flash. Because of the higher ISO there is a bit more grain than in slower films but it adds a great texture to the black and white photos!  See more results from this roll of film here.

Caves Beach.  Trying to get into the habit of packing my Circular Polariser filter when I get out and about.  It makes a real difference and cuts out the glare and reflection of the Sun off water so that you can actually see below the surface of the water!

Picked up this lovely set just after Christmas!  I traveled 40 mins to pick it up from the NSW Central Coast and what a bargain!  Just requires replacement of the light seal around the door before I put it to use.

Anyway, I hope you all had a good 2017 and wish you all the best for 2018!

The photos on this post and corresponding Google + page are
©Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved
and may not be used without permission.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Newcastle Street Feast on Ilford Delta 3200

This is a film I have always wanted to shoot.  Ilford Delta 3200 in 35mm.

I picked it up online at Walkens House of Film a few months ago.  (What a great little online film shop that is!)  It took a little while before I was able to get out and use it but the wait was worth it!

Like all new films I try, I read up on peoples' reviews and look at images online to get inspiration for when I get out with it.  Doing this also gives me an idea on how the film may turn out in certain situations and allows me to plan ahead for a subject or general theme.  

This film, because of it's high ISO, is described as a 'fast film' - i.e. it's good to use in low light situations.  Many of the reviews I read suggested shooting this film at ISO 1600 and then developing at 3200 times.  This apparently gives better contrast and less grain.  But, because I had never used it before, I decided that for the first time I should probably stick to the box speed.

Grain!  The mere mention of the word sends chills down some photographers spines.  Grain is merely the texture of the light sensitive silver halide crystal emulsion that has been applied to the film.  The crystals used on a 'fast film' are larger because they have to capture all available light in low light situations, hence the texture of the emulsion is grainier.  It's not a bad thing though!  Grain can add mood to portraits and landscapes.  Grain can add a 'grittiness'  to a subject to enhance a harsh environment (especially in black and white) - Street Photography, for example.  Have a look at older photos of jazz bands playing in small bars and note how the grain adds to the mood of that underground, bootleg bar!

The venue I went to was a street feast (relatively new to Newcastle).  Heaps of food vendors in pop up caravans and tents, wine tasting and sales.  Live entertainment also!  Some tables and chairs were provided but many also brought along picnic rugs or simply just threw themselves down on the soft grass.

The feast started at 4pm and ran through til 9pm.  We arrived at about 6.30pm, just as the Sun was setting.  Apart from the dusk sky, the lighting consisted of street lights, some purpose built spotlights and the light from vendors open caravans and tents.  The FOOD!  The food was fantastic!  I wanted to try everything!

I didn't want to muck around with a light meter calculating every shot; I wanted to catch everything quick and clean so I shot in aperture priority.  Most of these shot at f5.6 and a few at f4.

Once I got the film and scans back from the lab I realised that, although this is a film made for low light situations there still has to be a 'reasonable' light source nearby.  The shots taken of people lining up at a vendor's van (which is lit inside) or in the vicinity of a decent light source have more sharp details than a general crowd shot that is lit only by residual light from the high streetlights.

I do have a second roll of this film although I want to plan a more specific shoot with it, a live band in a bar, people roaming the streets on a night out and, if I can get someone to sit still long enough, some formal portraits.  We'll see how that goes!

The photos on this post and on corresponding Google+ page are
Copyright  ©Life with Jordy Photography and may not be
used without permission.