lunedì 6 novembre 2017

Ikoflex and Prontor SVS repair

The Ikoflex Ic had a stuck shutter, when I bought the camera, I thought it would have been just gummed up, because it has long been on the shelf. I sadly was proven wrong.

To access the shutter assembly, Both lenses need to be removed. The viewing lens comes out completely, while the taking lens detaches its front assembly. The rear part needs of it needs to be removed by accessing it from the back (open the back, remove the light baffle).
Then, by removing the handles of the f-stop, removing the decorative name plate, the whole cover can be removed.
The Ikoflex once both lenses and the front panel are removed looks like this:

The Prontor SVS can be easily opened and separated in its essential components. Be careful with the Sync cable, it is tricky since it is tight and secured on the back with a screw.

At first, I tried flushing the Shutter clean (I use Esane, AvGas), but it would still not reliably run.

The Prontor SVS has two delay mechanisms: one is the actual timer for the shutter speeds, the other one is the delayed action of the self-timer which doubles as minimal delayed action when the the flash sync is set to M. X has no delay instead.
The retarders are ingeniously linked together and are cocked together, one of the inventions of the Prontor.

The Prontor without the two retarders:

The flash and self-timer mechanism:

This is the actual shutter timer:

The shutter timer is damaged, the small extension that can be seen top-right is bent. Most probably the shutter stuck and somebody forced the action. I suppose that some customer played with it on the shelf too hard.
However, even when I removed both timers, but even then the blades would stuck half open. While being wet it would work, but not when dry. The real problem though was not friction or dirt, but a slightly bent pin. An U-shaped part needs to be in the right position or the pin attached to the blades, which moves during the shutter action, remains stuck. However it also needs to be able to catch it. The amount is really minimal. Once "bent back" the shutter action moved freely.

Repairing the connecting pin on the timer mechanism was impossible: just trying to bend it back pried it apart. Most often repair-men exchange the whole piece, but alas, A. Gauthier is no more and spare parts are rare, I couldn't locate one. However a very similar Prontor SVS part was found as a donor, perhaps a different revision. The lever was compatible, I exchanged it in the timer.
Opening the timer is tricky and the risk of loosing or damaging the spring is high: I do not recommend doing it if not necessary. I would try to clean assembled.

Mounting all tiles back in the reverse order... and the Prontor worked again... and the Ikoflex is a faithful companion again.

So, remember, don't force shutters if they are stuck!

venerdì 3 marzo 2017

Pisa (FP4 in Rodinal)

Pisa Cathedral seen from the Baptistry

Mamiya 645 -  45mm/2.8 Sekor

Ilford FP4+ rollfilm, exposed 100/21° ISO
Rodinal 1+50, 16' agitation every 2' at 22°C

The result shows a very good control of the highlights (sky) with rich details in the shadow part, what you would expect from FP4+ and Rodinal! A classic combination that always works. Thanks to the 6x4.5 format, the grain is not disturbing and completes the old-school feel.

domenica 10 gennaio 2016

Rollei RPX 25 in tour

I took picutres during a motorbike trip in the Alps, sunny days uf August, perfect sky, no filter used.

Rollei RPX 25 developed in Studional (Rodinal Special) 1+30, 4'30" 24°C (equivalent to 7' at 20°C).

Development time looks fine if one considers the general density impression of the negative.

However, once scanned the look is very compressed, the tonal range is really strane. The highlights look incredibly compressed and compensated. There is tonal differentiation, but very little.

This is an image scanned with a flat curve. Above there is a patch of cloudy sky. The sky looks grey as the mountains in the distant haze.

Tweaking the curves slightly, giving it a shoulder in the highlights while retaining black shadows, improves the situation little. Loook at this image, which has more sky.
The clouds remain grey, as the sky. There is no way to get white clouds on a blue sky.

Stelvio - Leica R3 - 50/2
I would not call the results  pleasing. In fact, I consider most of the shots of this trip almost unusable.

This shows that RPX25 is not an easy film and not an easy repplacement to APX25 or Efke/Adox 25.

The mid-to-low tonal range is excellent and shows a high level of detail. I would not recomment just using it at a higher speed (e.g. 32/16 ISO).

Perhaps this developer combination is not ideal, I will attempt further tests.

martedì 18 agosto 2015

In Jena with a Contax and SuperPan 200

Here some images in Jena, sadly there was bad weather. Overcast, sometimes rainy, not the best weather.

Film: SuperPan 200, developed in Studional (Rodinal Special) 1+30, 20°C, 8' 30"
Came out perhaps a bit thin, but still usable.

The film is interesting: modern, clear PET support. Reasonable easy to process, I would consider this a good film. The grain is evident, but still the resolution is very high, almost as a 100/21° ISO film, although the grain is more noticeable, but very compact and sharp.
The tonal range is wide and works well both in the shadow and in the hightlights.

What camera? What best tribute could I bring to Jena? A Zeiss Ikon Contax III (pre-war of course) and its vintage Zeiss Jena Tessar 5cm/3.5 . A return home for the lens after 80 years?
Wonderful camera, nice lens. A bit soft when open, as can be expected by such a veteran!

Here, some views in subdued light. The tones are quite good I think.
The tombstone of the master Carl Zeiss and the monument of the great Ernst Abbe.

An image in the morning sun shows how well details are still captured in the glass windows, proving that the SP200 is easier to handle than R80S and ATP.

venerdì 27 marzo 2015

Toscolano (Acros and Studional)

A warm winter Sunday on the Garda Lake.
The soft winter sun works wonder on the old stones.
I worked with my Exakta VX and the Biotar and Triotar are gentle but sharp too. Look below how they worked on the century old stones!

Film: Acros - 100
Development 16', 30 sec continues, then every 1'30", 20C in Studional (Alias Rodinal Special) 1+30

The results are very good: Rich shadows, not too much contrast either, easy to scan.

Here the Meyer Optik Triotar 100/2.8 at work:

And here the magnificent 58/2.8 at work.

I cite the quality of the lenses because the beauty of this century old stone carving is out of question.

martedì 20 gennaio 2015

Gromo & Ardesio (PanF, Rodinal)

120 rollfilm Pan-F Rodinal 1+50, 11" 22°C, agitation every 2nd minute. Little agitation temperature 2°C more than standard.

The result came out nice and balanced, good highlight and shadow detail.

Here a shot of Gromo's famous slate roofs.

Here some shots in Ardesio instead. Same Film/Developer, same day.
The dynamic range is astonishing, shadow detail up to highlight details (clouds) are visible.

For the curios, the camera was a Rolleiflex SL66

lunedì 15 dicembre 2014

Dompilan diaphragm repair

Meyer Optik Görlitz Domiplan was a quite nice 50m/f 2.8 compact and standard lens common in Exakta (especially for the Exa) and M42 (Praktica) mount.

I have two and both of them suffer from a sticky diaphragm (iris aperture) syndrome, like most of old lenses.

I read horror stories about this lens, people ruining it completely, declaring it unrepairable or so. I don't think it is any harder than other lenses I tried to repair, provided it is just stuck and not broken. When it gets stuck, the blades gum up very hard so trying to force it may cause the pin and leverages to break.

I find the lens quality quite nice, for being a triplet! Smooth colors, bokeh and only slight vignetting. I disagree with people calling this a bottle bottom glass or "Holga like"! I think people having bad experiences had badly serviced or broken lenses. See the examples below.

Start by removing the back-part, the bayonet. Then you can remove the barrel holding the lens. You do not need to remove the lens itself. Three screws and you get the parts seen in the picture below.

Remove all the blades carefully, put them on a paper towel.

Clean the blades with petrol, light gas, lighter fluid, what you prefer. They are made out of steel, be careful not to knick them and not to damage their drive pins.

If you had a serious oil problem, then the lens surfaces might be hazy and you need to clean those too.

The blades need to be inserted one over the other, like a spiral stair case. The most difficult are the last and the butlast, because the nose needs to go "below" the first, it can be seen well in the picture below.
Try not to touch the blades with greasy fingers. Once all blades are in, you need to slightly close them before putting the cover ring and screwing it down. To do that, gently actuate the leverage, as shown in the following picture. The three screw both fix the upper part to the ddiaphragmring, but also fix the whole assembly to the lens barre.

Once closed and screwed down, the actuator lever should already work smoothly. Don't close it too much or it will stick.

Remount the rest of the lens with care. Take care of the two opposed springs that go into the barrel. Take care that the f-stop-ring is aligned properly.
The Exakta version is easy to remount, the M42 version has a different linkage to the bin, be sure to mount it in the correct open position!

Once everything is reassembled, use the lens! In my experience it is a light, compact lens which works fine with color and b&w films. It works best around 8-11, but 5.6 is already quite fine. Of course at 2.8 it vignettes a bit, but it remains reasonably sharp in the middle,

Here a photo taken with my Exa and the Domiplan:

Here again, wide-open at 2.8: