Kodak Bantam Special

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Hatchetman, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    A pretty common and popular camera, but not too many people actually use it. Got mine off eBay, looked in great shape. Upon further inspection had significant internal haze. I figured (mostly correctly) that it could be cleaned, so I sent it to Paul Ebel for a CLA. He was able to get most of the haze out, but one set of elements (the 45mm f2 Ektar has 6 elements) could not be separated, so the haze on those remains. I would say he got 80-90% of it cleaned. Still not perfect though. This is a pre-War model with the Compur-Rapid shutter. Note the shutter speeds are damn near perfect. Here are some examples on 35mm Acros film - first roll since the CLA. Using 35mm film cuts about 10% of the usable frame off. Next roll I will use cut-down 120 film. You can get 14-15 shots per roll when you re-roll your own 828 film.

    These examples are on a very cheap scanner, so don't really do it justice. The uncoated lens is low contrast relative to modern ones, though it appears pretty sharp. There is some flare you can see in the bridge photo. Not sure if that is related to the bit of haze left, but I'm sure it doesn't help. The piano photo is at f2.8, which looks pretty good to me. Others are at f8-f11.

    Edit: upon upload, the image quality took a turn for the worse! Eventually I'll print something to get a true measure of what the lens can do.
     

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  2. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Wowie. Zowie. This is one of the most gorgeous cameras ever made. A true fabulous Art Deco look. A fine lens and shutter, too. I want one.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I had one:sad:
    Replacing it is on my bucket list. Thanks for posting the samples.
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Methylene chloride would have gotten those elements separated.
     
  5. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Methylene chloride would have gotten those elements separated. If a repairman didn't get the lenses right, he didn't finish the job. Can't do anything about scratched glass, but you can sure cure the cataracts.
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Photos look great!

    Jeff
     
  7. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Sweet little camera.
     
  8. momus

    momus Member

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    Typical Retina Ektar lens. Sharp and very clean shots. They look amazingly like the 50 3.5 Ektar shots from the Retina cameras. I like them. The haze shouldn't be a bother unless you shoot right into the sun. You DO have a good hood on it, right? My experience w/ old uncoated optics is that if you shoot Tri-X (Acros would probably be the last choice of film for me, but to each their own) and use a yellow filter and a good hood, the contrast will bump up nicely. I love old uncoated lenses, but only some of them. Ektars, Triotars, Summars and Heliars would be at the top of my list, and probably in reverse order. You will never see the likes of them ever again. Too much is made of modern lens coatings by armchair photographers these days. I have shots from the lenses and filters that I mentioned that blew my Hassys and 'blads away. I mean, seriously blew them away. Those Germans knew what they were about when they designed and built them. And no, your multi thousand dollar, multi coated modern lens won't do as good a job. Even my wife, who is not a photographer but has a good eye, can see the differences.

    Paul also gets my nod for camera work. A nice guy who is reasonable and honest, something I would not say about two of the more highly recommended repair establisments. Both qualities are turning out to be rarities in camera repair these days. If you must have that last bit of haze removed, send it to John at Focal Point. You will pay dearly and wait a long time, but he's the best. I once talked w/ John about having the elements coated in my Summar lens at a cost of about 2 grand (this was many years ago), but decided not to when I asked if I would notice much difference. His reply was that any improvement in the photos would probably not be noticeable, and the whole exercise would basically be a waste of time and money, more than anything else. Owning a "modern" Summar makes interesting talk at the bar, but does nothing for the pics on the walls.
     
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  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    And since when is a tech expected to separate glued elements?

    I do it on some I mess with but I have a lot of time on my hands.
     
  10. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I guess when the tech is well-paid. I don't think being a camera technician is a good way to make a pile of money, no matter who you are. Still and all, a beautiful camera all fixed up isn't quite "there" as long as it still has cataracts. You bet if it was mine, I'd have the tools, methylene chloride, and such all spread out on the table over there. Got my trust little bottle of balsam gum on the shelf about 2 feet away. And I'd be going to town on a lens job, if it were mine. Yessireebob.
     
  11. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Delayed response on this: yes, I had a hood. pretty sure that lens was made in USA. Paul didn't really charge for advanced lens repair ($95 incl shipping) and he told me before he did the work what the limitations would be. I told him to go ahead anyway. I guess the issue has to do with a tiny retaining ring without those notches for removal. He didn't want to break the ring or lens element trying to get it off. If he did then I could come on here raising all hell that he destroyed my priceless camera. I don't blame him.
     
  12. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    828

    I seem to remember being told that 828 film is in the 126 instamatic cartrige: you might have success hunting them down
     
  13. 1L6E6VHF

    1L6E6VHF Member

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    While 126 film has similarities and was certainly inspired by 828, there are differences that make 126 film unsuitable for use in an 828 camera.

    126 and 828 film have, in common: Roll film 35mm wide, with a paper backing, 28mm of the film being used for image, and a single perforation on only ONE edge of the film, widely spaced, with only one perforation for each exposure (in comparison, a regular 35mm camera uses eight perforations per exposure).

    However: 828 film yields rectangular exposures of 28x40mm (10:7 ratio, slightly closer to square than the 3:2 ratio of full-frame still 35mm), whereas 126 film yields truly square (1:1) exposures of 28x28mm. Worse, 126 film is actually pre-exposed with a vertical border between each exposure (what purpose this served escapes me).

    Thus, using respooled 126 film in an 828 camera would produce white vertical beams across your pictures, in a pseudo-random pattern (if you were to use such film in an 828 camera that actually stopped the wind at every perforation [e.g., Bantam RF], the pattern would cease to be random, but each image would have one white beam followed by about 9mm of overlap with the following image).
     
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  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    With respect to the pre-exposed border between the frames, I would hazard a guess that this innovation made automatic photofinishing printers way more easy to design.
     
  15. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Ponder the manufacturing complexity in mass fabrication of 126 cartridges for market. Film notching, border exposing, all in registration. Any flaw would cause the notch to trip the camera-wind to stop, with the border running right through the picture. Then the taping of the backing paper, once again in-register. Then coiling the roll for insertion to the smaller left-hand cartridge reservoir, then the insertion of the paper leader to the take-up reel, the mating of the cartridge portions. 126 must have had a finishing building of its own after the film stock was received on the dock. Mind Boggling.
     
  16. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I just bought a 126 negative carrier and intend to file it to 828 size.
     
  17. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Just printed a few. Here is an example and a crop to show the level of detail. Pretty good I'd say!
     

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  18. nosmok

    nosmok Subscriber

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    Said it before and I'll say it again-- any lens that says "Ektar" on it punches way above its weight in dollar terms.

    --nosmok