I've taken on the challenge of working on a number of different cameras over the years. I actually enjoy it, for the most part. I did not enjoy the Bessa. I do not believe it was built to be repaired but to be replaced. (which I did)
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
I agree that modern materials, like plastics are excellent, but in this case I see that these materials were used as a facade to hide quite inferior construction. If you examine the film advance lever pics and the wiring to the flash you should see what I mean. I'm a little appalled by this thing. Is this what we've come down to?
When I put the innards of the Bessa L against the innards of a basic camera like the Olympus 35RC, Canonet QL17, etc.(yes, from another era) it seems that we have not come very far.
I have not had the pleasure of working on a Zorki, but I have worked on two Kievs 4as and a five Moskvas. The FSU stuff can certainly be crude, by modern standards, but they work and they are tough...very tough. The Bessa L, I worked on, was not up to the standard of these older cameras.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
I think we must look at the Pentax Spotmatics, Nikon F2s, F3s, FMs, FEs, et al, The Leica Ms and early Rs (and all the stuff from this era) to really appreciate what a well made camera really is.
One of my other (recent) interests, besides film cameras, is typewriters. I was given a 1980's Casio electronic model and it's just so flimsy and terribly cheap feeling I'm afraid it will break just using it. Makes all sorts of disturbing noises too. My 1951 Remington Portable on the other hand is solid, metal, is still going strong now and probably will in 50 years. Not quite as easy to carry as the Casio but infinitely better constructed. If I want a portable I've got a nice 1960's Olivetti that is pretty light and also well constructed. Oh, did I mention the Casio only prints 30 pages on a (now unobtainable) ribbon and uses 4 x D batteries whereas the other machines just need (cheap and readily available) ribbons and paper. Sort of reminds me of APS in a way, the 'advanced' modern solution is just about unobtainable but the old machines keep chugging along and consumables are easy to find, typewriters and cameras alike
Agreed brother, but today's manufacturers do NOT want you owning a product that will last. It's absolutely sad and what's even more sad is that consumers put up with it.
Originally Posted by Paul Goutiere
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
I like typewriters.
Originally Posted by Chris Nielsen
In my closet is a fine Corona portable typewriter easily 65 years old. In the basement, sitting on a desk, just in case; is a Underwood #5 which should be close to 100 years old. The platens, now, are as hard as glass and the old Underwood is missing a foot but they both work. I don't use them often, but it is nice to know they still work..and that they are still there.
In the sixties I worked as a typewriter repairman for Olivetti Underwood in Kitchener Ontario for two years. After that I worked on the AM Varityper
composing machines patterned after the Hammond typewriter.
The skill sets I acquired during that time has allowed me to work on some cameras to a certain level. The knowledge I've gained by working on the few cameras I have worked on is by no way conclusive and I have a great respect for the people who do professional camera repair.
To the extent I have been inside cameras I've been impressed mostly by the Nikon F2 and the Leica M2. The Nikon F2 even more than the M2.
Look at the eyelets for the neck strap on a F2. There is a hard metal insert to prevent wear from the strap rings. If you should wear out or damage the eyelets they can be replaced by undoing a screw and simply installing a new eyelet. It is a camera built to be repaired even though neither of my F2s have needed extensive repair. The eyelets on the Leica M2 are riveted in and will have to be drilled out to be replaced!!
The Pentax Spotmatic, can be bought now for as little as $25.00 in pretty good shape is made just as well. I think most cameras from this era were made to last for a long time. The stuff we get now.......??
Last edited by Paul Goutiere; 03-27-2010 at 09:30 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by clayne
I'm not sure about this, but I guess that an early-mid Olympus trip 35 has more metal than the bessa. Never opened up one of these, though. The trip also evolved from metal to plastic innards.
Well. Modern compacts, be it 35mm or digi are much nastier than the earlier 70's type. Lots more of plastic that feels cheap.
I'm happy with my OM-1. Very little plastic.
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I replaced the leather on an early Mamiyaflex from 1955-58 vintage. This is the one with one focusing knob located on the right side. Everything was metal underneath as well as on top! No wonder why these cameras last so long!
The leather was a match to the old and fit perfectly.
Here is a source for cameras and I highly recommend them:
Last edited by wclark5179; 03-27-2010 at 11:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.
It is interesting to compare the Bessa R to a FED2....both of which I have. The Bessas probably work reasonably well out of the factory and wear out quickly. Mine is fairly new and a pleasure to use. My FED is an indestructable, 40 year old, somewhat crude beast.......and also a pleasure to use, but very different. Looking at the pressure plateon the FED, it also looks like it's had thousands of rolls of film through it. I paid about $100 to get a good FED (took 2 or 3 tries) and about $175 on the Bessa. Which is the better camera today...the Bessa. Which will be the better camera in 10 years...the FED. Now if I spent $500 I could have the best of both worlds with an M2!
The M2 is a nice camera. I'm very fond of mine and have used it quite a bit recently. If I hadn't bought the lenses so long ago, I don't think I could afford it now.
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
I reskinned a Rolleiflex Automat with a covering from Camera Leather. Perfect!!
Originally Posted by wclark5179
I recommend them too.
I have 1956 M3. Three years ago, I give it a full clean, lube, adjust and change a new curtain. The repair shop said this can use another 50 years. That mean that camera can have 100 years life. He said early M3 with DS is more durable than later SS. May be cheaper parts on late model ?