G.A.S with a twist - an old folder rehabbed
I don't go out often and buy more cameras - they seem more often to find me.
This time I was over visiting our next door neighbor. She is mid 80s and on her own, so once in a while I find a reason, say hello and almost always get invited in. This time I was returning her recycling collection box, which have blown into my drive. She asked what I had been up to lately. Well with winter coming on strong, of course I am holed up in the darkroom when I find the time.
'Oh, you still use old cameras then' she says, and goes over to a drawer and pulls out a mid sixties German 35mm camera, and also a folder. The both of them were bought in Germany before her and her husband emigrated to Canada in 1966.
'I don't think you can get film for this any more' she says of the folder. I corrected her, after looking the camera over, and said I had some in my freezer next door. I asked if I could shoot a roll using the camera, and she responded that I could keep the camera. They used it last in about 1962 when they bought the 35mm camera.
It is a Zeiss Ikon Ercona, which shoots 6x9 and 6x6 (with a (missing) mask) onto 120 film. The lens is a Carl Zeiss Jena 105mm f3.5 Tessar T which looks to be at least single coated, and was still clear and scratch free. The shutter is a rim set Tempor 1 -1/250, but the slow escapement wasn't working - every setting sounded like 1/250. A blade was adjar in the aperture- which is likely one of the reasons their 35mm camera was purchased.
It looked like the kind of challenge I like, even though I usually don't make a habit out of CLA work.
The escapement was pulled and soaked in white gas (naptha) and was humming fine in no time. The tensioning spring flew off the slow speed pawl rack, and never was found, so no reliable self timer function is available any more, although this is not likely to be the camera I will need this functionality on.
Getting the aperture right was a challenge;twelve little thin steel leaf blades, each with a mind of its own. Finally I assembled it using bits of gun oil to stick the leaves together, and to stay in a shape that could persuade all the pins to line up with the right holes. I put the plate back on, and then soaked the whole aperture assembly in naphta and gently wiggled the /f stop lever to get all the oil to dissolve away.
Some of the leather needed a bit of contact cement to get back down at the edges.
I made a 6x6 mask out of shim stock, painted it black, and taped it in. (No GAS yet to let me enlarged anything bigger than 6x6.)
I taped a bit of vellum over the gate to check the infinity focus, scraped the old grease out of the focussing helical threads, and now am lined up and the front element can turn freely.
So now, what 8 hours of intermittent effort, mostly spent doing 'quality time' with my wife, on the coffee table as we watched tv together.
Film is loaded and I will shoot this test roll on the way tonight to a camera club meeting I attend sporadically.
As a project, I have lined up to shoot a portrait session of the donor of the camera, with the camera.
At the camera club we are going to haul the crowd over to one of the members who lives nearby for one meeting date, and show them how printing optically works ( most are of the digi age and never have seen this).
The resulting prints will be used as part of a 'how to mount and matte' session at the club, at a subsequent meeting.
Then the finished prints given back to my neighbor to give to her grandkids.
Sounds like a wonderfully fun project, and a great way to say thanks to the neighbor for her camera donation! Great way to help spread the word about the positive qualities of analog imaging, too!
the Ercona is a nice 6x9. I have a Ercona II and regularily use it, even with color slide film with good results. It now is my daily carry-along camera.