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  1. #1
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Kodak Bantam Special

    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.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0003.jpg   IMG_0004 copy.jpg   IMG_0005.jpg   IMG_0010.jpg   IMG_0011.jpg  

    IMG_8966.jpg  

  2. #2

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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. #3

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

  4. #4

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    Methylene chloride would have gotten those elements separated.

  5. #5

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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. #6

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    Photos look great!

    Jeff

  7. #7

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    Sweet little camera.

  8. #8

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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.
    Last edited by momus; 06-04-2014 at 06:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    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.
    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.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    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.
    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.

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