very very dim rangefinder... is there hope? (yashica lynx 5000)
I've recently aquired a Yashica Lynx 5000, with an oily shutter and an inexistent rangefinder patch on the viewfinder. I've gotten a refund and a "keep it for parts" from the seller, so I'm thinking of having it CLA'd eventually.
However, the rangefinder really is inexistent. The framelines are nice and bright, but the focusing patch is nowhere to be seen. Covering the viewfinder window and pointing it towards a lightbulb reveals a yellow spot with bright "grains" (very very few) in the middle of the image. I suppose that this is the rangefinder, and that some coating has worn out.
Does this sound familiar to any of you guys? Is there hope?
I remember reading somewhere that colored foil over the rangefinder window can help to see the patch better, you might try this by holding a filter over the window and then adjusting focus distance to see if the rangefinder is working.
I know nothing about this camera, but rangefinders have several mirror parts which are front-silvered, in other words the silver is not covered by glass like a household mirror but is exposed to the air. Front silvering will oxidize over time (RF camera users who own, say, a Leica for decades and find it harder to focus sometimes think their eyes are getting bad, often it's the rangefinder silvering).
In your case, I would say you have 2 options:
1) Find another example of your camera with a good rangefinder and use the parts, fixing it yourself if you want to do the job cheapest, or
2) Get it fixed professionally, which is not a problem but will undoubtedly cost several multiples of what the camera is worth.
Most likely the first mirror behind the second window (i.e. the one not in line with the eyepiece) has lost its coating. The only practical way to repair things is to replace that mirror and then readjust the RF. A little piece cut from the image redirection mirror in an SX-70, 600, or Spectra family Polaroid will probably do the job, held in place with a little suitable adhesive, if you can get the old part out.
However, this is probably not the best job to take on as your first attempt at camera repair; it would be pretty easy to bend stuff inside the RF badly enough you'd never get it adjusted again, just trying to get the old mirror loose. You might check around for quotes on a CLA and RF mirror replacement -- it might well be less than you think. And a Lynx 5000 in good condition is said to be a very competent camera, so might be worth fixing.
Seems to me Zhenya (Eumenius here on APUG) mentioned using reflective film (intended for car windows) to repair such a mirror at one time -- don't know if he ever got anywhere with it, though.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
Maybe opt for a hot shoe mounted rangefinder. I picked up a Russian Blik that I use all the time. You don't even have to mount the thing, just carry it in your shirt pocket. Dial in the distance and set your camera accordingly.
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I can't remember where I read this. Place a small dot with a marker pen on the centre of the window you look through (on the front). Just a dot is probably enough. This allows a dim rangefinder image to appear brighter against the now dimmer main image.
I tried it on an old retina I had and it worked very well. If it doesn't work, you can just remove the marker and you're right back where you started, without having to dismantle anything.
I was surprised that a seemingly opaque black mark on the outside of the viewfinder only had the effect of dimming the image slightly.
"I'm still developing"
Thanks for all the replies.
I've done the "cover the middle of the viewfinder" trick, and that 's the only way to see a very very dim dim rangefinder (I found that on the rangefinderforum, btw). I think that Donald is right, since when I cover the viewfinder and point it towards a light source I can see some grain (which is probably the little silver that's left on the mirror).
Oh well, one day I'll have it fixed, I suppose. I bought it to have a small camera with me always, but when it arrived I found out that it's not much smaller than my canon t-70 with a 50mm, and its a bit heavier anyway, so I'll just start carrying my canon with me at all times .
Well, I've emailed Essex Camera service and Mark Hama for quotes... Essex quotes a normal CLA at 60 bucks, hopefully fixing the rangefinder won't add to much.
I've only read good things about Mark Hama (both in cost and service), so I'll anxiously await that one as well.
worst case scenario I'll try to replace the beam splitter with an Anchor Optical/Edmund's piece, adjust the rangefinder myself, and just send it for a CLA. If I don't break the thing, of course.
Some of the time, the viewfinder is so filthy that the rangefinder patch cannot be seen. Often, cleaning the viewfinder system will restore the rangefinder patch. Always be very careful when cleaning a semi-gilded mirror, as the coating sometimes can be wiped away very easily.
Thanks for tip, I might just do that.