Yesterday I received a MIR, the Zorki 4 with fewer shutter speeds, from Fedka.com. It seems pretty awesome.

Today, I decided to take it to local camera shop to get its shutter speeds checked out. I made it very clear to them that they shouldn't change shutter speeds without cocking the shutter first. One guy ran it through their machine and turned up with "Eh... these are so-so speed timings, but they're usable." He was very careful to follow my instructions. He, however, wanted a second opinion…so he brought in another guy.

The second guy ran it through the machine himself and turned up with a different attitude, "So this shutter is 3/4ths of a stop off and erratic!" He showed me the back and continued to explain, "See how the shutter slides back... one of the times I cocked the shutter, the two curtains were 1/8th of an inch apart!" I hadn't noticed any of that the 100 times I cocked the shutter the night before. As he continued to show me problem, I noticed: he changed the shutter speed before he cocked the shutter. I said, "But you just changed the shutter before you cocked the shutter!"

He told me to send it back, save some money, and buy a Leica III. What the hell? Of course, he had a Leica III he was willing to sell me…engraved with someone's else's name in it. I took my camera back, checked the shutter 20 times to check if he broke it (didn't see any shutter separation), said good day, and screamed outside. I was mad enough to fight so I jut picked the path of least resistance and got out of there. :/ I like the owner of that shop and I like the first guy, but this second guy was not careful at all.

Here are my questions:

  • Is my camera borked—and how can I tell?
  • Are erratic shutter speeds typical of shutter misuse? (That's what I've read, and I've also read they can go back to normal after 2-3 shots, but you guys would know better.)
  • Also: I'd love to hear your similar experiences. How many of you have had people nearly screw up your FSU Rangefinder or Barnack Leica?