i just want to talk about looking after your collection of vintage cameras here, as in my years of buying, collecting and selling cameras, i have always come across 1 or 2 that have needed some gentle TLC!
im not talking about major technical problems here…those are best left to experienced camera repairers…in my case, i always use Ed Trzoska on 01162 674247…he’s a very competent guy (the famous camera writer Ivor Matanle uses him, too) , always happy to chat with you, and his rates are very reasonable.
the sort of simple repairs anybody should be able to handle, like replacing light seals, cleaning, etc is what i am discussing here.
regarding light seals, i have found that almost all vintage cameras were fitted with foam seals, but the adhesive that was used, caused the foam to disintegrate into a gooey mess that sticks to your fingers, other parts of the camera etc…not a very happy state to be in…just look at the photo above of a camera having old seals removed…nasty!
but never fear, i have a complete guide, written by yours-truly, with photos of every step, on how to tackle this job….just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a note in the comments section…i will email you the guide FREE OF CHARGE.
and please make a note of my site, either bookmark it or put it in your favorites folder, as in due course i will be talking about looking after leather ever-ready cases and dealing with beginnings of fungus on vintage camera lenses….coming soon!!
last time, we talked about the care of classic cameras.
today, i just wanted to talk quickly about some of the pitfalls, we, as buyers, need to look out for when purchasing vintage cameras.
most of the advice is just common sense really, but there are some tricks that you need to be aware of. firstly, always ask to ahndle the camera before you buy, as you may not like its weight, or its shape etc.
when you have it in your hands, you should always try and test all the mechanical levers, buttons or switches, paying particular attention to rangefinder images (check if the image is bright and if the 2 images merge into one, when the camera is in foucus….if not, dont buy, as a rangefinder alignment will probably cost you more than you pay for the camera!).
the check the film winding mechanism…the action should be smooth, without any hint of the lever travel being interrupted throughout its arc. likewise the shutter speeds….they should all be smooth and crisp, especially on the speeds slower than 1/30s…if the shutter is slower or sluggish at these speeds, again, do not buy, as an expensive service may be on the cards!
the aperture blades should be free from any trace of grease or oil, as that can impair the free-movement of the aperture blades…again, dont buy if oil or other contaminant is present.
obviously check to see if the lens is clear and bright and free from the dreaded fungus or any other marks or scratches or indeed excess dust within the elements.
if the camera you like has bellows, then check to see that the bellows material has not perished and is light-tight. finally, check the light seals inside the camera, which although replaceable, can be a tiresome, time-consuming repair (see this blog’s pages for the light seal chat).