Adventures w/ "Junk" Cameras

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ralf_j., Sep 10, 2020.

  1. I am putting up this post to cover some of the "junk" cameras I have been finding at local fleamarket for a couple of dollars here and there.

    Some of the younger folks that use them today, go after the "effect" they generate such as light leaks, fuzzy photos, photos with complete lack of contrast or flares galore when shot against strong lighting. I have heard the kodak brownie no. 2 being called a Foggie, rightly so as its cardboard body develops leaks over time.

    I am of a different mindset; yes these cameras were mass produced consumer grade cameras, but they weren't produced to create those special effects the current "analogue" crowd is so smitten with. They were produced to provide the best image they could within the limited/cheap materials used to increase sales and profit margins.

    Some of these are rivet-nailed cameras with little remedy or hope in restoring them, however if one looks closely enough, a lot of them can be helped, either with some creativity or trial and error. I am attaching below some of the most recent "junkies" I have worked on and some details of this work.

    Bencini disassembled.jpg
    cameragary likes this.
  2. A Bencini Comet 200 for 126 film, disassembled, cleaned, and put together. 2 screws inside film chamber and one screw is revealed when depressing the shutter button. Care needs to be applied when put together as the shutter needs to be half depressed to put the hidden screw together.
    Loaded with Kodak Instamatic 200 film from 1991, perhaps I can get a few images.

    Bencini Assembled.jpg
    LMar and cameragary like this.
  3. Ansco Readyflash 620, dirty and rusty as they usually are. A little trial and error came handy here, where the error resulted in an extra unit I had taking a little more damage then anticipated (hey you learn from errors too). At first, you would think this camera can not come apart, WRONG. The front standard holding the shutter and lens, pivots on two posts. The whole front standard is twisted around these two posts as you would on a keyhole type painting hanger. 2 plastic notches on the view finder and a bendable metal arm over one of the "keyholes" hold the shutter from moving around. A thin flat head screw driver helped lift the metal arm, a small tug of the standard and a twist release shutter and lens; two retaining screws in the back separate the shutter from lens and voila... To assemble reverse the process.

    Ansco Apart Lens.jpg
    cameragary likes this.
  4. Back of shutter

    Ansco Apart.jpg
    LMar and cameragary like this.
  5. Assembled

    Ansco Assembled.jpg
    LMar and cameragary like this.
  6. A Spartus Vanguard in 127 format. Two screws on front removed, help slide off the front plate, giving access to shutter, internal side of the lens, viewfinder and flash contacts.

    Vanguard Apart.jpg
    LMar and cameragary like this.
  7. Spartus Assembled

    Spartus Together.jpg
    LMar and cameragary like this.
  8. A brownie junior that has seen better days. Not too terrible with options such as Instant and Timed shutter, and a two aperture option with a lever pull. Four screws on front plate give access to shutter. The lens can only be accessed from inside the film chamber and the front with the aid of a q-tip while you trap the shutter blade open.

    brownie pnet.jpg
    LMar, cameragary and Julio Fernandez like this.
  9. Excellent work, thanks for sharing
    cameragary and ralf_j. like this.
  10. Thank you sir
    cameragary likes this.
  11. Thanks, Ralf, that's informative and inspiring. I find these "peoples' cameras" really interesting, and I notice also that many of the little 35mm compact cameras from around the turn of the century are now attracting the interest of collectors.
    cameragary likes this.
  12. That's interesting Ralf, thanks. It's only when you start to open these "simple" cameras up, that you realise how clever the designers actually were. And yes, I've often cleaned the lens rear with a Q tip poking through the open shutter.
    cameragary likes this.
  13. Terrific.

    More is even better:)
    cameragary likes this.
  14. Yes, competition for these cameras is becoming an issues on www. I am also seeing the 1980s point and shoots attracting a quite a bit of attention, i.e. Olympus Infinity line, Ricohs, Canon AF-M/Snappys and or Minolta HiMatic AFs
    cameragary likes this.
  15. Oh good, John, I am glad I am not the only one :). BTW, some of these use plastic lenses, and plastic lenses do not like qtips at all, usually end up with plenty of scratches :), that's why dish soap and water it is for these ...
    cameragary and John Seaman like this.
  16. JDM, my old friend, the GDR King, hope you are well and hope you still remember me. It is heart warming to see some of the familiar posters here.
    cameragary likes this.
  17. It's you!

    Welcome back, very much.
    cameragary likes this.

Share This Page