Dad's old Pellix - what should I do?

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by ridinhome, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Am back home, visiting the parents for a couple of weeks. I was digging around in my cupboard and found my Dad's old Pellix, bought brand new in 1965, along with FL 135mm f2.8, Canon / Bell & Howell UV and Yellow filter. I played around with it, the shutter cocks and fires fine. I remember when I used to use this camera that the meter wasn't working, and that the second shutter curtain had a problem with it where it would close too soon at speeds of 1/250+. Also, the prism has some pretty bad black streaks on it. Mirror could do with a cleaning, new light seals required etc. The FL has some fungus on it, but it looks like it could be on the outside of the lens elements (of course, I'm no expert).
    Needless to say, I don't want to throw this camera away. It was my father's first SLR, which he got when graduated from college. I'd love to clean it up and get it back to as close to working order as possible, but I don't want to send it to a service center since it's probably not worth the money. I would love it if I could get her back in shape myself. However, I've never done this before. Based on the description above, what do you think? I figure at a minimum the mirror needs to be cleaned and the light seals replaced. These are easy. More complicated is what to do with the prism and the fungus. Fixing the shutter is out of the question right now. I suppose I could live with the streaks on the prism, but the Pellix viewfinder is dark enough as it is.
    Thoughts? Stupid idea? I've never done a camera repair before.
  2. Whatever you do, don't thouch that mirror! It is a very thin mirror that can easily get damaged when trying to "clean" it. If you don't plan to take pictures with it, just leave it as it is...
  3. If you can find a film cleaner with a fungicide in it, it might help clean off the lenses , or maybe try a little spray lysol on a lens tissue, but don't flood it and never spray anything directly onto or into the camera or lenses. If it is fungus, you want to keep it from infecting other cameras and gear.
    You will destroy the mirror if you try to clean it, as Vladimir says.
  4. Thanks Vladimir, JDM - that was fast!
    I have some Purosol lens cleaner from B&H which they assured me was what Nasa uses. Pretty sure I can scratch up some lens tissue.
    Will stay well away from that mirror, though I might try a blower bulb on it to get rid of less pesky dust.
  5. Canon did not make a 135/2.8 FL lens. There was an f/2.5 lens and an f/3.5 lens. If your is marked f/2.8 it may not be made by Canon. Since the time of the original Pellix and later Pellix QL models there have been an number of high speed motor drive Canons and Nikons which used a pellicle mirror. The last such camera was probably the Canon EOS RT. I don't know whether it would be possible to transplant the mirror from an EOS RT to a Pellix. The problems of pellicle mirror discoloration and damage explain why a Pellix with a poor mirror is worth so little and why one with a good mirror is worth so much. Even a Pellix with a good mirror is not very bright to look theough. This is why so many of them were sold with f/1.2 standard lenses. Even if you could replace the light seals and have the shutter servuced, if the mirror is not clear your image quality will not be very good. As long as you aren't worried about making anything worse you can experiment with the camera.
    If you are interested in FL equipment there are other models which are easier to service and which don't have the pellicle mirror problems. The FP has no built in meter. There is an accessory clip-on meter. It also has no QL mechanism. The TL, a less expensive version of the FT QL, with fewer features, also has no QL mechanism but does have through the lens metering. I have two TL QL cameras and have never seen a plain TL. The FT QL is a very pleasant camera to use. If any of these has a bad mirror, it can be replaced.
  6. According to Canon, servicing rates for Pellix mirrors was actually quite high, ~19% of units sold! Improvements were made to later pellicle designs and that value dropped to about a 2% repair fraction on the EOS RT. Their last camera using this technology was 1995's EOS-1N RS, its more transmissive mirror featured hard-coating for added durability.
  7. Jeff - sorry, you're right, it's the 2.5. My bad.
    Honestly, I'm not that interested right now in using the Pellix as much as I'm interested in getting it working for sentimental reasons. Figured it would be cool to get my Dad's first SLR up to scratch. Unfortunately it sounds like there's only so much I can do.
  8. Kayam,
    I'll chime in with a "me too." That pellicle mirror is delicate in both its silvering and its substance.
    But the rest of your issues are doable if you have the mechanical inclination and some basic skills. The shutter issue can probably be solved with a clean and lube and a simple adjustment. The meter and prism can be addressed in one trip into the top side. But a lot of the prisms on these FL cameras are losing their silvering, with either dark blotches or black lines showing in the finder.
    I'm just finishing my FT, which had the same shutter issue. Under the bottom cover, the Pellix is an FP. I suspect that I'll find the same under the top. I would guess that FT, TL, Pellix, and maybe FX prisms are all the same.
    Without trying to steal a customer from a professional camera tech, and since you've already said that repair isn't cost effective, e-mail me individually and I'll share some ideas with you, unless the forum wants to hear all this. I don't want to turn this into an FD/FL repair forum unless people are interested.
    I have a Pellix I haven't serviced yet. Maybe we can do them together. I'm going through my dad's old Konica FP at the moment for the same reasons you mention. I hope he can shoot another roll or two with it while he can still get up and around.
  9. Is there any documented case whatsoever of fungus spreading from one camera or lens to another?
    Also, is any place we go really spore-free? The reason lens fungus isn't more common than it is may be that the humidity, temperature, etc. in many places will not activate the ubiquitous mold spores.
    Jeff Adler said, " I have two TL QL cameras and have never seen a plain TL." It seems to me that nobody else has, either.
  10. Fungi spread by air-borne spores. What part of airborne and in the same cabinet would you like to dispute?
    Of course, you can put your fresh cheese into the same baggie with some mildewed cheese and see what happens, if you must experiment. :)
    Of course, fungus spores are all over, that's how the first one got infected, but that doesn't mean putting an active fungus into contact or near contact with other susceptible equipment will lessen the risk.
  11. If the camera is of such great sentimental value to the OP, it's worth spending whatever it costs to get the camera serviced by an expert.
  12. JDM, you're ignoring the condition of the ambient air in the cabinets, which is very relevant. Also, you're providing an good argument as opposed to describing a case where this happened. Also, many lens fungi may be inactive by now, the damage having been done earlier and the humidity, etc., having been removed.
  13. Bob, in my part of the country (just in the Gulf Coastal Plain), the usual humidity in both winter and summer is almost always above 70% and is usually close to 100%. Everything is damp, everything is just slightly mildewed. Always. Not much chance of anything going "dormant," which in any case, is not the same as "dead".
    It's like a cheap motel in Florida. :)
    If mildew were a cash crop, this part of the coal-producing areas would be a lot better off.
  14. JDM, this explains the condition of some lenses hailing from that climate that I unfortunately bought on eBay. I think that climate combined with storage in a leather lens case can mean trouble.

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