My sickly classics

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mrmekon, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. My good friend's family owns a bunch of rental properties, and a couple years ago one of their tenants left behind a massive collection of assorted camera bits. They gave the whole mess to me. The common element among most of it: fungus. Here are four of the oldest prizes, in various states of disrepair.
    First up: Optika Auto 35. This was apparently called the Auto Terra in the states, and the Optika is the export version. My friends mostly rent to Chinese tenants, so it's a safe bet that these cameras were all imported by the owner.
    The Optika is in the best condition of the four. It has a spring wound motor that, when fully wound, allows about 9 shots in a row before it needs to be rewound. It's a rangefinder, and features a 45mm f/1.8 Optika Zunow lens. The aperture and shutter speed rings are linked, and there's an 'exposure' ring to turns them together. The glass on this one is the cleanest, with some dirt and a spot of fungus, but after cleaning the lens looks very nice. A tiny speck or two of permanent damage, but no etching from the fungus. The shutter looks right to my untrained eye across the whole range.
    I shot a roll in this one today, but haven't developed it yet.
  2. Next up is the Konair 35. Another rangefinder, this one with a 45mm f/1.9 T.K.C Super Color Sygmar lens. "Velex" is etched on the side of the lens. I can't find any reference to a "Konair 35" on Google, but searching for "Super Color Sygmar" brought up a Japanese page about a Windsor Deluxe, which looks identical:
    There is a lever on the top of the lens to cock the shutter, but unfortunately the shutter speed is unreliable. 'Bulb' works 1 in 20 times, the slower speeds (1, 1/2, 1/5) seem right about 9 out of 10 times, but on the 10th time they either go too fast or get stuck halfway open. A little push on the lever gets it moving again.
    The lens is similar in shape to the Optika: a spot of fungus, but overall pretty clear and clean.
  3. Next: Minolta-35 "Model II". It has the initials "C.K.S." This one is pretty well documented and probably very common. Here's a page about it:
    The lens is a 50mm f/2 Nippon Kogaku Tokyo Nikkor-H C. This one looks like it's in really bad shape, with horrible haze on the lens and a few spots of fungus.
    The mechanical problem with this one is neat. The curtain shutter was getting stuck, so I popped out the inside and put a few drops of light sewing machine oil on the gears and the edge of the path. That was enough to get it moving again, but there's an odd problem... the timing is correct if I aim the camera below the horizon, but at the horizon or above it the slow speeds don't work -- it moves way too fast.
    I think the lens is supposed to be removable, but I haven't figured out how to get it out.
  4. The last one is very common, I believe: a Petri Penta SLR. She's got a 50mm 1/2 Kuribayashi Petri Orikkor lens with tons of fungus, etching, and haze. It's an M42 mount, though, so that's easy enough to replace.
    This one is all screwed up. The mirror is stuck in the up position, the rewind lever won't move, the shutter speed dial won't move, and the curtain shutter is open. I can't get anything to move or unstick, and I haven't found a repair manual.
  5. Just the thought of working on any one of these to try and get them back to optimal condition has me salivating! What great projects!
  6. Trevor, what a stunning collection. I've gotta qut reading these "Classic" threads. I already have so many cameras my new ones don't fit in my camera locker any more. Have fun.
  7. Nice collection, indeed. I would especially like to try the Minolta.
    But I'd say the rarest by far is the Optika. Just try finding another one of those! Never heard of the Opikta brand, but I have seen a few Auto-Terra models on the big auction site, and for some reason it seems they never go for less than $100. Sure, the rarity makes them valuable to some, but I think it might also be because some collectors are nuts over the Zunow-brand lenses.
  8. I have of course heard of Petri, but not of the others. They look neat and I hope you will favor us with some photos produced by these cameras.
  9. Some info on the Minolta 35II Trevor , this one is very capable and as you can see valuable in good condition. I copied this from my McKeown's hope its clear to read.
  10. Very cool.
  11. The inside of the lens cap on the Petri has a drawing and instructions on what to do if the mirror gets stuck up! It must be a very common malady. Of course, it just says push the shutter release and press gently on the mirror, which doesn't do anything. It has probably been stuck for years, possibly decades.
  12. The first two, at least, are both dandy looking cameras!
  13. The collector book lists a Konair Ruby by Yamato (1955) and it looks similar but ?
    What are the "buttons" on the front of the Optika?
  14. The Minolta has a Nikkor 5cm f2 collapsible lens. It is Leica thread mount. It should unscrew counterclockwise as you look at it, as does a regular screw. It could be frozen on. It is worth a few hundred $'s in good working condition.
  15. Tom, the front of the Optika has a threaded hole for a shutter release cable (top), the shutter release button (middle), and a rotating knob that selects between "A" and "S" (bottom). I don't know what "A" and "S" stand for, but "S" seems to physically lock the shutter release.
    I did get the lens off the Minolta finally. The haze on the front actually cleaned up surprisingly well, and now I can see there's light rust on the aperture blades. Also interesting is it has a 10-blade design.
    Just ran a roll through the Konair. It didn't rewind smoothly, so I need to pop it open in the darkroom and see what's up. I think I accidentally multiply-exposed a bunch of shots on this roll... it took a while to get used to the film advance and shutter not being linked.
  16. I stripped the Konair 35 down, and then unscrewed the wrong screw and all the gears flew out across my desk. Fun! It only took about an hour to piece it back together. Now everything is back in order, except I lost a piece: a small tensioner made of metal wire. Unfortunately, that's a very important piece: it engages the slow speed gears!
    All of the metal tensioners are.. well.. not very tense. I suspect that's the why the "bulb" setting isn't working. It looks to me that with a tiny bit of extra tension it would work fine. As it is, the shutter opens but doesn't close when you release the button. The little blocking arm that keeps it open is attached to a metal spring tensioner, but that sucker doesn't pull it hard enough when the weight of the shutter lever is on it.
    Anyone know where to buy this kind of wire? I saw in another post it's called "music wire", but he didn't say where to get it. It's very small gauge, a bit smaller than the smallest string on an electric guitar. Any clues as to what gauge that would be and where to get some replacement would be great. I think I can rebuild the slow-speed gear tensioner without much trouble.
  17. I'd suggest that perhaps you should start a new thread with this question.
  18. I know this is an old thread, but when you're searching for information on something you just bought and there is hardly a word about it anywhere... you take what you can get!

    Today I purchased one of the Konair 35 rangefinders just like the OP has up there. It has a layer of degraded red camera bag fuzz all over it, and otherwise has some general grime, but I'm hoping the little guy will clean up nicely.

    Not too long ago I stumbled across a fine looking Contax RX with Zeiss 1.7 Planar T* mounted... I think I'm about excited about this Konair as I was the Contax!

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