Voigtlander Superb-screen clean?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by russell_binns, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Does anyone know how one can access the underside of the viewing screen on a
    Voigtlander Superb to clean it? Also - what is best to clean it with?
  2. NEVER clean a focussing screen while still in place. It will only get worse. There is no easy way for DIY cleaning, let alone when still in the camera. There will always be residues of smudge and drying spots.

    Remove the screen, if possible, and take it to the next optician. They will clean it for you in a professional ultrasonic cleaner. In Germany all opticians do this for free, but I usually give them some coins for their coffee fund.

    Only way to clean a screen DIY which MIGHT be successfulis to put it into a strong solution of dish washing agent, wipe it gently and let it dry in a dust-free room. Put it vertically when drying and put some spacers under the lower edge so that water does not collect there.

    BTW check whether it's not the mirror which darkens the image. Old mirrors are silver-coated and corrode badly over the decades. Don't try to clean the mirror, either, you will just rub off the silver coating. You can try to get it re-aluminized (silver is no longer used for mirrors) - ask a local star watchers' union, or replace it. There have been several threads about TLR mirror replacement here.
  3. Or, get a really nice new plastic screen with split image and fresnel from Rick Oleson.
  4. Hi,

    I'm cleaning a Rolleicord (Art-Deco) from the mid 30s.
    You do mean the ground glass focusing screen? Never clean DIY?
    I can take it to Fielmann the optiker I guess, but I'm waiting for a mirror solution. That's the main reason the finder is so dark.
    Rick Oleson has better finder mmmhhh should I replace or keep original?!?

  5. Thanks to all. I'm holding off any DIY! Its difficult to know whether the screen is dark and smudgy from dirt/debris on the g-g screen, or from mirror deterioration. I guess its going to be difficult to find a replacement mirror for a Superb: in fact, it looks very difficult to even get at it! Any suggestions? Anyone got inside one of these? Its just about usable as is, but a bit of a pain! I'd be interested to know of anyone/anywhere who replaces tlr mirrors. Chuck - you have the same problem...Its annoying, because I have an older Graflex RB series C which has a perfect mirror and g-g. Guess its just luck of the draw.
  6. Chuck

    I rehabed an Art Deco 'Cord. I replaced the mirror from one I cut from a Kodak instant camera. The Kodak camera is obsolete, having lost a patent infringement case with Polaroid back in the 80's. You can usually find these cameras for $2.

    The ground glass focusing screen I just removed and washed gently with soap and water. After all, they are just glass. The plactic fresnel screens are touchy but I've washed them with soap and water also. I did replace my screen with one from redleica on Ebay, similar to what Rick has. Worked OK.
  7. Hello,

    Ah, not one useful answer with regard to actually getting the ground glass out, or at the mirror...Well you have come to the right person for an answer. you will have to peal the leather off the top portion of the camera that is both sides of the finder and the front around the viewing lens. There are four large "cheese" head screws under the covering that hold the entire view finder housing onto the camera. Once these are removed then accessing the mirror and ground glass should be pretty obvious. A good source for mirrors is a product called kaleidoscope glass, sold at stained glass shops. It is very economical, but is not truly optically flat. Despite this, I have found that it makes little difference with the image quality when focusing, and that it makes most finders much brighter.
  8. Russell:
    Here you go on the Voigtlander Superb: Find the latch mechanism on the back of the body for the folding focusing hood. Remove the two screws which hold this in place and set these three pieces aside. Revealed will be a wide slot the gg can be pulled through. When looking down into the viewfinder, adjacent to the the bubble level on the right, there is a thin spring steel tab you press toward the side of the finder. When pressed, its small bit of tension will be lessened on the gg allowing you to finesse the gg straight back and out the slot in the camera body.
    Assuming your gg is original it is made of frosted glass which can be cleaned but as suggested earlier you have to be gentle.

    Removing and replacing the mirror is quite different than the Rollei due to the modular design of the parallax correction through a pivoting mirror box. Once you remove the gg you will see what I'm talking about. Should you find the mirror is bad let me know and I'll try to explain the process saving you from needless ruination of the leather covering on the body.

    A shame so little service information is available on these very interesting cameras but once you've done one you can appreciate the relative simplicity of the individual component assemblies secured to what amounts to a cast alloy box.

    Need to bone up on my technical writing skills...
    Health, Peace out
  9. Thanks again to all. Joanne - I think I see what you mean. Who would have guessed that fastener covered an access slot! I think I see the tab - it looks little more than a tiny sliver of metal overlapping the edge of the gg on the RHS as you look down. I really appreciate this tip: have you done one? It looks frightening - there seems a hundred and one ways to chip or damage the gg!! Is the gg supported on a metal frame (I see what looks like a metal frame), and does it just slide out backwards? As a rule do they come out without breaking? And to re-assemble after cleaning, do you just slide it back in, under the spring clip?
  10. Russell:
    My Superb was very rough overall when I acquired it and is a very early one and some details may have changed as production went along.

    The viewfinder was extremely dim so I had no choice but to figure out how to remove the gg. Couldn't find anything on the subject on the internet so grabbed a small flashlight and poked around inside and noticed the slot under the latch. The gg is inserted into the frame you see inside the viewfinder and somehow must be pulled straight back and out of the body. I finessed the front edge back a bit with the tip of a small screwdriver until it could be firmly grasped and pulled. Never realized the tab on the right put tension on it...

    My gg had seen a bit of water damage between the glass and the frame visable as rust which probably made removal more difficult but it came out unscathed. Perhaps a small suction cup or bit of rubber for friction on top of the gg might be all you need do to slide it back and out for cleaning as that metal tab is pressed outward. I wouldn't be particularly concerned about breaking the gg but your experience may be different than mine so beware.

    My mirror was shot anyway, having much of the front surface gone and the back surface only somewhat better which projected a double ghost image onto the newly cleaned gg. Replacing the mirror was relatively easy once the body was disassembled in the fashion described earlier by Mark Hansen. Wish I had his consult when I first delved into mine but the gg can be removed without this added disassembly.
    Let us know how your gg removal goes.

    Health, Peace out
  11. Hey,

    Is there any guide on how to replace a bad mirror of a Voigtlander Superb ?
    I have the replacement mirror (and a Rick Oleson bright focus screen is on the way) but I don't want to ruin
    this wonderful camera

    Thanx for any reply,
  12. After some careful examination of the camera I found the solution:
    1-4 : there are 4 screws (2 left, 2right of the viewing lens) on the front (carefully lift the leather very slowly)
    5-6 : there are 2 screws at the top sides (bottom near the back of the camera) (carefully lift the leather very slowly)
    cover : you also have to remove the cover of the counter reset

    When this is done , you can lift the viewing hood

    then it is easy to remove mirror and ground glass
  13. Hi guys,
    I bought a nice Superb from 1939 (Heliar lens) working almost flawless, but the mirror is unusable. It is completely deteriorate. I disassemble completely the camera but now I'm stuck how to remove the mirror to send it for silvering again. Anybody could help me on this task?
  14. You mentioned this in another post and frankly the best advice is to replace it with a modern mirror... re-silvering will be difficult to find I believe someone in one of the threads mentioned Star gazers/ astronomy photographers who have some experience doing this for telescopes et al. Get the dimensions and ask that fellow to cut you a new one. ...it will be easier and cheaper ..if not "original", it will be better ie functional!
  15. Yes indeed, I mentioned in another post and I found a solution. I found a way to remove the mirror and bought already one on eBay. Now the problem is removing the taking lens. I try to unscrew from behind, but should be very tight; until now I couldn't get it out.
  16. Wow, that's really great information.

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