Last Tuesday I could not resist when I pass by the antique shop outside Golden Landmark mall. There were a couple of russian camera eyeing at me and well I though I could well be in for a bargain.
It’s very difficult t check in the spot a camera that you never used before. I never used a Screw Mount camera before so I had no idea how to dismount the lens to have a look at the shutter curtains. It’s not easy to try the rangefinder when its pissing rain and you cannot see 2 meters away. The corking and speed change mechanism was also foreign to me so the idea of listening shutter to check the shutter speeds by ear was also a miss. Plus the two models I wanted a Fed-2 and a Zorki-S do not have a removable back so you cannot check the inside.
It took me 15 minutes to realize that my first choice, the Fed-2, has the tripod bolt missing from the bottom plate hence being unusable without a dirty fix. I ruled it out fr the time being.
Unfortunately I was in a bit of a hurry and the very courteous seller spotted very quickly that I was not very good at bargaining, so as usual I probably overpaid for my new toy (50 US).
Back home, after a couple of hours google-ing and playing with the toy the diagnostic was not so good:
– the shutter only fires intermittently
– the rangefinder does not work
– the aperture ring does move with difficulty.
Thursday out of disappointment I put a 6 years expired Kodak Gold film inside and wen shooting out haphazardly on the way to the office. I focused at hyper-focal distance, set the speed and aperture with the guess-o-meter and fired 5 times each shot before the shutter worked. So I expect 5 or 6 shots in 4 or 5 days. … to follow
A couple of links if you are interested:
Isaak S. Maizenberg’s bible of Russian Cameras, a huge compendium on usage, design and repair: