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Chaika II Repair Results

Posted 2011.10.09 15.32 in Hobbies, Photography

A while back I dug up an old broken camera and pulled it apart to fix it. Or kill it. Whatever came first.

Turned out that the fix was fairly simple, and I was momentarily pleased enough to put some film in it and carry it around for a couple days.

The Chaika II is a “half frame” camera, meaning it takes two smaller pictures for every one picture a normal camera takes. Normal 35mm frames are 36mm x 24mm, and a half-frame camera takes 24mm x 18mm frames. So with a 36-exposure roll, you actually get 72 shots!

It’d take me forever to finish a 72-frame roll, but luckily I usually have some half-rolls laying around, from re-spooling 35mm film into different formats (eg. 126 cartridges or 127 rolls.) Or just from getting bored and pulling a half-used roll out of one camera, to finish in another.

Either way, I had about half a roll left of CN-800 film, and into the Chaika it went.

Details: ISO 800 colour negative film, processed a long while in my tired old C-41 chemistry. Exposed using Sunny-16 and guesswork. The Chaika’s shutter seems to be working fine and the speeds are probably accurate. Yay!

Late Night Camera Repair

Posted 2011.09.14 22.41 in Hobbies

This week has really been a huge bust. After the various failures over the weekend, I’ve been suffering at the hands of medical professionals and the various tests to which they’ve been subjecting my leg. I’ve been feeling bummed out with photography and cameras.

Tonight I’m sitting here about ready to go to bed and then I decide, just before turning in, I’m going to at least mess with a camera. I’ve got this little Chaika-II on my shelf, I vaguely remember putting some film through it when I first got it, but then the shutter/winder siezed up. It’s just been gathering dust since then.

So tonight I decided, I’m either going to fix it, or I’m going to reduce it to a pile of parts. And based on this week’s track record, I expected the latter result.

Still, it was a very inexpensive camera, and I’m not a big fan of the half-frame format, so I was ready to make the sacrifice. Worst-case scenario, I’d get to see the insides and maybe learn something.

Chaika II

I removed the four screws I found on the top plate, and the top easily slid off. A few parts and a spring fell out, and right away I could see that only three screws should have been removed – the fourth one should have stayed put as it was holding some parts to the top plate. Fortunately I’m pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out, and it only took a few moments to see how the parts fit back together, so I wasn’t any further behind.

Looking at the winding / cocking mechanism, it’s a lot like a funny little clockwork. The shutter speed is part of that clockwork, and setting the shutter speed just tensions a spring – the more the tension, the faster the shutter. What I realized was that, like a number of other early eastern-bloc mechanical cameras, you are not supposed to set the shutter speed until after winding and cocking the camera.¬†Odds are, I did that out of order at one point and got the thing jammed.

It ended up being a very simple straightforward fix, and once again this little camera is clicking along. Not bad for 10 minutes work before bed – it took longer to do this write-up than it did to fix the camera! I’m even thinking about running some more film through this little camera, just for the heck of it!