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More Home Camera Repair

Posted 2009.10.16 16.55 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

The codeine buzz didn’t last long, so in an attempt to draw my attention away from the unbearable seething agony in my mouth, I decided to have a go at repairing another camera.

Hanimex RangefinderToday’s victim subject was my Hanimex Rangefinder. I’ve looked high and low on teh interwebz but have yet to find any more information on this camera. I’m confident that it works like the Hanimex zone focus ZF35, and is almost certainly made by whomever made the ZF35. I have parts of the ZF35 manual, and between that information and what I’d ascertained when I originally disassembled part of the Hanimex, I am confident that a) my RF35 is functionally equivalent, b) the mechanical shutter operates at full speed when there is no battery power, and c) the metering system (when it works) uses an electromagnet to delay the shutter closing.

In other words, the shutter is cocked and released in a fully mechanical fashion. However, there is a small electromagnet (basically a small relay coil) next to an armature which, when released, closes the shutter. This armature has a small steel weight attached. Without any power whatsoever, the armature moves unimpeded and its maximum speed is probably 1/300th of a second. When the small coil is powered, this magnetically holds the armature in place until the current is removed. This delay is what allows the camera to employ slower shutter speeds.

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Rangefinders On Patrol

Posted 2009.09.30 12.37 in Hobbies by Stephanie

The old Rangefinder cameras have landed. They are crawling around. They are coming for you.

Rangefinder Trio

From left to right they are a Hanimex RF35 of unknown vintage, a Canonet GIII QL17 from the early 70s and a Fujica SE35 from 1959. The photo itself was taken with my Holga then cropped down to just the rangefinder trio.

Home Camera Repair

Posted 2009.09.20 15.43 in Hobbies, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Hey, how hard can it be, right? Today we’re going to be working on an ‘antique’, a ~37 year old Canonet GIII QL17, mechanical manual-focus rangefinder camera.

First thing is, make sure before you get started that you’re fully prepared. Have all your tools ready, any spare parts or supplies that you’ll need, and for goodness sake, make sure your beer is handy. A clean and tidy well-lit work area is important too, though in a pinch, just shove stuff off to one side of your dimly-lit desk and keep a flashlight handy for when you need some light.

Camera Repair 1

Step two, dive right on in. Cameras are fairly simple things, as you can see in the pictures. Really it’s just a pound of metal and glass. It only seems complicated because they take that pound of metal and make it into about eleventy-million little springs and levers and ratcheting doo-hickeys. At the end of the day though, metal is still just metal, and glass is still just glass. Except when they make it out of some funky rare-earth crystal stuff.

Camera Repair 2

So once the camera is fixed, just put it back together by reversing the disassembly process.

That’s it – it’s just that easy.

New Old Camera

Posted 2009.09.09 17.39 in Hobbies by Stephanie

1972_netg3-17My photographicalogical interests continue to spread out, having gone from a shiney new DSLR to my old manual Minolta, and are stretching further back in time. Today I got a nifty ‘new’ Canonet GIII QL17 35mm Rangefinder! The very best compact photographic technology that 1972 had to offer!

It really is a ‘compact’ camera, yet has all the bells and whistles of a serious / pro rangefinder. This website compares the QL17 to a Leica M6 – and I do believe the very economical QL17 stands up pretty well to the rather expensive Leica.

For a camera that’s pushing 37 years old, it’s in reasonably good shape. As soon as I verified that the shutter, aperture and winding mechanism were working, I threw in a roll of B&W film and when I’ve worked through the 36 shots I’ll develop it and post the results.

The camera is ‘almost’ entirely manual – the only non-manual thing it can do is it has an Electric Eye sensor that can be used to run the camera in Shutter Priority mode. That is, you pick a shutter speed and the camera can select the correct aperture. This is actually opposite of my prefered mode (Aperture Priority) on my DSLR and my Minolta X370. The QL17 uses a (banned) mercury battery to power the Electric Eye, but there are non-toxic replacements now. Without a battery, the camera works just fine in manual mode.

Camerapedia has an entry for the Canonet GIII QL17 which has some good info and links. Canon even has a page for the camera in their Camera Museum site.