Sunday, August 9, 2009

Old Cameras

I always look for interesting cameras at thrift stores. Occasionally I'll find one at a reasonable price that I can't pass up.

Most recently I found the Olympus 35RD in the foreground for $5 with the cute little Vivitar 50 flash on it. The flash appears to take some weird battery so I'll probably never use it. The camera is very clean and judging by the film compartment was used very little. It has a nice looking 40mm f/1.7 lens. That is very fast for a rangefinder camera like this. The Konica C35 in the background is f/2.8. The Olympus has adjustable aperture and shutter speeds and also seems to have a shutter priority automatic mode. Problem is, it has a serious shutter problem. Occasionally, it works correctly though I don't know if the timing is accurate. The rest of the time the shutter doesn't open or opens but doesn't close. I bought a new battery for it hoping that might help, but no. The meter also doesn't seem to work even with the good battery.

In the background is the Konica C35 that I think I got for $3 some time ago. It has automatic exposure and a clever thing for shooting with flash. In the old days of fixed output flashes, you had to adjust the aperture based on the distance to the subject. This camera has a setting that links the focus ring to the aperture setting. You set this based on the guide number of the flash you are using. It then changes the aperture to match the distance you are focused on. It even prevents you from focusing on things too close for the camera to expose properly when using more powerful flash units. Very clever. I have never seen this on a camera before. The problem with this camera is that it takes an obsolete 1.3 volt mercury battery that is no longer available. At least not easily available. I found several sources that said a 1.4 volt hearing aid battery will work. So I got some of those and it still didn't work. Oh well. I may at least take the bottom off and see if there is an issue with the battery contacts. They seem a little loose. I wish I knew more about camera repair so I could fix these.

Update: Oooooh, look at this!