Classic Camera Revival – Episode 78 – Rest in Pieces


Sometimes a camera breaks and we can’t get it fixed, but we don’t want to get rid of it either, so they just sit on our shelves looking pretty or in pieces. The gang also talks about getting your camera repaired.

Rest In Pieces
Those cameras that just sit on the shelf because we either can’t get them repaired, they’re too far gone, and we just can’t get rid of them.

David White Co. Stereo Realist
For John, now in glorious 3D, the Stereo Realist represented a unique piece of photographic history. The idea of 3D photography wasn’t new when the Stereo Realist saw initial production. But it certainly helped it take off through the mid-century. And the Realist certainly set the standard for that art deco look that many of the cameras showed off. But these are complex beasts and for John, it was a one-roll wonder. The biggest weakness in these cameras is the film advance which failed after that first roll.

Episode 78 - Rest in Pieces

Make: David White Company
Model: Stereo Realist
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 135 (35mm), 25x23mm
Lens: Fixed, 2x David White Anastigmat 1:3.5/35mm
Year of Manufacture: 1947

Polaroid SX-70
Before the real craze hit, Alex found this awesome camera for a fair price at a camera show, and that sent him down the rabbit hole that was the Impossible Project in those early days. And while the original SX-70 is an engineering marvel, they aren’t easily fixed and do have some problems. This one failed after only a few packs of film through the lens. And because of their iconic standing and now higher price tag, it lives on Alex’s top-shelf on display.

Episode 78 - Rest in Pieces

Make: Polaroid
Model: SX-70
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Polaroid Instant Integral (SX-70)
Lens: Fixed, Polaroid 4-Element (Glass), 116mm f/8
Year of Manufacture: 1972-1974

Voigtländer Vitomatic
Well if there’s a camera that matches the episode title it is these two Vitomatics from James. You see, these came to him in various states of functionality and he decided they’d be a good project camera. But the trouble is that during disassembly, no documentation was made. Thankfully, they ended up with Matt before the end of the episode who has plans for the various bits and pieces in his own projects.

Episode 78 - Rest in Pieces

Make: Voigtländer
Model: Vitomatic (I, Ia, Ib, II, IIa, IIb, IIIb)
Type: Rangefinder/Viewfinder
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Fixed, Voigtländer Color-Skopar 50/2.8 or Voigtländer Ultron 50/2
Year of Manufacture: 1958-1969 (multiple generations and models)

Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa
There’s something about a mid-century rangefinder and the first great camera grudge match. That is the one between Zeiss Ikon and Leitz. Now there’s nothing wrong about the Contax IIIa, and in a couple of ways, they have better specs than contemporary Leicas. But these are over-engineered and the biggest weakness is in the shutter curtain. The roll-up metal curtain when it fails, it goes big time and these days there’s only a couple will dare attempt a repair. Bill’s suggestion, go with a Nikon.

The Tool Kit - 2019 - Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa

Make: Zeiss Ikon
Model: Contax IIIa
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm)
Lens: Interchangable, Contax RF-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1951-1960

Zenit ET
Well, here we have in full view on what makes Soviet Cameras, Soviet Cameras. Matt got the camera new in box, but it never worked right out the box. The problem lay with the shutter and the rubber used. It broke down during its long trip out of the former Soviet bloc and into his hands. Of course, Matt tried to fix the beast but ended up using the camera for parts.

Zenit ET
Photo By: Stephan Ohlsen
Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Make: Vileiskiy or KMZ (1982 only)
Model: Zenit ET
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, M42 Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1982-1993

CLA What?
When it comes to getting your cameras repaired the biggest term that gets tossed around is CLA, short for Clean, Lube, Adjust. Sadly this is a catch-all phrase that is often not well-liked in the repair shop. It’s important that when you do send a camera out to a repair shop that like any other professional service, give them your symptoms, not solutions. And most importantly most western cameras are difficult to repair from home when in doubt send it out. And then trust your tech, they’re trained, passionate, and probably have a lot more knowledge than you.

Want a subscription to SilverGrain Classics and are a fan of Classic Camera Revival? Visit their shop online and buy a magazine or a subscription? Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic. Looking for development options, check out these labs that have our support, Boréalis Photo Lab, Old School Photo Lab, The Darkroom, and Film Rescue International.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival, Twitter @ccamerarevival, and Instagram (@classiccamerarevival)!

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