This past weekend I was lucky enough to score a nice looking Nikon FM10 for relatively little cost. Now for you die hard Nikon purists, I know the FM10 is actually developed by Cosina and shares a lot of it’s internals with several other brands but I wasn’t going to let that stop me adding a camera to the collection!
After a quick once over, I discovered there was an issue with the shutter, It wasn’t firing properly and was jamming. Popped the lens off and it released just fine. So at this point I’m thinking “Ok, perhaps the lens (a cheap 35-70 zoom) was the issue”, So I grabbed one my my 50mm Nikkors, same problem. 🤔
Lets try an older non-ai lens. bang the shutter works fine. Knowing that the camera is completely mechanical (batteries are only for the light meter) I start comparing the lenses to see why one would work and the other not. The culprit? the rear element mount is a touch longer on the AI-S Nikkor. Back to the camera body and the issue becomes obvious. Can you pick it?
It’s not super obvious if you don’t know what to look for, but you can see the mirror has moved down and away from it’s intended position, the glue must have softened at some point allowing it to slide down and causing it to impact the back of the lens when mounted. Which is why the older non-ai lens with the shorter mount wasn’t impacted!
After carefully warming up the mirror and easing it back into it’s original position I’m happy to report that the camera is fully functional again! I’m looking forward to popping a test roll in shortly and seeing how it goes in hand, If it’s anything like the Nikon FM it will be lovely to shoot.
Keep an eye out here for a review to come afterwards, I’m also intending to write something up for the Nikon F100 and F5 both of which I’ve owned for years and used extensively but have failed to put any words down here for them.
…and if anyone is actually reading these, let me know if you have any requests for reviews of film, developers, cameras or general photography info.
So after several years without any effects of gear acquisition syndrome, I recently suffered a gas attack. You see for many years I’ve pined after a Pentacon SixTL. You know the one, the east german medium format SLR that is known for it’s unreliability and was famously copied by the Russians when they released the more modern Kiev 60 series.
A very nice Praktisix IIa popped as if by magic into my Ebay watch list several weeks back, it had a few issues but the condition was lovely. I was taken by it and made the purchase. Upon further inspection and a failed attempt at correcting shutter speeds by myself, I decided to ship it off to Mainline Photographics in Sydney. I’ve used them several times in the past for CLA’s (Clean/Lube/Adjust) on my Rolleiflexes. Scott is always helpful and Hans (the technician) is Leica trained and always does a top notch job. While it was away I promptly ordered a replacement reflex mirror and a new waist level finder for it. The finder I had suffered from a busted spring so it wouldn’t stay open and the mirror had some crazing near the bottom edge. Then.. I waited.
The Praktisix is the earlier model pre-dating the Pentacon six but made in the same factory in easy germany. The model I have is of 1960’s vintage. It’s every bit the same camera; with a cloth horizontally travelling focal plane shutter with speeds from B to 1/1000th sec. It features a breach lock lens mount (shared with the Kiev60 series) and Carl Zeiss Jena made a slew of very nice lenses for this mount. My particular copy came with the venerable Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 Biometar. I’d like to add a Zeiss Flektogon wide angle very soon.
While I waited patiently for my P6 to come back to me I received an interesting phone call. A lady I met 3 years prior at the local library. I had a camera display there at the time and I had spoken to her about photography and art. She mentioned at the time that she had some old cameras in storage and would be happy to part with them. I gave her my number and we parted ways. Out of the blue she called me saying she’d love to donate her cameras to me. Her charge? a simple thank you. despite my offering to pay. Needless to say I was impressed to find a box full of dusty old gear with a few gleaming gems inside.
I’m sure you notice as I did, the Minolta Autocord and Mamiya 645. There are some other interesting bits in here: a folding polaroid 4×5, bulk loader full of mystery film, folding 6×6 camera, a pentax K1000 with some lenses and some random accessories too. Most of this stuff is in poor condition due to the caked on dust and years of storage, but I was very appreciative nonetheless.
I cleaned up what I could of the Mamiya 645 and the Minolta Autocord and found 2 cameras in really quite good condition, which is great considering they are the most sought after in the box. The Mamiya even came with a very wide 35mm Sekor lens. althought the standard 80mm has some coating damage on the front element. The Minolta Autocord has some chipped paint but is in otherwise great condition. I look forward to shooting with both of them.
Back to the Praktisix, It arrived only today and I already had the replacement finder and reflex mirror sitting here at home ready to go. I promptly got stuck into installing the new reflex mirror which was a little bit of a pain as the screws that hold the mirror tabs in place had become quite stuck over the years, I fired the shutter to pop the mirror in the “up” position, this allowed me to get a better angle at the top tab. I removed it and was able to shimmy the old mirror out and slide the new one in. Getting the tiny screw back in the tab hole took most of the time.
With the mirror installed it was simply a matter of popping on the waist level finder. It’s now ready for a roll of film and some inspiration. It doesn’t help that I’m woefully low on 120 film at the moment, I really need to stock up, but now the question remains. Colour or black and white?