Simon Hawketts

I recently bought a Miranda Sensomat 35mm film camera and bundled with it came an industar 50 M42 mount lens. This is a classic Russian made lens from the 1960’s and I was interested to see how it performed, since I’ve used other Industar & Jupiter lenses to good effect on my Sony Nex 6. So while I was out taking some autumn pictures I also took a few pictures with the Industar 50.

Of all the Industar and other Russian lenses I’ve tried, this one is definitely the bottom of the bunch for picture quality. However, lets just cover the good points.

It’s a small lens which makes the camera easy to (almost) fit in a pocket. In fact it would be simple to fit the camera in your pocket with this lens, but the adapter adds about an inch to the depth which makes it just slightly too big.

The aperture is stepless and covers f/3.5 to f/16 and the focus ring is easy enough to adjust.

Now the bad points – all the above pictures were taken at f/5.6 or f/8.0 which you would expect to be the best aperture to get the most out of the lens. However all the pictures lack definition, contrast and colour. If you look in detail at the images they are all soft even at the center of the frame and fall off even that poor standard by the corners. It’s not a particularly fast lens and so has almost nothing to recommend it over almost any other M42 manual lens like the Pentacon 50mm, the Takumar 55mm or Minolta 50mm which are all available for very small sums of money.

I would recommend, on the evidence of my copy, that if offered an industar 50 it’s probably not worth whatever is being asked for it.

Industar 50 m42 mount 50mm f/3.5 lens on Sony Nex I recently bought a Miranda Sensomat 35mm film camera and bundled with it came an industar 50 M42 mount lens.

When I woke up this morning a couple of thoughts occurred to me. Firstly that I haven’t done enough photography lately. I’ve written several posts lately about 35mm film cameras and repairing, dismantling and cleaning lenses etc, but I haven’t actually been out and taken any photographs for what seemed like ages.

The second thought that occurred was that I don’t use my Tamron 10-24mm super wide angle lens much these days. Since I’ve moved to using the Sony Nex ahead of the pentax K5 for almost all the photography I do, I’ve hardly ever used that lens. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture with that lens attached to the Nex body.

With those two thoughts in mind I thought it was high time I spent some time with that lens fitted to my Nex and see what I could find to take pictures of.

Using the Tamron 10-24mm on the nex is a bit different than on the Pentax because there is no aperture ring on the lens – the aperture is set elecronically. The K-Mount adapter for the nex doesn’t convey this information, so I needed to set it using the mechanical ring on the adapter which just moves the aperture pin on the lens without any feedback as to the actual setting. Of course being as wide angle as it is, this wasn’t particularly important. The only reason you set the aperture is to get the exposure right since at 10mm almost everything from about 1 meter out is in focus anyway.

The great thing about a super wide angle is that it’s easy to take impactful shots buy just getting low and having some foreground interest – all I had to do was make sure any exposure compensation was set and press the shutter!

I post-processed these shots in Lightroom using my usual post-processing techniques.

Autumn in super wide-angle When I woke up this morning a couple of thoughts occurred to me. Firstly that I haven’t done enough photography lately.

This is a short pictorial review of a simple 35mm SLR made by Cosina, the ct-1 fitted with a 50mm Cosinon-s f/2.0 lens.

This camera is a long distance from some of my favourite 35mm cameras like the Topcon series I own, my Miranda Fv or the Pentax spotmatic. It is a cheap and cheerful low end entry camera which would perhaps be the first SLR a photographer bought. It reminds me of my Petri MF-1 (which was the second SLR I bought – although the first new SLR I bought) and the spec and feature set of the camera actually matches the Petri quite closely.

This camera was also made for a variety of other camera manufacturers by Cosina. For example the Miranda MS-1 (when the real Miranda camera company had gone bust and Miranda was a badge used by Dixons), the Canon T60, the Ricoh KR-10 super and some others including as far as I can tell from pictures, the Petri GX-1 and Petri CT-1! In fact if you compare the pictures above with the Ricoh KR-10 super pictures you can see the similarity.

The unit I have has a Pentax K Mount lens mount and is fitted with a Cosinon 50mm f/2.0 lens. The lens is also a fairly cheap entry level unit with a plastic mount and sticky aperture blades. I’ve taken it apart and got it working once but it stopped soon after so there is some underlying issue within the unit. I suspect that it’s probably not worth the effort to fix it but I may simply for the experience.

My example only cost me about £5 and would need some work on the light seals as well as the lens, but it’s a classic camera which formed the basis of so many other cameras that I’m happy to have it in my collection

  • Cosina CT-1 35mm SLR
  • 1sec to 1/1000sec + B
  • Shutter lock when advance lever pushed into body
  • 1600 – 25 ASA meter setting
  • Hot show accessory socket
  • 10 sec self timer
  • Match needle metering
  • Centre viewfinder focusing aid
  • K-Mount lens
Vintage camera collection – Cosina CT-1 This is a short pictorial review of a simple 35mm SLR made by Cosina, the ct-1 fitted with a 50mm Cosinon-s f/2.0 lens.

I recently bought a Miranda FV 35mm SLR camera which has a TTL metered viewfinder fitted. I got the camera quite cheaply, because the viewfinder is marked and dull but I thought I would look at what, if anything, I could do to get the viewfinder repaired and working again.

At first I thought the major problem with the marking in the viewfinder was caused by a leaking battery because the biggest pitted area is just below the battery compartment built into the side of the unit. Actually I thought that the battery may still stuck inside the viewfinder because I found it almost impossible to remove the battery cover. However, I tried gripping the side of the cover with my finger nails and suddenly discovered that it would turn and I could removed it.

Once the cover was off I found that there is no battery in place, but the battery contacts are certainly corroded and green. I also discovered on closer inspection, that there are a couple of tiny screws missing from the side of the prism housing, so I would guess that someone had already tried to get the unit apart and fix it. After a bit of experimentation with the unit on the camera, I found that if I look through the viewfinder and unlock it so I can move it slightly back, some of the markings in the viewfinder stay in the same place. This suggests that not all the dirt and muck is in the viewfinder component, so I suspect I also need to remove the focusing screen within the camera body and clean it up.

Anyway, back to the TTL viewfinder. To take the unit apart I proceeded to remove the two screws in the black runners which slot into the camera body, and unscrew the round eyepiece and then I found that I could pull the viewing screen out of the viewfinder housing.

The prism is held in place by two brass pieces which are screwed into the metal housing, one of which also contains a couple of adjustment pots for the light-meter circuit. With these pieces unscrewed I could get the prism itself out and have a look at it. There is a fair amount of black paint falling off the inner surfaces of the prism, but I think the real problem is with the areas of silvering which are missing.

I have put a couple of bids on some other viewfinders on eBay so I can get the camera working again. One is a normal viewfinder in working order, the other is a faulty unit with damage to the housing. I’d hoped that I could take the prism out of that damaged unit to fix this TTL one, but now I had the unit apart I could see as I looked at this prism that it is a special type, with small windows next to the viewfinder for the light sensors to sit in. I seem to remember seeing paint which can re-silver mirrors so may investigate if I can fix the prism instead.

Anyway – I proceeded to remove all the other screws I could find and get as many of the component parts out as I could for cleaning. I removed the bottom assembly, the viewfinder eye piece lens, the round eyepiece and the metal eye piece support from the plastic housing with the light sensors in. Finally, after a lot of difficulty I got the dial undone at the top of the unit and could remove the actual meter assembly so that the unit casing was free. This along with the other free, non electrical parts went into an ultrasonic cleaning bath for 3 minutes to get all the muck and dirt off. This clean was actually fairly successful at taking off quite a bit of the green deposit from the battery contacts, but also removed a bit of the paint which makes the word ‘Miranda’ on the front! I’ll need to re-paint that too!

Replacing the battery

With all the parts exposed I could make an attempt at constructing a circuit diagram of the light-meter which is shown to the left here (circuit drawing made with schemeit). The idea of drawing out the circuit was that I could change the value of the fixed resister R1 so that the circuit would work with a modern LR44 battery (1.5v) instead of the original mercury cell (1.35v) which is no longer available (or legal).

The value of R1 seems to be about 9.2k when I measure it although it is marked as 9k. R2 measures about 4k and R3 about 24k. Unfortunately the connection to the light sensitive resistors is broken, but if I measure it they seem to be about 50k at ambient light. Since R3 is set about half way I would guess that the parallel resistance of the two light sensors and R3 is about 25k (two 50k resisters in parallel).

R2 is also about half way so I’m going to work on the basis of R2 being a 10k pot, which makes the total resistance in the circuit 25 + 10 + 9.2 = 44.2k. With an original power source of 1.35v the current flowing would be 1.35 / 44.2 = 0.03 mA or 30uA.

To achieve the same current with 1.5v source I would need a total resistance of 1.5 / 0.03 which is 49k. So if I change R1 for a 14k resistor I should be able to use an LR44 battery in the unit. Since 14k is not a resistor preferred value I will need to actually use a 15k.

So, at the moment that is as far as my repair has got. I’ve removed a lot of the dirt from the casing and can re-wire the unit to work with a modern battery, but the real problem is the prism which I will either need to repair or replace. I will probably try to find another unit on ebay, ideally a battered one, which I can cannibalise to fix this. That will be the subject of my next post when I hope to have a working unit again.

Repairing and cleaning a Miranda TTL viewfinder – part 1. I recently bought a Miranda FV 35mm SLR camera which has a TTL metered viewfinder fitted. I got the camera quite cheaply, because the viewfinder is marked and dull but I thought I would look at what, if anything, I could do to get the viewfinder repaired and working again.

I recently bought a Miranda Fv T 35mm camera and discovered that the iris blades in the attached 50mm f/1.9 lens were a bit reluctant to stop down and open up when required so I thought I would have a look at opening it up for repair.

The first problem I faced was the fact that I would have to lay the lens mount side down on the worktop and I don’t have a Miranda mount back lens cover. Since the aperture actuation pin was sticking out of the back of the lens and could easily get damaged, I needed to find something that would cover the bottom of the lens and protect the pin. Fortunately an M42 push on lens mount cap seemed to fit over the inner circle of the lens mount and protect the pin.

With the lens protected I unscrewed the front name plate on the lens to expose a large ring holding the front element in place. Since the ring had lens spanner slots I used my lens spanner to unscrew this ring to release the front element.

With the front element removed, there is another smaller ring with spanner slots in so I also removed that and the cylinder it holds in place.

With these 4 items out, the iris blades are exposed and I could see that there was indeed oil on the blades which was keeping them from opening and closing properly. Removing the blades was simple – I just placed a clean piece of white paper on the worktop and turned the lens over. The blades all fell out along with the actuation ring. I could then actually confirm the blades had oil on them because when I picked one blade up with tweezers, the whole group came up together!

To clean the blades I got a small glass tumbler and put about 15mm of isopropyl alcohol in the bottom. Then all the blades and the actuation ring went into this and I swilled it about for a few moments. Then each of the blades were removed and placed back on the clean paper to dry. It doesn’t take long for the IPA to evaporate and then I cleaned each blade in turn by holding it with tweezers against the paper and carefully wiping each blade in turn with a cotton bud soaked in the IPA to remove any traces of oil.

When the blades are being held with the metal spigot facing upwards this is easy, because the blade is perfectly flat on the paper, but you need to take particular care when you hold them the other way so that you don’t bend or crease the blades. Also make sure you don’t touch them with your fingers or you could transfer oil from your skin to the blades.

Once the blades are clean and dry it’s time to put them back into the lens assembly. It would be wrong to say this is anything other than fiddly and time consuming – all aperture blade assemblies are tricky and this one is on par with all the others.

Start by setting the lens to f/1.9 and drop the first blade in place. If you look at the picture above you can see the shape the blade should make and I would recommend that as you add each blade in turn try to look at the shape the blade should make rather than lining the spigot up with the holes. You have to add each blade on top of the one you have just added until you get to the last one which needs to sit on top of the last one but underneath the first. That is when it can all go wrong and all the blades are suddenly all out again. The way I got the final blade in was to hold the spigot end of the first blade down with one set of tweezers as I fitted the last blade underneath it. With a bit of jiggling about it all fell into place. I then quickly got the retaining part and ring in-place so it wouldn’t all fall out again.

Once the retaining ring was in place I could fit the lens back on the camera body (without the front element in place) and confirm that the aperture blades really do snap into place when the shutter is fired. Completing the operation is simply a matter of fitting the front element in place and screwing on the front name plate.

It may be of course that you may want to also clean the lens elements before you re-assemble the lens, and unless the elements are really spotless this is probably a good opportunity to do that. This is also a simple operation with this lens. The bottom of the front element just unscrews from the top part so the two lenses can be cleaned, and the bottom element in the lens is held in place by a ring which can be easily removed to get that element out as well. When both the front element and the back element are out you can clean the middle lens ‘in-situ’ with a lens pen.

My lens was fairly clean – just a small orange patch on the bottom element which I easily removed with a lens cloth. Once that was done and the front and back elements put back in place the lens was good as new. It actually turned out to be one of the easiest lenses to work on, although I didn’t have to free up the focusing helicoid which may have been more difficult.

Hopefully now the iris is working again, it will last another 50 years before it needs any more servicing.

Strip down and clean an Auto Miranda 50mm f/1.9 lens aperture I recently bought a Miranda Fv T 35mm camera and discovered that the iris blades in the attached 50mm f/1.9 lens were a bit reluctant to stop down and open up when required so I thought I would have a look at opening it up for repair.

I had always assumed that I knew about Miranda cameras. I remember seeing them in Dixons in the high street when I was a teenager. They were a slightly dodgy, rather cheap SLR sitting with rows of Chinon cameras and prinzflex accessories. At the time they were about on par with Chinon and Praktica, above Prinzflex and Zenith but a long way behind Pentax and Nikon, at least in my estimation.

What I didn’t know (and being a teenager of course I knew everything), was that the Miranda camera company actually had a long and distinguished history. The cameras I saw in the mid 1970’s were just badged copied of cameras made by (I believe) Cosina for Dixons. The real Miranda cameras are typified by the subject of this post – the Miranda Fv T.

This is a real camera, with a novel bayonet and screw thread lens mount, a removable and replaceable viewfinder and a really solid feel of precision engineering.

I bought this as a ‘spares or repair’ camera from ebay in a very reasonable £21 ‘buy it now’ sale because the viewfinder has some quite bad marking in. Since I knew that the viewfinder assembly was removable and replaceable I thought there was a reasonable chance I could either open it up and clean it or replace it so I snapped it up. The rest of the camera was described as very good condition, with no haze or fungus in the lens and the aperture blades clean, and all shutter speeds working.


When I received the camera I could see that the viewfinder does indeed have some marking. The viewfinder is a type T and has a TTL light-meter built in and the marking is below the battery compartment. I found the screw on lid to the battery compartment sealed and impossible to open so I suspect that a battery is still inside and has leaked and etched the mirrored coating away causing the marking. As well as this marking the whole viewfinder has a dirty, hazy look and I suspect that the mirroring inside is probably in pretty poor condition. This isn’t really surprising considering the camera is close to 50 years old.

To release the viewfinder there is a small lever in the top plate of the camera at the front next to the viewfinder. This is slid across and the viewfinder assembly can be pulled towards the back of the camera exposing the focusing screen.

There were a variety of different viewfinders available for this camera. The normal eye-level viewfinder was simpler than the T model fitted to his camera, because it didn’t have the metering fitted, but still worked in the same way allowing the user to hold the camera to the eye. There was also a metered version which had a selenium cell fitted to the front of the viewfinder and a range of waist level viewfinders, some with pop up magnifiers to make the critical focusing easier. The model T viewfinder I have here was one of the later models.

The TTL viewfinder was quite a good mechanism for adding ‘through the lens’ light measuring capabilities to a camera which wasn’t designed with it. Because the viewfinder is replaceable, a new viewfinder was designed with a light-meter built in which presumably users could buy to upgrade their existing camera. There is no coupling between the light-meter and the camera, it is basically the same as using an external light-meter and transferring the reading from the scale to the camera, but it had the advantage of being through the lens, so no compensation needed to be made for filters, extension tubes etc.

To use the meter, the camera is pointed at the subject and a small button on the side of the viewfinder is pressed. This causes the meter needle at the top of the housing to move and when the button is released the meter needle locks in place. The camera can then be removed from the eye and the reading can be taken by turning the dial to match the meter needle position. I haven’t yet worked out exactly how the dials are set and read – there is one part of the scale which seems to indicate the maximum aperture of the lens fitted in a similar way to the Topcon IC-1.

The viewfinder display itself is typical of cameras of this era with a centre micro prism focusing aid.

I’ve put a bid on a replacement, non-metered, viewfinder on eBay so I can restore that part of the camera, and I’m also keeping an eye on eBay for a waist level finder. In the meantime I’m going to try to remove the battery from the TTL viewfinder and see if I can clean it up, get it working and hopefully re-mirror the viewfinder. Anyway, here are some pictures of the viewfinder as I received it.

Lens & Mount

The lens mount on this camera is of a novel design, because the mount accepts both bayonet lenses and screw thread lenses. I assume this was done to allow users who bought this camera to continue to use lenses they had purchased for use on an older model. Unfortunately the screw thread is M44 rather than M42, so I can’t fit any of my Takumar or Pentacon lenses to the camera, but it is possible to fit them via an adapter because the camera was designed to have a smaller distance from the film plane to the back of the lens than most cameras of the day. giving enough space for the adapter to fit.

The bayonet is an external bayonet, so the lens fits over the mount and a twist clamps it in place. Some users have complained that this leads to it being too easy to accidentally remove the lens as the picture is taken. I haven’t used the camera to take pictures, but I can see that because the shutter release is on the front of the camera, when I hold the camera to take a picture my finger which would press shutter is very close the the lens release so I would imagine it could happen.

I believe the lens has a 6 element internal construction arranged in 4 groups. Although I bought it as good condition with no contamination on the blades, I have found that there is a reluctance for the lens to stop down or open up after stopping down so I think I’m going to take it apart to try to fix that. It could be either oil on the blades or a spring somewhere which is a bit weak. I suspect it will be relatively easy to take apart and fix because the front name plate part of the lens unscrews and I can see a large ring which holds the front element in place with easy to get at lens spanner slots.

The lens has an aperture range of f/1.9 to f/16 and a close focus of about 17 inches (430mm), there is a depth of field preview lever built into the lens and it certainly appears to be coated to stop reflection. In use it is quite a heavily damped focus ring, but again that could be a result of its age and a strip down and clean and re-lubricate could help that.

Camera Body.

I think the camera body design is one of the nicest I’ve seen. Instead of the normal boxy rectangular look it has a rounded design, and a heavy solid feel. When the film advance is pulled it feels similar the my Pentax Spotmatic and Topcon Unirex – like a real piece of engineering rather than a couple of cogs winding. The film chamber door latch also closes with a nice solid click and the shutter fires cleanly and at what certainly sounding like the correct speeds.

There is some creasing of the shutter blinds, but I don’t think this would actually cause any problems with the exposures the camera would take. The tracks that the film runs on look clean and un-pitted and the sprocket teeth which advance the film are all there.  As mentioned above, the shutter release is fitted to the front of the camera rather than the now traditional position of the top plate.  In the position where the shutter release button would sit on a modern camera is a threaded socket for a cable release, with a small cover screwed in place to stop dust and dirt entering. (Reading the manual for the camera I discovered that an accessory was also available to screw into the cable release socket which offered a top plate release in addition to the front release).

The frame counter is itself a work of art – for a start it’s a really nice design with a chrome circle and an arc of numbers with a central marker indicating the frame number. The really smart feature however is that as the film advance lever is pulled the little marker changes to orange to show the camera is ready to take a picture.

The shutter speed dial on the top plate has another feature I’ve not seen on any of the other cameras I own. The flash sync setting has it’s own red marker between the 1/30 and the 1/60 setting which syncs the flash at about 1/45. The body has sockets for FP and X type flash but no accessory socket, although some viewfinders did have a accessory socket fitted in the traditional place.

I think it might be necessary to remove and clean the focusing screen which sits just below the viewfinder. There seem to be some marks on it and it seems quite dull. If I do that I will probably make it the subject of another post.

So, my teenage ideas about Miranda cameras have been well and truly put to sleep – it turns out they made fantastic quality cameras and I suddenly have a whole new range to collect.

Camera Specs

  • Miranda Fv T 35mm SLR
  • Year of manufacture c 1967
  • Removable/Replaceable viewfinder with lots of viewfinder options
  • TTL metering in the viewfinder
  • Centre circle micro prism focusing aid
  • Bayonet and screw thread lens mount
  • Front mount release + optional top plate release
  • Cable release socket + dust cap
  • Beautifully engineered
  • 1 – 1/1000 sec + B Focal Plane shutter
  • FP & X flash sync
  • Centre mounted tripod bush
  • 50mm f/1.9 Auto Miranda lens
  • Depth of field preview button on lens
  • Lens Ser No 4600361
Vintage camera collection – Miranda Fv with TTL metering. I had always assumed that I knew about Miranda cameras. I remember seeing them in Dixons in the high street when I was a teenager.

Last week I wrote a post about a new camera I’d just acquired which was a Topcon Unirex and I mentioned that I didn’t really know much about Topcon as a manufacturer before I bought that camera. Well, since then I’ve bought another Topcon because I was really quite impressed with the quality of the Unirex and the new camera is the subject of this post.

It’s a Topcon IC-1 which is fitted with a Hi Topcor 50mm f/2.0 lens and was also supplied with a UV Topcor 28mm f/4.0 lens as well. I also received a small PAL DC320 elecronic flash, a lens case for the 28mm lens and a gadget bag to hold it all. Included in the bag was the original receipt of sale for the purchase price of £157 in 1976! As an added bonus, there was a film still loaded in the camera with about 8 exposed pictures which I’ll take for development later this week. For all this I paid the princely sum of £20.

The camera looks in fairly good condition. The only obvious sign of age externally is the black body covering which is peeling a bit at the top and bottom. I’m hoping that a small amount of glue squeezed under the cloth will do the trick there. The light seals in the film chamber are a bit worn and the viewfinder has a bit of muck in, but that is a standard thing with oldish cameras. I normally find I can blow most of the dirt out of the viewfinder with a puffer once I’ve removed the lens. The most important aspects of the camera look fine; the lenses are both clear and free from any serious dust or fungal growth, the shutter works (after the addition of a couple of SR44 batteries), the speeds sound about right and the aperture adjustment also seems to work and stop the lens down during exposure. I’m not sure that the exposure metering system is working correctly however – see later.

An interesting thing I found is that the 50mm UV Topcor lens I received with the Unirex, which seemed to be a bit slow stopping down, actually works fine on the IC-1 so I guess the problem there must be with the camera rather than the lens. I confirmed this by fitting one of the lenses I received with the IC-1 on to the unirex and sure enough, there is a delay before it stops down. I’ll have to investigate how I fix that problem on the Unirex body.

This camera has the same feel of quality as the Unirex does and the lenses, which are obviously coated, look quite nice. I suppose the real test there will be to try them, so I guess that will mean putting a film through the camera because I don’t think UV Topcon to Sony Nex adapters are available.

The major difference between the two cameras is that the IC-1 has a conventional focal plane shutter fitted in the body of the camera just in front of the film instead of the leaf shutter of the Unirex. The shutter speed adjustment is still fitted round the lens barrel however, as is the aperture adjustment for the lens. In fact that is an oddity with both cameras; the aperture adjustment is fitted to the camera not the lens. That seems an odd design decision – when I fit the 28mm lens, which has a maximum aperture of f/4 the aperture adjustment fitted to the camera body will still go down to f/2 although the lens will obviously only stop down to f/4. (It also probably explains why I can’t find adapters for the Nex – it’s just too complex to add in the aperture adjustment for the lens).

The exposure modes offered by the IC-1 are basically the same as the unirex. If the aperture is set to Auto, the camera is in shutter priority auto exposure with a needle in the viewfinder warning the user if the aperture can’t be opened enough to get a correct exposure. There is a switch on the front of the camera which sets the maximum aperture of the lens fitted. In a modern camera this information would be communicated automatically, but at this stage in camera development it was a user settable option. It is also possible to run the camera in fully manual mode by setting the aperture and shutter speed and I the meter needle in the viewfinder would indicate the aperture which the exposure system suggests is correct. Oddly enough, on my camera the needle seems to work in reverse – as the shutter speed is decreased, the needle indicates a wider aperture needed. It’s possible this is because of the batteries I’ve fitted being slightly the wrong voltage, but I think that is unlikely.

There is an accessory shoe fitted, but there is not electronic contact for the flash, instead there is a flash sync socket fitted to the front of the camera.

The viewfinder has a double circle micro prism focusing aid and, as described above a meter needle indicating the aperture the camera is set to in auto mode. As is the case with most full frame 35mm slr cameras it is bright and gives a good view to compose pictures with.

All in all a nice camera with a few oddities.

  • Topcon IC-1 Auto 35mm SLR
  • Shutter 1sec to 1/500th sec + B
  • Aperture priority automatic exposure
  • Camera mounted aperture control Auto + f/2.0 to f/22
  • ASA setting 25 to 3200
  • Flash sync at 1/60th sec
  • Aperture compensator switch
  • Topcor UV bayonet mount lens
  • ‘cold’ accessory shoe + flash sync socket
  • 2 x PX675 batteries (I used SR44 which could lead to exposure inaccuracies)
  • Body Ser No 29775
  • 50mm f/2.0 Topcor UV lens Ser No 31098
  • 28mm f/4.0 Topcor UV lens Ser No 136126891


Vintage camera collection - Topcon IC-1 Auto with Hi Topcor 50mm f/2.0 Last week I wrote a post about a new camera I’d just acquired which was a…

This a a review of a Praktica LB camera, manufactured in the early 1970’s fitted with a Meyer-Optik Domiplan lens.

I bought this camera some time ago, and the lens which was fitted to it was a Carl Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens. However, that lens was very gummed up with old grease and a sticky aperture, and although I got it apart and cleaned it the focus adjustment was still quite poor with ‘soft’ spots as it was adjusted. Although I don’t often put film through the cameras in my collection, I like them to be ‘ready for film’ so to speak, so I replaced it with another lens which is of a similar vintage, the Meyer-Optik Domiplan which I had also cleaned and re-lubricated but with a bit more success!

The Praktica LB is an early 1970’s camera made by the Pentacon company and one of the things I noticed about this camera is its resemblance to another camera I own which was also made by Pentacon – the Exakta RTL 1000. The mechanics of both cameras are pretty much identical and I would guess that they shared many parts. As far as I can see the major difference between them is the fact that the Exakta had a replaceable viewfinder and could take both an eye level and a waist level finder. One reason I found this interesting is that my Exakta has a problem with the shutter. As soon as the film advance nears the end of it’s travel, the shutter fires and jams. In order to release it I need to push the mirror up and pull forward the aperture actuation lever as I depress the shutter release. I will probably try disassembling the Praktica to see how to fix the exakta.

Anyway – back the the LB which is a pretty standard camera for its vintage. There is a non-coupled light meter which works by matching a needle with a fixed circle in the light meter view window and reading the shutter speed/aperture combination to use. The lens is focused and the picture composed at full aperture with the camera stopping the lens down at the time of exposure with the normal actuation pin which protrudes from the bottom of the lens mount. As always on Praktica cameras of this vintage, the shutter release is fitted to the front of the camera and falls within easy reach of your first finger on your right hand.

Vintage camera collection – Praktica LB fitted with Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Domiplan This a a review of a Praktica LB camera, manufactured in the early 1970’s fitted with a Meyer-Optik Domiplan lens.

This is a short post about using an M39 mount Jupiter 8 50mm manual lens on the Sony NEX 6 camera with an E-Mount to M39 adaptor.

My Jupiter 8 is the only M39 manual lens I own that I actually know the history of. It was fitted to a Zorki 4 camera which my father bought from new in the 1970’s and which I acquired a couple of years ago when he gave it to me. Consequently it is in the best condition of any of the soviet era lenses which I own.

It’s a very small lens, which I suppose is typical of m39 lenses, with a filter diameter of only 40.5mm and a length of about the same. The focal length is 50mm which means it becomes a short telephoto lens on my Nex 6 when the crop factor is taken into account. Because it was originally made for a rangefinder camera, the registration distance (the distance from the back of the lens to the film plane or sensor) is quite short which means that for my Nex 6 it has a much slimmer adapter than any of the lenses I have which were made for SLR’s. When fitted to the Nex it makes the whole package very small and light.

The aperture range of f/2.0 to f/22 has no click stops so can be set to any value within that range. The aperture itself is 8 blade, so fairly circular as it stops down.

The pictures taken with this lens have a 1960’s ‘soft’ look and any background defocus has the characteristic swirlyness which people come to expect in lenses made in this era. When stopped down it becomes a bit sharper, but it never has the definition of, for example, the takumar M42 28mm or the Pentax K-Mount 50mm I own. The sample images below were all taken a few days ago in Stevenage and have been post-processing in Lightroom.

Jupiter 8 50mm f/2.0 lens on Sony NEX 6 This is a short post about using an M39 mount Jupiter 8 50mm manual lens on the Sony NEX 6 camera with an E-Mount to M39 adaptor.

Every now and then, when I buy an old camera to add to my collection, I will find one which still has a film in it. I’ve been saving these up and yesterday I took a few of these films into my local high street photography chain to have them developed and scanned. Today I collected the developed films.

Of the 5 films I took in only 3 had any images on them and most of them were blank. It’s a fact that most of the films found in these circumstances are not completed films but ones forgotten and with only a few exposures made. Also most of the  pictures which had been taken were not very good photographically with poor focus and colour balance, but for some reason there is a real interest in looking at these pictures of people and places that you will never know. You wonder who the people in the picture are and what they did in their lives. It’s also interesting trying to date the pictures from the decoration, furniture and items in the room. For example, the third picture has a CRT television so it was obviously taken before LCD panels became ubiquitous.

I have one other film which I’d misplaced, but I’ve found that now and will get that developed soon. I hope it has better images than these, but whatever they are there will still be that excitement of seeing pictures which no one has seen since the unknown photographer took the pictures all those years ago.

Quite a few of these pictures have multiple exposures and because of that I have cropped a couple of the pictures.

Vintage camera collection - photo’s from old cameras Every now and then, when I buy an old camera to add to my collection, I will find one which still has a film in it.