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Alan7140

And yet another modification...

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I can't express adequately just how convenient and easy it is to modify some of the older film equipment in ways one couldn't even begin to contemplate with modern digital cameras. This sort of thing was standard practice when I started photography as a profession in the early 1970's.

Here in Australia the winds of the Cold War meant that there was almost no trade with the Eastern Bloc countries at all, nor was there an eBay, Internet or International Free Trade Agreements. China was in turmoil during its Cultural Revolution and was struggling to feed its population, let alone be an international trading economy; cheap stuff came from Japan and not South East Asia and was also rather limited, and if you needed some photographic accessory or simple piece of equipment, you bought the raw materials and made it yourself, generally with simple hand tools and a lot of patience.

 

Fast forward to 2019, and in this case I had originally bought a Kiev-60 medium format camera allegedly "rebuilt" by Hartblei in Ukraine, and while it was robust and built like a tank (literally - it was made in Kiev - now Kyif - during the Soviet era by a factory appropriately named "Арсенал" - Arsenal), however it had a rather annoying case of shutter bounce which left a slight shadow at one edge of the frame at 1/30,  1/60 and 1/125 sec, which wasn't too much of a problem to deal with in either printing or PP, but it was annoying. So I spent more money and bought an allegedly re-manufactured ARAX-60 body from Hartblei's competition, and whilst they undoubtedly painted the camera black, added a mirror-lock-up button, stuck some flocking to the innards and gave it a new nameplate, it never wound the shutter on properly, sometimes failing to lock the mirror and thus causing the film to be irregularly spaced, which was something I lived with until the wind mechanism failed altogether (some months after any warranty was up, of course), however that camera did come with a post-Soviet manufactured (1994) metered prism that was both accurate and had the later fool-proof timed auto-off switch which avoids draining batteries.

 

This prism also looked quite smart, particularly when compared to my final medium format camera choice, namely the Pentacon Six TL, for which I have two bodies and one OEM metered prism which I think in itself is probably the ugliest piece of accessory camera equipment I've ever owned, as well it has a standard on-off switch which sucks battery power and is incredibly easy to accidentally bump into the "on" position. Maybe you can see where I'm going with this now? .... :)

 

So using scrap materials in my shed and tools on the workbench and using the mounting plate of a broken Pentacon Six waist-level viewfinder (the internal superstructure of which had to be laboriously filed off by hand) I fashioned an adapter to mate the ARAX/Kiev-60 meter-prism to the Pentacon Six TL viewfinder fitting, maintaining the Kiev-60 mounting system as well so that I can also use a Kiev-60 waist level finder - the advantage of this being that the Kiev version of both finders has a larger coverage showing the whole Pentacon Six viewing screen and not like the OEM prism finder which crops the already-cropped view of the final image. The actual film image is 55x55mm, the screen size is 52x52mm, but the Pentacon OEM prism only shows 45x45mm, which therefore left a substantial amount of guesswork in image composition  if, as I do at present, one prefers to print the edge markings and black borders of the film with the photograph.

 

By adding a plastic spacer (actually cut from an old piece of tri-laminate guitar pick-guard :) ) I was able to both inlet the screws pins and spring metal retainer clips I had to fashion by bending  a couple of safety pins to the rough shape of what was left of the old waist-level finder's broken clips, as well as lifting the prism a bit so that I don't have to use a viewfinder dioptre or wear glasses when focusing the image as my ageing eye now see the viewing screen at its comfortable unaided focus point, and that also makes life easier as well

 

So the first photo shows the three pieces as I was working on them, then the completed adapter from the top with the Kiev locating pins (salvaged from a viewfinder bottom protective cover), the next showing the underside of an intact  Pentacon WLF along with the plate I modified for the adapter, and finally the bracket fitted to the camera ready for a Kiev finder to be clipped on. 

8nM87UM.jpg

 

Here are three versions of the cameras together: at left the Ugly-as-sin Pentacon Six metering prism on a standard Pentacon six TL body,  the hybrid version with adapted Kiev metering prism and black front-plate with white lettering I modified at an earlier time, and a standard Kiev-60 camera with old-style metering prism (with old dial-type on-off switch - the new type on the middle prism is the barely visible black timed switch at lower left side looking from the front).

RPPhT9U.jpg

 

And finally just the two Pentacon Sixes together (they're actually both the same height, the modified one just has a fatter tripod adapter plate fitted underneath) :

yJiyklB.jpg

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Congratulations Alan.  Nice work. 

 

I can see that you did not entirely mis-spend your youth (as my neighbour recently said to me as I was picking the lock to my ancient car to get at the keys I left locked inside it! ;)).

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1 hour ago, Hugh_3170 said:

Congratulations Alan.  Nice work. 

 

I can see that you did not entirely mis-spend your youth (as my neighbour recently said to me as I was picking the lock to my ancient car to get at the keys I left locked inside it! ;)).

 

:D ...or I'm just really convincing in delivering a good alibi, maybe?

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...and finally, after the pick-n-pull foam insert of the Gearsafe weatherproof case I bought to house all the Pentacon gear (now two bodies and seven lenses) had pulled itself apart all on its own after just three months, I made a set of solid MDF dividers with relevant compartments for the gear all padded with tough self-adhesive construction foam all luxuriously covered with dark red crushed velvet to pamper the old gear in a way I doubt any of it got in their respective past lives.

 

The case with contents weighs in at a svelte 14.7kg (32lb). 🙂

 

QUNmRb5.jpg

Edited by Alan7140
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That pick-n-pluck foam is the worst design curse inflicted on photographers since the invention of photography! Appalling stuff...

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17 hours ago, Dallas said:

That pick-n-pluck foam is the worst design curse inflicted on photographers since the invention of photography! Appalling stuff...

 

Looking on the bright side, at least the pick-n-pluck's woeful performance forced me into making a proper insert for the case, solidly customised for the individual items that would be stored there. The stiff dividers added another bonus by acting as bracing, substantially strengthening the case itself and it now happily bears my weight without flexing if I stand on it when it's stood upright, giving me a handy high-level view if needed, which is something I haven't trusted a case to do since my old Hasselblad case back in the '90's. All my cases since then have been either soft shell or flimsy plywood/aluminium veneer, anything better than that was invariably ridiculously expensive, but this Chinese Pelican-style knockoff at AU$120 was cheap and is now as strong as it'll ever need to be. Without the dividers the shell was a bit flexible, but now that's fixed.

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Nice work Alan.  I might have opted for blue, but the red ain't half bad and it is the correct colour for the bits from the iron curtain side (LOL).

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5 minutes ago, Hugh_3170 said:

Nice work Alan.  I might have opted for blue, but the red ain't half bad and it is the correct colour for the bits from the iron curtain side (LOL).


|I've been tripping over that piece of velvet for almost four decades now, Hugh - I bought it way back around 1984 as a background for a studio table-top job I did, and only ever used that one time. I just figured it that now was time it was put to a final use, and wanted to use as much unused stuff lying around as possible - in the end all I bought was the  roll of builders' expansion-joint foam spacer for the padding, the rest was 'recycling' (the sheet of 4x2' MDF for the spacers themselves had a price sticker of $2.95, so it goes back a long time as well).

 

The photo, as usual with velvet, shows it off to be brighter than it really is - in real life it is a deep burgundy in colour, but if I corrected things to show that the cameras and lenses would almost be invisible. It did the same colour-brightening thing for the photographic job I originally bought it for (using colour film, of course), but the client was happy enough with the result. It might have been different had she chosen the material personally or had been there when I took the shot and therefore seen the real colour, though. :D

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