Friday, April 29, 2011


With a title like this you must be expecting to find a monster but, by the contrary, you will find

How I made a perfectly working Praktica MTL 5 B out of two dead examples.

It all started on a Saturday of March 2008.
I was camera hunting at my favourite flea market and something caught my eye, it was the first dead body of this story.
I bought it very cheap and took it back home.
Here it is on the balcony, where I document all my trophies:


I tried to fix it but I gave up.

Last Saturday on the same hunting ground I found the other deceased, great looks, the meter was working, it just seamed to have the film advance jammed.
The trophy shot:


When I tried to fix it I found that, with the top plate and the delay unit removed, sometimes I was able to make it advance and others it jammed.
A little more disassembly and I found the culprit:

DSC_8971 copy

The arrow is pointing to the broken part.

It was time to exhume the first body to scavenge for parts.

The main problem with this one was that it didn't advanced the film at all and it also had a dead meter and self timer.
I was so lucky that what caused the problem in this one was this:

DSC_8972 copy

The catch that engaged in the broken part of the other one.

They where a perfect match.


I completely disassembled both to select the best parts of them.
Let's call them #1, the older one, on the right, and #2


So I used the back #1 as it was to hard to remove the film advance/shutter cocking assembly, above you can see it with the delay unit and the top of the advance unit from #2.


Just added the exposure counter.

DSC_8978 copy

The mirror box, from #2, in place.
This ensured me to have a working meter and self timer.


The top cover, from #2.
It's important to fit the steel bracket, in the hole and have the flash sync cord  outside before fixing the top plate.
It would be impossible to make it afterwards.

Left picture the hot shoe is already soldered to the flash sync cord.
Right picture the horse shoe shaped part in place.


Above all parts fitted on the top plate.


The wiring of the light meter soldered in place and the bottom plate closed.

Some views of the finished work:

DSC_9003  DSC_9002



I'm planning to use it next Sunday, May Day, to celebrate the

International Commie Camera Day 2011

Stay tuned (o;

International Commie Camera Day 2011

About International Commie Camera Day 2011 

Flickr group If the link doesn't work use this URL

On May 1st 2011 you go out and shoot a roll or as many as you want with any camera built in the FSU. I will even allow Chinese Seagulls but nothing from Lomography except real Soviet cameras. Let us not forget those Great DDR cameras and any camera from the Warsaw Pack. Also you can use Seagull TLR cameras and Great Wall cameras.

Use those old Folders Feds etc.

This is a safe group so post accordingly

I hope we have a fun day this year so start thinking.

Sal el 1 de mayo de 2011 y haz un carrete o todos los que quieras con cualquier cámara fabricada en la antigua Unión Soviética. Permitimos incluso Seagulls chinas pero nada de cámaras de Lomography, solamente auténticas cámaras soviéticas. Y no olvidemos esas estupendas cámaras de la Alemania del Este y cualquier cámara de la zona del Pacto de Varsovia. No aceptamos Fedglass o Squid procedentes de Vietnam :)
También puedes usar cámaras TLR Seagull y del Telón de Acero.
Usa esas viejas Feds, cámaras de fuelle… etc.
Este es un grupo seguro, así que sube fotos acordes a él.
Espero que pasemos un día divertido este año, así que empieza a pensar.

Am 1. Mai 2011 gehst Du raus und schießt einen Film oder
so viele Bilder, wie Du möchtest mit irgendeiner Kamera,
die in der ehemaligen Sowjet Union (FSU = Former Soviet
Union) hergestellt wurde.

Ich lasse auch chinesische Segulls zu, aber keine
Lomographie, außer richtigen Sowjet-Kameras.

Und lasst uns auch nicht die guten Kameras aus der DDR und
des Warschauer Paktes vergessen.
Keine Fedglass, keine Squid aus Vietnam :-)

Ihr könnt auch Seagull TLR’s und chinesische Kameras

Benutzt diese alte Balgen FED’s usw.

Dies ist eine unbedenkliche Gruppe, also postet bitte

Ich hoffe, wir werden dieses Jahr einen spaßigen Tag haben
– so fangt an nachzudenken.

Cel istnienia naszej grupy: pierwszego maja 2011 wszyscy wychodzimy na ulice i fotografujemy dowolnym aparatem pochodzącym z byłego Związku Radzieckiego lub też innego z krajów byłego bloku wschodniego. Mogą to być aparaty z NRD, z Polski lub nawet innych komunistycznych krajów spoza naszego regionu, np. chińskie Seagulle. Interesują nas tylko prawdziwe zabytki pamiętające tamte czasy, dlatego cokolwiek związanego z nowoczesną łomografią jest wykluczone.

Grupa jest ustawiona jako "safe" więc prosimy o rozwagę przy wyborze zdjęć.

Chcemy aby wszyscy tego dnia dobrze się bawili!

No primeiro de Maio de 2011 sai à rua e dispara um rolo ou tantos quantos quiseres com uma maquina fotográfica construída na antiga União Soviética. Nós até permitimos as chinesas Seagulls mas nada de Lomografia excepto máquinas soviéticas autênticas. E não nos podemos esquecer dessas grandes máquinas da Republica Democrática Alemã e qualquer uma do pacto de Varsóvia. Também podes usar a Seagull TLR e a Great Wall.

Usa essas velhas câmaras de fole, Feds, etc.

Este grupo é seguro por isso faz submissões de acordo.

Eu espero que tenhamos um dia divertido este ano, por isso começa a planejar. "

Stay tuned (o:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yashica J-7

I found this amazing set at a local flea market. 
I've seen the camera and the telephoto lens, a few weeks back in there, but the seller asked too much for it, last Saturday he was on a mood to deal and I got a sweet one.

First we negotiated the camera:


Mint, as you can see, with an Yashinon DX 50/1.7, original case, strap, box, manuals...

Then we negotiated the telephoto lens:


A Super Yashinon-R 300/5.5, also in mint condition, with screw-on metal hood, front and back caps and original leather case.

Then he came with the tripod:


Very nice too, no doubt from the same set.
Like new with its carrying pouch.

To close the deal he offered me the speedlite:


It looks like an hair dryer but it's working flawlessly.

The camera:



  • Production year: 1968  
  • Made by: Yashica Co., Ltd., Japan
  • Camera type: Single lens reflex, interchangeable lens, m42 screw mount
  • Film type: 135, 35mm
  • Picture size: 24mm x 36mm
  • Shutter: rubberised cloth focal plane
  • Shutter speeds: 1-1/1000 and B
  • Exposure meter: non TTL, top plate mounted CdS with top window readout
  • Battery: PX625, for meter only, easily substituted by a 675 air-zinc.
  • PC sync:  two on the left side of the lens mount for X and FP
  • Self-timer: 10 seconds delay
  • Lens: M42 screw mount Auto Yashinon DX 50mm 1:1.7
  • Filter size: 52mm
  • Weight: Body 700g, with Yashinon normal lens 900g


On the left, by the rewind crank, you can see the light meter readout window.
The film speed is affixed by turning the knurled button.
The white button is the battery test, if the battery is good, when the button is pressed the needle will jump to the left.
The aperture scale is coupled to the shutter speed dial, so to take a reading the camera must be pointed to the subject, as the black button is pressed the needle indicates the correct aperture, then that value must be transferred to the aperture ring in the lens.

The telephoto lens:



 Super Yashinon-R 300/5.5

  • Lens: 300 mm f 1:5.5
  • Element: 2 group, 4 element
  • Angle of view:
  • Mount: m42 screw
  • Smallest aperture: 32
  • Focus range: 8m ~ ∞
  • Filter diameter: 62 mm
  • Diaphragm: Pre-set

The tripod:

You can see it in the pictures above.
  • Aluminium made
  • Telescopic legs, three extensions
  • 3D head
The speedlite:





Yashica Quick-Lite Pro-100

In the middle shot you can see two buttons, the left button selects AC or DC power. The right one is for a flash discharge.
As I told you above the speedlite might be AC or DC powered.
If you choose AC there's that long cord that you have to plug to a wall socket.
If DC is used you must load eight AA batteries, four on each side of the battery container.


The boxed speedlite with all the accessories, including the bracket to attach it to the bottom of the camera.


Here it is mounted in the bracket and attached to the camera.

I have a Fujichrome Velvia 100 loaded in the camera, so we will see what kind of results it can produce soon.

Stay tuned (o;


    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Hasselblad 500C/M

    Hasselblad 500 C/M

    Hasselblad 500C/M

    Hasselblad 500 C/M      Hasselblad 500 C/M      Hasselblad 500 C/M

    In 1957 Hasselblad broke the standards of the SLR medium format cameras by launching a camera without focal plane shutter, the 500C used a Compur central leaf shutter, installed in every lens, allowing full aperture viewing and automatic diaphragm.
    This solution was already proved as successful in the Zeiss Ikon Contaflex cameras, although on the Contaflex range the shutter is permanently mounted on the camera and only the front cell of the lens is interchangeable.

    In 1976 Hasselblad launched the 500C/M, the main difference to the C is the capability of changing the finder glass without the need of any tools.
    By the way 500 stands for 1/500, the top shutter speed, C for classic and M for modified.

    'The Hasselblad 500C/M is a medium format single-lens reflex camera featuring lens, magazine, viewfinder, and focusing screen interchangeability.
    The extensive Hasselblad system of accessories provides unlimited photographic scope. It is a system capable of tacking your photography to inner, or outer space, and almost anywhere in between.' sic from it's manual.

    Hasselblad never let go the opportunity of remember us that it was one of their cameras the first to travel into space and to the moon.

    Hasselblad 500 C/M

    Due to the extreme interchangeability of it's parts they often call it a system.

    Hasselblad 500 C/M  Hasselblad 500 C/M  Hasselblad 500 C/M

    I even can use the TTL prism finder, from my Salyut-S camera.
    Now I'm very glad I haven't covered it in red, like I did with the camera.

    Hasselblad 500 C/M

    This is the way that I rather like to use it, with the waist level finder.
    It's very nice to handle, great for low perspectives and the big bright finder is priceless.

    The lens is a Carl Zeiss Planar 2.8/80.

    The shutter is extremely precise and flash synchronized at every speed, 1-1/500 and B.
    When you have a light reading you can block the shutter and aperture ring, by only pressing a button on the shutter ring,  and choose whatever combination suits you best, almost like a P mode.

    This one was built in 1983 and it had been very used but not abused, so it's in great shape, as you can see by the following results:

    Old stairs after the rain

    Across the River and Into the Trees

    More on this flickr set.

    Stay tuned (o;

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    The A Team

    Canon AT-1Canon AE-1

    Canon A-1 (2)

    Canon AE-1 Program  Canon AV-1

    From the middle '70s into the '80s Canon produced this series of fine SLR cameras that I like to call:

    The A Team

    They began with the AE-1 in 1976

    Canon AE-1 

    It can be used in auto exposure, shutter priority, or manual mode, the light meter is monitored by a needle in the viewfinder indicating the aperture selected, in AE mode, or suggested when in manual mode.
    The electronic controlled cloth shutter allow shutter speeds from 2 seconds to 1/1000

    Canon AE-1

    In 1977 Canon launched the AT-1

    Canon AT-1

    A less sophisticated version of the AE-1.
    The auto mode is no longer available the exposure now is always manual by match needle method.
    I got a very complete set with this one

    Canon AT-1 with power winder and case

    It came with a Canon FD Lens 50mm 1:1.4 S.S.C., a power winder A and this magnificent leather hinged case

    Canon AT-1 opened hinged case

    The case is hinged, on the bottom, to allow the film change without removing the camera from the case.

    1978 was a great year for Canon, it was the year when they launched their flagship SLR camera the A-1

    Canon A-1 (6)

    Canon A-1 (3)

    This is the most complete of them all.
    It sports six exposure modes, five of them automatic: Aperture or shutter priority, programmed, stopped-down and electronic flash AE plus manual.

    Canon A-1 Set

    I got this amazingly complete set from my very good late friend Vitor Martins.

    This was the first to present all the pertinent info in red led in the viewfinder.

    Because of the commemorative lens cap with the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic Games logo, I erroneously assumed that this was the 35mm SLR official camera of the event.
    When I was gathering info to write this post I found that the 35mm SLR official camera was a Canon but, the F1-n and not this.

    In 1979 Canon presented the AV-1

    Canon AV-1

    This was a camera that looked like an A-1 but is a very simple model with only auto exposure mode, aperture priority.

    Canon AV-1

    At last but, by no means the least, the AE-1 Program was presented in 1981

    Canon AE-1 Program

    This is the Canon camera that most of the people of my generation wished for.

    Canon AE-1 Program

    With AE program, shutter speed priority and manual modes it was the dream camera of all the serious amateurs and even many professionals of the '80s.

    All the five models share most of the dedicated accessories, like speedlights, motors...

    The lens mount is also the same, the FD.

    FD lenses come in two flavours the FD usually marked as S.C., spectra coating, single coating or S.C.C., super spectra coating, multi-layer coating.
    These are breechlock mounting by turning a chrome ring closest to the camera.
    The other type is the new FD, the main difference is the bayonet mount, were the entire lens rotate until it clicks into place, to demount there is a button on the left lower side of the lens that must be pressed to release it.

    All these cameras were produced in black/chrome or all black, except for the A-1:
    The A-1 only dressed in black

    Following some pictures taken with these cameras:

    Me and Canon AV-1Me and Canon AE-1 Program
    Me and Canon A-1Me and Canon AE-1 

    Chrome on two wheels


    A crack in the wall

    Stay tuned (o;