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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:06 am 
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Das Kapital
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Camera: Canon 60D, Fuji XP20, odd film cameras
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Maybe not quite as much fun as a barrel of monkeys, at least not real ones, though definitely more fun than the kid's plastic toy/game... this is a 4x5 'falling plate' camera that showed up in the mail today. It's an "Imperial Magazine Camera" and it's from sometime in the late 90s or early 00s (100 years ago, that is). Holds 12 plates in metal holders. It's huge - note the white 13" macbook laptop sitting underneath it.

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Falling plate cameras held a number of plates in the back which could then be dropped into a recess in the bottom of the camera after each exposure, at which point the next plate in line would be ready to expose.

Here are the plate holders in the unexposed position:

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And exposed (fallen into the holding area):

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Tonight I set to work restoring it (as the shutter was sticking). The shutter is quite simple, but as with all of these old things also elegant. The holga uses a similar mechanism, as do tons of other simple cameras.

When you hit the button / plunger on the outside of the camera, it's transmitted to this spring-loaded semi-rotary mechanism:

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The thin plate that rotates was caked with rust, so it had too much friction against the plate it rests on and wouldn't rotate reliably. I took it apart, then cleaned it up with some fine sandpaper, and now it slides very smoothly and snaps with about a 1/30th to 1/60th exposure time (from the looks of it).

Here it is open with the "time" setting activated to let you open the shutter for a period of time (like bulb mode, but you don't have to hold down the button).

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Note the tab sticking down that the sliding window thing is stuck against... turning a knob on the outside of the camera pushes that tab down and catches the shutter when it gets to the open position. A second press disengages it and pushes it back closed, through an elegant and incredibly simply springy-toothed-pusher-thingy connected to the shutter button.

Closed:

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In instantaneous mode, the rotaty thing snaps past the open position (the origin, in fact, of the word "snapshot" - actually I think it was Kodak who coined it... snapping meaning literally being able to hold the camera because the shutter could "snap" open and shut in an instant).

Here's the lens holding plate, and the ratchet mechanism to hold the exposed plates from bouncing around, replaced over the shutter:

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I loaded it up with a couple of sheets of B&W paper to try to get some paper negatives. I don't really know what the aperture settings are (there are two of them), nor the speed of the paper (untested), so there will be some muddling around here to get it figured out.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:23 am 
It's apparent from these snapshots, you received a camera that's in extra fine condition. Considering all the places it might have been over the last 100 years. Exercising the shutter should loosen her up. Though it crossed my mind, I would probably not oil the shutter blade itself. Dust and dirt would most likely collect there, gumming things up.

I found the moroccan leather covering on mine to be very dry and susceptible to damage. I'm considering coating it with shellac as a sealant, but I'm a scaredy cat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaredy_Cat :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:18 pm 
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Das Kapital
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Location: Victoria BC
Camera: Canon 60D, Fuji XP20, odd film cameras
Lens: Tokina 11-16, Canon 17-55
Inspiration: The stuff out there.
OK to edit my images: Yes
DannL wrote:
It's apparent from these snapshots, you received a camera that's in extra fine condition.


I seem to luck out with these things. It didn't look so hot in the auction pictures. I guess in some ways I do try to read between the lines when a non-photographer takes crappy flash snapshots of their wares, which highlight and exaggerate minor blemishes.

Quote:
Considering all the places it might have been over the last 100 years. Exercising the shutter should loosen her up. Though it crossed my mind, I would probably not oil the shutter blade itself. Dust and dirt would most likely collect there, gumming things up.


Nope, wasn't necessary. It's running great now, I just sanded the mating surface of the rusty bit and it's smooth as silk now. Very satisfying click. The kla-chunk of a dropping plate is even more

Quote:
I found the moroccan leather covering on mine to be very dry and susceptible to damage. I'm considering coating it with shellac as a sealant, but I'm a scaredy cat.


Yeah, mine's pretty dry as well. I gave it some minor damage while unscrewing the front to get at the shutter. Oh well.

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The meaning of life is simple: we exist to use our senses and consciousness to appreciate a universe that might otherwise go unappreciated in its eons of vast silence.

http://visualfiction.org/


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