Growing up fast…



…and she has her mother’s eyes. Gonna be trouble. Canon 70D, 18-135 STM.


Maddie, and liberation…

Still getting used to the 70D.


A few months ago, this would have posed a dilemma for me, one that I’ve grappled with before: Format/film/digital. But, apparently, no more. I’ve loved shooting the kids (Braedan primarily) with large format gear over the years, but the freedom of shooting them now with the 70D is liberating. And I’ve got to admit, smiles are a nice change of pace. Catching a chuckling 11 year old is nigh on impossible with a view camera; LiveView and autofocus go a long way toward simplifying things. I’m not saying I’m a convert yet; I am saying, though, that I suspect the large format gear will largely be mothballed for some time to come.

Canon 70D, and lacrosse…

Well, weather and softball weren’t ag’in me today, and I got to try out the 70D shooting lacrosse. I am not a sports photographer (yet), but got a few nice shots.

Sunday lacrosse

Sunday lacrosse

Sunday lacrosse

Sunday lacrosse

Sunday lacrosse

The camera is amazing for this. AF locked on quickly, even with the ancient Sigma 70-200/2.8 I was using. Most were with a 2X TC, and everything worked, no errors. AF tracked well once locked, and the 7 FPS shooting, while sounding like a machine gun, caught everything I tried. I was shooting in aperture priority at f/8; next week, I think I may shoot wide open (f/5.6 with the TC) and see how it fares.

More importantly, I think I’m buying a monopod.

First shot…


First shot...

I’ve been working on another Rolleiflex, a “New” Standard (this one doesn’t have the Automat feature, but has a ruby window to start the first exposure). This camera was a basket case when I got it, and was sold as “not in usable condition – parts only!” There’s still some fettling to do, but the first results are promising.

Automat K4/50 – Digging in…

Last night, eager to start working on the Automat, I laid out my work station:

I learned long ago to make things portable, as I tend to work over a period of days (weeks, months…). I have an old cookie sheet that I line with paper towels and keep all the parts within that space. If there are a lot of small pieces that may otherwise get lost, they go into a 35mm film canister (which are becoming harder to find these days). My kit for this work generally consists of a few small screwdrivers (some specially ground) and a cheap spanner I picked up years ago for about $8. It’s junk, but gets the job done. I’d like to replace it, but probably never will.

To work on the shutter, the front face of the camera has to be removed from the standard. First step: Remove the self-timer switch. Comes off with the spanner wrench.


Next, the leather comes off. I know people who can carefully remove and reuse the skin, but I’m either not adept enough, or patient enough, to do that. I lift the skin with a screwdriver. I find the old leather is dried enough that it usually isn’t worth saving (to my mind, anyway).


Once the leather is removed, four brass screws which hold the cover plate in place are accessible.


When the screws are loosened and the plate is removed, you have to make note of any washer shims installed, as they need to be reinstalled in the same positions. I mark the locations with a Sharpie. I remove the front cell of the lens for later cleaning.



The shutter has a cover plate with a rotating lock screw. The screw is turned with the pin spanner, and the plate rotated counter clockwise to release it.



The cover plate can then be removed, exposing the shutter’s speed ring.


At this point, my daughter decided we needed to hit the local consignment stores in search of doll clothes, so I wrapped it up on the mechanicals for the night. Later, though, I decided to clean some glass. Here’s the front cell, with the familiar spanner.


There are two notches in the name ring for the spanner tips to engage. The name ring is very thin brass, easily marred, and the slots for the spanner are easily fouled. Gingerly, I remove the ring.


Take note of the orientation of the element that comes out; the rear element is cemented into the barrel. I clean the glass with microfiber cloths to protect the coatings. The glass cleaned up nicely. I always add a very small amount of Teflon grease to the threads of the trim ring before reinstalling it.

That’s it for last night’s progress. Stay tuned.

Swapping projects…

Well, I found out that I don’t have time, or really desire, to do a full resto on a wooden field camera right now, so I sold the Rajah along to another rehabber. In it’s stead, in today’s mail, came this:





A circa-1950 Rolleiflex Automat X (K4/50). A brilliant milestone in engineering and workmanship.

Okay, it’s a little rough. I probably overpaid for it, but I’ve been doing leaf shutter work longer than LF work, and haven’t been into a TLR for a while, so it seemed like a good idea. On the work list:

  • Fix the shutter. Speeds are all over, and anything lower than 1/25 sticks. Escapement needs cleaning. Haven’t tried the self timer, but I’ll pull and clean that escapement, too.
  • Clean the glass. Hazy, but free of fungus or scratches. Should be fine.
  • Likely replace the mirror and screen. Old Rolleiflexes have notoriously dim screens; this one is no exception. This is rectified by replacing the first surface viewing mirror, and a new Fresnel screen improves usability by leaps. Will have to adjust focus after replacing the mirror and screen, though.
  • Repair the paint chips and new leathers. Have a new recipe to try for the paint, and have a new skin picked out already.
  • I’ve always found this kind of work relaxing, and this should be a good project. TLRs are reputed to be extremely difficult to work on. But that’s never stopped me.