I’ve had this little puppy since 2010 when I picked it up from a camera shop in Bodmin for the princely sum of £19.00. In 2022 you will need to spend up to anything around £100.00 to get a good one, so not a bad return on my initial investment. Looking at the code printed on the back of the pressure plate, mine was manufactured in December of 1979.
The lens seemed to be in excellent condition, but the images looked a little soft. The viewfinder was cloudy which seems to be caused by a very fine and thin layer of dust inside the camera. The metering worked well though and the images were nicely exposed for the most part.
I used it on and off for about a year, but at the time I was never really enamoured by the 35mm format, so it was packed away and has been sitting in storage ever since.
That was until this Summer, when I came across Max Henrich’s Youtube review of the camera.
This stirred me into getting it out again, so took it out for a trundle in Falmouth and ran a roll if FP4 through it.
After all this time, the metering still worked, the viewfinder was still dusty and I was quite pleased with the results above, so decided to send it off to Paul Lamb at Tripman for a full CLA service and some new clothing by way of Royal Blue snakeskin leather on the bodywork.
Cosmetically, the revamp has been remarkable. The viewfinder is now as clear as a bell and so much brighter. The lens has been stripped and cleaned and looks as good as the day the camera came out of the factory. The stiff rewind is now nice and smooth and the whole camera just feels so much nicer to operate. At the same time Paul sent me a yellow filter and an original factory spec Lens cap and metal lens hood.
The images below were taken after the revamp.
Overall, the images look a tad sharper, but the biggest improvement is the boosted contrast using the yellow filter.
All of the images are basic scans with very minor adjustments in Lightroom. Please ignore all the dust motes, which I haven’t done anything about here for these comparisons.
All in all, I think I could love this little camera a little more than I have done in the past. The all-mechanical metering is a wonder of 1970’s design, which seems to have stood the test of time. I’m not too keen on the four zone focus, but if you set it to the Red People icon, this seems to give you focus sharp focus between 3 metres and infinity, so is useable for most of those unexpected shots you might come across.
I’m really looking forward to running some Portra 160 through it and see if I can recreate some of that 1970’s muted colour that I seem to remember from my childhood.