Here is a quick tip list on letters for the HELP! desk:
Please confine yourself to only one question per letter. Both postal letters and e-mails are fine, although we prefer e-mail as the most efficient form of communication. Send your e-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org with Help in the subject header and your return e-mail address at the end of your message. Although we make every effort, we cannot promise to answer
every HELP! letter.
When sending a response or suggestion that refers to a published letter please include the month and page of the
All postal letters to HELP! must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope to be considered for reply. We will respond to e-mail queries with an e-mail.
Old Bessamatic Repairs
In the September 2004 issue of Shutterbug, Mr. Ward Danekas asked about repair of an old Voigtländer Bessamatic, which was made in Germany. You directed him to the modern importer, whose cameras come from Cosina of Japan. Had you visited the Service Directory of your own magazine, you would have come across WW Umbach, doing business as Z-V Service (e-mail: email@example.com), whose business is fixing old Zeiss Ikon and Voigtländer products. He has fixed several for me, including Prominents, old Zeiss Contaflexes, Ikontas, and Super Ikontas, etc. The work is excellent, at reasonable prices. I highly recommend their service to Mr. Danekas.
Stephen D. Smith, Ph.D.
Thanks for sending the data about the Voigtländer Bessamatic repair facility. As you may know, the replies I write for the HELP! department are written 3-4 months prior to publication. Thus I have no idea what might be found elsewhere in the same issue they are published in. I normally check our Service Directory and try to steer readers to these individuals, but I evidently did not notice Z-V Service, as I did not have it in my master reference list.
Miranda Sensoret Revival
Approximately 14 years ago, I picked up a Miranda Sensoret at an armory flea market. The camera was complete with the instruction booklet, leather pouch, strap, etc., as well as the melted/leaked out mercury RM640 battery. No one manufactures the RM640 anymore, and I am the type of person who has difficulty accepting no for an answer. So I did a search on the Internet for solutions. I came across a website that mentioned the size 675 hearing aid battery as a good solution. I tried it (actually four of them), and it did indeed revive my Miranda Sensoret. The Sensoret was the only rangefinder camera ever produced by Miranda. It's a cute, pocketable camera, and I am quite happy to be able to use it again. I should mention though, that there is one other tool necessary to revive this camera. Sensorets usually have the melted out mercury RM640 batteries when you find them. After the batteries are removed, you can get a tool from Micro Exchange called the Eurotool. The Eurotool looks like a small pen with retractable wire brush tips--it is great for scraping off the corrosion from the mercury batteries, but also works well on flash units that have oxidation. This tool has brought back to life several flashes of mine as well. I should mention, too, that the 675 batteries can also revive cameras such as the Yashica MG-1, however, in this case you need either a conductive spacer or a small wad of aluminum foil to fill out the battery chamber, which is deeper than the Sensoret's. Hope this helps some people out there revive some of these nice old cameras.
Thanks for taking time to send your suggestions/comments on how you solved the problem of replacing a RM640 battery in your Miranda. I'm sure some readers will appreciate getting this idea and trying it on their camera. Since we don't have any camera to try it on ourselves we will just publish your detailed comments and let the readers give it a try.