Help! Page 2
Mildew On Bellows
Q. I was recently given a nice, old 4x5 Speed Graphic camera with accessories. Fifteen years ago, when I briefly borrowed this camera, it was in great shape. Unfortunately, I believe the owner stored it in his basement for a while. There appears to be white mildew growing on the leather exterior of the camera. Please see the attached images. As you can imagine, my first question is, "How do I go about cleaning the mildew off of the camera?" Once clean (if possible), do I have to worry about mildew "spores" that might be lurking on the bellows, inside the camera, on the steel fittings, inside the case, on the flash gun, in the film holders? Basically, do I have to clean everything that is in the case? And if so, do I have to disassemble the camera, too? I'd like to save this camera and keep it working.
Steven D. Winter
St. Joseph, MI
A. Fortunately, I have not had this problem with either of my 4x5 cameras or any of the dozens of other older cameras I have around my home. To obtain a valid answer, I spoke to an old acquaintance, Jack Deardorff, whose family made the highly regarded Deardorff large format view cameras for many years. Jack said to use a cotton swab and plain household vinegar diluted about 1:1 with water, and swab down the mildew on your Speed Graphic. It probably would be advisable to do this on the inside of the bellows also. You can remove the lensboard for access to the inside and probably can remove the back also for a larger opening to get your hand through. Stretch the bellows out as far as possible by placing the front standard at the far end of the focusing track and then crank the track out until it stops. I would allow the dampened, swabbed area to dry for several days prior to reassembling the camera and trying to use it. I doubt that you would have problems with the case, film holders, flash, or other accessories, but if you detect any mildew there also, use the same method to clean them. Dry off any moisture left after the swabbing. Hope this enables you to get your 4x5 in operating condition again soon. By the way, Jack now runs a view camera repair business probably 100 miles southwest of you in Valparaiso, Indiana. You can contact him at (219) 464-9748 if you have further questions. He advertises in Shutterbug.
Manual For Riva
Q. Can you help me locate an Owners Manual for a Minolta Riva Panorama camera? I have no record of purchase date or anything else. I've tried camera shops here in town with no luck.
A. Your Minolta Riva Panorama of 1991 was the world's first lens/shutter point-and-shoot 35mm autofocusing camera made exclusively for panoramic pictures. You might be able to obtain instructions from one or more of these sources: John S. Craig, PO Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790; (860) 496-9791; www.craigcamera.com /ib_a.htm. Another website for camera manuals is: www.manualsrus.com. Finally, there is Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060; (315) 491-1188; www.photobooksonline.com.
101 Hot Shoe
Q. I have a pretty old Minolta SR-T 101, but am looking for a hot shoe for it. I was told you are the people who could help me. I love my camera!
A. Over 10 years ago when I compiled data for my book, Minolta Classic Cameras for Magic Lantern Guides, the information I had on the Minolta SR-T 101 (which was introduced in 1966) indicated it had a hot shoe. Some models also have two PC cord flash terminals, one labeled "X" for electronic flash and the other "FP" for focal plane flash bulbs. Some SR-T cameras only had one PC cord terminal and a movable switch to select either X or FP synchronization. I don't know if your camera originally had a hot shoe, which was damaged, or for some reason does not currently have a hot shoe. As to where you can obtain a replacement hot shoe for your camera, I really don't know. If you have the PC cord terminals on your camera you probably can obtain a small bracket with a flash shoe that can be attached below the camera via the tripod socket. Then you can run the PC cord from the flash to the proper camera terminal and use a shoe flash unit in this manner. Of course you would have to use a shutter speed of 1/60 sec or less for proper synchronization with your electronic flash and use the "X" PC terminal. Hope this helps you get your SLR working with flash.
Nettar Red Windows
Q. I recently purchased a 1937 Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515 and it takes great pictures. The back of the camera has two red openings to read the 120 film. Which one do I use?
A. My reference bible says the Zeiss Nettar 515 produces 12 6x6cm images while the 515/2 model produces slightly larger eight 6x9cm images, both on 120 film. Which one do you have? I checked the paper backing numbers on a roll of Kodak Tri-X Pan film and found the numbers on the right side (when being pulled upward out from the spool) would be for 6x4.5cm images (16 frames), the middle set of numbers indicate spacing for 6x6cm (12 frames), and those on the left side are for 6x9cm (eight frames). Which size image does your camera produce? If 6x6cm, I would assume you should use the middle red window numbers, but if it makes 6x9cm images, then use the red window located on the side. I doubt that a camera of that vintage would have a variable format mask in the back that could be adjusted to allow you to shoot an entire roll of either 6x6cm or 6x9cm format images.