by Jouni Rinne
Well, I couldn’t resist adding a follow-up to the “Repairing the RE” post series. Just a few days ago I developed the first test roll of film taken with the repaired Miranda Sensomat RE (Foma Fomapan 100, developed with Rodinal 1:50, 8,5 min @ 20℃). Seems that the exposure meter adjustment was spot on, all of the pictures came out very well. Here’s an example picture taken within the ancient walls of the Häme castle.
(As an aside, I had to reluctantly admit that the thin, soft film base of Foma films and the Paterson system developing spirals does not work together. I was forced to develop the film in an old Nikor stainless steel developing tank / spiral combo; the film went into the Nikor spiral without any trouble…)
by Jouni Rinne
I finally got round to fixing the second RE, and properly this time. The lens had some oil in the aperture blades, so I needed to partially dismantle it and carefully clean out the blades with lighter fluid. Also, the meter reading was off. After removing the left side cover I noticed that, probably because of the previous owner’s ill-advised attempt to adjust the meter to work with a LR44 (a wrong type of battery for this camera), the red lacquer seal on top of the meter had been broken; fortunately the actual, correct adjustment resistors at the bottom of the camera hadn’t, apparently, been touched. The meter needed just a slight adjustment; I checked the reading with a grey card, comparing the result with the readings of other – both analog and digital – cameras.
I’m using the MR-44 adapter from Small Battery Company to power the RE’s exposure meter – the best possible, although not very cheap, substitute for the original PX675 mercury battery.
The first RE, which started this series of posts, has already been permanently demoted to a parts donor camera, so this post concludes the “Repairing the RE”-series.
by Jouni Rinne
Some of you may have been wondering why I’m obsessed with such an obscure and long since vanished camera make like Miranda. Well, there are several reasons, which can be divided in three subcategories:
- Historical reasons:
My dad bought his Miranda Fv in either late 1966 or early 1967. Many of my childhood memories involves Dad with the Miranda dangling from his neck. He seemed to haul it everywhere he went…
- Ethnical reasons:
I like Japan as a country, its people, and everything “Made In Japan”. 頑張れ日本!
- Technical reasons:
I deeply respect the designs of Ogihara-san and Ōtsuka-san, the company founders. The Miranda cameras were well made and durable; they had lots of unconventional – sometimes very so – but very well thought out features. It was a great loss for the camera world when the company folded over in 1977!
I have never been part of “The Mainstream”. Whatever my current hobby is, it seems that everything unconventional, ingenious, non-mainstream, but well working solutions interest me greatly. Some examples: as a younger man I repaired and used old British motorbikes… my favourite was Velocette, a very idiosyncratic make. My all-time-favourite car is the Citroën 2CV (do I need to say more?). I’ve used Linux as my operating system for almost 15 years… The list is endless.
by Jouni Rinne
I had two faulty Soligor Miranda 50mm – actually marked “5cm” – f/1.9 PAD (Pressure Automatic Diapraghm) lenses lying around among my lens collection. These lenses were originally fitted to early 60′s Miranda D/DR models.
- The first one, serial number K4871222, was a very clean, good looking (as in “like new”) example, but with a serious problem in the aperture system: each one of the six aperture blades within the lens has two very small brass pins fitted to them, working as pivots, and on one of the blades one pin had come loose and jammed the whole mechanism solid.
- The second one, serial number K4877556, was a very moldy and corroded one, and obviously taken a “nose-dive” at some point of its life… but it had a working, although a bit oily, aperture system.
I decided to dismantle both of them to see whether I could combine the better parts of the two lenses to build a working one.
These early Miranda lenses are very easy to dismantle; for example, the front and rear lens units are just screwed-in. The first three pictures show the dismantling process of the K4877556.
Then the focusing mechanism and external parts of the K4871222 were assembled over the carefully cleaned, working aperture unit of the K4877556.
Here’s the final product: a perfectly working Soligor Miranda 5cm f/1.9 PAD lens. The only snag with combining parts of two lenses is that the red dot indicating the selected aperture is now some 90° off… I still need to blot out the original and paint a new one to the correct place, and reset the aperture selector ring to that.
Oh, and in case someone wonders what that weird looking sidearm in the lens is for: Here’s a picture of the repaired PAD lens fitted to a Miranda Fv. The button on the sidearm, when pressed, first sets the lens to the pre-selected aperture, and when pressed further in, fires the camera itself. There were three camera manufacturers using this kind of external aperture control system in the 50′s and 60′s, before the in-camera controls were designed: Ihagee Exakta (Germany), Topcon (Japan) and Miranda (Japan), all of those makes having the shared feature of a front-mounted shutter release.
by Jouni Rinne
Two recently obtained 200mm lenses for Miranda here:
First, a Russian Telemar-22 200mm f/5.6 lens (serial number 006675) fitted to 1959 Miranda S. It is, as far as I know, the only Russian-made lens ever with a Miranda m44 mount, most of the other Telemar-22s being equipped with m39/Leica screw mount. These Telemars are said to be very sharp lenses. I don’t really know the age of the lens, but it looks like it was made in the 50′s or 60′s. Well, with Russian equipment you can never be sure… It is in fine condition, though.
The other is an Auto Miranda 200mm f/3.5 lens (serial number 1691616) fitted to Sensorex. Big and heavy, but surprisingly short for a 200mm lens, or maybe the wide front element just makes it to look so. Again, a very sharp lens in great condition.