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A site dedicated to Miranda Fv / FvT cameras and other forms of retro photography

by Jouni Rinne

Miranda Cadius II exposure meter repair

Recently, after a lengthy-ish search, I was finally able to acquire a Miranda Cadius II exposure meter, externally in almost “as new” condition. I was told it had been the pride of the seller’s late father, and it really looked like it had been cared for.

Unfortunately, in spite of its good looks, it didn’t work too well. The ‘L‘ (Lock) position was non-functional, and the needle seemed to become stuck occasionally. Considering what I found inside, I suppose it had been either dropped, or bumped about during delivery.

Because the Cadius II was in way too good shape to be left as a show piece only (besides, my older green Miranda Cadius exposure meter wasn’t very accurate, and I needed a working one…), I decided to dismantle it to see whether I could repair it. The glued-in-place metal plate behind the meter needed to be prised carefully out, because all of the screws were behind it.

Cadius II top
Cadius II bottom
Cadius II inside

I was expecting electrical problems, but as seems to be usual for Miranda (and, I suppose, for other make’s camera metering systems of the time), there were very little electrical components inside, but instead a load of ingenious mechanical solutions.

The culprit for the malfunction was the little red plastic knob shown in the picture below. It had come off from its place at the center of the ‘π’-shaped needle ‘brake’, and had been jumping around the meter in all the wrong places. It was easy enough to glue it back. The assembled needle brake is shown in the next picture.

Cadius II parts
Cadius II repaired

For reference, I also drew a schematic of the electrical circuit of Cadius II.

Cadius II schematic

I have been cross-testing the Cadius II with the built-in exposure meters of my cameras, both film and digital, and with an iPhone exposure meter app, and it seems that the Cadius II is still a very accurate meter, especially considering its age of some 40+ years…

by Jouni Rinne

Miranda pistol grip

I’m gonna shoot you now, but that’s okay because I’m a photographer!

Miranda Sensorex C with Auto Miranda 135mm f/2.8 lens, equipped with Miranda Pistol Grip + shutter release remote control cable, a heavy and awe-inspiring combination.

Miranda pistol grip with cable

by Jouni Rinne

Kiev-4A – An Ukrainan pre-war Zeiss Contax II copy

At the top of the list of the cameras I most admire are the pre- and postwar Zeiss Ikon Contax rangefinder models II, III, IIa and IIIa. I respect them, if possible, even more than the contemporary Leica’s. Unfortunately, lots of other people share my opinion about them, causing the price of good quality examples to soar sky-high, far beyond my modest budget. So, I ended up buying the next best thing, a Kiev-4A (КИЕВ-4A), which is a Russian-made copy of the pre-war Zeiss Ikon Contax II, and quite cheap…

To be precise, it is wrong to call them copies. After the WWII ended, the Russians occupying the East Germany moved the whole Contax assembly line from Dresden to Kiev (actually a part of the modern day Ukraina), with all of the machinery, designers and employees. The production lasted from 1947 to 1987, a strong proof of the quality of the original 30′s German design.

1980 Kiev-4A

This example (serial number 8003364), with a 53mm f/2.0 Jupiter-8M lens, was made in the year 1980. Unfortunately after mid-70′s the quality of the Kiev factory products dropped considerably; let’s hope this one was made on a day the factory workers imbibed a bit less Vodka than usual… At least, it seems to work properly for now.

I bought it via eBay from Ukraina just a few days before the current unrest there started. I was somewhat concerned about whether it would arrive intact, or arrive at all… However, my fears were unfounded; here it is now!

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