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Miranda



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

18/07/2014
by Jouni Rinne
2 Comments

Why Miranda?

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.

22/06/2014
by Jouni Rinne
2 Comments

Soligor Miranda 5cm f/1.9 PAD lens repair

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.

K4877556 PAD: lenses removed
K4877556 PAD: dismantling the rear end
K4877556 PAD: focus and aperture units

Then the focusing mechanism and external parts of the K4871222 were assembled over the carefully cleaned, working aperture unit of the K4877556.

K4871222 PAD: front without lens
K4871222 PAD: rear without lens

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.

K4871222 PAD: rear, complete
K4871222 PAD: front, complete

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.

PAD lens fitted to Miranda Fv

11/05/2014
by Jouni Rinne
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2 x 200mm (does not make a 400mm)

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.

Telemar-22 200mm
Auto Miranda 200mm

12/04/2014
by Jouni Rinne
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Fotodiox Miranda adapters

The life is getting easier for the mixed Miranda + digital users like me.

mir-mft-01

Just recently I noticed that Fotodiox has a full range of adapters for fitting Miranda lenses to various digital cameras (and lots of other adapters, too). It would be interesting to try out their Miranda-to-MFT adapter. They at least look very well made…

05/04/2014
by Jouni Rinne
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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…

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