Attempted Repair of the Argoflex Seventy-Five

Not much for images — the shutter still sticks. Here’s the disassembly/attempted repair experiment.

It’s pretty easy to get inside to the shutter. The first tear-down was more thorough — I removed the insert that goes from the back of the shutter to the film plane and disassembled the viewfinder. There are two screws inside the light-tight chamber.

Four screws on the front.

Four screws on the front.


This copper (brass?) provides the friction to hold the Inst/Time selector.  It will immediately fall out.

This copper (brass?) provides the friction to hold the Inst/Time selector. It will immediately fall out.


Two screws at the front of the viewfinder.

Two screws at the front of the viewfinder.


I completely removed the VF during the cleaning tear-down to get to the lens and mirror. The VF hood is a pain to get back in its slot so don’t do it unless you have to.
With the VF hood up, the whole front will tilt upwards.

With the VF hood up, the whole front will tilt upwards.


The four front screws also hold the lens board -- it pops right out.

The four front screws also hold the lens board — it pops right out.


Without the shutter cocked, you can't really see the part the selector works.

Without the shutter cocked, you can’t really see the part the selector works.


This bit that sticks into the body is the culprit.

This bit that sticks into the body is the culprit.


The triangular piece coming in at the left selects "instantaneous" or "time".

The triangular piece coming in at the left selects “instantaneous” or “time”.


Two screws hold the top of the shutter assembly.

Two screws hold the top of the shutter assembly.


One screw at the bottom.

One screw at the bottom.


Not sure why but the bottom screw (right) is different.

Not sure why but the bottom screw (right) is different.


The side has the rod that cocks the shutter from the wind knob and the flash contacts.

The side has the rod that cocks the shutter from the wind knob and the flash contacts.


Cocked and pressing the button, you can see the selector doesn't move up and down but in (Inst) and out (Time).

Cocked and pressing the button, you can see the selector doesn’t move up and down but in (Inst) and out (Time).


It's a two-piece shutter.  The red opens followed by the rear that closes.  The triangle holds the rear open.

It’s a two-piece shutter. The red opens followed by the rear that closes. The triangle holds the rear open.


I thought this wasn't pressing down enough to allow the rear shutter to close.

I thought this wasn’t pressing down enough to allow the rear shutter to close.


Bad alignment but I bent it down.  It also increased the friction.

Bad alignment but I bent it down. It also increased the friction.


Holding the triangle down with a small drill bit, the shutter worked at the instantaneous setting every time. Bending the selector seemed to work but it isn’t reliable. I’ll go inside again and report back here.

52 Cameras: # 122 — Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five




It really is one of the brighter viewfinders I've seen.  L-R reversed.

It really is one of the brighter viewfinders I’ve seen. L-R reversed.


I included this to show the film edge markings.

I included this to show the film edge markings.


Blurry from the shutter sticking but I kind of like it.

Blurry from the shutter sticking but I kind of like it.


Super-blurry but I like this one too.

Super-blurry but I like this one too.


I’m still trying to find my Photoshop Elements disk. It’s in a box somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve been using GIMP. The workflow is really different but it’s growing on me.
I did a digital graduated filter on this one to boost the shadows on the bottom.

I did a digital graduated filter on this one to boost the shadows on the bottom.




I have a few shots from disassembling the camera to clean it. I’ll combine those with photos of the 2nd tear-down to fix the shutter and post here. Hopefully followed by another roll of images.


Not much for images — the shutter still sticks. A couple of images and the disassembly/attempted repair experiment.

So I’ve had this film in my freezer for a while…

Kodak High Contrast Copy Film

Kodak High Contrast Copy Film

Type 5455 to be more specific

Type 5455 to be more specific

Information is pretty sparse for this film. I found a datasheet for “Recordak Micro-File Film Types 5455 & 7455” that seems to be the stuff.

Not knowing how to properly read a film datasheet yet, I searched around and found some info on Type 5069 and started there. If it’s similar, this film was originally rated for ~ ISO 25 (or less — specs for microfilm film are strange). Bracketing my first 24 exposure roll, this stuff is about ISO 6.

Tree bark.  Nikon FA set to ISO 25 and +1 exposure compensation (ISO 12).

Tree bark. Nikon FA set to ISO 25 and +1 exposure compensation (ISO 12).

Cloudy sky through the trees.

Cloudy sky through the trees.

Wormy wood.

Wormy wood.

I used Kodak HC110 developer dilution ‘B’ at 68F for 6 minutes, agitating the 1st 30 seconds and then 5 seconds every 30 after that. Definitely too much agitation for this film. I got nasty over-development marks at the sprocket holes. Next time I’ll try a much weaker dilution, less agitation, and longer time. I’ve also read that highly dilute Rodinal works well and Photographer’s Formulary makes TD-3 for techpan films. I still have about 97 feet so it will be fun to experiment.

I used Canon Scan Gear for the first two and VueScan for the last one.

Once I learn what I’m doing with this film, I think it will turn out some great exposures.

Inside an Agfa Rapid Cartridge

Emboldened by having two ‘D’ cartridges, I decided to dissect one to see what’s what.

Somewhere, I saw a complete Rapid tab letter to film speed chart but I can’t find it (I hate it when I do that). The charts I can find skip ‘D’.

One camera had CT18 film in it and had a supply side cartridge ‘D’.
This photo shows CT18 as being ISO 50.
The chart I found (A=25, B=25, E = 64, G=100, H=125, J=200, N=400) puts ‘D’ between ISO 25 and 64.

From this, I can be reasonably confident that a ‘D’ tab is ISO 50.

Edit: Found a more complete chart: A=25, B=32, C=40, D=50 E=64, G=100, H=125, J=200, N=400

D-tab cartridge

D-tab cartridge

I used to think the copper fangs helped hold the cartridge together. Once I really started looking at it, I decided they would interfere with the film if that were the case. Maybe they hold the felt in place?

Copper fangs -- What do they do?

Copper fangs — What do they do?

It took me a while of pretty close examination to figure out that the ends are crimped on over a lip on the body of the cartridge.

Carefully working the end off.

Carefully working the end off.

Success and not too mangled!

Success and not too mangled!

This is a bit of a surprise.

This is a bit of a surprise.

There is an inner spool.

There is an inner spool.

The spool fits inside these springy bits.

The spool fits inside these springy bits.

The springy bits are attached to the cartridge by the fangs.

The springy bits are attached to the cartridge by the fangs.

The film is guided by (goes inside) the springy bits and around the outside of the plastic spool. No wonder it was so hard to push in a 24 exposure roll of film.

Speed tab rivets.

Speed tab rivets.

The system seems really complex but Rapid film was designed to drop in and wind without having to insert the film leader into the take-up cartridge. The spool/springy bits system would allow the film to exit flat across the feed sprockets and roll up inside the take-up cartridge without binding.

I think I can make a workable cartridge out of plastic.



The film:

For Rapid cameras that produce 24mm X 24mm images, this film is 16 exposures. The overall length is 23 7/8″ or ~ 60cm.

The leader is 1 3/8" or about 3.5cm.

The leader is 1 3/8″ or about 3.5cm.

The tail, marked "EXP", is 2 3/8" or about 6cm.

The tail, marked “EXP”, is 2 3/8″ or about 6cm.

The leader and tail are textured to stiffen them.  It probably helps the film not slip into the cartridge too.

The leader and tail are textured to stiffen them. It probably helps the film not slip into the cartridge too.

That’s it for now for my mini-adventure with Rapid film.

52 Cameras: # 120 — Agfa Isoflash-Rapid C




One specification missing from the manual and most of the web is the focal length of the lens. I haven’t independently verified it but this Lomography article says it is 42.5mm.

The T-shirt is a design by my brother Mike. He did it when Catherine Coulson, best known as the log lady from Twin Peaks, died in 2015.

Since I found the second camera and have 4 Rapid cartridges, I can afford to dissect one and see if it’s practical to duplicate them.

Grainy trash can.

Grainy trash can.

Walk-up window at the Stop & Eat.

Walk-up window at the Stop & Eat.

I’m using new scanning software, Vuescan. So far, I love it. Its batch processing is kind of weak. You have to be able to give it the frame spacing beforehand and I scan too much weird stuff. Also, including spacing around the negatives throws off the exposure (see images below for the way around it). Still, it’s much better for just about everything than Canon’s software.

Using the Canoscan 9000f film holder.

Using the Canoscan 9000f film holder.

Same image with the negative directly on the flatbed.  I can't even express how useful this is going to be.

Same image with the negative directly on the flatbed. I can’t even express how useful this is going to be.

Negative scanned as slide film.

Negative scanned as slide film.

Playing with inversion and contrast boost made something interesting.

Playing with inversion and contrast boost made something interesting.

Telling the software that negatives are slides removes the correction for the color of the emulsion. It’s pretty easy to do it right but this was fun, learn the software time. The right way: Set it for color negatives (most B&W emulsion is pretty clear), set the crop area to the image, lock the exposure, expand the crop area to include the sprocket holes, and hit the scan button.

52 Cameras: # 119 — Minolta Hi-Matic S




My sweetie at Santa Fe Bar & Grill.

My sweetie at Santa Fe Bar & Grill.


Detail of a controversial (and vandalized) mural in progress in Santa Fe.

Detail of a controversial (and vandalized) mural in progress in Santa Fe.


Interesting morning light on a closed produce stand in Española, NM.

Interesting morning light on a closed produce stand in Española, NM.


This is in the video but Trinity is so darn cute.

This is in the video but Trinity is so darn cute.


Princess Zoe is not amused by the attention the kitten has been getting.

Princess Zoe is not amused by the attention the kitten has been getting.


The velociraptors like that I haven't raked the leaves -- more bugs that way.

The velociraptors like that I haven’t raked the leaves — more bugs that way.

52 Cameras: # 118 — Ansco Craftsman (1950)

Thanks Sonette!


Ansco also made a box camera ca. 1926 called the Craftsman No.2A.



Not a lot of images to show in addition to what’s in the video. Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros developed in Kodak HC-110.

Because the shutter is slow I used a Y2 filter (1 stop) for most of the shots on this roll. The yellow provides a nice contrast boost too.

I’m really impressed by the sharpness of the images. No post-processing other than resizing.

Zoe checking out the new-old rug for my office.

Zoe checking out the new-old rug for my office.

Lousy composition but I love the contrasts in aspen bark.

Lousy composition but I love the contrasts in aspen bark.

The neighbor's goats.

The neighbor’s goats.




I struck out trying to find a manual or information and had to find out for myself.

Checking the focal length
I taped the inside edge, where the film insert goes and marked the tape at the film plane.

Marking the film plane

Marking the film plane

Next I taped the lens inside so I wouldn’t scratch it with the calipers and put a thin piece of card stock along the film plane line.

Card stock to measure against the calipers

Card stock to measure against the calipers

The calipers have a post that sticks out as the jaws open allowing depth measurements.

90mm-ish

90mm-ish

Checking the aperture
You can see the aperture in front of the lens but behind the shutter.

Aperture

Aperture

The Play-Doh was covered in plastic food wrap as I held the shutter open with the stem from a cotton swab and pressed it into the aperture. I could have used about five hands for this operation. Thankfully, there isn’t glass in front of the shutter.

7mm-ish

7mm-ish

~90mm focal length / ~7mm diameter = ~f/13.

And then I found this ad. I need to re-find it on the web so I can give proper credit.

f/14

f/14

Checking the shutter speed
I set the Olympus to 240 frames per second and shot the shutter six times. In Quicktime, I counted frames from closed (pure black) to closed again. From my working notes:

Vid at 240 frames / second = 4.17 ms / frame

1. 14
2. 12
3. 12
4. 14
5. 12
6. 11
——
75 / 6 = 12.5 frames

12.5 x 4.17ms = 0.0521 seconds = ~ 5/100 = ~ 1/20 second avg.

fastest = 11 = ~ 4.6/100 = ~ 1/22
slowest = 14 = ~ 5.8/100 = ~ 1/17

Frame counter window

Frame counter window

The red window is bright and easy to read. Maybe too easy. The right edge of the aspen image and the top of the goats have some funky marks. It could be from processing. I’d need to shoot another roll doing frames with the window covered and uncovered to be sure.

Note to self: Cover the window on an old unknown camera unless that’s part of the test.