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Getting my Century working

 
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JMP



Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 13
Location: London England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:12 am    Post subject: Getting my Century working Reply with quote

I have just bought a Century Graphic very cheap, mainly to get the roll back as a spare, but it is in better shape then expected (I think the previous owner just couldn't figure out how to open it). The lens, shutter and bellows are in fine shape so I thought I'd get it into working order and use it!!!

I do have a few problems though and wondered if anyone could give me some advice.

Optical Viewfinder - the "collar" of the rotating eyepiece is broken and so the eyepiece keeps falling off. To be honest, I am happy using the wire frame "sports finder" but it would be nice to have the optical finder in one piece as I like the way it looks. If I can't repair it or find a spare part, how to I remove it altogether. It looks like it should slide off but I tried this on my other Century and this is prevented by the little ridge on the front of the camera - it only slides forward a few millimeters. On my "new" one, the viewfinder is rusted on to the little metal rails as well.

Rangefinder - it doesn't have one! I'm not sure about my ability to fit a coupled rangefinder (even if I could find one) but wondered if there was a standalone rangefinder I could use to read off the distance which I could then set using the indicator scale on the front? Ideally something in keeping with the style of the camera. Maybe I could mount something in place of the optical viewfinder?

Ground Glass -there is a focusing back with the camera but the glass is missing. Is there anywhere I could buy a replacement?

Rust - there is a little rust on some of the metal parts. What's the best thing to use to remove it.

Thanks for any help anyone could offer.
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C. Henry



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 358
Location: North East Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject: Ground Glass Reply with quote

Suggest you contact forum member Rangemaster about the ground glass for your camera.

C. Henry
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tsgrimm



Joined: 04 Apr 2004
Posts: 158
Location: SE Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kodak and many others made or marketed stand alone rangefinders during the folder era. The one that I am most familiar with is the Telex. Two feet to thirty five feet plus infinity. The Kodaks only fit a Kodak accessory shoe while the Telex fits a standard accessory shoe. The Kodak a'shoe is slightly smaller than a standard one. If you need a manual for the Telex or the old style Kodak send me a P.M. Check out http://www.dofmaster.com
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R_J



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

The Century is quite amazing isn't it? I really like mine although it's in a lot worse condition than yours. Funny enough, I've just returned to London and am looking forward to restoring mine.

Quote:

Optical Viewfinder - the "collar" of the rotating eyepiece is broken and so the eyepiece keeps falling off. To be honest, I am happy using the wire frame "sports finder" but it would be nice to have the optical finder in one piece as I like the way it looks. If I can't repair it or find a spare part, how to I remove it altogether. It looks like it should slide off but I tried this on my other Century and this is prevented by the little ridge on the front of the camera - it only slides forward a few millimeters. On my "new" one, the viewfinder is rusted on to the little metal rails as well.


Alternatively, you might consider a hotshoe mounted viewfinder to match your focal length instead of the optical viewfinder.
Quote:

Rangefinder - it doesn't have one! I'm not sure about my ability to fit a coupled rangefinder (even if I could find one) but wondered if there was a standalone rangefinder I could use to read off the distance which I could then set using the indicator scale on the front? Ideally something in keeping with the style of the camera. Maybe I could mount something in place of the optical viewfinder?


Are you aware the rangefinder will only work for the matching focal length, unless you readjust each time a lens is switched? Perhaps you use a wide-angle lens, like a 47mm Super Angulon. I find by preseting the focus using the ground glass, the lens can virtually be zone-focussed with no difficulty using the distance scale on the baseplate.

The watameters and other hotshoe mounted rangefinders are not difficult to find in Europe. The addition of a hotshoe to your Century may be a little challenge though. This may be glued on, however lacks resilence over time.
Quote:

Ground Glass -there is a focusing back with the camera but the glass is missing. Is there anywhere I could buy a replacement?


I'm sure I have one or two which fits, although nothing stunning. Yours free if want, although I need a few days to unpack before hunting around for it.
Quote:

Rust - there is a little rust on some of the metal parts. What's the best thing to use to remove it.


The most common methods are either electrolytically or chemically induced reduction - any chemical reducing agent will work effectively - the challenge is using a rust remover and primer to seal the freshly recovered metal, or perhaps, just repainting. Perhaps electrolyte based methods are rather grand for such a humble camera.

http://www.diytools.co.uk/diy/Main/Product-Copy.asp?iProductID=11783

This works fine, although is a little expensive. Car rust removers are cheaper although can be crude, and the final surface may need to be sanded down and cleaned with alcohol before coating.

Good luck with the restoration.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3230
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Optical Viewfinder - the "collar" of the rotating eyepiece is broken and so the eyepiece keeps falling off. To be honest, I am happy using the wire frame "sports finder" but it would be nice to have the optical finder in one piece as I like the way it looks. If I can't repair it or find a spare part, how to I remove it altogether. It looks like it should slide off but I tried this on my other Century and this is prevented by the little ridge on the front of the camera - it only slides forward a few millimeters. On my "new" one, the viewfinder is rusted on to the little metal rails as well.

The rear collor should be retained by two set screws, are yours missing? If so there should be holes for them. They are special size/design that I cannot currently measure.
On the front left (viewed from the shooting position) there is a small lever that extends from the viewfinder. Lift up on the lever while sliding back on the viewfinder and it should come off the camera.
Fine sandpaper or emery cloth can be used to remove the rust.
I will be semding you more info on the viewfinder via email.
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The best camera ever made is the one that YOU enjoy using and produces the image quality that satifies YOU.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those set screws on the optical viewfinder eyepiece are really tiny---I'm guessing 00-90---and I believe 45PSS is right that if they are removed, or at least backed out a ways, the collar should slip right off. Then an effective mend can probably be accomplished with "super glue" (cyanoacrytate).

BTW, don't pin high hopes on the ability of the optical finder to accurately frame the image. It is a *very* approximate tool only, even with the specified sizes of screen for the various focal length lenses (standard for the 101 mm is the no. 2, which however is scaled for a 6x9 cm image; most of us, I suspect, shoot 6x7).
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3230
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I pulled out the digital caliper, put a new battery in it, and ......
The head of the screw is .153 inch/3.88mm slightly rounded completely flat on the bottom side. Top of screw head to tip=.177 inch/4.5mm. Bottom of screw head to tip .154 inch/3.91mm. Bottom of screw head to end of threaded section .079inch/2.02mm; diamater of threaded section at peak of threads .0835 inch/ 2.13mm with 5 thread peaks. Remaining .075 inch/1.91mm of the shafi is unthreaded and is .054 inch/1.38mm in diamater. Now .079/5=.0158; 1/64=.015625; a #2-64 screw takes a #50 drill for tap size which is .070 so therefore I conclude that the screw is a #2-64 with a flat head of .153 inch, shaft of .154 inch with the top .079 inch threaded and the remainder unthreaded and turned down to .054 inch.
Charles
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1442
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm running right over to Ace Hardware to pick up a dozen, just in case. =;-}
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