Ricoh Wide … some cleaning

Tools: Spanner wrench, screw drivers, pointy tweezers

When I first worked on this camera it had a shutter tripping problem, which I fixed, but I did not record what I did before putting it all back together … and then ended up on the mantel.

Sooo, I decided to take it apart again just to show you stuff.

Take your spanner wrench and remove the outter ring.

Then you can take the inner cover off.

 

 

 

 

 

Now unscrew the shutter speed dial and remove it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unscrew the front lens group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take your pointy tweezers and turn the locking dial, then you can rotate the shutter cover to align the notches.

Remove the speed cam.

 

 

 

 

Now you can see the shutter in all its glory.

Note that the shutter cocking ring is spring loaded to will want to pop out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now cleaning the view/rangefinder

Open the film back and secure the rewind arm from the inside … then unscrew the rewind knob.

Use the tweezers again to unscrew the film speed cover screw and pull off the plates. Then unscrew and remove the plate holding the winding arm. Remove the arm.

Remove the three screws, around the sides, that secure the top cover. Using the tweezers again, unscrew the rewind knob cup. Remove the flash shoe … then pull off the top cover.



The Ricoh Wide -24-

There were many many fixed lens rangefinder cameras that came out over the past 100 years, but not many with a wide angle lens. Cameras with wider than 45mm focal length lenses started appearing from 1949.

The Ricoh Wide was one of these, it is also known as the Ricoh Wide 24 or 2.4 … and no, it did not have a 24mm lens. It was make in 1958 or possibly 1960, not sure exactly as I have seen reference to both dates.

  The Ricoh Wide was a 35mm format coupled rangefinder camera with an S Konimar 35mm f/2.4, and a Seikosha MXL shutter. This lens was made by Nitto Kogaku (they started optics working in conjunction with Nikon and then started their own lenses … and they are still in business today). The camera designed is also shared with the Ricoh 300 which used a Riken 45mm f/2.8 lens.

 


Riken !! Ricoh – some history

The current company that we know of as Ricoh started out as Rikagaku Kogyo, which then spit off to become Riken Kankoshi Co. Ltd. in 1936 under the leadership of Kiyoshi Ichimura. Initial products … paper, sensitized paper. In 1937 they started distribution of Olympic cameras made by Asahi Bussan. In 1938 the company name changed to Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. and started developing their own cameras and lenses. The company continued to evolve into other types of products, distribution of other cameras through subsidiaries. After WWII was the start of their real push into the camera market … then they all merged to became the Ricoh we know of today in 1963.

Riken No. 1 was sold in 1939 named as Gokoku (not Okoku) it was a 127 format camera, but with the looks of a Barnack camera … even with a collapsable lens, and a fake rewind knob. The Richol models continued this design, and then they start making cameras of all kinds like the Ricohflex TLR (1950), 35mm rangefinders, SLR’s and todays digital cameras (oh, and they are pretty big in the photocopier business) … not to mention their acquisition of Pentax.

My first encounter with Ricoh was when I got a job at Japan Camera. They had Ricoh SLR cameras everywhere, which was different than the other camera stores … I soon found out that Japan Camera was the exclusive Canadian distributor of Ricoh.

When I had a Diacord L for a bit (fixed a sticky shutter) and I found the IQ of the Rikenon lens was really good. I got rid of it as I was not too keen on the knob winding, but I think I would replace my Minolta Autocord for a Ricohmatic 225 if I could ever find one without an over-inflated price.


Pots … no, not that kinda Pot.

So, got the mechanical parts working on the Yashica Mat-124G … now to figure out how to adjust the light meter.

This camera has a CdS light meter which requires a battery, unlike the burnt out selenium light meters that many older cameras started out with. Sometimes these meters is just not right anymore and require adjustment … sometimes they just don’t do nothing.

A basic circuit consists of a CdS photoresistor, a resistor/potentiometer, power source, and a galvanometer … so how hard could it be to adjust … the Yashica Mat-124G appears to have two potentiometers … hmm.

The first thing to do is to remove the hood. On the left side of the body is a lever that turns the light meter circuit on and off as the hood is opened/closed. The big round thing in the back of the light meter is the galvanometer. To the left of it are the two potentiometers. There are two arms that are coupled to the shutter speed and aperture dial. The speed arm rotates the galvanometer, while the aperture arm moves the aperture target (the yellow arm).

One thing that I did find was that the galvanometer has a cap that the aperture target is attached to. The target arm is pushed as the aperture dial is moved. The seal that was holding the cap in place was broken, so the cap was not in its correct position (looks likes one of the previous owners had dislodged this and also bend the galvanometer arm) … I figured out that the aperture should be set wide open before repositioning the cap.

Trial and error … playing around with all the parts I got the meter to read almost accurately. I still have to figure out the best position of the potentiometers to get some accuracy in low and bright lighting conditions.

… and I say again, thanks to Rick Oleson’s handy dandy CD of tips and for sharing his vast amount of knowledge -> http://rick_oleson.tripod.com … and also Hans Kerensky -> https://www.flickr.com/photos/29504544@N08/albums

 


Separation, leads to divorce, and a new coupling.

Sometimes you encounter a lens that has some internal blemishes that you cannot seem to clean off … can look like rainbow rings (ring of fire), a cloudy ring round the edge, a crescent beige tint, bubbles, or even a flowery/snowflake pattern … and it always seems like it’s trapped between two lens elements.

This old LTM lens has an almost complete ring haze. Now, it could possibly be just haze on the back of the element … but I suspected it was more than that.  After talking it apart it was apparent that it was separation of the front two elements.

Yes, in fact it is between two lens elements. Most lens designs require two lens elements to be bonded/cemented together (doublet) with adhesive to eliminate the glass air gap. By reducing exposed surfaces, cementing reduces refraction and ghost images from reflections, and allows the use of thinner flint elements. 

Older lenses used Canada Balsam as it had a high index of refraction, which is optically a good thing to have. It is derived from good ol Canadian trees … yup good ol sap … yes, its not just only for maple syrup.

Development of resins to cement elements started in 1785. Eventually changed to a synthetic resin because of WWII … high altitude aerial photography caused issues with Canada balsalm, so they developed a synthetic cement that could handle low and high temperatures … this is the MIL-A-3920 standard optical adhesive. UV curing adhesives appeared in 1966 to reduce the curing time for high production.

When the “cement” has degraded and no longer seals the two elements together, the separation will create artifacts that will change the refractive properties of the lens. Sometimes it is not very visually apparent … sometimes it is. The only real solution is to separate and re-cement them.

This topic has been discussed much on the web … FotomozaicLargeFormatForumskgrimes

With Canada balsam, it requires heating to soften the resin so the elements can be separated. The newer synthetic resins require special chemicals … and in some cases the elements cannot be separated without damaging it.

Once separated, new resin can be applied to cement the elements. Then new resin can be applied to cement the elements … modern day resins are UV cured, so makes it much quicker to get a lens back to working condition.

Sounds easy … not !!! Heating sometimes does not work, or even worse causes the element to crack … and there are cemented group that are encased in a metal sleeve which has to be removed first (without damaging the glass, and you may have to find something to replace it) … or, as mentioned before, it just doesn’t work.

One day I will make a serious attempt at re-cementing … meaning, my half-ass attempt sucked, and I will try again.

Summers Optical makes many different types of synthetic resins for optical cementing … and you can still buy Canada Balsam, as it is still used for microscopic slide mounting and painting.

Sometimes the lens separation is not so bad in terms of affecting the image, especially if it is around the edges like the lens pictured above … but when it sits right in the centre, it will most likely cause apparent visual effects. Mounting this lens on my Sony NEX-6 and taking some shots, I could not really notice it until I got some light hitting the front and the separation starts adding some flaring/fogging.


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