28. november 2016

Kodak Vision3 - Cinestill

There's a new film out!


Ok, new and new..... ;)
In 35mm still-photo land, it's new.

The film-brand in question is Cinestill and they make a couple of films, namely Cinestill 50 and Cinestill 800.


So what's up, do they make their own film?

The answer is definitely no on that one. The films they "make" are finished rolls of Kodak Vision3 cinema-stock film, which has been around sine 2007, which is very new.

So why haven't we heard of this before then? Well the Vision3 film-stock is for cinema-film and that film is processed in ECN-2, not C-41.
Vision3 also has a rather nasty remjet-coating on the back, which can be a bit messy to get off.

Cinestill is "cleaned" Vision3 film, put into canisters, ready for processing at your average c-41 lab.

Wait, didn't you just say something about ECN-2? Yes I did.
The film is supposed to be developed in ECN-2 chemicals, but it can be processed in c-41 as well, at a lab, as long as it is cleaned from the remjet before you shoot it, or at home, where you can remove it in various other ways.

What is remjet?

Remjet is an anti-halation/anti-static coating, to prevent highlights from going trough the film and reflect back into the film from the pressure plate.
This is evident when you shoot Cinestill, which has it's remjet removed, that highlights bloom quite a lot.

Some like the effect, some don't.
Cinestill 50
Bessa R3M, Jupiter 3
Tetenal C-41 
The reflection in the white material gave quite a lot of halo, with a red base.

Kodak Vision3 50D
Leica M6 Cal Zeiss Planar 50mm ZM
Tetenal C-41 
No more reflections/halo
I also feel general contrast is better

The same holds true with Cinestill 800 and Kodak Vision3 500T (also the same film)


So i prefer the Vision3 films, but I really commend Cinestill for making the film available for the masses trough their production (they are also trying to make medium-format editions of this film these days).


How do one remove the remjet then and when should it be removed?

Well, the advice varies a bit, but the general things I've picked up are:

 

Baking soda

Use a warm bath of water holding around 40-45 degrees Celsius and mix in around 100 grams of baking soda (natron) per liter water. Pour in, agitate, let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute, shake -hard-. Repeat 2-3 times. Then wash until the water is clear. The film will be clean'ish after this process, but still maintain a fine haze of remjet that can be removed with your fingers under running water later.

Can be done prior to development, or after blix/bleach and fix.

Pros:
You get most of the stuff off with little or no mess.

Cons:
There is still remjet left on the film after the process.
I got remjet-pollution into the emulsion of the film from this process, so I had to re-clean the film afterwards (water and 5% ammonia).
If you use plastic reels, they will be quite dirty afterwards.
It's an extra step in the process.

I use a different method all together after trying the baking-soda:

Remove manually after blix/bleach and fix

I read a conversation on some forum, that you can actually just leave the remjet on and then remove it after blix (bleach and fix), before STAB.
This is done, by taking the wet film off the reel, hang it up and then wet a soft tissue with warm water and use it as a squeegee.
That is; Wet the tissue, then wrap it around the film (front and back) then clamp it tight with your fingers and drag downward in one, continuous motion. (don't stop until the film comes clear from the paper at the bottom end). 
Then find another tissue and repeat this process until there is no more black remjet on the paper/tissue.

After the film is clean, roll it back on the reel, wash 2-3 times and stabilize your film.

Pros:
One operation gets rid off all remjet in one go.
Maybe less risk of getting stray remjet into your developer, but you should filter it anyway (coffee-filter will suffice).
Less risk of getting remjet into your emulsion-side, the clamped paper, prevents remjet from moving onto your emulsion-side.

Cons:
A bit messy.
You need to take the film off and on the reel again, but as long as everything is wet, it's not that hard to do.
You may risk scratches on the film if your tissue isn't soft enough, so choose your material carefully.

-

There are people developing this film with success in RA4, which is color paper-chemicals, it has something to do that the RA4 is closer to ECN-2 than C-41. All processes will get your photo's though.

Personally, I am going to try these films in RA4 in time, so see how different they are in that developer.
ECN-2 is a process for cinema-film and both the chemicals and the labs that perform this process, is high-volume (naturally), so they normally don't take in consumer rolls, or sell small quanta.

I haven't seen kits for ECN-2, but the recipe to make it yourself, is online, getting the chemicals though, is another matter.....

Kodak Vision3 can be had from left-over cinema-stock around the web, you need to bulk-load it yourself, but it is definitely worth it.

Both the 50D, 500T and the 205D are superb films.
If you don't want or can't shoot the Vision3 stock, try out Cinestill, they cost some, but still nice films =)


Kodak Vision3 50D
Leica M6 Cal Zeiss Planar 50mm ZM
Tetenal C-41

Kodak Vision3 50D
Leica M6 Cal Zeiss Planar 50mm ZM
Tetenal C-41 
 
Kodak Vision3 500T
Voigtländer Bessa R3M with Voigtländer Nokton Classic 40mm S.C
1/30s @ f2.0
Tetenal C-41 for 3:45 (slight push) 

Kodak Vision3 500T
Voigtländer Bessa R3M with Voigtländer Nokton Classic 40mm S.C
1/30s @ f2.0
Tetenal C-41  for 3:45 (slight push)


The Vision3 500T really is a nice film to use, to capture city scenes at  night, and badly lit indoor scenes. The 50D seems to like that sunlight, really gives sweet results. Both films have a lot of latitude regarding exposure too.  =)


18. oktober 2016

Shooting a classic film in London, Kodak Plus-X 125

A couple of weeks back, I was able to buy some Kodak Plus-X (aka 125PX) on eBay, from a seller in the UK.












This film is one of the oldest emulsion in the Kodak lineup, but it did get a facelift some time around the start of the new millennium (or was it in the nineties??), causing it to have a new rated speed and development-times. (and some say, a different look, most disagree about the last part)

Most of the photo's in this blog-entry was shot during overcast weather (some say classic English weather ^^), which, in general, gave me pretty empty skies with little or no visible graduation.


Here's a very nice blog, dealing with the history of this film, up to it's very unfortunate demise in 2011:
http://silverbased.org/plus-x-kodak-woes/

St. Paul's cathedral
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

 

The film shown in this blog is actually called Kodak Eastman Plus-X 5231, which is the cinema-version of the Kodak Plus-X for still cameras, the look, feel and development-times remains the same though.


Tower bridge
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

 I've seen various discussions on the internet regarding pushing this film as far as ISO 500, I have no idea if this is feasible or not (examples looked very good though), but it really is pretty dynamic and gives interesting results in stuff like diafine, pyro, rodinal and the more classic Kodak-developers, like D-76 and HC-110.
 
Your average pub-life
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160


Chocolate bokeh in Borough Market
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

 Walking around London with the Leica and the Carl Zeiss F2.0 ZM was really easy though, this combo is very light and solid, so I was always very confident that the photo's taken, would come out just fine.

The old and the new
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

The squirrels in St. James's park are so tame that you can feed them by hand, we found out quickly that you should probably bring a few nuts if you go =D

Tourist-lady feeding the squirrels at St. James's park
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160


Was fairly easy to capture quick moments like these, with the excellent viewfinder of the Leica and the smooth action of the Carl Zeiss lens.

The following shot is probably overexposed by 1-2 stops, but I really love how the tones came out. The negative looks good, so it is going to be interesting to print it when the winter sets in.

Elizabeth tower and Big Ben
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @50

Just a different take on the London-eye, the 50mm lens helped isolate the subject and constrict the shot a little

London Eye
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @50


As i mentioned, I bought 25 feet from the UK (expiration 2009) and later added another 100 feet to that. I already have some of this film in regular 35mm cassettes and 19 rolls in 120, which I secured in 2011.


Old, classic double-decker, heading for Trafalgar Square
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

Frozen, this film should keep for a very long time, I've seen people shooting and developing Plus-X from the 80's and 90's with little need for compensation for tone and sensitivity.

Buckingham palace, seen from St. James's park
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

So what's so special about this film?

To be honest?

Hard to tell:  It's a medium-speed film, not particularly grainless for 100 ISO and works very well in most developers -just like most other films.

Random street-photo with interesting walls and tones
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

But, there is something about the tones......how the inherent curve looks in various developers, how the highlight-gradation (separation) is and how the darker tones come out. Also, the spectral response also seems to be a little particular for this film. (ie sensitivity to red, blue and green and how these colors fall into the grey tones).

Choices
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

It's a lovely film and the look is "classic", in the sense that reds tend to render a little darker than the most modern films, the results can be everything from "snappy" to "delicate".

See? It's all subjective and very hard to explain.

I shot all of the photos in this entry at EI 160. That's what I set the camera to anyway, but I suspect I've shot the roll, ranging from EI 50 to EI 200, depending on the light, since my Leica M6 max shutter is 1/1000s and I love huge apertures. ^^

The developer used, was Kodak HC-110, dilution B, the recommended development-time for this combo at box-speed is 5 minutes at 20 degrees, I left it in for 6 minutes, but reduced agitation to no agitation from 4 to 6 minutes, to keep the highlights from getting too dense.
Cafeteria-scene from when we went on the wrong bus ^^
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

Also, on this trip, I really got to use my Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM properly and I've concluded that I love that lens, really....my silver version is solid, smooth, sharp and just works, the resulting photos also have nice contrast and the bokeh (subjective) is smooth.

For a $700 lens, it really is an affordable match in heaven to my Leica M6, although 'cronopiles' may disagree. =)

City-view from St. Paul cathedral
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

There have been numerous threads around the internet since 2011 from people wanting to find a good replacement for plus-x and, among the varied answers, there seems to be one film that gets the most recommendations: Ilford FP4+.

FP4+ is an older, classic emulsion with similar spectral response, it's different, but close they say...personally, I like it, but as long as I have Plus-X and Acros, I rarely shoot FP4+......I should probably buy at least one 100 feet bulk-roll and add it to the 4 rolls i already have.

Black cab
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

The other conclusions I've seen regarding a viable replacement, is to use any film you like and process it in various ways until you get what you are after, most B&W films can be shot and processed to yield many different looks and if the spectral response is "wrong", there is always color-filters. :)

Paternoster square from the top of St. Paul cathedral
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

Anyway, I am happy with how my shots from the London-trip came out, I am going to have a good time in the dark and print several of them when the winter comes. ^^


Evening city-view from St. Paul cathedral
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss Planar F2.0 ZM
Kodak Plus-X 125 @ 160

Indeed, it really is sad that this emulsion is no longer produced. I will keep shooting the stuff I have and enjoy it until its gone, I have no issues using this film for anything you can photograph, that's for sure. =)

Bye for now ^^

16. september 2016

Deleted my facebook-page

Yesss.....!


I did it, I finally clicked the delete button for my Facebook-page and my Facebook-profile.
- 14 days until things are gone completely.

This isn't to be mistaken for a "deactivate", I actually did a full-on delete procedure.

I will have 14 days to "rethink" the decision (as if) and then everything will be permanently deleted. (as far as I know anyway).



So, what's up with that?

Why did I do a crazy thing like that?

Well......I've been on there since 2007 and there have been good times and maybe not so good times, but things have changed a lot:
- Your page doesn't get any exposure anymore, unless you pay for ads.
- Facebook, although they have 1.5 billion(!) users is slowly dying; You know it is, when Facebook itself initiates a spammy challenge for people to post their 80's photos, because its users have too little activity. A community like that, is dependent on the activity of it's users, when they stop their activity, the place becomes a ghost town with loads of empty houses.
- Speaking of ads.......ads!
- Not really interesting
- If you die, your grieving relatives have to request your profile to be deleted (probably with some kind of verification), or your virtual corpse will be floating around in cyberspace - forever -
- Time-consuming.
- Non-personal.
- Not adding anything to my life that I couldn't be without.
- Just another platform where you really aren't "you" anyway, but often someone you portray to be.
- Facebook tracks your every move and sell the information:

Very roughtly explained: Every like and share-button you see, on every page you ever visit on the Internet, tracks you by storing a cookie with a coded id for that page, some info and a timestamp on your computer. When you log into facebook again, they read this cookie and voila, presto (or whatever), your activity _outside_ Facebook is being logged, sorted and then sold back, to be used for whatever.

Even without like and share buttons or Facebook-driven commenting fields, there are also ads and scripts all over the place that does the same exact thing.

I really don't like that, I understand the business-idea, but I don't like it.



Blur on my computer at work

If you've read this blog, you might notice that there is no longer a share button below a blog-entry. If you want to share one of my entries on social platforms, you'll have to do it the old-fashion way: "Copy and paste the URL". (There are still trackers around though, probably built into the blogger system).

For more information on how Facebook may know if you are pregnant, go here

I was tired of being a (tracked) product. Even though I've always known that the users (information about) were the product Facebook makes it's money from, it's getting annoying and somewhat uncomfortable.
The tracking is now in a much larger scale and the commercial side has taken over completely, 'gotto make that money, you know'.

I've always used some kind of tracking blocker in my browsers, as well as adblockers, however, this gathering of data has become so lucrative that even some of the blockers (Ghostery and Adblock) can be bought to either not block ads, or gather information themselves(!).
I am not planning to give away anymore free information, are you?

If you are lazy enough to use the Facebook app and the messenger app on your phone, Facebook even knows where you have been, how you got there and how you got back - and when!

Heck, even the NSA cannot gather that much information so easily :P 

Worst part of it all is; People generally could not give less of a crap, for some reason, often they are just ignorant about what it means to have personal information floating around and what ID-theft can do, more often, they don't really care. 
- Nothing to hide, right? Then why don't you take a big dump on the lawn for all to see? Shouldn't have the need for doors, or curtains when you have nothing to hide?

Whatever, not my problem. :D

Other viable reasons why I deleted my Facebook-account:
- Facebook is political, forcing their own political agenda on the community and censors opposition.
- Facebook is moralistic, preventing free speech and art, forcing censorship on it's users and content.
- Facebook makes you always "be on", never off, completely off, ever, I miss that.
- Facebook is (or rather has become even more) super-commercial.
- Facebook is a multi-headed hydra and a black box; No one knows who sets the agenda, who controls it and who decides what.

Not gonna participate anymore.

As for friends....sure, I have a few friends there, most of who I haven't seen in 20 years, most of who I am most likely not going to relate to in real life the coming 20 years anyway.
The ones that I do relate to, have both my number, knows where I live and have my email, shouldn't be a problem.

By the way, Google does a lot of the same as Facebook. albeit less agressive (or just under the radar), but I think the Firefox-addon "blur" (download here) will prevent a lot of the targeted ads and gathering of consumer-information.


Regarding the aspects of becoming an ex Facebook-user, I found this blog-entry to be very much in line in how I feel about it, take a look, it's a good little read:
http://bemorewithless.com/farewell-facebook/

I'll still be active on this blog, in photo-related communities and I will still be photographing, and hopefully I will also have more time to do actual stuff and stop gawking at half-interesting stuff on Facebook. ;-)

Now you know why the link to my Facebook-page was dead ^^

Next entry will be about photography, possibly about my experiments with Cinestill film its origin, the motion pictiure film, Kodak Vision3 ^_^

Like these:

Kodak Vision3 50D
Leica M6 with Carl Zeiss 50mm F2 ZM
 Stay tuned, it'll be fun, I promise ^^

28. august 2016

How to fix a squeaky Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f1.4 (S.C) classic

Ha!

I wonder what kind of grease Voigtländer managed to put into this lens!

Image borrowed from
https://www.cameraquest.com

 
My Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f1.4 (S.C) classic has always been tough to focus with, not really a creamy, buttery joy at all, lately it has also begun making squeaking sounds when focusing.
Therefore, I sort of used it less and less and it has been sitting idle for quite a while now.

This is quite a common issue with this lens, from what I gather, but the write-ups online has been rather inadequate for my particular lens, so I made one while fixing mine.



I mean, it's a nice little lens, and sharp too, quite a speed-demon (f1.4) and renders very nicely.


Dog in Prague
Fuji Reala 100
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Church, Oslo
Kodak Ektar 100.
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Film-crew during the Oslo-marathon.
Kodak Ektar 100.
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Wooden bicycle bell(?).
This is as close as you can get at 0.7m.
Kodak Ektar 100.
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Man on subway, Tokyo.
Fuji Neopan 1600 in HC-110.
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Shop-keeper.
Outside Tsjuki fish-market, Tokyo.
Fuji Neopan 1600 in HC-110.
Leica CL, Nokton classic 40 f1.4 S.C

Anyway, the squeaky issue....yes.....!

This stems from the fact that Voigtländer seem to have been using a lube in the focus-mechanism that dries out, plain and simple.

Not cool!

But, at least it's fixable with a minimum of tools! \o/

Prerequisites:
- The good old t-shirt, brightly colored, to use as a work-surface, it prevents parts from falling and then jump away from you. (usually down to the floor and under something, gone forever, until the vacuum-cleaner eats it on a dreary Tuesday without you even noticing.)

A spanner-wrench:

- Normal to "Small" Screwdriver-set (electronic type will suffice).
- Electronic cleaner, or cleaning alcohol, to remove old and dry grease.
- New lube, I use lithium-grease. Do not use too thick grease, or focus will be too stiff.

All right, here we go.

First, mark the lens-mount, so you will know if you have been able to get the lens back together again correctly. (you will know if your lens is upside-down when you mount it too, but it's cooler to get it back together again correctly before you try mounting it to your camera).

Then you simply remove the 4 screws holding the lens-mount in the lens, screw the lens mount off and then pull the focus-scale off. (wrongly worded on the photo, but you get the idea).



Take a moment to observe what you got now.
Below, the lens mount and the focus-scale has been removed.

What you now see, is the stopping notch for the focusing-helicoid, it's aligned with the center-mark on the outer-barrel, good to know.

Yes, you can focus and see how it moves, no danger (yet).


Next, we want to take out the helicoid, since this is the part that makes the squeaky noises.
Now you need the spanner-wrench.
Remove the OUTER retaining ring with the pointy end of the wrench. The inner-ring is to actually open the rear lens-group and we are not doing that now. (mine is clean anyway).


My trick to use the wrench, is to adjust it, place it in the notches, place the lens on the table and twist the lens, not the wrench. It's more secure, but place your hand so that if the wrench slips, it doesn't jump around everywhere -for example around, on-top or over your lens!

Now you can lift off both the focusing handle and the helical.
Please note the following as you do that:
- There is a guide-screw on the rear lens-group. This screw goes into the notch, on the helical shown on the photo below. Take note on how the helical sits in the focusing mechanism.
- The retaining-ring lies inside the helical, after you have lifted the helical out, just twist it upside-down the ring should drop down to the t-shirt.







In my case, I was not able to remove the 4 black screws shown in the below photo.
Annoying as that was (since I was not able to then clean it properly), there are gaps that allow you to clean it somewhat, as well as re-grease).

The screws were simply too tight to budge, so I was screwed in disassembling it. :P


What I did was:
- First rinse and work the lens by using pressurized  electronic-cleaner. This stuff is awesome to remove grease and it dries out without leaving residue. I rinsed, then worked the helical back and fourth and rinsed again etc 2-4 times.
- Then I used pressurized air while working the lens, to make sure the electronic-cleaner was all gone, also while working the helical.
- Finally, I sprayed lithium grease inside the helical, while working the lens 2-3 times.

A final outer cleaning and the helical was smooth and done.

It's not optimal, but I am fairly confident I got out most of the old crap and was able to lubricate the unit properly.


-


Putting the lens back together again is very simple (this whole procedure really is, compared to my former Jupiter-exercises :P ).

However, the final lens-mount is a huge hassle to get mounted on the helical. I don't think I've ever experienced such an annoying issue. (at one point I thought I had messed up the threads and ruined the lens).

The reason for this, is that the threads are made to such an accuracy that you need to get the lens 100% aligned before it enters and that is ¤%¤#¤%&¤ hard.

After 3 hours, I finally found a technique that worked like a charm, this will save you a LOT of time:
See below photo.
NOTE: Do NOT use force, when it enters correctly, it slides in effortlessly!

When trying to mount the lens-mount onto the helical, hold it in your palms.
Then you search for the threads, but screwing the lens anti-clockwise, usually until you hear a click, then you try (carefully) to twist the mount clockwise, to see if it goes in. This is what you normally do when you hold the parts with your fingers, the difference is that you now do it, by holding the parts with your palms.

If it doesn't enter here, continue to twist anti-clockwise further and try again at the next click.

Holding the lens this way, seems to give it much more stability than holding the lens and trying to twist with your fingers.

I could have saved myself 3 hours of agony if I had known this "hold-it-in-your-palms" trick before I started, so you are very welcome :P



Finished!



25. april 2016

Making a new mirror for Rolleiflex Automat f3.5

Here's a walk-trough on how I made myself a new mirror for my old Rolleiflex Automat f3.5 MX-EVS.

My old Rolleiflex Automat f3.5 MX-EVS
Check out the patina! :D
Found an excellent article about the camera here: http://www.djcphoto.com/index.php/1956-rolleiflex-automat-mx-evs-tessar/

These old cameras tend to age quite well, however, the mirror in them gets pretty bad after so many years, causing the viewfinder to be dimmer and dimmer.

I wanted to collect my experiences in making a new mirror from scratch, as I had to pull information from many different sources before the change was complete.

Prerequisites

- Electronic screwdriver-set (or equivalent small screwdriver-set)
- A new mirror
- Glass-cutting knife
- Gloves to break glass with
- Plastic cloves to use with chemicals
- Chemical that can dissolve mirror-backing (acetone or other)
- Cotton-balls
- Cling-film

Procedure, in short

- Find a replacement mirror
- Remove waist level finder.
- Inspect and remove original mirror.
- Cut the new mirror
- If you have a second surface mirror, make it into a first surface one.
- Install
- Adjust focus on your camera, if necessary

Procedure explained

I searched high and low for mirrors and found one at the local "nick-nack" store (Clas Ohlson). Here, they had some of those metal wallets and some of them also had integrated mirrors.
Metal wallet, with mirror.
I removed that mirror using a hair-dryer and a butter-knife. It was fastened with two strips of double-sided tape.

The size and thickness of those mirrors also seemed more or less perfect! Great! Happy days.

Well almost, the new mirror is actually pretty damn close, but a little thicker (0.25mm), so I had to re-adjust the focus a little after installment.

Mirror thickness, original Rolleiflex

Mirror thickness, new mirror.


















Thickness problem tackled, for now.


To change out your mirror, you need to take off the waist level finder-top.

This involves removing 4 screws, located beside the viewfinder, on top of the camera:

Stolen example from the web, which shows the screws on a rolleicord, but the procedure is the same for the Automat.

Then you simply pull the whole thing upwards.
The mirror should be visible now.


Just loosen the screws holding the mirror in place, they can be a little fiddly to get back in, since the screws themselves aren't magnetic.


Once you get the mirror out, you can clean the viewing lens from the inside, I am sure there is some dust there, i used canned air and blew away some dust and grime and then cleaned that lens.

My mirror looked like this:

Pretty crappy mirror if you ask me. Looks pretty home-made too. No wonder the camera was hard to focus with!
This is also after cleaning O_o


Time for cutting the new mirror.

Use a regular class-cutting knife (you need to use some oil on the knife when you cut).

Use the original mirror as a template and mark the new mirror with a CD-pen or similar (I found that it was ok to make the markings a little bit larger than the original mirror).

Use gloves to break off the pieces, I placed my mirror on a cutting-board with the edge to break off just outside the edge, it made for a cleaner line.
- Use sand-paper to sand down sharp edges and uneven edges on your finished mirror.

Borrowed image that shows your average mirror cutting.
Now cut!

- You will probably cock this procedure up if you have never cut glass before, so buy 2-3 of those wallets before you start. :)


Cutting complete, I broke two mirrors before I finally made it.
However....right before installment, I found that the new mirror in that wallet was a so called second surface mirror, the Rollei's use first surface mirrors.

Problem! :-(

What this means, is that on normal mirrors, you have a protective layer of glass between you and the "silver", the first surface mirrors do not.

Does it matter?

Yep.... The glass causes ghosting (double-image) and also refraction (loss of sharpness) and also move the actual reflective surface back, compared to a first/front surface mirror.




So what now? Stuck with a wallet I don't need? All that cutting for nothing???


Internet to the rescue!
-Yes, you can get mirrors on eBay, but the shipping to my country is more expensive than the mirror itself.


Anyway....

I found, from a laser-geek community of all places, that it seems that you can actually wash away the protective layer on the back of most mirrors, exposing the "silver" on that side. \o/

All you need are some nasty chemicals and cotton, and gloves, I used acetone.

Washing -very- carefully in acetone.
(Make sure to ventilate well!)
The washing of the mirror, consisted of laying the mirror in a acetone bath for 15 minutes, then I rubbed away the layer with a cotton-ball, very carefully!

The exposed side of the mirror is extremely delicate, so do not use more force than the weight of the soaked cotton-ball itself.  Change the cotton-balls as you go, the left-over paint can actually scratch the surface.

It will take some time, but the paint/protective layer will eventually start to come off.
Make sure you get it all off before rinsing the mirror in water, let it air dry, do not touch.

Here are some comparisons between the old and the new mirrors:

Example shows a buggered mirror i made (note the chipping on the narrow part), but see how much better the definition it has, a real improvement indeed.





Ok, almost finished now, all you have to do, is to install the thing.

First, you now need to protect the new mirror.
I installed my first mirror without anything protecting it, it got finger-marks all over it and I decided to clean it with some paper and some lens cleaning-agent.

That made the nice surface into this:

Cleaning-marks. How fun seeing this, realizing you will have to start over again with a new wallet! \o/





To avoid this, use cling-film.
It is kind of similar to the protection that comes with the commercial mirrors and it will indeed help you avoid marks while fighting to install the mirror in your Rolleiflex.

Place the clean(!) mirror, first-surface-side down on the cling-film, cut it so you have around 0.5 cm extra on all sides, fold the extra around the mirror:



Now, fold around 1 cm of the cling-film back from the narrowest part of your mirror, like so:


Now you are ready to install the new mirror.

Inside the Rolleiflex Automat, there is a spring-mechanism that needs to be held in place as you insert the mirror with the narrow end first.

This is fiddly (I have no photos of that, sorry), but the spring is supposed to put some pressure on the mirror from the back, so that it is possible to install it, but keeps it still after installment.

When you insert the mirror, use a flat knife to hold the spring in place, then "replace the knife" with the mirror. Push the mirror all the way into the notch in the camera and observe that the spring is just visible on each side of the mirror, and that it seems to be straight.

It's not overly complicated, just fiddly, you'll get it when you see it. It helps to keep the camera at an angle, almost on it's "back", that way, the spring will not fall away too easily.

After you have slid the mirror in, lean it back between the screws. Attach the shims and tighten the screws, making sure the shims keep the new mirror in place.


Before you tighten the screws completely, remove the rest of the cling-film with a pair of tweezers and you will be left with a brand spanking new mirror with no marks.

*** New focusing screen ***

I had also bought a new matte-screen from Rick Oleson  it has made focusing both brighter and much easier. His prices were quite reasonable and shipping + handling was very nicely done.

This is how the viewfinder on my old Rolleiflex Automat looks now, with the new mirror and the new screen:

Not bad for a 60 year old camera, finally the 2.8 viewing lens can shine!

This is how focusing looks, click the photo for the original size (this is also after I adjusted the focus to the new mirror).

(click the photo) Out of focus objects have "jaggies" and in-focus stuff have not, very easy to determine focus.
Poor shots done with my phone but gets the point across.

So there you go.

I feel I can mess around with this camera, as I got it for cheap. The mirror installment can be done on most Rolleiflexes with little risk or trouble, but the focusing adjustment requires you to dismantle the front (and remove leatherette). For my F2.8 Rolleiflex, the expensive one, I would probably buy a mirror of the proper thickness to avoid the adjustment issue.

Done, now all this information is located in one place, easily found via google and what have you :)