Thursday, 2 October 2014

Friday 3/10/14 - Dodgy Cameras, Impossible-To-Find Wristwatch Blogs, New Film Manufacturer on Kickstarter & This Week's Wristwatches

- Friday 4:44pm  AEST - 

Last weekend
                       Half-way through the kid's school holidays. General tidying up around the house and a spot of painting while the sun was out. I was still wearing the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Here's an old pic from my archives;

And here are a couple of snaps from my visit to the National Gallery of Victoria last Friday. 'Cos, if I told you what I saw, you wouldn't believe me. 

             Began writing up Assignment No. 4. I thought I'd write a draft using a typewriter, but then write the final draft on my laptop. I've already written two other assignments on my typewriters and I don't want to give my lecturer the impression that I'm the Unabomber. This assignment is a report on how this gallery houses and displays its art collection. I decided to concentrate on just one part of its collection, the European artworks dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. I wore my Omega Seamaster AquaTerra. Because I meant business;

I had two pages hammered out on the Royal Quiet De Luxe in about two hours. I think four typed pages should equate to about three pages on the PC, give or take.

While I had the Quiet De Luxe out, I figured I'd tackle another faded keytop. I tried using an eraser on it first, but this had no effect;

So, it was time for numerous screwdrivers and pliers, a safety pin, a Texta and a glue stick. About 30-45 minutes later, a newer looking colon/semi-colon keytop was in place. Another one down, about thirty-nine more to go;

Later that day, a package arrived for me. I was the only bidder on an Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR and when I opened it and inspected the camera, I was greatly disappointed to find that it had a few problems with it that were not mentioned in the very brief listing which described it as being in 'excellent used condition'.

For starters, the old batteries were left inside and had just started corroding. The 35-70mm Auto Zoom lens housing had a section chipped from the edge. No major disasters, but these two things would require some thinking on my part and a little more cash outlay.
Firstly, the OM2 uses two silver oxide 1.55v batteries. I did some searching on the web and found that you can also use 1.5v alkaline cells, but these will give you a slightly different reading through the camera's light meter. Luckily, I decided to chance a quick trip to my local hardware store and found them selling Energizer silver oxides. Cool, one problem solved.
The chip on the lens housing was another matter, although its main issue is that dust will get in and onto the outer lens through a gap between the housing and the HOYA UV filter that's screwed onto the lens. Again, no major disaster, since I think a small strip of plastic, like a cut down piece of a collar stay (as used on business shirts) and some electrical tape should make it dust proof.

I unscrewed the hot-shoe for the flash and it came away in two pieces. This didn't bug me, since I have no plans to use a flash with the camera. Still a little irksome, though. However, I must say that every hot-shoe that I have seen on eBay has had some crack in it or other. Could be a design flaw. Then again, these things ARE over twenty years old, made of plastic, and designed to hold a top-heavy flash unit.
I already have an Olympus Om2n and, whilst I'm no expert, I do think it's one of the finest SLRs ever made. My plan was to get a second one and then sell both in order to get an all-black model in as good a condition as I could find. However, the more I thought about it, the happier I was with my original OM2n that I bought a couple of years ago. That one is in very clean condition and, although it's the two-tone, black and silver model, I thought it better not to try and go back to an all-black model like the one I bought in 1982 and stupidly sold twelve years later. There's a certain nostalgia factor in wanting to have a black one, but I think it's perhaps better not to try and go back to what I had. It just won't feel the same.
I like the lens that this new one came with.

With a range of 35mm to 70mm, I think it'll be a decent lens to have for my amateur photography purposes. I have a 135mm lens that I will attach to this new camera body and maybe put that up for sale. I've run some film through this camera and it all works as it should. However, in an effort to de-clutter and get rid of stuff that I don't use, I've been going through my cameras and I think I'll sell my Voigtlander Vitomatic II rangefinder and Nikon EM, as well as this OM2n.
That will leave my collection down to one OM2n, a late '60s Nikon F Photomic, and two Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders. More than enough 35mm film cameras. Finding correct batteries for the Nikon F could be problematic in future, but it's such a bullet-proof camera that I'd hate to get rid of it.

             My wife and son decided to do the Thousand Steps. Located in a national park about 45 minutes away from our house, it features a pathway which leads up along the mountain ranges in Dandenong. My daughter and I passed on it and headed to the nearby cafe instead. The cafe closed early that day, so we finished our coffee and iced tea while the staff put away tables and chairs and then we headed back to the car to wait for my Bond Girl and our son. It soon began raining;

Oh, and another thing about 35mm film...

                  ...there are two men in Italy who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase some old manufacturing equipment from a disused analog film factory. The factory was once owned by Ferrania, a film manufacturing company which made 135 and 120 film, as well as 35mm motion picture film. Naturally, the advent of digital photography saw the demise of the use of film, but these two guys have decided to resurrect Ferrania for the 21st Century. They need $250,000 in order to buy the equipment and begin manufacture. Their campaign ends on October 30th and they have already raised $160,000. I think they make it, with a considerable amount on top, which is good news for anybody who still likes using film. I've made my pledge, and I can't wait to see their products hit the street sometime next year.
For more info, check out this link to their Kickstarter page;

Kickstarter- Projects- Ferrania ; 100 More Years Of Film 

I spent an hour or two looking for other blogs that deal with affordable vintage wristwatches and I was surprised to find that there aren't many of them around. Or more likely, I couldn't find them. I did find a few, but they just lacked a certain something. The search goes on.

               I wrote more of the draft of Assignment No. 4. I really like how the Olympia SM9 types, I have to say. I was wearing the Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo rebuild;

I was watching a packet of Tipp-Ex Typewriter Correction Papers on eBay. Seller had a starting bid of $9.00 on it. I almost bid on them before realising that I could maybe get away with just using one of those modern correction tape dispensers that you can buy from just about anywhere. Subconsciously, I think I got the idea from reading Joe Van Cleave's blog posts. Whenever he makes a rare typo, there's a neat square on the offending error with the proper letter typed over it. And so, a quick trip to the dreaded Officeworks store nearby and about $3.50 later, ta-dah!
Might go buy another three or four of them, just in case they stop making them. Well, you never know.
My wife brought home a copy of the recent version of "The Thirty-Nine Steps" on DVD, starring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay;

I don't like this shameless attempt at replicating the classic cropduster scene from Hitchcock's North By Northwest, but I'm hoping that this new version is a faithful adaption of the book. My wife keeps asking me ;"Have you finished reading it, so that we can watch the movie? I'll have to return it soon."
I have nineteen pages left, and I think our hero, Hannay, will find himself in some trouble before the final paragraph. I have seen the 1935 Hitchcock version, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, but that would have been sometime in the mid-Eighties, so I daresay I'm due for a re-viewing. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ending of both the book and this new version will be different.

          I had a million things to do yesterday and I got 900,000 of them done. Now, I'll sign off so that I can go do the remaining 100,000. I have switched to the circa 1962 Omega Seamaster Automatic (Calibre 562) in an effort to go a little more understated today.

Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!


  1. As much as I like acquiring and using vintage items, I can't bring myself to go back to film. It's not that I don't like film, but I hardly have the time to process my digital pics (I have folders of raw files from the past few years that I just haven't made the time to go through). While I would really like to get a vintage camera for decorative purposes, I tend to only want to acquire such things if they're both functional and if there's some likelihood that I will use it. In any case, my hats off to anyone who still makes the effort to shot film. On another note, I really want to get a good old analog, winding wrist-watch. I don't want batteries or kinetic watches. I want something that I can set the time, wind it up, and go. But any time I see anything I like, they always seem to be really expensive.

  2. I look forward to reading your Friday updates. As for how I cover my typos with correction tape, I purposefully like to use that light-green engineer's paper, mainly for the color and the faint grid showing through from the reverse side; but it also means that white correction tape markings will be rather obvious. Which is okay, as I think of them as just artifacts of the medium.

  3. I'm not really understanding why all-black cameras are so attractive to people. They look so... um, like stuff that's ordinary today. I love the two-tone look of classic cameras and am mystified why all-black classic bodies command such high value. Is it just the rarity?

  4. @ Streamlinesdeluxe, yeah, it does require a little more messing around, but I haven't mastered digital photography to a level that I'm happy with. Although, digital is a heckuva lot cheaper.
    Regarding mechanical watches, check out brands like Hamilton, Gruen or Titus, for example. Not overly expensive when compared to other brands like Longines or Omega. They should be plentiful in Thrift stores, but I'm guessing here. Whatever you get, you should have it checked out by a watchmaker. All up, you may shell out two to three hundred dollars when all is said and done.
    Here's a nice Gruen on eBay at the moment;

    Best of luck, if you choose to purchase something.

    @ Joe V, Thanks for the compliment! I have no problem with typos. It shows that the writing was done by human hands.

    @ Ted, I think the appeal of black cameras for most people is that it makes the camera look more like a professional's camera. And everybody tends to think that black is somehow cooler or sexier, and I think this is why they command higher prices on eBay, for example. Of course, brassing shows up a lot more on black bodied cameras.
    I only wanted to get a black one because that's the model I had when I was younger when everybody was buying two-tone. Of course, I'm a little wiser now. My two-tone OM2n works like a charm, so I now have no plans to hunt for a black replacement.
    Although, if I end up getting another Nikon down the track, it will more than likely be an all-black model because I think some of their line-up was only offered in black.

    1. ahh, so when you say "everybody else was buying 2-tone", I guess the all-black models weren't very popular when originally released, and thus much rarer today. That would explain some of the current value difference. Were they basically the same price when new?

    2. Yes, I think the pricing was the same, about $320AUD from memory. Or it may have been $380, can't remember.
      I went for the black because I'm an advertising department's dream and I got suckered by the cover-shot on the catalogue. Nice camera though, whether two-tone or black. I took it to a nearby camera store about a year ago and the two oldest salesguys there got all misty-eyed when they saw it, and reminisced about when they used one back in their younger days.

  5. What.... no 'Watchosphere'? How unfortunate for those watch people.

    Mr T, I'm pretty sure that I have a tool which will make your life so much easier with those keys, somewhere. So I'll get in touch with you.

    And... Thanks for putting me onto that kickstater - I'm going to be keeping an eye on that one.

    1. No watchosphere. Some blogs cover mega-expensive brands that don't interest me at all, and other bloggers write about the kinds of watches that I don't go for. It made me wonder what kind of Typosphere would exist if the typewriter brands were still in existence.

      That key top tool sounds like it would speed things up. Thanks, Scott, I'll let you know when the time comes. Bit of luck, before year's end.

      And that Ferrania Kickstarter campaign is cool. I hope they make it. While Kodak, Fuji and, I think, Agfa still produce film, the more, the merrier, I say.