have I bought a (canon) lemon...?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by panocho, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    This is for all you canon users (anyone else is welcome, of course!). I have just bought myself an old Canon A-1, something that wished to do long ago. I must start saying that it was at eBay, so... who knows what you're really buying? I must also say that I previously had very positive experiences there, so I was not afraid trying. But now I'm beginning to be...
    At first the camera seemed really good. All the main functions seemed to work properly. I checked the metering with my reliable Nikon and it worked fine; so did the shutter (or at least that's what it seems: I still have to shoot film to be sure!). But after further inspection, I've come to a couple of issues -or that's what I suspect them to be:

    The first one seems to be clear; or very little doubt: the DOF button doesn't work! It should close down the diafragm when directly selecting the apertures, instead of "A", right? Well, it doesn't. Strange for me is that you can do your own DOF preview by using the stop-down lever, which does work. So this wouldn't be a major issue (although rather bitter, since it was not stated by the seller!).
    To the point. The first thing I want to ask you is for trying to find out where the problem lies: Shouldn't I be able to close the diafragm manually when having the lens out of the body (as with other lenses I have)? I mean, by moving the switch that attaches to the camera functions. If the answer is yes, then the problem could be on the lens, because I can't with this one. And yet, the stop-down lever works... any idea??

    Now with the second issue. This worries me much more. I am afraid (please not!) that the back cover of the camera might not shut properly, so light could leak. It seems that this camera is built like a tank, not plastic at all, so in that sense it should be reliable not to develop this kind of problem. But still, I see something I don't like. Sorry, I know it sounds stupid, but here's the question: does the back cover leave something like a milimeter distance to the body in the side-end when it closes? I don't know if you get what I'm trying to explain (I could later post a picture; I've been trying to compare with other pictures of A1 on the net, but none shows clearly this part). For me this is new: the other cameras I have don't leave this "space", and the back doors lean completely against the body, even in the side-end. This one seems to do it ok in the back (although if you push, you can still feel it moves a little), but not in the side. Is this normal?

    And that's it... I believe. I hope I won't find any more issues. I have just put a film and will shoot it as soon as possible. That's the best way to know what have I bought! But until that happens, what do you think? did I buy a lemon? 'cause if I really bought a decent a1, then it was a real bargain (a real one!), but for a lemon... that's a lot of money!
     
  2. sbalsama

    sbalsama TPF Noob!

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    The best way to check it out is put a junk roll of film in and try it out. I'd like to help specifically, but you might as well start out by trying that. Hope it works out!
     
  3. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well Panocho, here it goes...

    I remember that the DOF can only be activated from the little lever on the lower right side of the lens mount (as you look at the camera from the front). It's got a little plastic 'ear' that pops up and then you can push that baby in until it stops down to the required aperture. I don't recall though if you need to be in Manual mode on the lens. If you had the lens in the M mode and you tried the above and didn't work my guesses are: 1) either the lens is broken; 2) it's an FL lens (and not a FD mount lens), similar to FD but unable to offer you all that an FD could. You might want to take your camera to a photo store, pretend you're interested in buying an FD lens and try it on your A1. Cheap shot but it saves money.

    In regards to the A1 door, there is always going to be a slight move in when the door is pushed in, about 1/2 mm to 1mm, depending on the thickness/condition of the foam on both sides of the door. By the way, maybe the door is not well aligned from the very get go. You can take the door off: on the take up spool side of the door there is a little chrome pin. Push it down and the door will slide away from the camera. If you're handy enough you can buy some photo/light sealing foam from the camera repair shops (web or not) and do it yourself.

    Now that I re-read your post, the door on my A1 does overlap the body and there is about 1mm thickness overlap on the rewind side. That is normal to A1. I hope this helps.
     
  4. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your most helpful comments!

    1. Now I don't feel so worried about the door. Of course, the film will say the last word (I'm shooting it now), but your comments, Mitica100, make me think that's completely normal.

    2. As for the DOF... well, there's something strange here. I will re-read the manual this evening, but I recall finding in it an "exposure preview switch", the one right up from the stop-down lever, which you mention as the only way for DOF preview. At a very quick look I could took this mornig at the manual, I found something that confirmed your point, that DOF can only be previewed with the stop-down lever. I had already noticed that, so my worries about DOF preview didn't matter much. ANd yet... what about this "exposure preview switch", anyway? Pardon my stupid question, but shouldn't a preview switch show you a preview!!? what preview is that without DOF!? Well, probably I'll find myself the answer with an attentive re-reading at the manual.

    In short, it seems that I didn't buy a lemon. And for a real A1... you wouldn't believe the price! I've got to mention that it's got another issue, which I didn't mention 'cause I did know prior to buying: the ASA scale selector won't lock, so you have to take care that it won't change without noticing, otherwise the meterings will be wrong. I'll try to fix this in the future, if the camera behaves fine.

    And now I close with a note on the manuals. READ, USERS!
    Using eBay quite often, I have been noticing that a lot of people sell cd copies of different manuals, both user's and repair manuals. And they have the face to ask $5 or even more (add shipping, of course) for them... while you can find most of them on the net for free!!
    Please, don't be silly. With the exception of Nikon (still, I did find dome model's manuals), most of the brands' manuals are available out here: Minolta, Pentax, Canon... check google and don't pay for that!
    for my "brand new" (he he) A1, I found it here:

    www.canonfd.com/pdf/a1.pdf
     
  5. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    The stupidest scam I saw on ebay was someone selling the notorious "russian firmware hack" for the drebel / 300D for $25. You can download it for free.
     
  6. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    ive seen some pretty stupid scams on ebay before...some sellers are very reliable though...like as good as a real store if not better. you just have to be careful i guess
     
  7. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Panocho, you're welcome. Actually you're the one the thanks should be directed at. You just made get my defective (shutter not firing) A1 from the closet and give it a lube job on the bottom plate. Guess what? It came back to life! The only thing I need to address is the slow return of the mirror, which is to be done professionally and light re-proofing for the door, oh yes... and the mirror damper needs changing. I can do all of the above except for the slow return of the mirror. I'll have a brand spankin' new A1 ready to work next to my AE1.

    Have fun with the A1, it's a solid camera!
     
  8. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    I just got the results: the film developed shows that... the camera is working perfectly! no issues at all! I did notice that the foam in the door should need a replace, but it still does not affect the pictures at all; no light leaks. Very happy with the results except for...

    ... except for something that has nothing to do with the camera. I decided to give b/w film c-41 process a try. I don't like it at all! All the pictures seem to have a green tone on it, and rather than b/w they seem to me, when looking at them, as color pictures in which the color faded away -but color, still. I'll just forget about this film and stick to real b/w.

    By the way, do you know how does it work with b/w development in typical small village "memories photos" labs? do they process the film as with color (don't mean the chemicals, of course, but if they have to do it themselves or is the same machine they can use)? do they charge more, just because is something out of the everyday job? (I'm a little worried about this. A couple of mounths ago I sent two slides to get prints: I had to pay a lot and the prints were completely useless: really bad quality. So I'm not really convinced with having them do something different than developing color print film. I might get bad quality and have to pay a lot)

    well, back to the camera again, I'm really happy with my perfectly-working A1. Ah! and I could more or less fix the issue with the ASA selector!

    And now... do you wanna now how much did I pay for it? $44, plus shipping!!! :greenpbl:

    I'm glad to hear that you fixed your A1, Mitica100. it's a great camera... well, my experience is pretty short, of course, but I had already used a AE1 in the past, and with this short experience with the A1 I believe I can already say so.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good to hear things are working well.

    C-41 b&w film can give pretty good results, not as good as the real stuff though. The problem with the color cast is that the lab printed it with ink made for color prints and on paper made for color prints. Ask them to print the photos again. Sometimes a good lab (or a good operator) will take the time to make the print look good...sometimes they just run everything through the machine and eat Doritos.

    If you take true b&w film to a small, one-hour type of place...they will most likely have to send it out. You would be better off finding a place that does it themselves (or do it yourself). Either way, it's probably going to be more expensive than C-41.
     
  10. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ha!!!! We call that plain robbery! :lol: :lol: Good for you! :hail: :hail:

    Enjoy. BTW, I just got some foam for sealing the door and the mirror damper. I'm sure I'll have plenty left, if you want I can send you some strips for the back door. Just let me know.
     
  11. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    Well, that would be JUST GREAT!!!! :hug::
    In that case, I could fix the only thing that's left for fixing (as I said, the ASA dial is, more or less, fixed and won't give troubles anymore).

    Thanks also for the comments, Big Mike. Where I'm living now I don't have much options to choose from. I can go to a lab where it's very likely that they will develop b/w themselves, but I'm afraid of their prizes... that's where I got the slides experience, which is not something that encourages very much. Neither for the quality nor for the price! :irked:
     
  12. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Panocho, I will PM you whenever the seal foam arrives and definitely after I use some for my A1. I'll give you instructions also on how to do it.

    The foam should be coming in the next 3 to 4 days.
     

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