Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Space cadet

Argus Autotronic 35 There's hope on the horizon for me and my latest development project at work, rewriting some code that I laid down when I first started at this job over four years ago. The typewriters are getting antsy, but I've assured them that I'll be starting up again in October when the NaNoWriMo forums are unlocked, the Typewriter Brigade reborn, and my self-imposed "get the novel organized" time period. I'm giving myself a month to spackle any glaring holes in my plots, and even gave Gomez a go last night, typing up a few more notes I jotted down during my daughter's soccer practice.

I've been scouring shopgoodwill.com for more finds, though steeling myself against those of the typewriter variety. Since I've already proven my weakness for selenium photocell cameras, it was a sure bet that I'd bid on the Argus Autronic 35 that was offered by a store just across the Bay from me. Come October, I should be able to get away at lunch and give this one a try. I love its space-race style looks, and Argus' utter defiance of all things ergonomic. As a former Ann Arborite myself, I feel a special affinity for these transplanted midwesterners, shocked to find themselves in palm tree country.

15 comments:

Oliver said...

Do you have a source for replacement selenium cells? One of the Ann Arbor guys on Flickr gave me the name of a fellow who replaces photocells in selenium-based handheld lightmeters. Don't know if he also does built-in lightmeters.

mpclemens said...

I don't, though I also don't know how long it is before such a cell goes bad, or even if it can. Does Selenium have a half-life?

I had my Olympus pen serviced locally, since the aperture and shutter speed are both controlled by the 'cell around the lens. Service Guy magically jiggered it so that it worked, although I suspect it was more in need of a leaf cleaning and maybe a wire reconnection than a cell replacement. The results look pretty good, considering that I was using a fast, years-expired color film.

With the Autronic, I can see the aperture moving when I set it to "A" and point at various bright/dim things, so something is still working in there, though the viewfinder needle stays doggedly at the zero position, no matter what I point the camera at (the sun, a lamp) or where I have the ASA and shutter settings.

Sunny 16 may have to be my friend here, since I don't have a flash unit.

Zach said...

I have one of these and have been looking for any examples of the photos it takes to no avail. Do you have any examples?

mpclemens said...

I have a roll sitting in mine half-exposed, but I do need to finish it up, since I'm curious as well.

Zach said...

I actually popped in a roll last night and took all the pictures today just to see what they look like. Once they get developed I'll show you some results.

mpclemens said...

I have got to stop poking around and finish that roll. Too scared of having them come out poorly, I think.

DavesFarmFan said...

Hi, I have this camera,I found it in my Grandparents' attic, I have absolutely no clue why I can not get the shutter to work, it does not have any film, and I am digging around up there whenever I get a chance, and can't locate the case with the flash unit and instructions. There is also something rattling around inside it and I don't know how to disassemble it and do not want to try to, it looks like someone dropped it or the plastic frame cracked from the heat... Please send me a reply to my email.. stevetc41068@gmail.com
Thanks!!

DavesFarmFan said...

The camera is an Argus Autronic 35.... Is it supposed to have a needle of some sort in the viewfinder??

mpclemens said...

The red area on the bottom of the viewfinder should show a needle moving around if the selenium cell is working properly, to indicate that the exposure is good or not. You can see this zone if you look at the front of the camera, right underneath the viewfinder window (the large one on the right.)

That's a pretty big if, through, since selenium meters tend to die unless the camera has been treated well and used little in its lifetime. Rattling and broken pieces do not equate to "treated well" in my book, yours may just be a loss.

The meter on mine is shot, so I just guesstimate exposure using the old "sunny 16" rule. Actually, I should say that I am guessing exposure, since I still(!) have my first roll of film inside.

DavesFarmFan said...

mpclemens, I still need to know why the shutter wont work, is it because of no film??? If not, I would like to know what the common problem for this is...

DavesFarmFan said...

I looked in the viewfinder and saw a gray needle looking thing, it does not stick uo ver y and is positioned at an angle at the moment

DavesFarmFan said...

sorry for posting so much, but what is the window on the left for???

DavesFarmFan said...

Does anyone have a Canon AE-1???

mpclemens said...

The window on the left is the rangefinder, used for focusing. Turn the wheel that surrounds the shutter release button while looking through the viewfinder to see this at work.

DavesFarmFan said...

I am still having difficulty trying to get the shutter to open, it may be stuck, but I don't know what the best method would be to free it.