Weston Master II
Many of my old classic cameras lack a built-in light meter. When I shoot film in these cameras I use a meter that was in wide use back when these cameras were made. That meter is the old standby Weston Master II. This meter uses a seleium cell and has two ranges. The door on the back pops open for low light and is closed in bright light. All in all the meter works very well. The readings it gives are consistent with the meter on my Nikon FE2. Best of all, this meter only cost me $10.
Using the meter is very simple. To start, you have to set the emulsion speed. Press the button at the bottom of the meter and then push the little tab that sticks out from underneath the main dial until the speed setting you want is visible in the little window. If you can’t see the window, turn the main dial until you see it.
To get a light reading, hold the meter in front of you parallel to the ground and read the number the needle points to. Rotate the main dial until the arrow on the dial points at the number and then read the shutter and aperture settings from the dial. That’s it. As with any light meter, remember that the reflectivity of the surface you are reading will affect the readings. On any meter, light colored surfaces will tend to give a setting that produces underexposure.
One thing you have to adjust to when using these old meters is the changes in film emulsion ratings over the years. Emulsion ratings were not standard at the time the meter was made and most meter manufacturers came up with their own system and then published charts for the popular films. I have uploaded a 300dpi scan of the chart Weston published for this meter. The changes in emulsion ratings presents a problem if you want to use one of these meters. You need to know what the settings are for modern ASA/ISO speed ratings.
The following image is a scan of a chart I found in the back of a Minolta A camera manual. It shows equivalent values for Weston, ASA and DIN. Note, however, that the equivalent for ASA 100 is DIN 22 on this chart. Today, ASA 100 is DIN 21.
I’ve found that a setting of 64 on my meter produces good results with TMax 100 film. A setting of 80 works also, but seems to produce slight underexposeure. The best thing to do is to just shoot a roll of test shots using different settings and then use the setting that gives the best negative.
Unfortunately, I dropped the meter one day and the needle jammed. I either had to start using it as a paper weight and get another meter, or try to fix it. As it turned out, the fix to the meter was very simple. The impact had dislodged the coil from its bearings and slightly bent the springs on the needle. All I had to do was pop the coil back in place and then gently bend the spring so that the needle return position was back at zero.
The Weston Master III is supposedly nearly the same as the model II. According to Romney’s text, the III has a piece of foil on the back that covers the screws instead of the screwed on plate. You have to poke holes in the foil back to get to the screws.
|Start by removing the two screws that hold the name plate on the back. Lift of the plate.
The large screw in the center is an adjustment screw and doesn’t come out.
|With the nameplate out of the way, you can see the two screws holding the back in place. Unfortunately, these screws have some type of “star” head on them. I didn’t have a tool to fit them, so I pushed against the edge with a small screwdriver until I got the screws started. Then, I used tweezers to remove the screws. Before reinstalling the screws I used a screw slot file to make a slot in the head.
With the screws removed, slide a knife blade along the bottom of the back cover and lift it up. Note that the chrome strip is attached to the back cover. You need to lift from the bottom then tilt the back up slightly. There are two studs at the top that hold the back cover in place.
|With the back off, you can see the meter movement. The two brass screws hold the front cover in place. Remove these two screws.|
|There is a third screw at the top that needs to be removed
Also remove the door over the light cell.
You can see here the two studs that fit into holes in the top cover. These studs can fall out, so watch for them.
|With the screws removed, the front cover will lift off. There is a spring at the bottom underneath the cover that pushes against the release button on the bottom. This button has to be pressed to change the film speed setting. Be careful that the spring doesn’t fall down into the meter.
With the front cover off you can see the problem clearly. The coil should be centered on the magnet but is sitting off-center. I gently put the spindle back in the bearings and the needle begain to swing freely again. However, the needle wouldn’t return to it’s zero position. After a little head-scratching, I realized that the coiled springs in between the coil and magnet had been slightly distorted. Pushing these gently back a bit solved the problem.
This is as far as I needed to go in fixing the meter. It looks as if you remove the two large screws on the front and the screw holding the copper connector and the entire meter will then lift out.
Manual free download:
If you are tring to fix your seagull tlr, better to watch this video first. Very useful in TLR restoration and repair.
Inside tour of Seagul TLR. I believe most TLRs share the similar structure.
Many great TLRs are made in Japan. the famous yashica family, autocord family and so on. so you must be wondering where to find some second-hand camera store in Japan?
here you go. Just compiled some info about where to find these precious vintage babies in Hot Japan!.
Tokyo is not exactly short of good used camera stores but Cross Point in Omori, Shinagawa-ku, has some amazing bargains especially on film and especially medium-format cameras. We take a look to see what is on offer at this suburban alladin’s cave of cameras.Omori might not be the trendiest or glitziest of Tokyo’s suburbs or even the most well-known. But it’s easy to get to [just ten minutes from Shinagawa Station on the Keihin-Tohoku or Keiky Lines] and it has one of the best used camera shops in town.
Cross Point Cameras is about five minutes walk from Omori Station and about ten minutes from our office, which is pretty dangerous it must be said; the impulse-purchase dial reads ‘maximum’ at all times, and for good reason.
Japan and especially Tokyo has some superb used camera stores, feeding off the national obsession for the camera and – more particularly – the national obsession for all things new and shiny or, more specifically, the desire to turn in the old in preference for the new.
Some Japanese camera-buffs are utterly obsessive about having either the newest gear or having gear that is immaculate. The tiniest blemish on a piece of equipment can often tempt cameraphiles to trade in old for new as much as their desire to have the latest lens, body or accessory. This means that the place is literally awash with good quality used equipment. Great for those who relish quality over trends and for those seeking a more retro approach to their photography; i.e. film cameras rather than digital.
It’s in the film and particularly the medium-format film end of the film department that Cross Point offers its most stunning bargains. Currently in the window [see the photogallery below] is, for example, a Mamiya RZ67 that doesn’t look too long out of its box, complete with 120 film-back, 110mm lens and AE metering head. All this for just 37,000Yen. Alongside it are a bunch of RB67 cameras, all ready to shoot, ranging from just 10,000Yen.
Cross Point is not for the Hasselblad fan as, like other very sought-after items, Blads tend to get bought from the owner of the shop by many of the other used camera stores in Tokyo. But you can find them here occasionally and it is worth leaving the owner of the shop your details so he can keep an eye out for you and let you know if he finds what you are looking for.
This lack of Swedish camera gear is a minor shortcoming though and I would dare any serious camera fan to not find something at Cross Point to tempt their wallet out to play. Taking our visit there just last Saturday as an example – and bearing in mind that the owner is about to do one of his buying runs around Japan, picking up new stock – Cross Point had a good selection of mediumn format cameras, including the following:
- Mamiya RB67 – priced from 10,000Yen to 40,000Yen
- Mamiya RZ67 – priced from 28,000Yen to 60,000Yen
- Pentax 67
- Pentax 645
- Bronica EC
- Bronica GS1
- Bronica ETRS and ETRSi
- Fuji 6×9
- Graphlex 6×7
- Mamiya 645
- Fuji GSX680
On the 35mm side of life Cross Point also stocks an excellent selection of gear, from classic Nikon and Canon rangefinders, some excellent quality and reasonably priced Leica M3, M4, and M5 rangefinders. To more recent Canon AE and F1, Nikon F Series, Olympus OM series and various other SLR cameras.
The lens selection is not comprehensive but there are always plenty of Nikon Ai, AiS, AF D and both newer and older lenses. In the Canon section Cross Point carries a good range of older FD and the newer EF-mount lenses.
Like any good used camera shop there are also a number of eccentric oddities in stock at any one time. Current highlights would have to include….
- 1200mm lens with Bronica medium format mount [you can’t miss it, it’s the lens near the counter that looks like it could be a pillar supporting the shop’s roof]
- Nikkor 600mm af ED
- Sinar P2 monorail camera
- Horsemann 6×9 and Polaroid rotating back
- Nikonos flash gear, wide angle lenses
- …and a few more besides.
Chief amongst reasons to visit Cross Point is the friendly owner, who speaks a little English and who can be very generous on the discounts and items he throws-in for free.
This weekend a friend of mine [a genuine vintage camera-holic] came down to the shop for the first time and left with a mint-condition Mamiya RZ67, complete with a 110mm lens that looked like it had just come out of the box, its 120 film-back, a Polaroid back, camera bag, fresh battery, authentic Mamiya RZ strap and a roll of film to test the whole lot out….. all for 22,000Yen.
I defy anyone to find a better bargain in Tokyo than that!
Photo gallery: a few shots of Cross Point Cameras in Omori
- Five-minutes walk from Omori Station [Keihin Tohoku Line]
- Ten minutes walk from Omori-kaigan Station [Keikyu Line]
- Co-ordinates, to put into Google Maps or similar: 35.59148,139.731315. Click this link to see these co-ordinates in Google Maps. StreetView is available and shows the shop quite clearly.
One last thing to remember; print this article out, take it into the shop and at least the guy will know you found about his place through Alfie and Japanorama. It can’t hurt and it might help you get an even better deal than the price tags already suggest.
Happy shopping and happy shooting!
Tokyo Used Camera Stores (Source: http://tonymcnicol.com/2009/05/24/secon-hand-camera-shops/):
Pictured above: Canon 7 Black w/50mm f1.2 screw mount. Shot by Bellamy Hunt
Eric’s Note: For this blog post I am excited to present this article written by Bellamy Hunt (aka Japancamerahunter). Not only is he a skilled street photographer, but he is a professional camera hunter. If you are looking for a vintage or classic camera, he is your man. Knowing nothing about classic cameras myself, I asked him some tips that you may need to know when looking to buy one. Read what he has to say below!
So, you have decided to take the plunge and buy a classic camera, well hold on to your horses, this is something that you shouldn’t run headlong into with wild abandon.
Obviously if you are buying a $20 camera most of this will be completely irrelevant to you, but if you are thinking of getting something a bit nicer, then there are a few things you should consider.
First up, and perhaps most importantly, know what you are looking for. Don’t have a vague idea that you want a film camera and just buy the first one you see; you will just be disappointed.
Here is a little list of things that you should be looking for when you are buying a classic camera.
1. What sort of camera do you want? A rangefinder? An SLR? A large format aerial camera?
Give this some thought. The internet is your friend, go and do some research and find out what you think you would like. Perhaps you have a friend who has a camera you like, if so, blag it off them and try it out.
2. How much money do you want to spend?
Be realistic about this, these things can get expensive. Just because it is old does not mean it is worth less than the new gear. Research prices online, set yourself a budget and you will find something. Don’t be cheap though, you are not going to get that Leica for $400. Not. Ever.
3. Research. Research. Research.
I cannot stress this enough, I am super serial. No really, the amount of people that have bought a $2000 camera from me and then asked me how it works simply staggers me. Download a manual, read forums, stalk photographers, whatever it takes.
4. Don’t be fooled.
If you are looking to buy a classic camera and you find one for an amazing bargain, there is always a reason why….always. Be skeptical of cheap prices or super wonderful deals. Is there a problem with the camera? Or worse, is it stolen? Be careful.
5. Check the functions.
Ok, so you have found the camera, the price is right, it looks pretty enough, but does it work? Check the shutter speeds, all of them. How does 1 second sound? Like 3 seconds? Skip it. Check the power, the film door, the meter (if it has one), check everything.
6. Mold is your worst enemy.
Check the inside of the camera, is there any mold anywhere? If there is, just walk away. Unless, of course, you like throwing your money away. Same goes for lenses.
7. What battery does it use?
This may sound silly, but some cameras (Leica M5 being a shining example) only use mercury cells, which are now outlawed in many places. Make sure you can get the batteries for your new toy. Some cameras now take adapters, so you can bypass this, but not all of them do.
8. What sort of condition is it in?
This may sound obvious, but if it says mint, then it really should be mint. How was it stored? One careful lady owner? Lovely, I shall take it. In a bucket full of spiders? No thanks.
9. Where is it?
Again, may sound silly, but it you are having it sent to you, you have to factor in the postage and if is from abroad, the import taxes. Trust me, most people forget this, but it can be a fair chunk of your budget.
10. Where are you going to keep it?
Really, where? On the shelf next to your mother’s heirlooms, gathering dust? Be sensible, if you are buying something expensive make sure you have somewhere to store it. A humidity cabinet is best, but expensive. Get a plastic storage box with a whole load of silica gel packets and you would do yourself a favor.
So, that should cover it. Obviously if you are buying from the internet then you cannot physically check over the camera yourself, which is where the trust thing comes into play. Check your sellers, see if they have a good reputation, see what people are saying about them and you should be grand.
Most of all, good luck, with the right amount of research you should end up with something really cool.