I have been taking quality photos for many years and never really embraced the digital age until the recent past. I considered digital as used mostly for snapshots with my professional film cameras for large prints. My standard size is 16x20 and I discovered many years ago that size does matter when it comes to film. I have mainly used MF (Medium Format cameras) or larger. I have a few 4x5 sheet film cameras and I love how it slows you down and makes you think about things before pushing the shutter cable. It would not be unusual to take half an hour setting up your LF camera, taking numerous light readings, composing on the ground glass and not bother taking a photo. It used to cost $6. per exposure 10 years ago and now it costs more. I have a few camera systems and to keep them in top shape you have to be friends with your camera technician. I dislike taking them to a specialist camera shop and have them "send your camera out" for maintenance. I deal directly with the source, the person who actually works on your camera.
I met Horst many years ago when he ran his own camera repair business. He has since sold his business and retired, well . . . not actually retired, he is busier than ever with all his former customers bringing their cameras to him for `service` directly to his home.
This is his workbench, the place where it happens. He has his tools scattered about his work area. When I mean service, I do not mean your cameras are broken, rather lot of professionals would bring in their equipment for cleaning and adjustment, called CLA in the industry. CLA = Clean Lube and Adjust. Lenses are cleaned of dust and disassembled and the focusing mechanisms within are lubricated and checked for focus accuracy. Most photographers would have a certain Kit, a set of focal lengths and a body. The body would be checked for flange to film plane accuracy and lens would be culminated back to factory tolerances. Some Pros would do this yearly during the slow Christmas season, and some every two years depending upon usage or their usuage conditions.
Here is Horst in action. He is authorized to work on most of the premier brands such as; Leica, Hasselblad, Nikon, Canon and most anything. I have decided to dust off a couple of cameras and shoot some film again. I have always been interested in Panoramic Cameras and I have a few . One camera that I wanted serviced was my Noblex 6/150F rotating lens 6x12 format. It shoots 6 shots on a roll of 120 film. I noticed that the rotating lens was not parking as it should. It turns out that this camera has an achilles heel and needed the wheel replaced. Easier said than done as the Noblex factory closed down years ago and Horst purchased all the parts that were in the Factory at that time. I paid a huge amount of money for this camera over 15 years ago and I wanted it working to spec. Horst is probably only one of two people in North America trained in the Noblex factory and he has the parts on hand make it work like new.
Here is what the achilles heel looks like. It is a simple wheel where an electric motor spins the large diameter circle and the lower one rotates the drum. Shutter speeds are achieved by the speed of the rotating drum. Faster for 250/sec and slower for 1/15 /sec. I have other rotating lens panoramic cameras; Horizon 202 and Russian FT-2 but these are spun by a mechanical spring drive which could create a banding problem due to stuttering of the drum during rotation.
These wheels have a rubber compound around its circumference which have dried out necessitating wheels with new rubber to be installed.
Here is the master at work and explaining what had to be done to my camera
This is the base of another Noblex in for repair showing the control module and rheostat which controls the shutter speed. Aperatures are controlled by an aperature ring on the lens. There is no actual shutter on these cameras. The rotating lens has a slit from which the lens points out and scans the image onto the curved film plane. The slit is normally parked behind the baffles and spins half a revolution before it enters the light and `makes` an exposure. After it has scanned the scene 140 degrees it then hides behind the baffle on the other side.
Another view of the base with wheel installed. Horst has also cleaned the interior of the camera and all the pivot points and did a quick structural fix to the shaft on the rheostat as this part is often broken as it had no support from the factory.
With a thinner wallet, my Noblex 6/150F has a new outlook on life.
If you want more information on Noblex cameras here is a link to Noblex Canada
http://www.noblexcanada.com/ and you can speak to my friend Siggi whom I have known for many years
Before I picked up my camera I asked Horst if he would also check out my 4x5 system so I brought my Toyo 45A 4x5 field camera kit. He has all the testing equipment in his home shop but I was interested in checking the shutter speeds on my LF lenses. He showed me how his shutter tester worked. There is a light source and you use your lens to block the light and hit the shutter. There is an LED digital timer which displays the actual shutter speed and a chart on the workbench which shows factory tolerances. My lenses were within spec. On 4x5 lenses you actually focus yourself on the ground glass so you don`t have to worry about culmination but if you had a regular lens he has a culminating machine to adjust your lens if necessary. I don`t know many other places you could go and have your equipment checked, while you wait.