Sunday, February 28, 2010

Everyone likes a bargain

Olympus XA2

While I was out and about today, I stopped at our local Goodwill store and found this on a shelf in the back. This is an Olympus XA2, very similar to the XA I wrote about last week. The lens is one stop slower and it uses zone focusing rather than a rangefinder, not that it's a big deal with a 35mm lens. It has good depth of field.

The camera was inoperative when I picked it up. No shutter operation. The film wind didn't work, and a flick of the battery check switch revealed a dead battery. The XA series simply will not work without a battery, so when I got home a fresh pair went into the camera. Whaddaya know! It works! Of course the seals are shot and the self timer doesn't work, but other than that it's OK.

I haven't checked the A11 flash unit yet, though I did manage to get the battery cover off. It uses a single AA battery, and this one was slightly corroded. I'll clean that up before trying another battery. One thing I've discovered it that while vinegar is excellent at removing corrosion from leaky batteries, there's another chemical called Cramolin that protects the metal after the corrosion is removed. Better still, it facilitates conductivity.

Don't hate me, Steve. Here's the other good part.

Yep, it set me back the whopping sum of two dollars.



Blogger Steve A said...

Good thing I didn't read this post until AFTER Kermit and I got home again, or there'd be comments about Satanic CycleDog and his temptations for mere mortals.

Now, how much did the batteries cost?

And these seals, I presume you will tell us about them someday. Mostly, I suspect these are for keeping moisture out, rather than keeping light away from the film.

This camera looks a lot like one my wife owned and which stopped working. For all I know, it's sitting in a box somewhere, beckoning, and noting the wonders a new battery might produce...

5:41 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

The batteries cost more than the camera, Steve, eight dollars in fact! And the seals are indeed light seals, not water proofing. If you look at cameras from the 60s through the 80s, the seals along the door and hinge are usually reduced to a black, gummy mess. Bits of it can get on your film, and in the case of a single lens reflex, there's a 'bumper' light seal that the mirror contacts when it flips up. That one can put tiny pieces of incredibly sticky goo onto the front surface mirror. Cleaning it without damage can be tricky. I usually try to lift the bits off with a cotton swab, but if that fails I'll go after them with the finest tweezers I have, a pair of 3C that are less than 0.010" at the tips.

Replacing seals is tedious but straightforward work. I remove the old ones by scraping with a sharpened chopstick. Bamboo is hard, but not so hard that it will scratch the camera. Any traces of goo come off with alcohol and pipe cleaners - never acetone because it can melt plastic parts and remove paint. Then I carefully cut new seals from some 2mm thick foam tape. The only tricky bit about installing them is preventing them from twisting or squirming away from the door when they're under pressure. Sometimes I've had to re-do them after they sit overnight.

5:56 PM  
Blogger PM Summer said...


Where have you found Cramolin? I haven't seen it sate-side in years (I hear rumors of legal stuff with Caig).

3:43 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

It's still available, PM, though the name has changed. I think it's called DeOxIt now, but I'll check at work tomorrow to be certain. I've had the same bottle for 20 years. It's probably 3/4 full because I use only a dab of it on a cotton swab.

3:58 PM  
Blogger PM Summer said...

I use DeOxit (Caig Labs) as a substitute (I'm still hoarding two small bottles of Cramolin Red and Blue). It's very close to Cramolin, but not quite the same stuff (according to what I've been able to read on the innerwebz).

4:51 PM  

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