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Thread: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

  1. #1
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Acquired this Miranda Sensomat RE manufactured circa 1971-76 yesterday from a charity shop complete with 50/1.8 & 35/2.8 lenses plus accessory waist level finder and ERC ... all for the grand sum of £12. Miranda went bust in 1978 but they made very good quality cameras. Most of their lenses were made by associate company Soligor. This particular camera features match needle stopped down CdS TTL metering ... slow but sure.







    The interchangeable prism viewfinder slides out after tripping a safety catch on the film type reminder dial (under the film rewind)



    Here the WLF has been attached ... this would be used eg on a copy stand or with the camera on a tripod ... but not for waist level viewing with the camera around your neck ... so 'WLF' is a bit of a misnomer ... 'chest level finder' might be a more apt description ... especially as the magnifier requires eye level use.



    Surprisingly, the meter was found to be in working order after inserting a battery. I used a silver oxide 1.5v cell but it really needs a 1.35v mercury cell ... I have some mercury cells tucked away and also some Wein air cells which have the correct voltage.



    Please excuse the dust ... the camera has been cleaned (it was quite dirty) but the dust still needs blowing off. The above photo shows the meter needle just off centre ... 'stop down' (or 'up') metering is used. By adjusting the aperture or shutter speed, the needle indicates correct exposure when in the central position as below. Back in 1971 when the camera was first made full aperture auto metering was in its infancy.



    All shutter speeds appear to be accurate judging by the sound and the 'say one thousand' test for the 'one second' speed.

    Unfortunately, the light seals are perished so need replacing before the camera can be tested with a film


    There is speck of dust on the shutter blind ... it is not a small tear.

    Here the magnifier in the WLF is visible


    The camera has an interesting lens mount because it is a dual 'bayonet' or '44mm screw' mount. Miranda lenses were available in both fittings thus enabling use of their legacy lenses - and by means of M44 to M42 adaptors, the then 'universal' 42mm screw thread lenses could be used.



    I have to replace the light seals using self adhesive light trap material ... sheet of same illustrated which will be sliced into strips using a scalpel and straight edge.



    Removing the old perished seal is a messy job but can be achieved (eventually) after digging out the residue with a sharpened matchstick soaked in lighter fluid. I'll try iso propyl alcohol first but it is not always successful.

    The camera is not particularly valuable ... a dealer might sell it for £35 to £50 ... but it is very well made and deserving of being put into working order. I don't need another camera but when I see these sitting in junk boxes and begging for some TLC I can't resist them ... especially as they are precision instruments which would have cost several weeks' wages back in the 70s.

    Miranda lenses are excellent but the problem is that TTBOMK no Miranda bayonet adaptors are readily available which would enable use on modern DSLRs or M4/3 or other mirrorless cameras. However, the 35mm lens will be used for a macro photography experiment - reversed onto a Canon DSLR.

    Any wide angle SLR lens can normally be reversed onto any other make of camera provided the appropriate reversing ring (which screws into the lens' filter thread) is sourced. The 35mm lens will require a reversing ring with a 49mm male thread and an EOS bayonet.

    Anyone wanting to experiment with 'budget' apparatus for close-up/macro photography might be interested in the following book 'Close-up Control' by John Holden; it is one of the best books I have read on photomacrography and is written in very easily understood language. The book contains a wealth of little known practical solutions to achieve good close-ups and although written in the film era the theory and practice remains valid for digital photography. The advice given by the author regarding using reversed enlarging lenses and wide angle lenses for macro work could save you a small fortune.



    If you are interested in the book it's readily available 'used' eg http://www.alibris.co.uk/booksearch?qwo ... ng*buyused

    Best wishes

    dunk

    EDIT: Lighting method used for the photos ... scrap polystyrene packaging reflecting kitchen window light ... infinity background is corrugated packaging ... all on the gas stove worktop.



    No tripod was used .. camera used was Fuji f47 compact ... handheld but with my forearms supported on the back of a dining chair.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  2. #2
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    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Cracking find Dunk and I'm glad it went to someone who recognises its true merit!

  3. #3

    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    i like the way you have shown us the set up used to take the picture, i'd like to see more like this at the end of each set.

  4. #4

    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    That's a very good catch, dunk! It looks like it is in excellent condition. (I always use my WLF with a magnifier, so it is a chest level finder. :))

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  5. #5
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier
    That's a very good catch, dunk! It looks like it is in excellent condition. (I always use my WLF with a magnifier, so it is a chest level finder. :))

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    Miranda is a very unloved brand Bob and likely to remain so because as with most other SLR film cameras, supply exceeds demand. However, I admire the fine precision engineering of 70s cameras and increasingly realise that SLR lenses from that era can have a lot of potential for use with DSLR bodies. Producing good results from eg a £5 lens ,which can be as good and sometimes better than those from marque auto everything DSLR lenses costing £hundreds more, is very satisfying - and great fun too.

    Unfortunately the fact that Dixons or one of their suppliers took over the Miranda name and used it to market some cheap cameras during the 80s and 90s lessens the brand's popularity further. But maybe this fact increases the chances of discovering an unloved but usable 50/1.4 lens.

    dunk
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  6. #6
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Quote Originally Posted by justin44
    i like the way you have shown us the set up used to take the picture, i'd like to see more like this at the end of each set.
    Thanks Justin. This was the first time I'd tried corrugated packaging as an infinity background. I'm not sure about the colour because I'm colour blind so if anyone can give me some honest feedback about its suitability or unsuitability I'd appreciate some comments. I've been asked to prepare an article for publication (sea shell photography) and need to experiment with backgrounds which are other than white or off-white ... because white backgrounds for black and white illustrations might not work well on a white paper page.

    The daylight reflectors work reasonably well with three dimensional metal subject matter. However, I've found that when photographing eg watch movements through a display case back (ie a glass case back) , reflected daylight is not so good as it is too soft and does not penetrate the movement sufficiently. Watch movements photograph better with more directional artificial light.

    dunk
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  7. #7
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    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Honest feedback - it does the job but looks like what it is.

    Thanks for another interesting and informative post, of course.

  8. #8
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Re: Another classic camera ... Miranda Sensomat RE

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabadger
    Honest feedback - it does the job but looks like what it is.

    Thanks for another interesting and informative post, of course.
    Yes you're right ... it looks too much like corrugated paper ... so I need to have another think about something better. A graduated grey background might work better if I can source one in a small size or make one. At least the corrugated paper is flexible enough to make a curved infinity screen and sturdy enough horizontally to be used without it sagging - so it will support another piece of lightweight material placed on top of it eg maybe some vinyl roller blind material which is available in many colours.

    dunk
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

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