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Wednesday, 04 May 2011


Great post! ... but did he manage to put it back together again? *grin* I love the aperture blades at the right, they look so out of place amongst the screw, rings, and metal.


"P.S. Finally, a post that exactly fits one of the post categories."

I thought the category was going to be "Cameras, porn".

They seem to have dropped the edition size for the 8x10 to 100, which is perhaps part of why it sold out so fast. That, plus the camera print is tempting to photographers!

There are still 8x10 prints of the old flip clock, I see. The typewriter is also sold out at 8x10.

I hope it got put back together ?

I always thought the design of the Spotmatic had a lot more in common with the Leica M's than did the bloated Leicaflex. Very close in size, cloth shutter, and nothing inside that didn't need to be there.

I like the picture, but the 8x10s were sold out before 20x200 sent the email ad.

Where's the sensor...?

I've seen this before and really like stuff like this. (I'm guessing that Todd McClellan does not have a cat?)

Separately, just today President Obama announced that he would not be offering the "Old Bin Laden" image for viewing or sale.

I just ordered an 8x10. Maybe the edition of 100 was a mistake, and they've added another 100?

There are a few William Wegman prints up there as well:

Folks around this site might find those interesting.

I look at the mechanical complexity of that simple old camera, all those bits, all those pieces, all that design and engineering. And then I think about all that plus the electronics that are jammed into even the simplest digital camera - the old mind boggles.

Neat. I've been wondering where to go online to buy photography.

That is just the coolest thing ever!

Very artistic arrangement, which slightly offends my engineering sensibilities: how can it be reassembled without the parts arranged in proper order & alignment?

Damn I emptied out my photo cabinets and laid everything out on a banquet table and it kind of looked like this. Yikes. Hello Ebay. (PS you need to sponsor another give away event.)

>> Originally limited to 200 8x10" prints at $20 each, they now offer more expensive larger ones as well.

Minor correction: when 20x200 was first launched in September 2007, they offered three different editions of each print:

200 8x10" (or 8.5x11") at $20,
20 16x20" or 17x22" at $200,
and two 20x30" or 30x40" prints at $2,000.

These days they offer variations on those original three.

(16 prints on 20x200!)

An electronic camera doesn't have all that same mechanical complexity; for example, the shutter-speed control is just a signal coming out of the computer, not a set of precise gear-trains. And of course digital cameras have lost the complexity of film transport and rewind, and of opening the back.

Still a fair amount of mechanical complexity, though, in things like auto diaphragm, mirror, shutter, and such. Just not AS much.

Mike says "That's hysterical! I like your dad's sense of humor"

As a former motocross racer I too would do the occasional disassembly thing. (the bike not me) and had a friend who would do the opposite. He would remove a piece costing me hours of labor and worry. Trust me on this one. Humor is in the eye of the beholder.

Mike, do you happen to know performance artist and comedian Ursus Wehrli?
His 'tidying up Art' performance is overpowering.
Here are links to his TED talk
same chez YouTube
one of his books

I wonder what he'd do with a Leicaflex SL2...
And Ctein may want to comment on the distribution of element sizes: they seem to follow a certain law.

I seem to remember an old book on the VW Rabbit that contained a somewhat similar diagram of the engine all disassembled and spread out.

Only it wasn't a photo, it was hand drawn.

I had that VW Book, I wish I still had it, the drawings were R. Crumb style.

In the last century Nikon had a store in Rockefeller Center NYC where you could handle any of their cameras, lenses and accessories. There was also a gallery space. Nothing was for sale,

The centerpiece of the store for me was at the entrance, they would display a completely dissasembled current Nikon film camera under glass. F, F2, Nikonos, etc.

I suppose you would look at that as a archeological display now.

I love digital, wouldn't go back, but I miss the mechanical feel of those cameras. Fortunately I have a few to fondle now and then. (Too much camera porn?)



It's funny a few weeks later, but oh do I understand your pain.....

I remember reading at the time that the Nikon F2 body consisted of 1500+ parts.

On a vaguely related note: we see plenty of teardowns of Macs, iPhones and iPads on the web — see e.g. www.ifixit.com — but almost never any teardowns of cameras, especially of the high-end, expensive ones.

This web page, showing the partial dismantling of a Nikon D2H, is thus quite interesting. Nikon's current D3 series sports a larger sensor and more powerful image processing ICs, but it's likely that the D3 shares a lot of similarity with the D2 on the mechanical side.


Motors driving the shutter cocking and the autofocus drive pin, solenoids controlling the shutter and the aperture stop-down lever, a gear train and slotted wheel informing the camera electronics about the solenoid-driven aperture stop-down lever position, complex multi-blade shutter "curtains", intricately articulated main reflex mirror and autofocus submirror damping mechanisms — none of these mechanical elements were present in a Spotmatic.
The increasing complexity of these smoothly interworking mechanical and electronic components in a high-end DSLR is quite impressive, IMHO.

Thanks for the mention, Tom!
For lovers of camera porn, I've recently picked up a Camera Axe timer and plan to do a stop-action series of the mirror box and shutter movements on a couple of bodies, plus an inside / detailed look at the mechanicals in action for the mirror box and shutter module on my D2H. I'll post them to this tag group: http://richard.hornbaker.org/tag/teardown/
But, no, I don't plan to teardown my D2H to individual parts. I like that it still works. ;-)

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