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From the time they were first sold in a store to the time they arrive at our studio, each rangefinder has been on a long and unique journey. Dirt and scuffs give a hint of an individual biography; a history of different owners and unknown travels.
The cameras can be anywhere between 70 and 45 years old and will inevitably have collected a fair amount of dust, grime and atmospheric contaminants over time.
This dirt will impede the mechanical operation of the body and the optical performance of the lens. Lenses may be clouded by fungus or dust, and the viewfinders are often foggy. Rangefinder optics are calibrated and checked at various distances to ensure sharp and accurate focus.
Aperture and shutter blades can be clogged with grease causing them to stick together, and have
to be cleaned to ensure proper operation.
The original foam light seals also need to be replaced as they deteriorate with age and turn into a black, sticky goo, making a mess and reducing ability to cut out light effectively. We replace the seals with a more traditional combination of black velvet and wool, which will stand up to constant opening and closing of the film door and be light-tight for years to come.
Even with almost half a century of use and abuse behind them, with expert attention the cameras are capable of creating images as exceptional as the day they were made. When they get to the studio each camera is fully serviced and given the unique Ilott finish replacing worn leathers with premium quality real wood veneers.
Each camera is then tested with film and the results are posted in our gallery.
• Entire body cleaned
• Viewfinder disassembled and cleaned
• Rangefinder checked and calibrated
• Focus checked with ground glass
• Battery chamber cleaned of corrosion
• Light seals replaced
• Lens disassembled and cleaned
• Shutter and aperture blades cleaned
• Shutter speeds tested
• Leathers replaced with veneer
• Tested with film