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12-28-2012, 08:28 PM   #1
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Film Camera that hasn't been used in a decade

Hi Forum,

Not much film knowledge, and I had a question

I'm gonna go look at an MX this weekend and the lady said she hasn't used it in 10 years.

Is there any issues I should be looking out for? Can sitting idle for that long give it issues?

Any input is appreciated!

Cody

12-28-2012, 09:20 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
Hi Forum,

Not much film knowledge, and I had a question

I'm gonna go look at an MX this weekend and the lady said she hasn't used it in 10 years.

Is there any issues I should be looking out for? Can sitting idle for that long give it issues?

Any input is appreciated!

Cody
The two things I always check first off with an old camera are for goopy light seals and the battery compartment. The former is a fairly easy fix either by DIY or sending it out, the latter is pretty much a death sentence for the camera. That said, even if the camera is dead, it could have decent lenses coming with it.
12-28-2012, 09:54 PM   #3
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Always open the battery compartment. If the batteries were left in there is a good chance they leaked and that is almost always terminal.

Check the seals and trip the shutter to make sure everything works. Take a fresh battery for that camera with you if you have one handy.

As Sagitta noted the value is sometimes in the lenses even if the camera is shot. Take a small flashlight with you and carefully check the lenses for fungus.
12-28-2012, 11:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
Hi Forum,

Not much film knowledge, and I had a question

I'm gonna go look at an MX this weekend and the lady said she hasn't used it in 10 years.

Is there any issues I should be looking out for? Can sitting idle for that long give it issues?

Any input is appreciated!

Cody
Just be sure not to pay her anything for the camera, unless it has lenses with it. ME's aren't worth much on the used market, and I don't personally like using them, either.

12-29-2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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It's MX with interchangeable screens, DOF and some, not ME.. This old pre-LX class semi-pro in it's time, still sells for $100 or so in a nice shape. In addition to all good advise, it would be desirable to take 2 button batteries (LR44, A76 class) and check that nice and interesting meter in viewfinder. Hopefully it works and than give all times a little ride (1/1000~1sec & B). 1 sec and self-timer may be slow, if it was sitting around... Good luck with your new "adventure"!
12-29-2012, 02:39 AM   #6
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Light seals, mirror damper, battery compartment and light meter are the things you should check are working and in good condition. If they're all ok then it might need a CLA (clean, lubricate and adjust) to make sure everything's working smoothly and the shutter speeds are accurate.
12-29-2012, 10:16 AM   #7
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The MX is currently commanding a fortune as there is a black MX on KEH at bargain grade for $199. Even more compelling is they are quoting - for purchase, an EX grade black MX for $146. They are currently not quoting many manual focus cameras at that grade for that price!

Likely, it may only need new foam and hopefully they removed the battery before storing.

BTW, is it chrome or black?
12-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #8
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A CLA'd MX in decent condition in a shop here in the Portland area will go for about $250 USD (body only) or about $85 USD for one "as is" condition via craigslist.

You can be fairly certain that the seals and mirror bumper will be toast. The checklist:

Body
  • No evidence of having been dropped
  • No evidence of water damage (loose leatherette/mold/moldy smell)
  • Free of fungus in optical path. Check mirror, visible surfaces of focus screen and viewfinder as well as view through finder. The viewfinder should be crystal clear...like looking out a window.
  • Mirror and focus screen free of scratches
  • Clean battery compartment
  • Meter responds to light and all five LEDs are live
  • Shutter operates at all speeds. Verify mirror and shutter movement with lens and back off.
  • Verify self-timer works
  • Verify DOF preview works
  • Verify shutter speed indicator in viewfinder works for all supported speeds
  • Verify that aperture is clearly visible in "Judas Window" in viewfinder
  • Lens mount free of corrosion and scarring
  • Film chamber free of corrosion and grunge
  • Film pressure plate free of scratches and rough edges

Lens
  • No evidence of having been dropped
  • No evidence of water damage (internally visible droplet residue)
  • Focus and aperture rings operate smoothly over the full extent of their travel
  • Aperture opening stops down properly in response to change of aperture setting (check with lens off camera)
  • Lens is free of scratches (front and rear elements) and fungus. Check for fungus with a small penlight.
  • Aperture operation is smooth and snappy at all settings. Test with lens off camera by flicking the aperture actuator lever.
  • Aperture ring moves easily from widest to narrowest setting when mounted on camera

Well, that covers about everything


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 12-29-2012 at 04:39 PM.
12-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #9
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I have been giving the MX a lot of use, and it has a minor problem.
The meter switch contacts at the bottom of the camera go open circuit.
This has happened twice now and I see some other posts about it too.
Fortunately the contacts are visible after undoing the 3 screws at the base plate.
The contact pressure can be adjusted by bending the fixed contact slightly with a jewel screwdriver.

So if you have an MX with a bad meter, it might not be serious.

Although not explained in the manual, when the contacts are adjusted properly,
the meter switches on with half press and off again when released.
But when the winder arm is pulled out, the meter stays on after the half press.
12-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Thanks for the responses guys.

I think I got a pretty good haul today

For $80 CDN I got:

-MX body; appears to be functional. Haven't got batteries yet to test the light meter, but the compartment was empty and clean. Shutter fired at all speeds. The odd ding on the body but I'm ok with that (also has leather case)
-Battery grip that takes AA batteries. The little tab that holds the cover on was broken (knew before buying) so I'm waiting on the super glue to dry before I check it.
-SMC M 28mm f2.8
-SMC M 50mm f2.0
-SMC M 40-80mm f2.8
-SMC M 80-200mm f4.5
-Bell+Howell Flash (not sure if it works, didn't know it was included)
-Two Vivitar 2x-22 teleconverters
-Twelve(ish) filters. Some UV, some polarizing, some weird ones (got a Kenko "Mirage"; basically a kaleidoscope, among others)
-Cable shutter release
-A Vivitar Flash Grip Handle
-Random back caps and such
12-30-2012, 05:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
Thanks for the responses guys.

I think I got a pretty good haul today

For $80 CDN I got:

-MX body; appears to be functional. Haven't got batteries yet to test the light meter, but the compartment was empty and clean. Shutter fired at all speeds. The odd ding on the body but I'm ok with that (also has leather case)
-Battery grip that takes AA batteries. The little tab that holds the cover on was broken (knew before buying) so I'm waiting on the super glue to dry before I check it.
-SMC M 28mm f2.8
-SMC M 50mm f2.0
-SMC M 40-80mm f2.8
-SMC M 80-200mm f4.5
-Bell+Howell Flash (not sure if it works, didn't know it was included)
-Two Vivitar 2x-22 teleconverters
-Twelve(ish) filters. Some UV, some polarizing, some weird ones (got a Kenko "Mirage"; basically a kaleidoscope, among others)
-Cable shutter release
-A Vivitar Flash Grip Handle
-Random back caps and such
Good buy! The "battery grip" must be the MX winder - hard to find now.
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