Shedding New Light on Folding Vintage Cameras

In years past, many photography experts and regular joes used devices known as folding cameras. Now gone out of style, for the most part, these vintage cameras from the 1950s and 60s are still collectible pieces for photography enthusiasts, and can even be functional cameras, for those that know how to repair them properly for normal use.

What Is a Folding Camera?

  • Cameras known for their "folding" capability were used years ago from the early 1900s until around the 70s when other lens and film designs took over. They were essentially known for the compact design and ease of use. Some of these can even fit into a pocket when folded up.
  • The Moskva 6x9, also known as the Moskva-5, was one of the most used models of the folding camera design. Originally produced by a company outside Moscow called KMZ, this camera was known as a medium format camera.
  • This model was also built equipped with a full rangefinder, the component that brings the image into focus.

What Is Re-Greasing?

  • Re-greasing is a method of cleaning and lubricating parts of any camera for more functional use. Typically, this is mostly done around the lens lock cap and focus, shutter, or rangefinder parts, which allows for smooth and easy turning to bring the image into focus.
  • To clean, or re-grease, a part of a vintage camera, you first need to carefully remove the lens cap and focus head with a special, tiny screwdriver used for smaller device repairs. The ring around the lens can then be cleaned with a small device and the old grease can be removed.
  • Once this part has been cleaned and prepped with a cleaning oil or solution, one can re-grease the ring by applying it with a small brush. This must be done with attention to detail and no grease must remain in excess on the lens.

What Are Some Other Notable Vintage Models?

  • Other models that came before the previously mentioned 6x9 were the 1, 2, 3, and 4. These are very similar to the Zeiss model from Germany. A major difference among them compared to the 5 is the self-timer.
  • The 4 was built with around 62 units and a 120 film roll capacity. The picture size for this model ranges from 6x6 to 6x9. The 1, 2, and 3 have similar ranges.
  • As far as the lens goes for these models, the typical range is the Industar-23 or 24, with a 110mm compatibility.
  • Some things like shutter speed, aperture, and lens type vary for each model. For example, the 5 has an aperture range of f/3.5 to f/32 setting.

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