The Paul Pride Project - Update IV

Snake Plissken? I thought you were dead… Escape From NY 1981

Google it - fun movie. No I am here. Over the last two weeks I have been furiously working on WebShit™ and TechnoCrap™. Not for me or this site - obviously. It seems it's been about two years since I upgraded any of the technology stack I use for other people's stuff so it was time. Two years is like geologic time for WebShit™. Everything changed so it was quite a bit of work. Maybe I will get around to merging some of that in here over the next few weeks but for now… I am sick of it.

Just a quick update on the Paul Pride Project. Last time we were all ready to go. Camera tested, film shot, developed, inspected for okay-ness, packed up, addressed, done. Well… turns out there was a slight hitch.

Yep, a hitch, a hiccup, a fly-in-the-ointment. About two seconds prior to taping the box of goodies up for a trip to the post office I just had to handle the Nikon FE one more time. Film gear is like that. It begs to be fiddled with. All the fiddly bits are just so nice. What does one fiddle with first when it comes to film cameras? Of course the film wind. You just have to wind it when you pick it up. So I did. What's next? Focus and release the shutter - of course. So I did. How about a couple of more times. Why not.

OOoooops. Something is not right here. How come I can wind and then wind again and then wind again without releasing the shutter. Uh Oh. What happened. I could swear this wasn't happening before and I haven't touched the camera since I shot that test roll. I fiddled with the multi-exposure lever to see if somehow that was stuck or something. No change. What the…

Well it went out anyway. Either this wasn't happening before or I am just so automatic in my film camera working method that I didn't screw it up and end up with blank frames. As far as I can tell if this symptom continues the risk is that one will wind-on when there is no need to and end up with a blank, unexposed frame rather than a multi-exposed frame since the actual stuff in the camera actually seems to advance the film. What is supposed to happen is that you cannot do this if the shutter is already cocked.

Maybe this behavior will change in shipping all the way to the UK? Maybe it will change on it's own. Maybe it will change with film loaded? Maybe it won't. Who knows. I guess the safe procedure would be try to shoot it without wind-on always to see if it's already to go vs try to wind it to make sure it's ready to go. No big deal unless this somehow turns into something more insidious. Paul - just make sure the rewind knob is turning when you wind the film - if it's not then you we have a problem Huston. Such is life with antique mechanical bits. As a whole the FE and FM are marvels of construction quality and durability. I but them head and shoulders above the contemporary crowd of the 70's consumer SLR cameras. The only weak point is that film wind-on. If forced a couple little parts at the bottom of the camera come loose and the wind-on lever does nothing. Probably by design as if they didn't something very very bad would break instead.

I am told this is an easy fix. I personally have never tried to fix it. Parts are too small for my "more force is better" default operating guidelines. Now Paul has two little quirks to live with. The wind-on as well as the previously mentioned metering tendency to measure 1/3 to 1/2 under what it should. No big deal just set the ISO to half of box speed and everything will be fine for negative film. Forget precision, just make sure negative film has plenty of exposure.

Last - the logistics. The camera has been shipped. Almost a week ago. Last Saturday it left for the UK along with a few rolls of Fuji color negative film. Assuming it gets there in the estimated 5 post office days (don't know what that means in real people days) we'll hear from Paul shortly. I am also hoping they don't X-Ray the living shit out of it at Customs or the film might have some issues. Then again it might not…

Personally I cannot wait to see how Paul makes out. I want to hear it all. The good, the bad, and the truly ugly.

RB

Ps. Yes it was movie reference day.

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