Mystery Camera, Part II

Oh dear oh dear oh dear! This is proving to be quite a project, trying to get consistent photos from the Mystery Camera. On the up side it didn’t cost a lot of money. On the down side its inconsistency is frustrating.

Here is a close-up taken at the widest angle. Other than having to correct significant underexposure (about 3 stops – a problem that is also erratic) it is pretty good:

Wild rose lens test.

On the other end of the zoom results are not so pleasing:

Bird on a wire.

Someone may want that cartoon-like appearance, but not I. Note the chromatic aberration. Another bird shot shows there are significant problems at maximum telephoto:

You can just tell it’s an eagle.

Yet if we go back to wide we get this:

Results are sometimes good.

I have worked with it (mostly cleaning contacts and resetting settings) to get the autofocus to sometimes work, but it is still inconsistent. I’m not sure if it’s the AF switch or the ‘halfway’ connection on the shutter release, but much of the time the motor doesn’t even try to adjust the lens. When it does activate, it’s abysmally slow. That is probably a function of the design, not of the failure.

Here is a picture in which I managed to bring out the underlying cause of the imaging problems:

Ravens and blots.

A couple of ravens, the top of the trees, and a whole lot of dirt on the sensor! In fact this camera came to me very dirty, and smelling horribly of some chemical which implies someone tried to clean it without knowing how. I scrubbed the lens three times and it still appears a bit hazy on the front. The exposure went from consistently -3 EV to sometimes getting it right because of contact cleaning (which includes repeatedly working controls to get any corrosion rubbed off internal parts if possible). As mentioned I’ve managed to get the autofocus to engage sometimes. None of the operations are consistent, and may never be. At this point it’s definitely not a camera you’d want to count on for anything.

What is it? Still not going to tell you. I’m going to have another go at cleaning (once I get some sensor wands) and try it again in sunshine (if we ever get any of that again) and just see if it’s possible this camera may be salvaged. Oh there’s dirt and a loss of mirror silvering in the viewfinder as well. Not sure I’ll be tackling that.

It does not shoot in B&W, but sometimes things look better that way.

When I’m convinced it can not be improved further I’ll make a final evaluation. At this point it appears to have limited value of any sort.

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