What to Test for When Shopping for a Used Movie Digicam and Lens


A photographer smelling a 35mm film camera

As with shopping for something secondhand, it’s a good suggestion to have a good suggestion of what to search for when shopping for a used movie digital camera lest you spend cash on one which has main issues. Fortunately, there are some easy methods to test for issues in movie cameras and their lenses… together with smelling them.

Jon Legge, a senior images teacher at Coventry College within the UK, created a useful 7.5-minute video that steps by some fast methods you’ll be able to test for issues in digital camera our bodies and lenses.

One of the simplest ways to check out a digital camera is to shoot a roll of movie by it, however that’s just about by no means an choice when you find yourself shopping for a secondhand digital camera and when you find yourself pressed for time (e.g. if you’re assembly a vendor someplace and have to make a comparatively quick determination).

Here’s a rundown of the completely different steps Legge recommends for each cameras and lenses:

11 Methods to Test a Movie Digicam for Issues

#1. Test the Shutter Mechanism

First, open up the again of the digital camera and take a detailed take a look at the shutter mechanism.

A photographer showing the inside of a 35mm film camera with its mechanical shutter
Legge pointing on the shutter blades in a 35mm movie digital camera.

“What I’m searching for right here is the shutter blades on this digital camera,” Legge says. “You’ll be able to see these very effective overlapping steel blades.

“What I’m […] checking for is to verify there’s no bulges or bends in these shutter blades. Be certain they’re all overlapping they usually’re touching one another and there are not any scratch marks on them.”

#2. Test Contained in the Physique for Seen Defects

Along with analyzing the shutter system, look carefully throughout the within and out of doors of the digital camera physique.

“The opposite factor I’m checking for, particularly across the edges of the door, is rust or any form of effervescent, which often signifies that the digital camera’s being stored someplace damp and which may imply there’s one thing incorrect on the within of the digital camera.”

#3. Scent the Digicam

Generally improperly saved cameras might look effective on the floor however have issues inside the physique in locations you can not see.

“It sounds a bit humorous however one fairly good factor you are able to do is odor the digital camera,” Legge says. “If it smells of damp, it’s in all probability been somebody’s attic or someplace a bit bit damp for a very long time, and [it] may be greatest to not go for that [camera].”

#4. Test the Mild Traps

When you’re nonetheless analyzing the within of the digital camera, you’ll wish to pay shut consideration to the situation of the sunshine traps. These are the items of felt-like materials that assist seal the movie contained in the digital camera from the sunshine of the surface world.

These items are positioned in several places in several digital camera fashions, however it is best to be capable to determine what they’re primarily based on the fabric.

“I’m ensuring that each one that stuff continues to be in place,” Legge says. “Generally when cameras get very previous, that materials can break down, so for those who open the again of the digital camera and also you see what appear to be little black crumbs inside it, that which may point out that the sunshine proofing materials is disintegrating.”

Whereas there are kits on the market you should purchase to exchange the fabric your self, and whereas there are restore retailers that may assist you to ensure the digital camera is correctly sealed from mild, it’s possible you’ll not wish to undergo the additional trouble and price of getting to repair these points in mild of what you’re already paying for the used digital camera.

#5. Take a look at the Shutter

You must also cock the digital camera and hearth off the shutter a couple of occasions to verify there are usually not any pink flags there.

“I’m seeking to be sure that there’s nothing catching inside, that all the things’s shifting good and easily,” Legge says. “After I wind the digital camera on it’s not sticking or jamming in any means, and the shutter blades are fully uncovering the image space.”

#6. Visually Examine the Outdoors of the Digicam

After you have completed your inspection of the within of the digital camera, flip your consideration to the surface and search for proof of bumps and drops.

“One factor specifically that I’m searching for are any unhealthy dents that point out the digital camera may need been dropped,” Legge says. “You have a tendency to search out them
in the event that they’re there on the pentaprism, [the] pyramid form factor on the highest.”

#7. Hearken to the Shutter Speeds

When you can not precisely time shutter speeds whereas doing a fast examination of a movie digital camera, you can hear for the relative timings between shutter speeds.

“For instance, if I set the digital camera to one-second shutter [and] hearth the shutter, you’ll be able to hear that’s about one second,” Legge says. “Should you hear very fastidiously you can too hear the clockwork if it’s a digital camera that’s bought a mechanical shutter.

“That [noise] must be good and even. You don’t need it to type of velocity up or decelerate or sound prefer it would possibly jam.”

#8. Take a look at the Shutter with Bulb Mode

The B (Bulb) mode on a digital camera retains the shutter open for so long as it’s held down, and it is a good characteristic to check the digital camera with as effectively.

“What I’m checking for is to be sure that the shutter releases cleanly,” Legge says. “[…] What ought to occur is […] there’s no delay. As quickly as I launch that button, it [should] click on. That’s the shutter closing.

“If there’s any delay with that, it’d point out that the mechanism is a bit worn or this there’s some drawback with the timings of the digital camera.”

#9. Look By means of the Viewfinder

Take a peek by the viewfinder and search for points.

“I’m searching for any indicators of marks, scratches, stuff like that,” Legge says. “You would possibly discover the odd fleck of mud that often isn’t an issue — it received’t present up in your pictures — nevertheless it’s going to be a bit annoying for those who’ve bought scratches on the focusing display.”

#10. Take a look at the Mild Meter

If the digital camera is supplied with a built-in mild meter, look by the viewfinder and level the digital camera at numerous issues to try it out.

“Test to see if the sunshine meter is altering relying on if we level the digital camera someplace darkish or mild,” Legge advises.

There’s additionally a useful rule of thumb that may help you on this step.

“Now, it’s troublesome to test the accuracy of the sunshine meter until you occur to have one other handheld mild meter with you,” Legge continues, “however one factor you are able to do is for those who’re indoors in an artificially lit room or a room with a lightweight coming by a window, the publicity is often about 400 ISO, 1/sixtieth of a second, at f/2.8.”

#11. Look at the Battery Compartment

If the digital camera makes use of a battery, open up the battery compartment on the digital camera and ensure all the things seems to be clear in it.

“What I’m searching for is any indicators of furriness, or corrosion, which may be attributable to a leaky battery,” Legge says. “It often seems to be like type of blue fur or one thing like that.”

3 Methods to Test a Lens for Issues

#1. Look at the Aperture Mechanism

Most lenses for movie cameras have mechanical aperture programs you could open and shut with a hoop or lever. Open and shut the aperture blades and study them carefully.

Opening and closing the aperture blades in a old camera lens
Legge opening and shutting the aperture blades in a previous digital camera lens.

“What I’m searching for are any marks on these blades, significantly what would possibly appear to be oil or grease,” Legge says. “Some cameras, as they become older, the lubricant type of leaks into the aperture blades. In the event that they’ve bought oil on, they’re unlikely to open and shut rapidly.”

#2. Search for Bodily Defects within the Glass

Check out the back and front lens parts and search for bodily points within the glass. This may very well be each injury and the presence of fungus.

“Clearly, you don’t need a lens with any chips or critical scratches on the surface,” Legge says. “The opposite factor I’m searching for is, you generally get mildew. That is often with cameras which were stored someplace damp.

“It virtually seems to be like little form of spiders webs coming in from the sting of the lens.”

As with sure points with digital camera our bodies, mildew could also be doable to wash, whether or not at dwelling or professionally, you’ll need to ask your self whether or not the chance and extra funding is value it.

#3. Strive the Focus and Zoom Mechanisms

Give the main target and zoom (if the digital camera is a zoom lens) rings some turns.

“Strive the main target and the zoom […] simply be sure that that’s easy,” Legge says, “that it doesn’t get tighter as you flip it in some way and there’s no type of squeaks or crunching form of sounds, which could point out that you just’ve bought type of grit or mud or one thing like that.”

A Move on These Movie Digicam Assessments Brings Peace of Thoughts

“If you are able to do this fast […] test on a digital camera before you purchase, you’re moderately assured that you just’ve bought a great digital camera that’s working,” Legge says.

Used digital camera gear offered by a good store will virtually actually include some form of guarantee to guard you, however these straightforward self-checks are invaluable when shopping for digital camera gear in a personal transaction.

Watch the video by Legge above to listen to him step by these checks and exhibit methods to do a few of them. You can even discover extra useful digital camera and photography-related content material over on Expertise Circle, a YouTube channel run by the Media Tech Crew from the College of Media & Performing Arts at Coventry College.

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