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  Saturday  May 13  2006    10: 06 AM

equipment and straps

There was a new arrival to my camera arsenal Thursday:

It's a Ricoh Diacord twin lens reflex that takes 120 roll film and produces negatives that are 2 1/4" square. My Meopta Flexaret has been having problems. The viewing lens either has a built in problem with light fall off around the edges or there is a mirror problem. I know the ground glass was dirty so I've been trying to remove it. It's not obvious how to get to it. I kept taking more and more things apart until I put it aside in frustration and fear that I would really screw it up. I've missed a TLR. Last week I was over at my friend Vern's showing off my Burke & James kit and he was showing me his recently acquired TLRs. This was one of them. He had an identical one in for a CLA and repair and offered this one to me in exchange for help I've given him on his website. I picked it up Wednesday and have shot most of a roll of film. It's sweet. Not as well known as TLR offerings from Rollei, Yashica, Mamiya, and Minolta, it does have a reputation of having a Tessar lens equal to the others. It has an interesting focus lever that extends out both sides. It's great ergonomically and it has speed and f stop indicators that are viewed from the top. The speed and aperture levers are a tad stiff but not too bad. The covering for the lens board has come off and has been replaced by gaffers tape. I sense a recovering project.

The flash attachment is even a hot shoe. No red window. The knob winder stops when a frame has been advanced. The shutter has to be manually cocked and there is no interlock so you can easily double expose. I really enjoy shooting with it. I have a roll of Kodak Portra 160 VC in it. I've always shot 400 films so this is new. The next rolls I buy will by Portra 160 NC which is less contrasty and is the only film type available for 5x7 so I will be trying it out first in the Ricoh. There aren't a lot on eBay but one can be had for around $50 if patient. A great deal!

Picking it up was also led to one of those necessities that are mothers of invention. I don't have a strap, at gordy's camera straps, that works well on the slotted lug that most TLRs have. When I picked it up from Vern I saw he had used a leather strap on his Yashica D TLR. It was a little different setup but it gave me an idea and I made this prototype strap that attaches to the camera and one of my regular neck straps. It works great. I need to thin the leather and I need to talk to my leather man on how best to do that. When I get the final version I will do a strength test and put it up for sale.