Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tower 51 Cleans up its Act

Cleaning the Tower 51 Viewfinder

Yesterday evening I disassembled the top plate of the Tower 51. As I referenced in an earlier post, the viewfinder of this camera was pretty dirty ... well, filthy is a better word ... so I finally got around to it. Cleaning all the glass surfaces took some time, plus when I removed the accessory shoe (which wasn't really necessary) the assembly that held the RF and VF window glass fell out. The glass elements had to be thoroughly cleaned and re-glued to the bracket (I used epoxy), and reassembling the whole lot caused some frustration until I figured out the order.

I had taken macro shots of the process with my digicam, so getting all the top pieces back together this morning was pretty easy, but the advance assembly caused me some problems, and I had to put everything together twice. It's functional, but not Leica buttery-smooth. Hell, it's not even as smooth as the Olympus 35 SPs.

BUT, the view of the world is so much better now. While the viewfinder is not nearly as bright as the best RFs, it is surprisingly easy to focus. It gives a 1:1 view, I think, and aligning the rangefinder patch is positive.

Since this is a meterless camera, I figured it's perfect for shooting in really dim light, with Kodak Tri-X pushed to E.I. 12,800, as per merciful's post over on RFF. Yikes, that looks yummy! Don't expect results from my foray into that world soon ... I don't process often, and right now stripping wallpaper in the kitchen is my main occupation.

EDIT: I worked on the film advance some more, and it's better. Still rough, and it takes two strokes to full advance and cock the shutter. Not sure what's wrong, but it's functional.


Zenzaman said...

Hello, So how did you remove the top of the camera? I removed the accessory shoe and the brass rod fell in. I removed the wind lever but cannot remove the counter. Your assistance would be appreciated.

WeeDram said...

Zenzaman: It's been so long ago I don't recall. But what I will do is take a look at the camera later this weekend and see what I can recall or figure out. I'll post again once I do that.

Zenzaman said...

Thank you very much and have a Fun St. Patricks Day.

Zenzaman said...

Hi, Figured it out! I'm an impatient person. Here is the removal sequence for the right top. The top counter ring cover is held on by a circlip. Once the circlip is removed, the counter can be tilted to the side, lifted up and removed. Under that is a long screw and the top comes off without any problems. I cleaned the glass surfaces, reglued them to the frame, cleaned and lubed the interior and now I have a properly working Tower 51. I will keep this info so I can do it again in the future. Thanks for your motivation.