If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I managed to snag myself a Zorki 6 from Germany on eBay. I've had the lens just over 24 hours and already it is teaching me the hard lesson of patience. First off, I am a very impatient person when I have a problem in front of me. I attack problems and tasks with ferocity and when I get stuck or am forced to delay, I get very unhappy. The lessons in patience from my Zorki (my girlfriend and I have decided to call the camera Dimitri) started before it even arrived at my home. Before buying the camera, I knew I wanted to find a rangefinder. Obviously Leica is too expensive and the Konica RFs that are out there are also quite pricey (thought it would be neat to keep up the Konica tradition). After hunting around a bit, I remembered this particular video from Ted Forbes' show The Art of Photography where he shows off his Russian Leica copies. After hunting for a bit, I discovered Dimitri. Before actually making a bid, I looked into them and realized that there was no metering whatsoever on the camera but I always like a challenge, especially when it comes to photography and pushing me further in building my set of skills. Obviously this would force me to take more time with my photography, so we'll call this lesson #1 (although I like slowing down with my photography). I actually bid on the camera almost on a whim - they usually sell for €60+ but I managed to get mine by a stroke of luck for only €33 (with shipping!). Then I had to wait for the camera to arrive - lesson #2.
The camera was advertised as being in tip-top shape and it is. The lens is really great sans a bit of dust inside the lens, but the seller says that he never saw any issues in his own photos. Not a problem for me at all but after unpacking the camera, I discovered that the aperture ring is extremely difficult to turn. I looked around a bit and it is supposed to be buttery smooth, so I knew something was amiss. I checked around on various sites and spoke with Zorki owners and one said that you don't even need to really grease it up - just take the lens apart and clean it and then you're good to go.
I found some excellent guides on taking the lens apart and servicing the various parts. The process to take apart the aperture ring is really easy, so instead of paying €100 or more to have a lens technician do the job, I decided to tackle it myself. My father and I always tinkered when I was younger, so I'm always game. After studying all day, I decided I would reward myself by taking apart the aperture ring and cleaning it up tonight. I got the focusing and lens assemblies apart without any issue at all but then I discovered that my 1.0mm screwdriver is still too large! Damnit! Great, now I have to wait to fix my camera. Again. Lesson #3.
I've already found what should prove to be an appropriate screwdriver, a 0.8mm. I was able to turn the screws a tiny bit with my 1.0mm but it was too difficult and I realized that continuing to try would end up destroying the heads on the screws - better to stop and get the right tool. The problem with Austria is that there isn't a great deal of DIY stores like in the US and finding certain bits can be a bit difficult. Like I said, I did manage to find an appropriate screwdriver and the set is only going to cost me €5. Not bad. The shop is also relatively close to my apartment, so I'm going to swing by there on Saturday morning and pick it up. I've already reserved it on the shop's website, so it should be a quick process. I managed to get all my studying done ahead of schedule and just have a tiny bit left to read on Saturday afternoon, so I'm going to reward myself with fixing my aperture ring. Hopefully I won't actually need any lithium grease at all (I've found that already, but I have to get it mailed to me), so I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens - wish me luck!
Jupiter lens repair guides: