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Horizont KMZ (and some basic existential questions about the camera)
Old 04-20-2015   #1
Gregoris
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Horizont KMZ (and some basic existential questions about the camera)

Just bought a Horizont (1970 model) from an Austrian Leica dealer who seemed reliable and offered returns as an option. Of course it costed more than others, but I thought it's saner to buy from a dealer than an individual. I asked him and he said it is in "perfect working condition".
So, the camera arrives and it has problems. Light leaks and overexposure due to a slow(er) turret. Also a dirty lens.

My basic existential questions about Horizont cameras are:

1. Are these problems to be expected? Should I return the camera while I still can?
2. Are they worth repairing? By that I mean professionally. Is it worth paying more money for a CLA and light seal replacement?
3. Do you ever solve the light seal problems? I saw others' who didn't really suffer as much as mine.
4. Is the lens better/worse/the same with later, more recent, plastic models?
5. How much would you pay for them?

Here's an example of the first test roll in an overcast day


Here's one after I stuck some electrical insulation black tape on the turret to stop the reflection. Still pretty bad...


Hope to get to hear some opinions based on other people's experiences.

Thanks
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Old 04-20-2015   #2
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If you paid a premium, send it back.

Plenty of these fish in the sea... so to say.
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Old 04-20-2015   #3
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Thanks for the reply. But I would like to know if by sending it back and getting another one, I would still have to face the same issues. I know they're not the most reliable, but are they all supposed to be freaky like that?
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Old 04-20-2015   #4
sevo
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The turret seems to be in a good shape - there is no significant striping from that. The lens does not appear to be bad either - it seems to outperform the chosen film. So the only real issue seem to be the seals. Which have to be re-done once in a while.
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Old 04-20-2015   #5
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Thanks sevo,
So do you think that paying a professional for a CLA and some foam replacement, is not wasted money?
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Old 04-20-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregoris View Post
Thanks sevo,
So do you think that paying a professional for a CLA and some foam replacement, is not wasted money?
It really depends on how much you already spent on it. If the camera is supposed to be functional and was priced accordingly, I'd consider the dealer responsible for having the light leaks repaired...
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Old 04-20-2015   #7
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There is a fellow in Canada that does a CLA on these cameras. He did a Horizont for me a few years ago and did a grat job. Almost any camera you buy, that has now been serviced with have the same light leak problems, the seals are just to old.


Brian Martin
5124 - 209A Street,
Langley, BC, Canada
V3A 7K8

Phone 604.532.1166
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Old 04-20-2015   #8
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Yes, I know the guy. I have seen his ebay page. Or maybe there are more than one? It's just that Canada is a little far from me (France). But it's still good to know that someone is still repairing them. Otherwise, it can be a tricky DIY situation.
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Old 05-06-2015   #9
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Well, the camera was sent back to Austria, and the seller offered a full refund.

After a couple of days I decided to buy one from moscowphoto, who described it as "recently serviced, fully working, tested with film by one of our technicians". No lightleaks this time, but it's clear that the camera has not been serviced, it chewed the film while rewinding it, tore it in two and had an erratic turret movement, sometimes stopping in the middle of the shot, lens wide open!

I am now considering sending this to Canada for a full repair. I wonder if anyone else thinks it is worth it, or send it back for another refund (my shipping costs) and then take my chances with another one after that? Does that sound logic?
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Old 05-06-2015   #10
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A friend of mine (Mike) was official photographer to the Supreme Soviet in the 1980s, and he wanted one. So he ordered a case of them -- I forget now whether it was half a dozen or a dozen -- and kept the one that worked best.

When I borrowed it in Moscow in about 1990 he advised me to shoot several exposure of each shot, as some might still be afflicted with uneven exposure because of jerky rotation. Even the Supreme Soviet couldn't reliably get a good one, even new.

They were always hopelessly unreliable cameras, and whether they worked or not was a matter of luck. When they did, the pictures were great. I still have a couple of pics of St. Petersburg (they'd stopped calling it Leningrad even then) that I like.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 05-06-2015   #11
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Why Horizont not Horizon 202? It's a much improved design.
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Old 05-06-2015   #12
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I use regularly a 1970 or so Horizont model. It works well enough for me.

When I bought it (it came from Russia) the pictures showed those very same banded leaks. They came from light leaks in the seal around the turret. It seems that the material does not keep well.

The camera went back and forth to my technician at least 4 times until he found an adequate seal material for replacement. He said it was a bit tricky.

A sample picture:

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Old 05-07-2015   #13
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Is Horizon 202 a lot more reliable than the old Horizont? I thought that having only one speed for the turret and a simpler design with no fancy parts and also built like a WWII tank, would pose less problems and it would be easier to fix.

The camera has killed me another film (2 out 2! 100% fail rate) since this morning, when I loaded a roll in, only to take a couple of shots and then get blocked. It got so badly jammed inside, that it moves neither forwards or backwards towards the rewind spool. I tried unblocking it in the darkroom but nothing moves in either direction!
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Old 05-07-2015   #14
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By the way, regarding Mika from moscowphoto. Any (positive) personal experiences?
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Old 05-07-2015   #15
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I had one for years and it was much more reliable and just as sharp as my Widelux 7. I sold the Widelux and kept the Horizont. I since have sold the Horizont and purchased a new model. I think the one I have now is the Perfection, a later version of the 202 with more shutter speeds. These are fantastic cameras and generally reliable. The newer ones are much smoother and refined vs the Horizont.
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Old 05-08-2015   #16
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I found the problem with this particular camera. The take-up spool is not rotating evenly, has a slipping grip and therefore the film gets loosened inside the chamber and gets trapped by the sprocket teeth, resulting to film being jammed inside.

Is there a way to DIY this, tighten the grip of the take up spool, or do I have to send it for a full service to Canada?

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 05-08-2015   #17
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Just go for the Widelux...
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Old 05-08-2015   #18
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That'd be a good idea, if I were a busy dentist.
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Old 05-08-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valdas View Post
Just go for the Widelux...
The Widelux has quite a similar reputation as the Horizon. If you want it reliable without banding in a swing lens panoramic, go for one of the more recent electric motor driven professional cameras, recently factory serviced.
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Old 05-08-2015   #20
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Even after sending my Widelux f7 in for repairs several times it still would band. My Horizont never banded and my Perfection has never banded. Widelux are problematic.
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Old 05-29-2015   #21
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The postwoman delivered my Horizont #3 today (third attempt at getting a properly working one) and I haven't yet shot anything with it, but I saw that it came with a green filter still attached to the lens.

I have noticed that green is the only coloured filter that was made for these soviet cameras, and I was wondering why not yellow - for example, which is more common with black and white film.

Anyone knows perhaps? (Oh, and how do I get this thing off?)
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Old 05-29-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregoris View Post
I have noticed that green is the only coloured filter that was made for these soviet cameras, and I was wondering why not yellow - for example, which is more common with black and white film.

Anyone knows perhaps? (Oh, and how do I get this thing off?)
Green (the proper German term for the correct hue is Gelbgrün - yellowish green) actually is the filter that will give a near-visual representation of apparent colour brightness with panchromatic film, while yellow was sufficient for the same purpose (ignoring the impossibility to render reds) on orthochromatic (which needed no red attenuation).

Pan film looks reasonably good without any filter applied, while ortho without a filter rendered a speckled and blemished skin in subjects without special "film" makeup, so use of a filter was pretty mandatory for amateur use in ortho days. By the time of panchomatic film, use of filters for colour correction accordingly got rare - they mostly were used only to create dramatic clouds, where yellow is more suitable. I suspect that the Soviet Union bundled filters according to the recommendations of a academic advisory board rather than by market request - so they ended up with the proper rather than the popular filter...
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Old 05-29-2015   #23
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The proper versus the popular. Somehow, I like this approach.

I guess I'll keep it in there and try a couple of rolls with it, out of curiosity. The other reason is: I just don't know how to get it out. it looks like it has been inserted in a way that requires special tools to get it out of the turret.
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Old 05-29-2015   #24
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Hi Gregoris,

if bought new the Horizon has 3 filters in Special holders which are clamped in front of the lens. To take the filter out you have to make a special "filter extractor" which doesn't come with the camera.
I'll add a copy of the filter page from the owner's manual - but I can't read the letters or translate the text because it's kyrillic.

I hope that helps

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Old 05-29-2015   #25
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Thanks Requin,

I sure can't read cyrillic either and this diagram is not very clear. I have seen it before on the internet and tried to make sense of it, but I'm failing miserably. Maybe the text really helps explaining the process. Hopefully someone who speaks Russian would kind enough to be able to help us here?

The special "filter extractor" you are referring to, helps to take the filter holder out of the turret, or to remove the actual green filter from the holder and replace it with another colour filter?
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Old 05-29-2015   #26
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Hi Gregoris,

it helps to take the filter holder (incl. filter) out of the turret. Normally you don't need a filter. Each filter is in a separate holder.

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Old 05-29-2015   #27
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Thanks Requin, I emailed the seller to ask him to explain how to do that. Looks complicated...
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Old 05-29-2015   #28
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Hi Gregoris,

I just reread the filter page and found out the following: to "extract" the filter holder you take another filter holder (or maybe yor fingernail) hook them into each other and pull in the direction of the black arrow (top right corner of Picture). Filter holder should come loose.


Good luck

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Old 05-29-2015   #29
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Thanks Requin, much appreciated!
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Old 05-29-2015   #30
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Hi Gregoris,

forgot to post the enlarged pic again.


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Old 01-22-2017   #31
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I bought a Horizont camera in Moscow in the 1960s. It mosly laid unused until the 1990s. I replaced the rotted rubber light seals with some felt material and cleaned up the camera a bit. There was some light streaking due to the uneven movement in the swing of the lens, but it was not too bad. You can see a series of the photos made with the Horizont at www.efn.org/~hkrieger/panorama.htm
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