View Full Version : Olympus SP Tests & Problems (With Video!)

05-02-2009, 16:35
Hello everyone,
I found an affordable SP on craigslist last night and I picked it up this morning. It belonged to this kid who found it in a relative's attic or something. Cosmetically it was OK but need to be polished up a bit...


However it's a perfect candidate for some new camera leather. I'm thinking a nice burgundy color.

I did see some dust in between the elements and I did tinker around a bit to see if I could do something about it. I took off the bottom plate and the screws around the focusing ring before I started getting enough sense to not be doing that so I put it back together.

I think my tinkering may be the cause of the crank advance problem I'm having. If I advance the frame and let go of the lever it does not lock, if I'm more gentle in moving it back it does. For a closer look I made a youtube...


Any help would be great.

I took a few shots using the battery of the RC I had instead of the tiny on the kid had in it. I thought my shots seemed underexposed and assumed the metering in the camera was shot. But it turned out the kid was smarter than me and had a batter that took accurate readings after all (I compared the readings with my little Canon point and shoot). I'm not sure the spot meter thing is effective though.



I took this roll of Tri-X pretty quickly. It seems things are OK focus-wise but since I was using lower apertures and Tri-x it may be hard to tell if me taking off those tiny lens screws screwed everything up. I don't think it did though, things seem to match up distance-wise in the rangefinder as well.

I did get lots of horizontal scratches along the negs though. I don't know if it's the camera or if it was static streaks. I did rewind the film quickly though. What's the best way to squeegee off the water on 35mm negs though? With 120 I just gave it a couple of passes with my fingers... 35mm seems a bit different in that the water stays on the negs in an uneven way.

Anyway, I wanted a rangefinder with a faster lens. I've been looking on this forum and the devil on my shoulder was whispering "Leica... Leeeiiiicaaaaa.... oooh look at that Zeiss Ikon Ziiiii.... mmmmm Planar lenses yummay!!" but the angel on the other shoulder was louder and telling me that I'm getting married, and moving into a new apartment and need new furinture etc etc. The SP seemed like a good comprimise to tide me over. Not to jsut get it up to spec.

05-02-2009, 16:53
I think the exposures look good.

Don't squeege. Use a wetting agent (I use half the recommendation of PhotoFlo) in distilled water.

Can't help with the wind lever issue, maybe John will comment.

05-02-2009, 17:17
Well I think the exposures look ok because of photoshop mainly. But maybe I'm over analyzing things here.

05-02-2009, 18:15
Hmm, well what's a good way to lubricate this stuff and with what?
The only lubricants I have are for bicycle chains and for... well...

05-02-2009, 18:32

OK when I jostle things around I notice the part in red is kind of wobbly, not just side to side (like you'd expect) but kind of up and down. I think when I release the crank advance the little V shape is pulled in with a lot of force from the spring and it just simply knocks the part in red out of the way.

05-03-2009, 01:11
Hi, I took a look at the bottom of my SP and compared it with your video. I think the plate in the red circle is your problem. The angle of the plate is wrong so the spring can't work correctly. I hope this could help.


05-03-2009, 01:50
I had a similar problem a long time ago: the crank mechanism is apparently controlled by a tiny hairspring on the bottom plate somewhere, which if bent or out of position, causes this sort of problem.

John Hermanson
05-03-2009, 06:59
The picture of the hole with the "spring at the wrong angle" is where the rewind buttom goes. There's nothing wrong with it. You have to pull the spring out of the way slightly as you push the button down until button is held in by spring. DON'T wind the shutter after you do this as button will shoot out. The lever in the other picture, down and slightly to the right of the one circled in red is probably the problem area (haven't had a SP in for awhile with this problem). After you wind the shutter, this small lever should latch the wind until it's kicked out by the shutter firing. It should have a small spring attached to it. Hope this helps. John, www.zuiko.com

05-03-2009, 08:45
Fixed it!


It was the hairspring behind the doohickey, i moved it to the front of it and it seemed work. I'm still concerned about the exposure, I have noticed it to be off at around 1 sec and 1/2 sec, maybe imperceptible at higher speeds but I do notice the negs not looking as good, not as contrasty... but then again i was in a lowlight/available light situation.

I threw in another roll, scanning results now. Yet again I got those little horizontal scratches running the length of the film :mad: not sure what's happening there.

05-03-2009, 09:02
Here's the difference with the negs:
Below FP4 in D76 and above is Trix in Rodinal (could that explain the difference or is there something else going on here?)

And here's what I'm talking about with the scratches.

I used a wetting agent and my fingers (besides I noticed them on the negs before I took em off the reel) so I don't know how this happened.

05-03-2009, 12:02
Eric Hendrickson can make any Pentax like new at very reasonable cost.

Disclaimer: No connection, just a happy repeat customer...


05-03-2009, 13:45
Um... ok I'll keep that in mind if I get a Pentax.

Anyway here's another photo. I had to edit out the scratches (that are annoying me a lot since I don't know the cause). I edited out some of what I think is fixer (I think I had a bad batch). I'll post a link since its seminude (not of me).


I think the SP has a great look I'm going for. From what I've seen its bokeh is a whole lot better than the RC's (which at times can be just ok but sometimes makes me really wince). This was an automatic exposure, but like I said I made corrections with vuescan/photoshop.

I think the SP and I have some great potential... but I think I may need to send it into John to make sure everything's OK going forward.

05-03-2009, 15:02
If the scratches are thee before any wiping then it must be in camera or grit in the cassette felt(s). Since it has happened more than once with different films, I would suspect camera.

05-03-2009, 16:22
I jammed a q-tip in the takeup reel area and there was some dark grit. that may be the problem, may not. Maybe part of it is from the older light seals I dunno.

05-03-2009, 17:10
Old light seals are gummy, a perfect trap for grit that can migrate, unnoticed, to the film path. Sounds like a good internal cleaning and re-sealing is in order. Just watch that you don't use too thick foam under the flat sprung stainless piece that closes on the film cassette. I had one serviced SP with that problem (not by John), had to send it back.

05-03-2009, 18:02
Glad to see you have the mechanical problem sorted out. Now about the scratches: check the film rollers (if any), pressure plate, and framing plate for burrs (use fingernail to check). Use crocus cloth to remove any burrs that are found. Also check the rolls of film themselves. Sometimes dirt gets trapped in the foam/felt part of the cartridge. If you can't find dirt, grit or burrs in these places, it isn't the camera, because there is nothing else that is going to come into contact with the entire length of the film. Frequently, on old cameras, the part of the camera with the rectangular opening, just where the film passes over it as it comes out of the cartridge, will have gunk built up on it (years of old emulsion and crud that has rubbed off onto the plate). This would be my bet on where the problem lies. Any good metal polish will remove the crud, but I'd recommend Nevr-Dull, since it won't leave behind a powdery residue to clean up and maybe sift into the camera. http://www.nevrdull.com/

You'll also need to replace the light seals. These are the best you can get -- and they are cheap: http://cgi.ebay.com/The-Truth-About-Camera-Light-Seal-Foam-Please-Read_W0QQitemZ110384930674QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item19b3745f72&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318%7C 301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

Edit: Incidentally, I am releathering a camera too (a Welmy Six). I haven't bought any leather in a while, and can't make up my mind, so I've got green, black and red leather coming. I'll just see what looks best once it gets here. This guy sells good leather cheap: http://cgi.ebay.com/VEG-TAN-GREEN-GOATSKIN-D_W0QQitemZ170321651099QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defau ltDomain_0?hash=item27a7f6259b&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A30 It is meant for bookbinding, so it will have been thinned. I may do mine in dark green.

05-03-2009, 18:37
I ordered some camera leather from cameraleather.com. A nice smooth burgundy.

I still think I may need the camera CLA'd though. I'm just concerned I may screw something up.

05-13-2009, 10:45
I ordered some camera leather from cameraleather.com. A nice smooth burgundy.

I still think I may need the camera CLA'd though. I'm just concerned I may screw something up.

My standard charge for a CLA is $80. Don't worry about the Cameraleather stuff -- just take your time. If you can measure precisely and cut slowly and accurately, it's easy.

John Hermanson
05-13-2009, 11:31
I'm factory trained on all Olympus. I got all the RF training before they'd let me touch OM. Doing nothing but Olympus since 1977. John, www.zuiko.com

05-14-2009, 04:52
I actually sent it to Mark Hama because I dealt with him before, and he's quick (from your site it looked like your turnaround time was over a month). Unfortunately I sent it and then Mark went on vacation :-\

I did get the "claret" camera leather very promptly though.

06-16-2009, 19:51
I got my SP back today!


Added some camera leather to it. I got a gordy strap too but it didn't really match so I put it on the RC.

FP5 at 800... I think I overdeveloped a bit though (too much developer). very satisfied with the results though.



The negs look great, I think the spot meter is working. however i had the crank advance problem again when i got the camera back! i lost 4 or 5 frames. so i did the same fix i did before.

06-16-2009, 23:05
Wow! This is a nice looking camera. Hmm... maybe I should releather my RD...

06-17-2009, 05:50
Since I got the camera back I have to be good and save money and not buy any more cameras for a while. I need to save up for my wedding. So my film kits are set for a while... I made a video about that too!


06-18-2009, 00:54
The new Look of your SP is really beautyful, the shots of your girlfriend are beautyful too. So do what you said, save your money and merry her :-)

06-18-2009, 05:42
I intend to.
I am noticing some problems with the camera though, the CLA I thought would fix things did not.

1. The shutter speeds at the lower end are still audibly way slow at 1 sec, 1/2, and 1/4. I can't hear much difference at the other speeds so I'm left wondering.

2. Last night I heard a screw rattling around the base plate of the camera. There's a big mystery.

3. The worst part is that there's something obstructing part of the meter in the viewfinder. It looks like a blur when looking through it but if you move back it looks like the reflection of some sort of cylinder. I'm not sure what to do with that. I might be able to live with the first two problems but, especially having glasses, the view obstruction is a particular pain.