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Half Frames / Subminiatures This forum is for all half frame 35mm cameras, including the very popular Olympus Pens and their SLR cousins, the Pen F and Pen FT, as well as all smaller than half frame subminiature film cameras.

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Old 02-26-2015   #41
Lee Rust
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Just fixed up a jammed CX and now it works perfectly. I love the shutter sound and the whole mechanical aspect of it. Excellent image quality too. Many thanks to Farlymac for posting the overhaul procedures!
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Old 05-01-2015   #42
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Originally Posted by eckmanmj View Post
Something just occurred to me. Is it possible that you have the Univex Mercury CC (the first model)? The CC had leather on the back part of the "hump" instead of the serial number plate like on the CX. The easiest way to tell the difference between the CC and CX is that the CC has the word "Univex" on the front, and the CX does not.
That's what I would suspect as well. 43126 is definitely a CC, not a CX. Note that on many late CX examples, the first digit "1" of the serial number is stamped rather weakly, and often barely visible, so this one might be 143,126 instead.

Also, there is no CX with leather-covered back. Only early CC examples had leather on the back part of the rotor housing (up to S/N 20,xxx, 1939). There is a reason behind the change: the front-side depth of field table starts with f3.5, referring to the Wollensak and Ilex Tricor f3.5/35mm lenses. In 1939, Univex introduced two new, more advanced lenses, the f2.7/35mm Wollensak Tricor and the incredible f2/35mm Wollensak Hexar. Therefore, a second table was required, stating the additional depth of field values for f2 and f2.7. The change was made at the same time the CC-1500 was introduced.
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Old 07-31-2015   #43
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I purchased a CX on Ebay almost a year ago. It is in excellent shape except for two things. The film type dial is oxidized. It is the only part of the camera that is oxidized. Is there any treatment for this?

The second problem is the focusing is stiff. At my age (76) I am loath to experiment as I am not as steady as once was. (There are a number of things that aren't as they once were). If all I need to do is remove the 3 screws under the lens to degrease the focusing mechanism, that would be within my capabilities. Any advise would be appreciated.

I bought one of these cameras from the old Peerless in NYC. In that period I used to load my own film so I could load short lengths for this camera. Those of you who are shooting a lot of film might consider buying a film loader on Ebay and then load your own.
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Old 07-31-2015   #44
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EP, you might try working some lubricant into the helical by moving the lens all the way to it's close focus point, where you can see the threads from the side. Some Super Lube (a very good silicon based type) on a toothpick should do the trick. I think it was mentioned earlier in thread that bicycle gear grease works good too. I've given up using lithium, as it will liquify while aging.

While you have the lens racked out to close focus, you also might want to run a pin along the helical threads to loosen any dirt that has accumulated.

Not much you can do about the film type dial. It is riveted in, and the only way to get a replacement is to get another camera (which could always be in better shape than the one you have), and replace the back.

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Old 08-01-2015   #45
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Thanks for the advice. I have ordered Super Lube from Amazon (is there anything thy don't sell?) and it will be here on August 3. I will report on the results.

Last edited by EPPaar : 08-01-2015 at 06:23. Reason: bad grammer
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Here's what I have
Old 12-10-2016   #46
brand350cid
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Here's what I have

Quote:
Originally Posted by eckmanmj View Post
Something just occurred to me. Is it possible that you have the Univex Mercury CC (the first model)? The CC had leather on the back part of the "hump" instead of the serial number plate like on the CX. The easiest way to tell the difference between the CC and CX is that the CC has the word "Univex" on the front, and the CX does not.
Apologies!!! It's almost a year later, and I never had my notifications turned on! You were all very helpful. Here are pics of the two cameras I own. The Model CX has sn 43216 clearly stamped on the back plate. Both cameras are marked Mercury II on the front. Concerning the model with the "feet" and no back plate, I cleaned it and re-leathered it. I have before and afters included. They're both 35mm cameras. It's possible the back plate was removed by a previous owner. I'll include a link to view them.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=5dad94483f
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Old 04-21-2017   #47
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Originally Posted by Accursius View Post
That's what I would suspect as well. 43126 is definitely a CC, not a CX. Note that on many late CX examples, the first digit "1" of the serial number is stamped rather weakly, and often barely visible, so this one might be 143,126 instead.

Also, there is no CX with leather-covered back. Only early CC examples had leather on the back part of the rotor housing (up to S/N 20,xxx, 1939). There is a reason behind the change: the front-side depth of field table starts with f3.5, referring to the Wollensak and Ilex Tricor f3.5/35mm lenses. In 1939, Univex introduced two new, more advanced lenses, the f2.7/35mm Wollensak Tricor and the incredible f2/35mm Wollensak Hexar. Therefore, a second table was required, stating the additional depth of field values for f2 and f2.7. The change was made at the same time the CC-1500 was introduced.
I'm quite confused by one of my Mercury II cameras (I have two). It has the 3 feet on the base, it does not have the word Univex on the front, it has no DoF scale on the rear of the hump - I suspect there was leather there (not now) but there are no threaded holes for screws to take an f2/f2.7 scale. There is no serial number inside. It has a Tricor f2.7 lens. Just wondering if you can help me to identify it and maybe roughly the period in which it might have been built?
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Old 12-09-2017   #48
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Unfortunately, it is not possible to estimate the date using your method, as the Mercury II serial numbers did not start with "000001". The situation is somewhat more complicated:

When Universal introduced the original Univex Mercury (CC) in 1937, the serial numbers started with "00,001". Early examples in the 00,05x range are known to exist in collections. Until the end of production in 1942, about 45.000 were made, being numbered consecutively.

In 1939, the famous, short-lived Mercury CC-1500 appeared, being introduced by Universal at the New York World Fair. These spectacular cameras (less than 3.000 were made) were given separate serial numbers beginning with 100,001. Examples with 102,xxx numbers are known to exist.

The Mercury II (CX) was first shown by Universal in several 1944 newspaper ads, but not made in relevant quantities until the end of WWII in mid-1945. The CX prototype shown in the CX user manual bears the serial number 046,000; the earliest CX production examples known to exist are in the 046,4xx range. When numbering reached 99,999, Universal left out the numbers given to CC-1500 cameras and continued with 103,xxx. The last CX cameras made in 1952 had numbers in the 190,000 range.

Additionally, it must be considered that during the first production years (1945 - 1948) more CX cameras were made and sold than in the later period until 1952, as Universal was slowly getting into financial trouble.

Your CX 86,334 is, therefore, quite an early example, possibly made in 1946 or 1947. You may verify this by examining the bottom of the camera - on early CX examples, you will notice a flat surface with several circular insertions, while on late examples, the bottom shows three little "feet".
Interesting. My CC model is one of the earliest made with a serial number of #008538. Also the footage indicator between the two dials above the lens is not shape as most are. It has a tapered look instead
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Old 12-19-2017   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brand350cid View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new to the group. I've been collecting cameras for a few years now. I have a Universal Mercury II CX serial number 43126. I have a second Mercury II CX that has leather in place of a back plate, so there is no serial number available. This one has the three "feet" on the bottom of the camera. I'm trying to figure out when the "feet" were added to determine the possible serial number run it may be part of. Any suggestions?
serial number is on the inside above the film mask opening
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Old 07-17-2018   #50
carbo73
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serial number is on the inside above the film mask opening
Hi, I'm new to the group, as I bought just last week a very nice Univex Mercury II CX. Concerning serial numbers first I'll say that in the base there are no "feet" but three "holes" on the shutter release side. And my camera is clearly marked in the back plate of the "bump" (under Depth of Focus) as MODEL CX SERIAL No. 449xx.

I've seen in the thread that apparently the prototype of the Mercury II was the serial n. 46000, but it looks like already contradicted by that 43216 camera. And my own looks almost identical and with just over a thousand cameras more in the production line. Finally, there's no serial number in the inside. In fact there's nothing inside apart from some patent numbers. And on the outside semicircular plate it's clearly stated "Serial No."

So, are these cameras from early CX production? Like 1945?

I hope to help keeping this thread alive
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Old 07-17-2018   #51
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. . . I hope to help keeping this thread alive
And indeed the cameras, which are fascinating but (to be generous) idiosyncratic.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-18-2018   #52
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may be it's just me:
i have a thing for "ugly" thing.
that happened before -- thing i found "ugly" at first just haunted me and i would eventually love it later.
(perhaps "ugly" is not the correct word, "characteristic" is more like it.)

i am talking about the Mercury II.
i read about it in every article on half frame cameras collection --and more often, articles on "the ugliest cameras on earth etc".



it looks like a kitschy prop from a low budget sci-fi cult movie.
people call it from "parking meter" (right here in RFF i think) to "mickey mouse", hardly a compliment.

that said, i can't help getting one recently.
and i LOVE it!
i even love the oxidization of the untreated aluminum camera body, looks and feels just like a Herman Miller made Eames "aluminum group" chair!

everything about this camera is different: the look (i mean THE look), the operations, the shutter sound.

mine costs me US$20+postage (not sure if it is a good buy, but the prices on the Bay keeps moving upward these days...)
the body is solid, the leatherette intact, all the buttons smooth...the high speed is doubtful (1/100, 1/200, 1/300, 1/1000 sec looks the same in bare eyes observation) but other speed including B & T are good.

i just popped in a Tri-X and will fool around a bit, just hope it will give good results --"characteristic" ;-) i hope, at least.
anyone share some thoughts (--or even better, your photo by a Mercury)?

These are the simplest cameras to maintain. A drop or two of napha aka lighter fluid on the shaft of the shutter speed dial will make the shutter run like new again. Also if the lens needs an internal and external cleaning, your saliva on Q-Tips will clean it right up
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Old 09-14-2018   #53
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My Univex CX Mercury II. As I said, this has the Serial No. 44.9xx clearly stamped on the back. It's 2000 numbers below the said 46000 for the firsts Mercury II. So there's some issue with the serial numbers... In any case, I presume it is one of the earliests, right? By the way, it has no bumps in the base.



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Old 09-15-2018   #54
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Mine is 69XXX and the look of the lens barrel is different, but by now the difference between production years is not that big a deal. They're all old cameras. The important thing is, no matter how corroded or ugly it might be, a Mercury II is easy to repair and it will always take good photos.
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Old 09-15-2018   #55
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A couple more views of my CX Mercury II.








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Old 09-15-2018   #56
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I picked up another one a few months back because it was so cheap. The shutter kept hanging, and it took a while to figure it out without a load of disassembly.


I took the back of the hump off, which gave me a view into the shutter mechanism, and observed the workings through a few cycles until I could ascertain where the problem was.


The stops for the first and second blade were bent out of shape after years of getting beaten every time the shutter was released. A few tweaks later, and it was running smooth again. The body is in good shape, so it doesn't need a tear down, and sandpaper scrubbing.


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