Vintage camera collection – Miranda Fm with 50mm Auto Miranda lens

The latest addition to my Miranda collection of cameras is this Miranda Fm fitted with an Auto Miranda 50mm f/1.9 lens.

 

This is actually the third variation of the model F Miranda that I own. I have an Fv model and another F so it may seem a bit odd to have bought another one, but I got this for a couple of other bits which were in the whole package. Included were a Miranda flash bracket, which screws into the tripod mount in the bottom of the camera and allows a flash to be used (and which also incidentally will fit my Sony Nex and so allow me to get the flash higher up and therefore let me use my flash with a macro lens) and also this variation is fitted with a metering viewfinder which I didn’t have. As it turned out, when the camera was delivered I found that it also has the optional top release accessory, which is not easy to find (at least not for a reasonable price) so I’m really pleased about that.

When I received the camera it was in a bit of a sorry state. I opened the back and pushed the film advance forward and then tried firing the shutter. I think the speed was set to about 1/60 but I watched the curtain open and slowly travel across the shutter, followed by the other curtain. It took about 5 seconds for the shutter to complete and then when I looked in the front of the camera the mirror was still up. I tried again, and the camera did the same thing – perhaps marginally faster this time. After about 3 or 4 attempts, the film advance failed to move and the camera was locked up. Since I have a Miranda D-r with the same issue I took the bottom plate off the camera to see if the cause was the same. I found however that the shutter release bar was not locked in place, and the only odd thing I could find was a small piece of steel wire which seemed to be blocking a few of the cogs from moving. With a small pair of tweezers I removed the steel wire and also added a tiny amount of oil to lubricate the mechanics.

With the wire removed, I found I could trip the shutter again and tried a few more times to work the oil around. After a few dozen tries, I adjusted the shutter speed and found that the problem basically seemed to be lack of lubrication, because the shutter now seemed to work correctly with approximately the correct speeds. Because I wanted to know where the piece of steel wire came from I opened up my other model F to see if I could find it. Sure enough, there is a small spring fitted to a brass arm at the same point on the other F camera which is used to regulate the movement of the brass arm. What I can’t find out is what the purpose of the brass arm is. The camera seems to work correctly without it, but it must be there for a purpose! As I put the bottom plate back on the camera and juggled with fitting the rewind button in place I wondered if the arm could be used in some part of the film rewind process? Anyway, I’ll need to try to refit it although that won’t be easy.

Once I had the camera shutter working I had a look at the rest of the camera and found that is actually in pretty good shape. The rest of the controls work and cosmetically it’s good, so this camera has now become my ‘reference’ model F and the other unit is a donor camera for this and any other unit’s it can supply spares for. Note that in the pictures above the camera looks filthy – this is because I took the pictures with a macro lens which always exaggerates any dirt on the camera. In fact it was quite clean, and is even cleaner now I’ve been over it with some cotton buds and lens cloth, which is much easier to do once you have pictures showing where all the dirt is!

The lens however was not too good as one of the screws in the focus ring was missing and there was a nasty grinding noise as it was turned – someone has obviously tried to fix it in the past. It was also a bit suspicious that the lens was mounted on the camera at about 90deg round from the position it should have been at. Still, at the moment that has been remedied with a simple lens swap with the other unit.

The metered viewfinder, as I said above was one of the main reasons for buying the camera. It’s not the TTL version, but instead has a small light meter cell fitted to the top corner of the viewfinder and a small button to take a reading. This unit cannot be used with the camera to the eye – it is instead more of a built in light meter of the same type as you would otherwise have carried round your neck. Originally the meter would have been powered by a mercury cell, but of course they are not available anymore so I’ve fitted a modern SR44 1.5 volt cell in its place to make sure the circuit still works. I will need to check the accuracy of this against my modern meter, but I was glad to see that pressing the button does result in the needle moving, and it is responding to different light levels so I know that at least it is working. Assuming it’s not accurate I may be able to adjust the circuit to make it work properly by adding a resistor and a couple of silicon diodes in series to act as a 1.4 volt regulator which may be close enough to the original 1.35v for it to work. I will need to see how much room is available in the housing.

The rest of the camera is very similar to the Fv model I own. The depth of field preview is mounted on the side of the lens mount instead of being fitted to the actual lens, and the shutter speed dial is styled a bit differently, but otherwise they are pretty much the same camera.

  • Miranda Fm 35mm SLR
  • Manufactured c 1964
  • Removable/Replaceable viewfinder with lots of viewfinder options
  • Built in metering in the viewfinder
  • Centre circle micro prism focusing aid
  • Bayonet and screw thread lens mount
  • Front mount release & fitted with optional top plate release
  • Cable release socket when top release removed
  • Beautifully engineered
  • 1 – 1/1000 sec + B Focal Plane shutter
  • FP & X flash sync
  • Centre mounted tripod bush
  • 50mm f/1.9 Auto Miranda lens
  • Depth of field preview button on lens mount
  • Optional Flash bracket
  • Ser No: 710271
  • Lens Ser No:5027862

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