Vintage camera collection – Taron Vr rangefinder

Up until a few days ago I had never heard of Taron as a camera make, but as I was searching through eBay for anything interesting to add to my collection, I discovered two which both looked interesting enough to take a punt at. They were both slightly more than I usually pay for vintage cameras, but I decided to give it a go and managed to get both with my first bid. One unit was a Taron Unique and the other was the subject of this post, a Taron Vr. The Taron Unique was described as being faulty because the shutter didn’t work, and this camera’s condition was described as ‘unknown’. 

When I first unpacked the Vr, the thing that was immediately obvious was that the shutter wouldn’t fire. I wound the shutter on (also checking to see if the rewind crank moved as I did this – unfortunately it didn’t so no lost film in this camera) and pressed the shutter and nothing happened.

At first I tried engaging the self timer, because quite often in old cameras the self timer can be set and left for many years and gums up. However in this case there was no such luck. So I tried unscrewing the front element of the lens to look at the shutter.

Using a pair of tweezers I carefully tried to prize the blades apart and with a bit of pressure on the edge of one blade they slid apart. It seemed there was a lot of oil on the blades so I got a small amount of lighter fluid and a cotton bud to clean them. With the shutter set to B I cocked the shutter again and pressed the release and as the lighter fluid touched the blades, they instantly snapped open.

So I carefully cleaned all the shutter blades with a cotton bud soaked in lighter fluid, using a turning motion with the bud to make sure I mopped up the loosened oil. After about 3 clean buds, they stopped getting dirty so I guessed the blades were clean. Lo and behold, the next attempt to fire the shutter was successful!

With the shutter working, I had a look round the rest of the camera and found that it was in generally good condition although in need of a clean, but the glass in front of the rangefinder opening was loose. To get to that I had to remove the top cover which was mostly pretty easy apart from the film advance. Quite often the top of film advance levers have a couple of holes in to allow a lens spanner to turn them off, but this one has to be gripped by friction. I tried double sided tape, rubber strips, pliers with rubber grips and nothing would work. In the end I moved it with a pencil eraser wrapped in masking tape.

With the cover off it was easy enough to re-glue the glass in place and then re-assemble the camera. At this point I gave the camera a final check and discovered another fault which I probably won’t fix. The rangefinder is slightly out of alignment so that the moving image doesn’t line up vertically with the fixed image. Although this can be fixed (probably by adjusting one of the rangefinder adjustment screws) it is still possible to focus the camera so I will leave that alone until I check the focus performance with a film. If it is accurate I’ll probably just leave it because I’m in danger of causing more problems than I would fix.

Taron Vr description

This camera dates from the late 1950’s and was made in Japan.

It has a coupled rangefinder to assist with focus but no built in lightmeter to help with exposure, so a hand held meter or the Sunny 16 rule would be used. In use the camera is quite easy to set up with the aperture and shutter speed settings having adjustment rings mounted around the lens.

Once a film is loaded the frame counter needs to be set to 1 manually because there is no coupling to the back door latch and so it doesn’t automatically reset.

The viewfinder has framing lines and the rangefinder is visible as a slightly red image in the centre of the view. The 45mm f/2.8 lens gives a slightly wider view than typical 50mm standard lenses, and the Taron had the advantage of offering add on wide angle and telephoto screw on lenses as an optional extra along with an external viewfinder which slotted into the accessory shoe.

If a flash was needed, an optional Taron flash gun could be fitted to the accessory shoe and plugged into the flash sync socket on the side of the lens.

It’s a typical rangefinder camera of the period but in my opinion quite a stylish unit.

  • Taron Vr 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Shutter speed 1/500 to 1sec + B
  • Non reset frame counter on top of camera
  • Viewfinder with composition framing lines
  • X & F flash sync socket with selection switch on lens
  • 45mm f/2.8 Taronar FC coated lens
  • Cold accessory shoe
  • Mechanical self timer approx. 10 sec
  • Film speed reminder
  • 8 blade aperture
  • Ser No: 24967

 

 

6 thoughts on “Vintage camera collection – Taron Vr rangefinder

  1. It has been so interesting reading your article on the Taron VR. I had this camera from 1960 to the mid 80s, The camera (sadly) was sacrificed in one of our moves but a great deal of my life was recorded by it. Not always successfully as the shutter blades would often sieze up – as you have described – and I also put oil on in an attempt to free them. No google back then to give advice and solutions! Mine had the brown leather case and was in perfect condition and I would love to own one again, just for the memories.

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