My love for the Balda Baldamatic I with the 45mm ƒ2.8 Baldanar lens should: be. well. documented. The Baldmatic I started me off on my photographic path. I found the viewfinder, focus mechanism, match needle exposure and robust every ready case, just a dreamy and carry all the time rig. Since that first Balda I have owned 6.
Was ruined by hamfistedfuckery as I was removing a lens hood and screwed the front focal element clean out of the housing.
Stopped working when the focus mechanism broke internally.
Was lovely but had a suffered internal damage, I bought it “not tested”, which we all know means “not working”. The film winding mechanism didn’t work.
Was bought it good faith but was gummy with nicotine tar and the focus mechanism gave up after 10 test shots.
Is in The UAE - the focus mechanism has failed.
Arrived this week after a brave soul on eBay advertised it as “tested and working”.
Tested and working.
Tested AND working.
That and the filter someone had been caring enough to install gave me hope that this might be the rightful heir to my Baldamatic I throne of adulation. I unpacked it (it was lovingly packed) and went straight for my 3-step-test of a Baldamatic I.
Twist the focus mechanism from end to end feeling for sure butting at either end and smooth operation - if that’s good, stand 1 meter from defined line and see if the dual image marry focus works at a metre and to infinity.
Rotate the exposure compensation dial and watch the match needles in the exposure window - are they moving freely and making logical adjustments from bright to dark areas of the room…?
Wind on and fire at both ends of the exposure scale - the shutter should sound like clockwork at the low light exposures - 1/15s and crisp at the bright - 1/300.
If the 3 step check is rewarding, open the camera and hope for a clean matte black finish with no scratches or dirt. Then lastly hope that the lens elements are clean and fungus free. (Nota bene: I just looked at the lens elements, there’s some good old fir in there and I’m not totally confident that the aperture is adjusting freely from ƒ2.8 - 22… But I have (misplaced) hope.)