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Kodak Panoramic 4 D - repair

Having tracked down a reasonably priced Kodak Panoram 4 D, it needed some cleaning and repair, but the effort was rewarded with a lovely functioning camera to use.

The #kodakpanoram came in a variety of models during its manufacturing lifetime from 1899 through to 1924. The larger Panoram 4 is the one I wanted as I like to use X ray film and make contact prints. The image size is 10x29.5 cm.

After a gentle cleaning of all surfaces to remove dust and a little mould, the lens needed more attention. The outer surfaces cleaned up well with dilute hydrogen peroxide and then proprietary lens cleaner, but the inner surfaces were very dirty with some light fungus. Whilst the retaining ring could be removed the glass was stuck fast and I wasn't going to force it out!.

Fortunately the slot (for filters and/or Waterhouse stops?) allowed me to pour in more peroxide and then slide in a cut-down piece of cleaning cloth which could be manoeuvred around inside with a piece of stiff wire bent through the slot. After a thorough rinsing and then drying the lens has come ups very clean and useable.

The biggest problem with camera was that the swing shutter mechanism didn't work. An internet search didn't bring up any details of how this works other than the original patent diagrams. So with these I set about dismantling the mechanism. Not any easy job as there is no space for ordinary screwdrivers. I didn't want to remove the chamois leather as this seemed a bit fragile but I did manage to get a screwdriver through the lens hole and start to move the 4 screws that retained the main mechanism. In the end I made a tiny finger-screwdriver by putting masking tape around the end of a 2cm long jewellers' screwdriver bit and this gave enough purchase to remove the screws.

A good clean and a bit of clock-oil and I re-assembled the mechanism after many trials and errors. I did get the lens to swing but at the end of the swing the gear disengaged - it was swinging too far.

The sprung gear has two square holes that the shutter release latch engage with, lifting out of the first to start the motion and dropping back into the second to stop it. However the latch mechanism's tooth was worn and rounded meaning that although it would drop into the hole the momentum of the swinging lens assembly provided enough force to lift the latch tooth up again because of its curved corner.

Clearly this needed a repair. I tried filing it square but then the reduced width gave too much play in the mechanism. I didn't fancy my chances of making a whole new part - but, having slept on the problem, I came up with the idea of putting a "crown" on the tooth. I soldered a piece of copper wire on and then filed it down to size.

After reassembling the mechanism - everything worked first time!

A trial image made in the garden - using x ray film was a success (ignoring the bright spot where I forgot that I needed to cover over film number inspection window).

Some work is need to ensure the film is secure against the curved guides - but I am looking forward to taking this camera out and about and making panoramic images.

Original user manual for the 4 series cameras - pre the 4 D.

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