ComradeQuiche 8:18pm, 18 October 2012
I had the bright idea to wipe down the mirror on my Pilot... all of the silvering material came off, so its now dark and non reflective which is odd because I can still see ok, with no blotches or anything through the viewfinder, Any one know how to get this camera apart??
Sherkinphoto Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Sherkinphoto (member) 6 years ago
Try here www.flickr.com/photos/ben_hengst/with/2857884347/#photo_2...
I've had the camera apart myself, but didn't take any photos. It's quite straightforward if you have a few small screwdrivers.
Dustin McAmera PRO 6 years ago
My Pilot Super came with a fairly dodgy mirror, with a lot of dark patches where the silvering had worn away.

I had read a post somewhere about replacing the mirror; you can harvest a trapezium-shaped mirror from any of several Polaroid cameras (I used a OneStep 600; any of the Integral 600 series would do) which can be used without too much work or technical ability. Of course, you may prefer not to introduce non-original parts to your antique camera; it's a respectable position to take. You could send the original mirror to be resilvered (in the UK, I've bookmarked www.vacuumcoatings.co.uk/ (I have no connection with them, and haven't even traded with them yet; they are just the first people offering this service that I found).

If you decided to try cannibalising a poor, defenceless Polaroid, there are two things to bear in mind:
1. The mirror in the Polaroid is very slightly slimmer than the original one (I think it's that way round); so the focus will be very slightly out after the replacement. In my case, I decided to put up with that. In retrospect, I think you could correct it simply by putting a layer of tape or something on the back of the mirrror, or perhaps you could put a shim next to the focusing screen (I'd need to examine the camera to be sure that would work).
2. The mirror in the Polaroid is longer in one direction, but otherwise almost exactly the right shape. I more-or-less got away with scoring the mirror with a simple tile-cutting tool, and snapping off about one centimetre of the length, at the wide end. At the last minute, while fitting the mirror, I accidentally snapped a corner off the finished article; but it still fitted in, and it's a world better than the original mirror was.

As I recall, the access is through the top; you need to remove the hood and focusing screen. It's described, vaguely, in this posty on photo.net (page 2; a post by Phil Sutcliffe):
photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00KBDH
He says you also need to remove the lens mount, but as I recall, you don't (but it may give you more room).

Good luck!
ComradeQuiche Posted 6 years ago. Edited by ComradeQuiche (member) 6 years ago
Sherkinphoto,
Thanks for the link. In fact just after I posted this topic I decided to try and take this camera apart. You are correct in fact it is incredibly simple inside! I was waiting to see a plethora of overlapping springs and gears and parts I would never be able to figure out. But there is barely anything in there. Very very clean and simple mechanism.

Dustin McAmera,
The camera functions flawlessly but is missing nearly ALL of the leatherite and is very rusty on the outside. The optics are nice and clear after some cleaning, so I have begun to take almost every piece off the camera for sanding/priming/ repainting/ releathering. My father has collected antiques his whole life so I am always very wary of messing with an original. But in the state I received the camera it was headed for the scrap yard, and did not have enough original parts that were worth not stripping down and refinishing. I plan on painting it black again, but putting a different color leather on it, so I could use the camera day-to-day. I couldn't seem to get the mirror out, I opened up as much as I could (For what I Felt comfortable with) But I think maybe just breaking the mirror and pulling it out would work? As you mentioned I plan on just gluing the new mirror in place, and shimming it so its thick enough. BUT Great idea about the polaroid, I'll have to did one up!

When I was looking at the mirror, it almost looks like if you slide it towards the back of the camera, you could pop the front edge out.

ALSO, I am going to try and replace the hair-light seals with something like foam perhaps.
ComradeQuiche 6 years ago
I have been taking photos off taking the entire camera apart, so I will make sure to post them when its all reassembled. One thing I wanted to know was could I get other types of ground glass? Maybe one with a fresnel lens, and have it cut down?
Dustin McAmera PRO 6 years ago
Maybe you could try one of these:

www.araxfoto.com/accessories/screen/

(I have no connection with Arax)

Their screen is 'optical plastic', so I guess if it needed any trimming you could probably do it yourself. It has a split-prism in the centre, which I bet would black out on you most of the time. I fitted something similar on my Yashica 44 (I bought the screen cut down to 4x4 size from Rick Oleson). That camera has an f/3.5 lens, and the split-prism is just about ok. I find the texture of the fresnel a bit distracting sometimes; I decided to leave the original screen in my Y44 ML.
ComradeQuiche 6 years ago
Dustin, McAmera,
Thanks for the link. I'd love to retro fit this oldie' with some modern materials, but maybe i should stick with what I have as well.
Thanks again,
ComradeQuiche 6 years ago
Tried prying the mirror out. It detonated haha. Luckily into 3 pieces, so I now have it out to take measurements. I bougt 2 polaroids on ebay last night so I will be able to install a new mirror next week hopefully. I have taken off every single piece, other than the timing/shutter mechanism, and am going to refurbish the entire thing. I was going to replace the leather with yellow, or another different color. But maybe I should just make it looks like the original? Any thoughts?
ComradeQuiche 6 years ago
Ok, so I got a polaroid 600, Killed it. Ripped its mirrored heart out, and transplanted it into my Super Pilot. Monday I will see if it was worth the effort.
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j.noir 6 years ago
I am now looking for a donor to try to do it on one of my cameras, let's see how and when it turns out...
ComradeQuiche 6 years ago
Just make sure you take a pair of calipers and measure the thickness of the existing mirror in your camera. If the new mirror is thinner/thicker than this it will affect focusing.
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