5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Revueflex AC2 – By Andrew Bogard

November 2, 2020

I’m addicted to finding decrepit film cameras and trying to breathe life back into them. My most recent venture took me to a nearby suburb where I agreed to pay 5 bucks for an SLR I’d never heard of – the Revueflex AC2 (aka Chinon CE-4). The seller claimed it was her grandpa’s and had no idea if it worked. I googled the camera and saw it had my preferred type of automation (aperture priority – it would choose the shutter speed based on what you chose for the aperture), and I thought, if I couldn’t repair it, at least it would be a pretty paper weight.

While I was on the train ride out, the seller contacted me saying she’d found a small bag full of lenses and other accessories and would sell it all to me for 25 bucks. I felt like rolling the dice and agreed to it. When I got to the seller’s front door a young woman came out and handed me a brown plastic bag that looked and smelled like it had all been camping out in a cellar for 30+ years.

I checked the contents and found a 135mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.8, stinky leather case, blocky flash gun, and the Revueflex AC2 body with a smattering of corrosion coming out of the battery casing. I reckoned if it all turned out a bust, at least I could learn a bit by taking it all apart, so I coughed up the 25 bucks.

I’m glad I spent the extra 20 bucks to get the lenses. All of the images in this post are with the 50mm.

I got home and emptied out the contents of the bag. Surprisingly, there were no scratches or fungus on the lenses. In fact, with a bit of cleaning, they were ready for action. The camera, however, needed a bit more love. I cleaned out the corrosion with vinegar and cotton swabs then loaded in some new batteries to check the electronics. They seemed to be in working order but I still needed to replace the gooey old light seals and mirror cushion. After that tedious and messy work, I loaded in a roll of Fujicolor C200 and attached the 50mm f/1.7 lens.

I love how the camera metered this

I got reacquainted with the dual-prism manual focusing system and worked through the roll. Everything had a good, solid, classic SLR feel to it. Even the mirror slap sounded healthy with my replacement cushion. I dropped off the film at the local lab for development and scans. Two days later the results came back and I was happy to see the camera had performed perfectly. Also, the 50mm f/1.7 lens, even wide open, was gorgeous and sharp.

Speaking of gorgeous and sharp: my ever patient girlfriend.

Great day to test out the camera.

Our flat’s resident Boston Terrier prefers to be tucked in for his naps.

Hope you enjoyed reading this; stay healthy and take more photos!

Find me on Instagram here, or visit my website: andrew-bogard.com

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Bill Mattocks
    November 2, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Very nice images and a good story! Great to see an old camera brought back to life.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 2, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks Bill, ain’t no better (or cheaper) thrill than resurrecting these old cameras!

  • Reply
    Matthias Rabiller
    November 2, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Lovely pictures! Yup, the rebranded Chinon are very underrated. Granted, their older M42 were really heavy, and the CE-4 is kind of plasticky, but the lenses are good, and the CE-4 viewfinder is actually quite nice. YOu might want to try and geta 35 mm to complete the lot.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 2, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Matthias — I just got the AC1 aka Chinon CE-3(?) with the M42 mount. You’re right, it’s a beast! I’ll try out the 35mm f/2.8 that came with it this week. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply
    Graham Orbell
    November 2, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Nice results. Goes to show that you can’t judge a camera by its name.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 2, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks Graham — I get better results from this off-brand combo than anything else I shoot. Trying out the rest of the line now!

  • Reply
    Mark
    November 2, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this post, and the attached photos are fantastic.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you Mark!

  • Reply
    Stefan Wilde
    November 2, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Andrew,
    I was intrigued to think that a Revueflex would somehow find its way to the US and wondered what story maybe behind that until after a quick google research I found out it probably didn’t 🙂 Great pictures anyway, I would much like to see more of your work!

    Greetings from Hamburg

    Stefan

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      I moved recently to Germany and had never heard of the Revue brand (or Chinon for that matter) but actually like them better than the Nikons I’ve used! Thanks for the kind words and greetings back from Stuttgart 🙂

  • Reply
    rATRIJS
    November 2, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I have the “no manual mode” version of this camera – AC X. And I can’t say that I love it – mostly because I don’t trust the electronics and the plasticness of it. I got it by exchanging a Zorki rangefinder for this – not a deal I would make again 😀 ( I wrote briefly about this when writing about my rangefinder fandom: https://50mmf2.com/writings/rangefinder-life )

    The images are really nice though. I’ve used mine with Pentax SMC 50mm f1.7 but I don’t think I got anything as nice.

    There is certain magic in cheap film cameras – I just typically never find it in SLRs.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      I’m also not a fan of “only automatic” cameras. Thankfully I chanced upon the Revue line that offer all manual options as well (and good metering to boot!). Probably the biggest boon is the Revue 50mm f/1.7 it came with — really excellent rendering. Waiting for the negatives from the 135mm and 28mm to be developed. Hoping they share the high quality of the 50mm!

  • Reply
    nicky makin
    November 3, 2020 at 1:49 am

    Theres nothing more satisfying than reviving an unloved anonymous hunk of old camera. Nice work.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      Amen! Thanks Nicky

  • Reply
    Khurt Williams
    November 3, 2020 at 3:30 am

    Hi Andrew, I love the composition of your images. Thanks for sharing your photos and your stories.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      Thank you Khurt — cheers!

  • Reply
    Kevin Ortner
    November 3, 2020 at 5:00 am

    I really enjoy the shelf with the sun light coming down. It’d be a nice print to put up in a room. You can have your shelf AND a clutter-free wall. Thanks for posting!

    Also, I found another use for broken SLRs if you enjoy having some small plants in your home more than paper weights. Put a plastic liner in the body, drill a large hole in the body cap and put over the plastic liner. Stuff with dirt and a plant. That came of my similar yashica slr after it decided to break.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 3, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Kevin — and thanks for the creative idea! I will try it — some basil or mint growing out of a SLR would make for great content!

  • Reply
    Peter Kornaukhov
    November 4, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Brilliant shots. Own the Pentax camera and able to have my say that the system features great expandability and can be marvellous with true eye and right hands. Cheers

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      November 4, 2020 at 8:53 pm

      Thanks Peter; cheers to you too!

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