Cleaning Up an Olympus PN-6 Microscope Camera

Introduction: Cleaning Up an Olympus PN-6 Microscope Camera

Please excuse the horrible pictures!! I was using the camera at work, which I drives me insane, and quite frankly I couldn't be bothered putting it on the tripod in the studio or changing the lens! Macro power!

I found this camera in the cupboard while I was cleaning stuff out at work, and now that my lab is digital there is no need for this camera. I have a feeling that it was actually never used, its pretty pristine and the glass in the mount connection is clean. I decided to start taking it apart when it got quiet at work and halfway through decided to take pictures - hence crappiness.

On the right is the camera body, which doesn't have an eyepiece but the usual film winder, counter, and reverse winding lever. This camera works with both sprocket and bobbin (the word escapes me) wind. I'm thinking that I will turn this into a pinhole camera, and remove the sprockets to use with some old TEM microfilm that I have in the freezer. It doesn't have sprocket holes in it, so the bobbin wind will be helpful here.

In the middle is the shutter, it sits to the left of the eyepiece that you see. Times sound accurate.

The bits sticking out up, down and towards the camera control a beamsplitting prism. This part contains the eyepiece (convenient for a pinhole camera if my thinking is correct!), the selector - V is Viewpiece C.V is Camera Viewpiece (Having the camera and the viewer on the same prism selection means that exposures will probably be slow as half the light is being lost to the film) and E is for exposure meter. I don't have one of those! It would have been a big box with controls on it.

On the left is a 10x lens, which would have been attached to the camera to increase magnification on the film, to match what you would see down the eyepieces (which are usually 10x).

I'll explain how the shutter works later with better pictures. It only has adjustable sped and is a set aperture - not a problem for a pinhole.

Step 1: Getting Ready to Dismantle

Unscrew the 10x part from the rest. It turns clockwise like usual. Set this down which ever way on a clean piece of paper.

Try not to get finger prints on the glass if you can manage - anywhere. Clean very carefully if you do. This is my microscopist rant coming out, finger prints are evil. Oh the resolution loss..... it probably doesn't really matter for this camera anymore, that element shouldn't be in the focal plane. Keep this in mind though if you are actually intending to attach this to a microscope.

Unscrew the four silver Philips head screws and store safely. Lift the prism section away and place on clean paper

Step 2: Be Prepared....

You will be confronted with this little panel.

Undo the three screws around the outside of the barrel. And be prepared for the epic stickiness!!!

This part is involved in holding the shutter to the front of the barrel. If like mine your shutter and it's bellows are wobbling around like crazy then the foam attached to the front of the shutter is probably absolutely stuffed. And when it's stuffed it goes sticky as hell.

After undoing the three screws put your finger in the hole and carefully pull up. The foam will probably be so disintegrated that you can just pull it out.

There were two layers of foam held into the two separate parts with the brass screws. These screws were offset in both pieces. A layer of glue between the two pieces of foam will allow you to press the two parts back together permanently when you reassemble.

Remove the brass screws from the part you've just lifted off and clean it in ethanol. I soaked it for five minutes and it just wiped off. I'm sure isopropyl alcohol or similar would do the trick. I would not recommend acetone (paint stripper!) or meths, as this leaves a greasy residue. From the dye I think.

This stuff cleans off exceptionally easy with ethanol. See the next step to make cleaning the rest easier

Step 3:

Remove the barrel from the camera body by undoing the three screws.

Try not to let stuff fall in the camera, its got no shutter on the body. This is because you didn't want any shutter vibration when taking images. The bellows and the foam would have absorbed this, and being far from the body and the film would have helped with that too.

I carefully manipulated the shutter/bellows out of the barrel (If you are careful it will happen!) and removed the brass screws. I will wipe this area down with ethanol.

Then all that needs to happen is to replace the foam on the two separate pieces, put her all back together and away you go. Hopefully I can add that later... this is my first Instructable. But I'm sure you will figure it out. Putting it back together is just this tutorial in reverse.

I hope this helps someone! There doesn't seem to be much info on these cameras online, so I'll help where I can if anyone has questions. I'm used to working with digital cameras on microscopes, though I do film photography at home.

Have fun!

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Hopefully I will be able to finish it up soon! There might be another tutorial about making a pinhole camera out of it if I can get it work. If not the shutter will probably be hacked onto one of my 4x5 camera lensboards with a pinhole. I don't know why I've decided a pinhole camera requires a sophisticated shutter.... oh well.