Petri Color Corrected

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Petri Color Corrected

Petri color corrected 1.9 value
Petri color corrected 2.8 value

Petri did achieve neither prominence nor longevity, staying in business for about half of the last century. Out of some 150 models offered by them, only a dozen or so are valued for over $200, and such is by McKeown’s, where I could not find another reference to confirm it.

The Petri F1.9 colour corrected super, and her sister, the F2.8, do not attract many followers as collector’s cameras. It is evident by their market prices, $45 and $30 respectively. It is a fairly boring camera, heavy for its size, with no special attributes to go poetic about. I am not sure about the ‘color corrected’ issue, as it is not mentioned at any other brand. Perhaps to attract buyers in the early colour days.

List number 8977
Brand Petri
Format 35 mm
Model 1.9 Color Corrected
Introduced 1960
Country Japan
Type Rangefinder
Body material Metal
Mode Auto / manual
Weight, gr 730 gr, with lens
ASA range NA
Kit lens 1.9/45
Filter size 42 mm
Lens mount Fixed lens
Mount size NA
Aperture 1.9-16
shutter Leaf
Light meter None
Winder Lever
Lock No
Speeds B.
DOF preview No
Exposure lock No
Exposure compensation No
Shoe Cold
External sync No
Sync speed NA
Timer No
Battery None
Battery style
Battery voltage NA


Petri color corrected super skin template

For all my sins I endeavour to keep records of cameras I have, but some fell between the cracks. This camera had appeared out of the blue sometimes in 2013, no record from where. When recorded it had been marked as dead on arrival. The only moving part was the rewind lever which does not count for much with camera functionality. it came up for attention in October 2016, some twenty months ago, when I knocked it to pieces and left it again. A couple of weeks ago I found the box containing the loose bones and embarked on a resuscitation mission.

As stated, nothing on the lens barrel moved. First I tried to get the main thread going. Couldn’t. Once cleaned found that bottom thread had a dent that puzzled me, as this could impair its movement, but the camera had been closed so it should dent have been created by an internal part. Looking deeper found a spacer missing, at a closer look broken.

Assume that once it came off it found a way to the bottom of the Helicoil and got stuck. The owner applied a force that ended with the damage. Once this had rendered the focusing dead, the camera was put out to pasture where thereafter all lubricants coagulated to a rock hard substance. What it really meant was that I had to soak the assembly in a solvent, which made it laugh. Some heat and some more force made the Helicoil move, so the inside thread had yielded and so did the next. It took a brass brush on a Dremel tool to remove the buildup on the thread, as well as filling out the damaged area, some grease and all had happily moved back and forth.

Once assembled, all individual parts clicked and hummed as new. However, once all put together it didn’t. Knocked it apart and reassembled. Same. Almost decided it has been jinxed, where I noticed that the centre ring on the spacer between the back rings that convey the shutter cock and release is too low and once assembled it presses against the shutter assembly. Cut a spacer of .8mm (1/32″) aluminium flat stock. The hole was not a big deal, clamped it between two masonite boards and finished with a step drill. The outside diameter finished with aviation snips. It isn’t perfect, but if you squint hard at a dim light it looks sort of round. Nevertheless, it did the trick, all now works.

After re-adjusting the distance lever all was put together with new front skin to match, a happy camera. It is much work on a $20 camera, but it was fun.

About skin, while on the Russian and the DDR cameras the skin pops off if you just stare at it, here the cover needed chiselling piece by piece. Think the Russian camera makers sold the glue in the black market as cameras could perform without it. Wonders of Communist industry.


5 Responses

  1. Three questions; Where can I find the leatherette? What solvent did you use to clean the Helicoid? What did you use for grease on the helicoid? I’ve always had a fondness for the design of this camera and have longed for a working copy. Someday I’ll attempt a repair.

    Thank you, Tom

    • Thanks for your note and sorry for the late reply. We had some above freezing days so spent time tinkering in the garage. Letherette at its true meaning is unreasonably expensive. Got some from, where seems the shipper does all he could do to get fired. They take forever to ship and the packaging is atrocious. Also, there are, see on eBay, who are prompt and helpful. Alternatively, you could try your local Fabricville store, you may find something suitable, which is dirt cheap. My favourite is Tandy Leather, they have remnants of real leather, called designer skins that are reasonably priced and easy to work with, thin and playable. I pass by every now and then and stock up. Further, look at One roll will last three lifetimes and the results are amazing. It is self-adhesive, so all you may need is a touch of glue at the edges so will not break free.
      Solvents – cannot remember the specifics. Have a drawer full of solvents so it is trial and error.
      Grease – I use Tri-flow or Super Lube, both synthetic. In a pinch, you may try the local bicycle store, they use fine grease for the gears, all you need is a spoon.
      Note on greasing, too little it will seize, as well as if too much. Begin with a little and try it in a fortnight.

  2. Nice article. I’m well into my second Petri 1.9 (second generation, non “Green-o-matic). As with your camera, I have a broken spacer which is still in my possession. The other two are intact so the cocking mechanism still functions without issue albeit a little loose. Do you think I need to attempt to refasten the broken spacer in some way or will the camera function properly without it. Thanks!

  3. Great article, but how do you get into the lens in the first place?? I have a beautiful example, but the lower shutter speeds are slow ( less than 1/30). So, I figure it is just a lubricant issue, and if I could just get the lens/shutter off the camera, I would be well away.

    • Thanks for your note, and sorry for the late reply. I would gladly look at it if I only could find it. Still looking and will sure get back once in hand. As a rule, I would avoid oil of any kind. Once the lens is out, applying a few drops of lighter fluid with a syringe will ease the blade’s movement.

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