I had an Aires III and sold it some time ago. I still think these are beautiful cameras but they all seem to have the same serious flaw. The blades in the diaphragm are tight and usually break, shearing the pins. Some blame oil on the blades but I think it is more likely that they were built with insufficient clearance. The only fix that I have seen is to remove the blades completely and shoot with the lens wide open.
Are all Aires models effected by this tragic flaw? Is there any way of fixing the iris ?
I have heard of this problem before, but have no direct service experience with the Aires, as they are uncommon in the UK.
There are probably two sets of blades, the diaphragm and the shutter blades.
It is rare to have issues with the diaphragm as the strain of adjusting is slight. The pivots of the shutter blades are far more likely to wear or jam, and if tight may give trouble. In theory they could be removed, cleaned and sanded smooth and reduce the thickness slightly. But they would require re-blackening chemically before re use.Most are steel, but brass was also used.
As far as I am aware the Aires is not a special design, some designs combine aperture with the shutter action, or have delicate mechanisms to operate with auto exposure controlled by a meter. These may only have two blades, and adjust to the movement of a trap mechanism like the Olympus Trip.
The Aries has separate aperture and shutter as far as I know.
Problems like the Aires never got addressed by the makers as they got caught up in the collapse of the Japanese Optical makers in the late 1950's. The cameras were well made, and had good lenses, but were not exceptional against other makes.
I have an earlier Aires that works fine at present, but it has been little used, just stored and occasionally given a run through.
My very first real camera was an Aires Penta-35 I believe, an SLR. It was a nice camera and produced some wonderful pictures until the film transport and film wind went south. It had some heft to it and felt nice in the hand. This was well before my tinkering period so I just threw it out.
I've been watching for a functioning Aires for some time now. My first one pictured above was functioning fine until I loaded it with film and on the first shot the aperture jammed. I then found that I had a tear drop shaped aperture and that was the end of it.
If I do find a functioning model, I'll try Stephen's idea and refinish the blades.
Thinking about the problem, is it the aperture blades?, or the shutter blades?, as on this then new Seiko shutter they are separate, but may run as a locked EV value. Therefore a jam must involve the main shutter blades, not the aperture blades, which might jam, but allow the shutter to cock and fire.
This is assuming the design does not trickily couple the blades to do both functions together. My Aires is the early type 2 with a different shutter.
This is all leading to it being a flaw in the then new design shutter from Seiko, it could be the ring that couples the pivots is incapable of operating the blades smoothly.
I just wanted to note that I received my new Aires Viceroy recently and I am very impressed. This camera feels solid, the rangefinder is clear and operates smoothly, and the leaf shutter seems to be good by eye and ear firing from 2 seconds up to 1/500 second (though this is hardly compelling evidence without running through a a few rolls of film). The point is that the Viceroy is clearly a high quality camera by Aires.
The only Aires I've had was a 35 IIIC, that looked like a leaf-shuttered M3. I never had this problem with it. Being a Seikosha shutter, it doesn't seem like this should be a problem specific to Aires. I would blame dried lubricants on the diaphragm blades, the forces those can exert between the blades are extreme. The lesson, I'd think, would be to be very cautious if a diaphragm ring feels a bit stiff as you have a lot of leverage and can easily do damage if the blades are stuck at one end. Unless you've sheared a pivot pin or broken a blade, I'd think for the same effort as removing the blades you could clean them and reinstall them (dry) and have a fully working camera. An f/2 lens that won't stop down is a bit of a handicap.
The shutter is a very reliable one normally. However, I had read that the diaphragm blades were very tightly arranged so they easily locked and often were broken when forced. The blades can be cleaned and lubricated carefully with a bit of dry graphite. I ended up selling the camera to a fellow who aware of the problem. I now have another that works fine as well as a beautiflu Viceroywith a nice Seikosha-MX. Hell, I don't even know for sure if the jammed and broken blades of the Aries 35mm cameras is in fact a widely experienced problem. Since I am suspicious of on-line "experts", I posted the question here.
Post by rickoleson on Jan 28, 2015 22:30:19 GMT -5
I've never particularly noticed this problem in Seikoshas, either in Aires or in anything else. I have seen it in a variety of different shutters (and shutterless lens assemblies) where oil had gotten into the blades and dried there. Without some evidence or experience to the contrary, I would tend to give the Seiko folks credit for knowing how thick their shutter blades were when they built their shutters. They do make pretty good stuff.
If you have never dealt with dealt with cleaning a diaphragm assembly it can be difficult to believe just how well thin sheets of metal can stick together. Often all it takes is just the faintest hint of a haze of oil, and they stick like glue, remove the oil and the blades swing back and forth just fine.
Anyone who has worked in the sheet-metal trade will probably remember separating the top sheet from a stack, you have to peel up an end or a corner and give it a shake to break it free.
In an ideal world, a careful user would detect that the diaphragm setting ring was unusually stiff and take their camera to be repaired, but that doesn't always happen. A significant proportion of the population feel that if something is stuck, applying more force to 'free it up' is the right approach.
The diaphragm and shutter blades are very thin but are quite strong and rarely tear. More often the pivots are torn off. Once one blade is out of position, applying force to the diaphragm ring can easily damage other blades.