I had two faulty Soligor Miranda 50mm – actually marked “5cm” – f/1.9 PAD (Pressure Automatic Diapraghm) lenses lying around among my lens collection. These lenses were originally fitted to early 60’s Miranda D/DR models.
- The first one, serial number K4871222, was a very clean, good looking (as in “like new”) example, but with a serious problem in the aperture system: each one of the six aperture blades within the lens has two very small brass pins fitted to them, working as pivots, and on one of the blades one pin had come loose and jammed the whole mechanism solid.
- The second one, serial number K4877556, was a very moldy and corroded one, and obviously taken a “nose-dive” at some point of its life… but it had a working, although a bit oily, aperture system.
I decided to dismantle both of them to see whether I could combine the better parts of the two lenses to build a working one.
These early Miranda lenses are very easy to dismantle; for example, the front and rear lens units are just screwed-in. The first three pictures show the dismantling process of the K4877556.
Then the focusing mechanism and external parts of the K4871222 were assembled over the carefully cleaned, working aperture unit of the K4877556.
Here’s the final product: a perfectly working Soligor Miranda 5cm f/1.9 PAD lens. The only snag with combining parts of two lenses is that the red dot indicating the selected aperture is now some 90° off… I still need to blot out the original and paint a new one to the correct place, and reset the aperture selector ring to that.
Oh, and in case someone wonders what that weird looking sidearm in the lens is for: Here’s a picture of the repaired PAD lens fitted to a Miranda Fv. The button on the sidearm, when pressed, first sets the lens to the pre-selected aperture, and when pressed further in, fires the camera itself. There were four camera manufacturers using this kind of external aperture control system in the 50’s and 60’s, before the in-camera controls were designed: Ihagee Exakta (Germany), KMZ/Zenit Start (USSR), Topcon (Japan) and Miranda (Japan), all of those makes having the shared feature of a front-mounted shutter release.