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I recently saw a MkVIII on ebay and couldn't resist it!   I did a deal and it arrived today and appears so far to be in good condition, but I've had to send for a copy of the manual as some of the controls seem to be stuck.

Serial number is 3/12186/2 with cam for the range finder SS3491578.  It seems to be from 1964/65 as far as I can find out.  Words of advice and experience would be welcome!

Hi there

i have 2 mk 8’s and both on purchase the controls and movements were on the verge of being seized

this in spite of the whole cameras looking in very good condition

a complete strip down and reassembly with a touch of lube in the right places sorted them out

i have a mk7 as well seems a lot better camera compared to the mk8’s

if in can be of any help shout out..i have a mk8 manual which you can have as a pdf.

A copy of the MKVIII manual can be loaded from the link below:

Thanks for the input!   All useful stuff.  I've done a fairly complete service of all the moving bits, including the rotating back, and all seems well.  The range finder (I've never used one of those!)  is the big bugbear.  It would be nice to get it working properly, if only to improve the resale value, but it may be beyond me.  The vertical alignment is slightly out, and I can't correct it, in spite of sage advice from Neil Wright in the old GAZ editions.  The cam has a red dot, indicating a 180mm lens (although the length of the cam is 58.76mm, rather shorter than specifications) and a serial number of SS8491578; a Schneider Symmar of about 1963/64 if I'm correct.  Someone out there may have that lens?  The camera as purchased had a Angulon 90mm lens, which needs some attention; I was proposing to use a 135mm or 150mm, preferably the latter, but not easy to get hold of now, at reasonable money anyway.  I did get a 135mm on the wrong board, thinking I could swap it to a Mk VIII board, but the wretched thing won't shift; I can't unscrew it nohow.  Anyone any ideas as to how to shift it?  What are the boards made of - will they tolerate penetrating fluid, or isopropyl alcohol cleaner perhaps, in an attempt to release the lens?

I assume you have a lens spanner, I use a cheap one from China, bought on eBay which does the job nicely

Looking at mine and the info in the members area, lens boards are made of Pressed Aluminium, dark or black insulating board or grey faced engraving board, or plastic when they have been 3D printed.  I personally cant see any problem with using a small amount of penetrating fluid as long as you keep it away from any areas where it might get into the lens itself

Thanks for that.  Yes I have a lens spanner, the same model as yours I think!  The board is indeed grey faced (shiny front, original MPP) so I assume it's engraving or insulating board.  Not aluminium, I think anyway.  I'm beginning to suspect the lens has been glued in; while researching the problem I saw a video on YouTube showing how to do that, and I thought "Oh bother", or similar.  When I can pluck up the courage I'm going to try the more volatile fluids first, e.g. acetone; very small drops on the threads, and wait.  That's assuming it's Superglue; after that it will probably be isopropyl alcohol.  I'll post what happens!

Success at last!  What did the trick was a couple of applications of isopropyl alcohol on and around the thread.  Plus some determined effort on the lens spanner.  I can't see any particular reason why the lens was fitted so tight; the threads seem in good order and there's no signs of glue, thank goodness.  A curious thing is that the hole is about 32.5mm diameter, whereas the board for my Mk VII is 34.5mm.  Was this deliberate I wonder, or a more accurate drill?  This means that there is a certain amount of wobble, and it's tricky to get the lens centred accurately, but I suppose it will be near enough.

I agree with Ian G, I think the MkVII is a more user-friendly camera; the MkVIII is a bit of a monster, and all the springs seem to be double the strength.  I think I might 'move it on' when the time is right.  Many thanks for the help.

That’s great news, perseverance wins through again.  If IPA moved it, it was probably just some old grease or gunge that had hardened. 34.6mm is the standard hole size for Copal 0 lenses.  As you have movement up, down and sideways on the front standard you can always get it centered.  I’m happy with my MKVIII but don’t have any experience of any other model, so can’t really comment.  The MKVIII has the benefit of tilt on the front standard which I must admit I do use quite a bit to help get close items in focus when I don’t have the depth of field that I need.  It is possible to do this on a MKVII by turning it in its side and using the front swing to provide the tilt, but obviously you can’t do tilt and swing movements at the same time. I’d stick with your MKVIII if everything’s working.  Good luck.

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