I decided to take a few shots of some of my film cameras, ones I will for sure be using over the course of my 52Rolls.net project. I didn’t take pictures of all my cameras though, just ones I think I’ll be using in the upcoming weeks so I can put a picture of the camera/lens combo I’ll be using.
I guess I’ll go from old to new, it makes as much sense as any other order. All of these photos were taken with my Pentax K-5 IIs DSLR. Most were taken with a Ashahi Super-Macro-Takumar 1:4/50mm macro lens at f8 and ISO 100. Any with swirly bokeh were taken with my Helios 44-2, likely at f2 or f2.8.
The first is a Balda Beltica, a no-frills rangefinder camera made in East Germany (Dresden). From all I can find on the web about this, it was made around 1951. My brother gave me this one for Christmas, and it is going to take some getting used to. It has no coupled rangefinder, so you really have to have a good idea how far away your subject is. But the actual rangefinder mechanism has meters only, which is fine, but takes me a little longer to do the mental translation since I am more used to estimating things in feet. Also the shutter needs to be cocked each and every time for a shot, just like my large format. I forgot this a few times so far while shooting my first roll through it. The viewfinder is tiny, but does have an interesting feature in that it will correct for parallax so long as you turn the wheel to the same setting as the rangefinder. So if your subject is 8 meters away, turn the range finder to 8 and the view finder to 8 then compose the shot. The lens is also spring loaded, so when you click the button on top to open, you better have your hands out of the way or “whack”. My only other folder (below) requires you to open the lens area.
My next showcase camera is a Kodak Retina IIIc. This is one fine piece of German hardware, made in Stuttgart by Nagel Kamerawerk, a company Kodak acquired in the 1930s. This particular range of cameras helped pioneer the 35mm in the cassette we all know and love. It is a sweet shooting camera, with a nice diamond-shaped coupled rangefinder, a fairly fast lens at f2, and a few funky features. First you need to be sure you set the shutter speed first, then uncouple the aperture and set that. Once done, the two are coupled so you can change shutter speeds or aperture with the two keeping the same light hitting the film plane. So for example say you meter for f8 and 1/60. If you change to f4, since the shutter ring and aperture are coupled, 1/250 will the shutter speed. In changing light this is not much use, but can be helpful when moving around in similar light conditions and you just want to adjust aperture. In my shooting (for example with my DSLR) I am often in aperture priority mode, and this camera is pretty similar in that regard. The light meter on this example is kaput, but on a IIIC I bought my brother it did work, though one my test roll for that camera I did just use my external light meter like usual. The film advance is on the bottom of the camera, which at first seems strange but does not take long to adjust to. The film counter is weird and can lock the camera if it thinks you are at the end of the roll, so I just ignore it and advance the counter if I get a lockout.
My next camera is a Twin Lens Reflex, a Yashica Mat 124. A couple of my rolls for 52Rolls.net were run through this Yashica’s brother, the 124G, but this is an earlier Mat 1968-70. It came with an original case, plus it is has the nicer look to my eyes–black with chrome hardware. My 124G is a later version which is all black hardware and just kind of blah, though it takes great photos. Actually both of them take excellent photos and for an entry into 120mm film, they sure can’t be beat. I can’t think of any particular quirks with this camera other than other TLRs and having to adjust to changing composition since right-left in the viewfinder is opposite of what you think. This is my favorite shot of the group.
Next up is my Yashica TL Electro X, a 35mm SLR with the M42 mount, made 1968-1974. I’m not sure what year mine is, but it is a nice shooting tank of a camera. The shutter is electronically controlled and has a vertical metal shutter. Because I have so many M42 lens, it tends to not be shot with the same lens on subsequent rolls of film. The particular lens I have on it is my heaviest, a Yashinon DX 50mm/1.4 Auto. It is sitting next to my smallest 35mm camera, a Leitz Minolta CL rangefinder.
And finally the Leitz Minolta CL. I bought this camera from Japan, but it is identical to the Leica CL, both manufactured by Minolta to specs provided by Leica. See http://www.cameraquest.com/leicacl.htm for more on the Leica CL. Based on that page, this camera dates after 1973, but it there is very little information on the Leitz Minolta range of serial numbers, so I can’t be sure of the date of my camera. It came with a M-Rokkor Minolta 40mm/f2 lens, but in the photos I have it fitted with a Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm/f4 lens. It will be the camera I’ll use for my week 4 of 52Rolls.net
So there are a few of my film cameras. I’ll probably add another post some time in the future with some of my other film cameras.