Cameras and equipment

A Ross Ensign Ful-Vue II

Rain Ghoul

The Ross Ensign Ful-Vue II camera.

We found this camera last week at a local car boot sale.  I’ve seen several Ful-Vues before, so I imagine that they must have been quite mass produced in their day.  However, this one was in unusually very good condition, an Ensign Ful-Vue II, with the original box, canvas carry case, user manual, and even an empty photo wallet.  So I parted with GBP £5, and took it home.

This model was manufactured in England around 1952.  The Ful-Vue range were simple, but oddly styled, snapshot cameras.  They were sort of box cameras, that were trying to evolve into TLR cameras.  Designed to take Brownie film (120 medium format – some later models used 620 spindles), their days were numbered with the increasing popularity of 35mm film.  A cheap simple lens, a simple one speed (or bulb) spring shutter, but with an odd looking viewfinder somewhere between a box camera and a toy TLR.  It has a three point focus.

My car boot Ful-Vue on inspection, despite it’s otherwise lovely condition, had a sticky shutter.  Three small screws, and the shutter mechanism came off.  A little light oil, and it was back in service.  The photo wallet, and a photo lab pamphlet provenanced to Glasgow in 1960.  I imagine that this may well have been when the camera was last used.

I loaded with one of my remaining 120 rolls of Shanghai GP3 film.  We took it out for a quick fun trial.  What do you think?

Hedge Rider

The Pumpkin Field

Halloween mask courtesy of Poundland, in the tight fisted tradition.

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Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Tomorrow

The 50p Camera Project. Olympus XA2, Kodak TMax 400 film, developed in LC29

Tomorrow I’m going to be creative.  Tomorrow I’m going to grab my camera, It’s going to be different, I’m going to let go.  I’m going to say it on film.  I’m going to fly.  Tomorrow I’m a photographer.  Tomorrow I express.  Tomorrow I’m free.

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Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Kent Earthquake felt in East Anglia

Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. Developed in Kodak D76 stock. V500 scanned.

Our intrepid reporter phones in the tight fisted report.  The 4.2 magnitude tremors of the Kent Earthquake yesterday were felt far and wide.  Causing damage to structures as far away as Cambridgeshire.  Either that or some drunk managed to back his car into this Wisbech telephone box.

The fun that you can have with a little XA2 35mm film compact camera.

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Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Maria’s

Olympus XA2 compact camera. Ilford HP5+ b/w 35mm film. Developed in Kodak D76 stock. Scanned on a V500.

The two Ilford films from the XA2 (the 50p Camera Project) are dried and scanned.  The above is one of my favourites.  A candid taken at the burger van of a local mid week car boot sale.  I think that it captures the atmosphere of such an event quite well.  Car boot sales, auctions, and Sunday markets are great places to catch interesting people.

I developed in D-76 stock, which might have made the HP5 a little grainy, but as any regular readers will know, I don’t shy away from the rough.  It adds I think to the feeling of the photograph.  Anyway, I wanted to use the developer up, as it wasn’t well stored, and I’m keen to give a bottle of Ilford LC29 a go next.

I guess that is one of the attractions of film and even hybrid photography – we have so many different films, developers, and processes available still, each of which will affect the final image.

Next in the XA2 will be a couple of Poundland C41 films.

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Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Colour

Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland. Scanned with V500.

I haven’t shown a lot of it on this blog of recent.  I do prefer b/w photography, but at the same time, I am the tight fisted photographer, and I still have plenty of Poundland film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200) in my freezer.  I tried C41 home processing, I did have some success, but I didn’t really enjoy it, not enough to learn how to keep C41 chemistry well.  The nearest photolab is not only incredibly expensive, but on my last film, totally botched up the colour.  I’ve even resorted to cross processing C41 film in b/w process and chemistry a few times.

Still, I recently thought I’d try again.  My faithful Olympus XA2 from the 50p Camera Project kept looking at me from the camera shelf.  So in went a cassette of Poundland film – that Ilford can be so expensive.  It was in there a few weeks or so, I didn’t use it to take any particularly good photos, just snapshots here and there.  I like the above result – it fitted my mood post general election about the future of minimal government – our parish council certainly provides it.  I have a very dystopian view of the future, perhaps I’m getting old.

Anyway, after I used up the 35mm film, I took it to a photolab in Kings Lynn, that I hadn’t used before.  Not a chain, but an independent.  They charged £2.50 for film process only, but had my film dried, cut into strips, and properly packaged in less than a hour!  Colours look good (of course, my scanner will have an effect), and they are clean.  Really pleased.  They did point out that the quick process was a result of their minilab being hot when i walked in, and I got lucky – but it looks like I’ve got a new photolab resource.

Now, that works out at a cost of £3.50 of film / development for 36 exposures.  I don’t think that at the moment, I could get b/w that cheap.  Other than cross processing.  Better get some of that Poundland film out of the freezer.

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Zenza Bronica SQ-A

London in Shanghai GP3

Bronica SQ-A camera. Zenzanon PS 150mm f/4 lens. Shanghai GP3 medium format film. Home developed in Ilford LC29 1:29.

It wouldn’t be the same without the road worker sweeping on the bottom right hand corner.  He spotted me just after this and quickly moved away, so I didn’t get the chance of another.  Taken in London on a recent day trip.  I like this, there is so much detail.  I took it on that cheap Chinese Shanghai GP3 film.  I really like that stuff, despite the curliness.  I’ve just had another batch of ten of them arrive from China via Ebay.  I’m also trialing another developer – one shot Ilford LC29.  Pleased with the first roll, diluted to a fairly mean 1:29 ratio with water.

That’s still the Post Office tower to me in the background.  Not too sure what they call it now.  Is it the “BT Tower”?

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Zenza Bronica SQ-A

Making Music

Anita plays some chords in a nearby village. Bronica SQ-A camera. Zenzanon PS 150mm f/4 lens. Ilford Delta Pro 400 medium format film. Home developed in Kodak D-76

We popped out into the nearby village of Upwell on my last days free from work.  This one was a wee bit brave – using b/w film on a river bank rich with yellow daffodils.  Still, I think that it works okay.

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Cameras and equipment, Portrait

Mamiya C3 TLR Camera Test

Mamiya C3 Professional TLR. Mamiya-Sekkor 80mm f/2.8 lens. Ilford FP4+ film. Developed in ID11. Scanned film on a V500.

Well, yeah, that look okay to my eyes.  No light leaks.  Camera is a good ‘un.  There is a slight blemish (not fungi) on taking lens, but as usual, it doesn’t seem to have affected the images.  I’ve loaded it with another roll of Ilford FP4 Plus.

I presently have three medium format film cameras on the go – all loaded with film.  This Mamiya C3 TLR, the good old trusty Bronica SQ-A, system camera, and for share lightweight convenience, an Agfa Isolette I folding camera.  I don’t like all of this choice.

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Cameras and equipment

Oops!

My Newest Old Camera. Held by Anita. Taken with Sony A20 DSLR and Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.

I really did not want to buy any more cameras.  I’m not even sure where and when I would use this Mamiya C3 Professional TLR.  I mean, crikey, it’s such a lump.  Vivian Maier would have stooped over with this Mutha around her neck.  Ok, the bellows are fully out.

I firmly believe that there are two categories of photographers, the division even superimposing over both digital and film.  There are 1. Photographers.  and 2. Camera/Gear collectors.  Can’t I be a bit of both?

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Cameras and equipment

The Animistic Atheist

Anita and the lurcher. Portrait using the Agfa Isolette I, Agnar 85mm f/4.5 lens, Foma Fomapan Creative 200 film. Developed in ID11

I’m the crustiest old atheist imaginable.  I know that it annoys Anita sometimes, but I lack faith not only in the existence of any gods, goddesses, or godlings, but pretty much in any supernature or hocus pocus.  Mr Rational, the skeptic, that demands testable evidence.  Not that I think that is boring – the World, it’s Life, and the Universe, as scientific investigation is revealing them, is far more magical than any creation myth.  Still, you get the picture.

Yet, I have to confess to some pretty innate animistic tendencies.  Lots of us have them – we become fond of an inanimate object.  It might be our car, our home, our musical instrument – we invest it with personal feelings.  We might even refer to this object as “her” (or him maybe).  When we handle them, we do so with a care and reverence.  When we change the oil, we might wonder if the car is happier.  We sad atheistic animists.

I confess.  I see old cameras this way, especially when they have been long abandoned, and have ended up at the car boot sale, in a box with old cutlery and scary looking broken dolls (now, they have a Manitou).  You wonder how it feels for them to be cleaned, and carefully loaded with a new film.  To have it’s shutter open onto the 21st Century, a second chance to live.  Sixty year old cameras are not supposed to rise from the grave, are they?

I even imagine their life, if they could talk.  I developed a found film from one, and found photos of steam railway that dated to around 1961.  The camera was last used in 1961.  A different world.  Did they expose rolls of Kodak to happy family scenes from Butlins during the 1960s?

A few weeks ago, Anita, pleased with the results of the Kershaw Penguin, encouraged me to use another of my old folders that needed testing for light leak.  This time, it was a lovely condition Agfa Isolette I folding camera from around 1954.  I actually have two of these, and have previously used the other one – but it started to leak light.  Bellows age.  I still had a roll of Foma Fomapan Creative 200, from a batch that produced some poor quality images with dark blotches.  Perfect for a light test.

So the above and below images were born last week, of that Isolette and Fomapan 200.  The camera said hello to the 21st Century.  No light leaks.  The film did have some blemishes, but I’m pleased enough with the results.

As a post script, the Isolette had a post code and house number on it’s rear.  I took a look on Google Street View at a row of semi detached houses in the North of England.  I thought about that camera and it’s history.  If only it had a memory.

The Limes Farmhouse. Isolette I. As above.

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