folders, folders, folders

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by frank, Dec 6, 2002.

  1. frank

    frank Member

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    Hello All,

    It's great to have this new, fresh photo forum site dedicated to real photography! (tongue in cheek)

    While my primary focus in photography is the final image, I also have to admit to getting a kick out of using older, fully manual equipment. It lets me do photography without taking away any of the process, like focus and exposure setting. There's a feeling I get holding a metal-bodied camera 30 to 60 years old that I don't get with today's polycarbonate wonders.

    Another thrill, or at least a good feeling, is to be able to put one of these older cameras in my pocket and still end up with medium format negatives to print. I really enjoy using a Bessa 1, a Perkeo 2, and an Ensign Selfix 620.

    While I would not use these cameras for any paid assignments (weddings and portraits), I do enjoy them for some of my personal work.

    Anyone else willing to admit to this quirk?

    Frank Scheitrowsky
     
  2. swaitjd

    swaitjd Member

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    Frank, where have you been all my life!
    I must also admit to having this quirky way of working. Thus far, I've saddled myself with a Voigtlander Perkeo I (6x6), a Zeiss Ikon Nettar (6x4.5), an Ensign Ross Selfix 820 (6x9), a Mamiya Press 23 (6x9) and a Rolleicord III (6x6). More recently, I purchased a Mamiya 7II with 50mm, 80mm and 150mm lenses, but I have to admit that I keep looking back and shooting with the folders and other older equipment.
    I recently made the transition to a Crown Graphic 4x5 camera, and found that I had absolutely none of the problems so many people describe about learning LF. I believe the reason is that I was well trained by the old equipment to be very deliberate about each step needed to make an exposure.

    Joffre
     
  3. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    I have 3 folders, an Agfa Jsorette 6x4.5, an Agfa B2 Speedex 6x6, and an Ansco Viking 6x9. Sometimes when I go on a business trip I take one along, since they are so easy to pack. The fact that they are easy to use and actually take nice pictures is a plus.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I love my Perkeo II. I keep it with me most of the time for impromptu shots and love to travel with it as a carry-everywhere camera, when I don't plan to devote time specifically for photography.

    Before I had the Perkeo II, I used mostly a Voigtlander Vitessa-L 35mm folder for this purpose (which is actually not as compact as the 6x6 Perkeo II!). I should probably sell off the Vitessa, since I don't use it that often, but when I do, I love the classic look of the Ultron 50/2.0 lens.
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I've got an Ensign 6x9. With all the modern features. Ultra fast F/6.8 lens. A ruby window. Super quick 1/100 shutter speed. Even has a metal finder for when you can't visualize things on your own. I love it. Wouldn't want to use it for something fast pace but that great big negative it produces can make quality pics. I admit being a little surprised at how easy it is to handhold at slow shutter speeds.
     
  6. frank

    frank Member

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    djf: That's it! The elusive quality of using vintage metal mechanical cameras that I've been trying to explain - it's FUNK!

    Joffre wrote: Frank, where have you been all my life?
    Well Joffre, I'm happily married, with 2 kids. Seriously though, it is good to talk with others with the same "affliction". In my original post, I didn't mention my 1956 Rollie TLR or the 35mm folders like the Kodak Retina 11A and Agfa Karat. I am also looking for a 4by5 Graphic camera.

    Very few of my friends (including my wife) understand the depth of my passion for photography, let alone the "thing" I have about vintage cameras. It's so much easier to know that you are not alone!
     
  7. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I've got a couple of old folders but my 6x6 Agfa "Josollete" has produced some really beautiful portraits. It has that soft dreamy portrait lens look that gave me some wonderful portraits of daughter and new baby in the garden. I have tried some landscapes and they look much like snapshots from the 1940s which is ok but not what I want most of the time.

    Bob
     
  8. swaitjd

    swaitjd Member

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    Frank,

    I've been using a Crown Graphic for the last 6 months, and its mounting a serious bid for taking over from all the folders! The folders and the TLR have put in a counterargument about portability (particularly with respect to smaller tripod for travel), exposure flexibility allied to film economy, and other conveniences that have set the CG back some, but it keeps pulling on my heart strings, appealing to that deliberateness of process, lust for size and other emotional arguments.

    I wonder how it'll turn out?

    Joffre
     
  9. frank

    frank Member

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    I'll be getting a 4by5 Speed Graphic early in January. I'm very much looking forward to photographing with it. It's funky as well, and may just be the ultimate folder!
     
  10. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    just happened to run across this thead today.
    I love those old fold up cameras, Have had trouble finding usable ones lately. ALso, I have an old Mamia Press I dearly love as well.
    I had a "Hassy" once. always thought I wanted one until i got it. Shot about 3 rolls of film and put it away. Just didn't feel right. ( I know ; she is strange). As luck would have it i ended up selling it for more than i paid; of course this was years ago.
    The press is an old tank, beat up and ugly but it is a lot of fun. It it falls in the sand , gets wet and dropped no matter. Have taken lots of fun stuff with it and plan on many more years of use.
    I tried to get one of my students interested in one as she wanted to move up to MF. I suggested she try it out to get the feel before spending a lot of money. She can't get pass the rangefinder focus feature. AH, this younger generation.
     
  11. swaitjd

    swaitjd Member

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    Well Ann,

    I'm going to be trying to teach my daughter (19 years old) to photograph using my old Zeiss Ikon Nettar (6x4.5) folder. Your experience with the student isn't very encouraging, but I'll certainly be able to test whether I taught her the right values ... no pain, no gain! [​IMG] (Yeah, I am serious about that being one of my values! Hey, where's my self-flaggelation instrument? [​IMG] )

    I've got a Mamiya Press too ... love the thing BECAUSE of the rangefinder ...
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Member

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    If you think that's bad. I tried explaining to a guy the sunny 16 rule. When he figured out that I used 100asa film and that meant 1/100 shutter speeds at f/16 he was shocked and wanted to know how it was possible to get any sort of good picture at that SLOW speed.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hey - more folder users!

    I almost thought I was the last one! 30 years ago I took my first photograps with my father's old Welta (35mm) folder. I soon bought a SLR, and stuck to that for far too long. Then, about 13 years ago, I came across a Zeiss Ikon Nettar - and bought it.
    To make a long story short, I sold it again a few years later when I bought my first LF camera. And would you guess it - it's a folder! While not exactly pocket size, a 5x7 linhof Technika definitely folds [​IMG]

    I then found out there was nothing wrong with having several old cameras - one of my colleauges has seven old cars, my hobby is cheap by comparison! So now I have three MF folders: A Nettar, a Perkeo, and (whatsit - memory slipping) a japanese one...

    I use them all, possibly because I like the effect when someone comments on the size of my 5x7. I pull up a folder from my pocket, and say:"When it gets too heavy, I hava a baby here)...
     
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  15. Sherman

    Sherman Member

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    I recently purchased a Moscow 5 folder. I have quite a few other cameras, my "main" kit being a 4x5 field system. I also have an Olympus OM 35mm system and my MF gear is Kiev 88cm with a mix of Arsenal and Zeiss lenses.

    I picked up the Moscow to have a portable camera with which I could still make big negatives. I have had excellent luck with the Kiev gear (contrary to many others' experiences) so I wasn't put off by purchasing the camera from someone in Moscow. The price was great ($39 including shipping).

    I have been using it for a little over a month now and so far it is a great folder. The lens is sharp and contrasty (single coated) and the shutter seems accurate. Mine came with the 6x6 mask but I have been using it in 6x9 mode. (Did I mention I like big negatives?) It has quickly become a favorite. I drop it in my coat pocket whenever I leave the house. When spring finally gets here it will make an ideal bicycling camera.

    Sherman
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Zenobia!

    That's it. My third (or was it fourth?) folder!

    And I've just bought a Voigtländer Tourist 9x12 folding plate camera...
     
  17. Super Graphic Guy

    Super Graphic Guy Member

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    Moskva 5 and an Ansco Comander Both are 6x9

    The MosKva 5 is a great camera but a little heavy. The presure plate on mine was a bit weak so I added a thin bit of foam behind it to give it a bit more pressure and keep the film flat. Works great. The singl coated lens is very sharp. Rainger finder works fine, but I have never put it to a cirtical test.

    The Commander has got to be one of the lightest 6x9 cameras ever made. It has a three element lens and is single coated. Zone focusing, but only a limited selection of shutter speeds. They are my point and shoot 6x9's, although they are occasionally mounted on a tripod.
     
  18. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I just got a 6x6 Zeis Ikon Ikonta with the 3.5 75mm lens. Paint's a bit scratched off in places and it seems to have had the back replaced with a 6x9 back. I'm not sure what that will do as the pressure plate being oversized would sit on the thin rollers on the sides of the frame. I'm going to put a roll through it and see what happens. Everything else seems in fine shape.
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    *Bump*

    for Jenny :smile:
     
  20. Seele

    Seele Member

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    While I have used (and still use) more than my fare share of folders, I still rather like earlier equipment. The number of folders I have used can be said as quite staggering, and for 35mm I still use a Voigtlander "bomb-door" Vitessa L, but nowadays I get 120 films sliced down to make my own 127 for feeding my small arsenal of 127 folders by Certo, Kochmann, Welta, etc.

    But I still like to use earlier equipment; I might be one of the few who use Voigtlander Petzval lenses on a regular basis, and the large-format lenses I use are much in the Wisner league!
     
  21. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Ole, Thanks for Bumping this - 'for Jenny'. I have a Voigtlander Bessa I, that I have had for about a year and have not used. Came in the original box, plus has a nice case and the instructions were still in the box, along with the mask to make it a 6x4.5 or can be used as a 6x9 - which is why I got it in the first place.

    Anyone else using one of these?
     
  22. 127

    127 Member

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    You can check out some of Seele's 127 folders on my site (along with his historical info). He's got a really nice collection!

    I've got a kershaw raven 120 which is pretty nice - I got it for 3 pounds, as it had been dropped, and the back has a large chunk of bakerlite missing (which I have to tape over). I haven't used it much but the results have a very smooth, soft (but still sharp!) look.

    My Kodak VP has a dead shutter, which kind of put me off folders for a while, but I just picked up a Foth Derby (127 half frame) and can't wait to get out and try that. The focal plane shutter is just about working (it took a bit of coaxing to get it running but seems OK now), though the second curtain has a few tiny holes, so I'll need to lens cap it when its not being used. If the results are good I may find out how much a repair would be...

    Ian
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Just a little update: My father recently donated his Welta Welti to me - so now I'm the proud owner and user of that too!
    Seele, I knew that Welta made other sizes - but not that anyone else used them :wink:

    The Voigtländer Tourist I thought I had bought turned out to be a Voigtländer Bergheil 9x12cm - with 150mm Heliar lens! Lucky me :smile:

    I've got me a Bessa too. 6x9 negatives are great - and fun to make cyanotypes from!

    My latest aquisition is yet to arrive; a 18x24cm "Reisekamera", probably German, possibly old.
     
  24. Seele

    Seele Member

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    Ian,

    Thanks for your kind words; I am putting some brand-new 127 Plus-X through these cameras, fingers crossed!

    As you are in the UK, speaking of Kershaw reminded me of a few of their other products. The "bird" series such as Penguin, Curlew, Peregrine, etc covered a wide range of specification levels, I feel sure that a Peregrine II or III would still be a very potent machine for picture taking. Once I had two Curlews (6X9) with Taylor-Hobson lenses in their own Talykron shhutters and they were stunning; too had I got a little too tempted when someone waved a rather large stack of money in front of me...

    The later Kershaws of 6X6 formats after its acquision by GB (Gaumont-Britain) were a little less capable in the imaging department, top model had a f/4.5 lens, the intermediate one with a f/6.3. I had a f/6.3 version and I loved the shutter release which is integrated as part of the baseboard; you squeeze it and it clicks, vibrationless. Too bad the on-film image got a little fuzzy approaching the corners of the negative though.
     
  25. 127

    127 Member

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    The kershaw names have to make you wonder... Peregrine, Raven fair enough but you've got to ask yourself what sort of person thought that Penguin was a good name for their new product! I'm surprised there was never a Kershaw Dodo...

    The Raven seems to be one of the rarer ones (at least compared to Penguins are pretty common) though not particulary high quality. It's got a f/6.3 Kershaw Astigmat lens which seems pretty nice. It 6x9 and very useable.

    Ian
     
  26. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

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    I have a Zeis Ikonta 521 (6x4.5) and a Crown Graphic Special (4x5) at the moment.