I also have box camera from early 1940s or something in that period. "Herco Imperial" This one is even more primitive. A single plastic lens. No aperture. Single speed shutter which is just two pieces of metal and a spring. Image is kind of sharp in the middle but significantly distorted and not-sharp off center. No light leaks though.
I take it out every now and then. It kind of resets my prospective about this whole camera thing.
Wanted to drop by and say thanks to those who commented on my grandmother.
Just to insure that it wasn't a ride to get anybody to feel sorry for me, I wanted to clarify that the reason I posted the image was that it's one of those pictures that is of course important to all relatives that love her. Over the last couple of years I've had several nice inkjets on Hahnemuhle Bamboo paper sent to more distant relatives, and thanks to a good friend I've had copper plate photogravures made up to more closely related relatives and loved ones. It has touched those who didn't know her too.
What immediately comes to mind is that I was very pleased that I had a camera with me at the time, one that I know well, and one where I know what to expect. While I was a bit lucky to get her in such a calm state of mind, and not shaking (Parkinson's disease), I felt comfortable with what I was doing. Also consider that this was a portrait made with a wide angle lens, which many say isn't ideal.
This picture actually helped me overcome some of my own ideas that 'bigger negatives are better', that a certain brand of camera is necessarily better, or that some fancy lens might contribute something of value to a photograph, when it's all about execution, technique, and practice.
With all that said, it's inevitable that somebody will like one camera better than another, and some are most definitely more intelligently designed than others. I have to say, though, that I rarely met a camera I didn't like. The ones I tend not to like are the ones that don't perform well mechanically, like my POS Holga that wouldn't stop scratching the film, or an old Zeiss Ikon that insisted on leaking light through the back no matter what I did.
I've got a bunch of film cameras plus some digicams. But I do think there's something to be said for shooting with very primitive gear. I've taken some good shots on my Holga 120N (at least other people think they're good, and I even like a few). Last week I received my own plastic "Debonair" camera being sold by the Film Photography Project. It's basically a chintzy cross between a Holga and a Diana, and shoot 120 film in 6x4.5 frames. I took it out for a few spin last weekend and had a blast. The controls are incredibly basic, the plastic lens is a "prime" 60mm or so. Aside from focusing with the 1-person, group of people or "mountain" options, it's pretty much point-and-click.
I think what's freeing is that (1) I keep my expectations for things like sharpness low and, (2) I'm freed from worrying about mechanical details so I can give the subject more of my attention. I'm not saying you can't do the same with any camera (it is a mindset, as we all know), but the lack of distractions tends to make it easier to focus on the subject instead of wondering if I should use a different lens, how much DOF do I want, etc.
It has probably all been said already but it seems to me to be simply a "horses for courses" situation. In an area of photography where a fully automated 35mm SLR offers no advantage in taking the shot compared to a 6x9 such as is often the case in landscape or other scenarios where speed in the loosest sense is unimportant then I'd be amazed if any 35mm neg can compare to a 6x9 even if it is 50 or more years old
Just don't try to take a shot at the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races with the 6x9 and expect it to "deliver" as an F5 with a zoom f2.8 would do, unless it is "in the pits" shot with static subjects.
pentaxuser. People used to shoot sportevents with LF cameras so it would work. Less images of course but those that work are great. Of course a modern slr would be the better choice but still it is doable.