Popular cameras in 1935?
Friends of mine are getting married soon. They're very heavily involved in the vintage reenacting scene, and their wedding is set in 1935. What would be a typical user camera of the period? The Argus C3 is a bit too new, and I'd like to shoot with something a bit more sophisticated than a Kodak Brownie or Agfa-Ansco Shur-Shot. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Think some type of folder that can or has been modified to accept 120 film, most (i believe) used 620 which doesn't really exist in any practical quantity anymore. You can use a 4x5 or 8x10 view camera too, or if you've got some deep pockets, the Leica II came out in 1932..
Honestly, I don't know my vintage cameras as much as I probably should, personally i'd try to cut losses and shoot with a Nikon F with the photomic finder and shoot a bunch of Tri-X and/or Portra. That way you'd have at least some sort of reliable equipment that could keep up with the wedding.
You can't go wrong with a large format field camera. They have been looking the same for about 150 years.
Whenever people see my 8x10 the first question is always "how old is it?" and when I say that I bought it a few years ago they continue with "Yes, but when was it made?". Getting a tripod from the period can bit hard though.
There should also be some box cameras that you can use.
Leicas of course, or soviet copies if it is just the appearance that matters.
Lots of folders as mentioned by F/1.4
Maybe Voigtländer Bergheil would fit in nicely. Either the 9X12cm or perhaps the 6,5X9cm. or perhaps something similar?
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How about a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic made by Folmer Graflex?
Here is a similar question I found: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cameras-3...35-cameras.htm
One problem I see with 35mm cameras is that, to my knowledge, most of that era didn't have flash sync. If you need flash, that would be a problem, unless you can find one of those sync divices that fit in the cable release socket. I have one for an old Rollei. You have to use a slow shutter speed and play around with the adjustment to get it right.
Of course, if you want flash, you will need bulbs and a bulb gun.
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I am an avid collector and have a number of cameras from the 1930s. I use these cameras regularly. Some are easier to use than others. I would suggest something like a 1935 Voigtlander Bessa with a Skopar lens, which I'm guessing should cost around $100. If you want to spend more, get one with the 105mm Heliar lens. These are 6x9 which are big negatives and scan very nicely. Shutter speeds are up to 1/400s with Compur Rapid shutter. They are very well built and shoot 120 film which is easily available. Ones where the lens serial number is between 1,026,000 and 2,000,000 will be from 1935. Another thought if you want to spend more is a Leica IIIa with an Elmar 5cm (50mm) lens. These shoot 35mm, have shutter speed up to 1/1000s, and are even more compact than the Bessa (Bessa is also compact when folded up.) These should cost you around $400. Ones with a camera serial number around 150,000 will be 1935 vintage. Both are really cool and you can actually take photos with them. Keep in mind none of these cameras have built in meters. There is yet one more camera I will suggest. It's the Rolleiflex. It too shoots 120 film and all in all it's the easiest to use. It's much easier to load than a Leica, and faster to use than a Bessa. It was a favorite among wedding photographers because of it's speed to use. I think the fastest shutter speed is around 1/500s. A 1935 vintage will have a serial number around 500,000 (Standard Model with f3.5 Tessar lens), and cost around $250 with a nice case and a few accessories. The Bessa is the least expensive but the hardest to use, the Rolleiflex is the easiest to use and in the middle on cost, and the Leica is the most expensive and has the highest "cool" factor (and is the smallest.) My choice if someone is just starting out with a vintage camera would be the Rolleiflex Standard. All of these are nice cameras.
Kent in SD
Bergheil or Avus.
And if really cool, then find a rolleicord "Tapetenrollei" which is the only one made with ArtDeco covering! So beautiful.
like this one:
One more thought. The Kodak Retina I was available in 1934. It's small and was very popular. It was German made and had an excellent lens, shoots 35mm film, and fits in a shirt pocket. Downside is they tend to be around $300+ in decent condition. In 1936 they came out with the Retina II. This camera had a rangefinder focus which is much easier to use. It too is high quality and made in Germany. You should be able to find one for under $150 without much trouble. I don't know about Kodak serial numbers. I think the older serial numbers are hard to decipher. You could probably date the camera by the serial numbers on the lenses themselves.
Any vintage 1935 camera will have uncoated lenses (best to use a lenshood with them,) will not have any built in meter for exposure, and will have some "quirks." Also keep in mind you are dealing with something rather complicated that is 75 years old. And one more idea. Look on eBay for the seller "Certo66." He refurbishes folding cameras from that era and sells ones that are in working order. A bit more money, but you will be getting a working camera. He has Bessas, Zeiss Ikons, etc. folders very regularly. He will also be able to date them accurately. The smaller 6x6 folding cameras will fit in a shirt pocket and all take 120 film.
My favorite camera from 1935 vintage? Well, last night I was using a Leica IIIa. Two weeks ago I shot part of a wedding with a Rolleiflex. I also have a Voigtlander Bessa from 1937 that has a rangefinder and Heliar lens that takes GORGEOUS photos! I'm not sure I could pick one as a favorite and stick with it for very long!
Kent in SD
The Deco Rolleicord is pretty fancy and just screams "1930s." They were made right around 1935. They are just a little slower to load than a standard Rolleiflex, but not by much. They are basically Rollei's slightly less expensive consumer line. The lenses are good and the basic camera is still the same. They are still easier to use than a Leica or Bessa. Downside is they are collectible and tend to run a little money for one in good condition. I'd budget somewhere around $350 for a decent one. If your couple is more into 1930s than they are hardcore vintage camera users, this might be the one though.
Using the serial number on the Zeiss lens, I date the camera above to right around 1934-1935.
Kent in SD
I got one where there's a dating scratched in the mirror - two months before it was released.... that's rather cool.
Originally Posted by Two23