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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!
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.
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?
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!
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.