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  1. #1
    jp498's Avatar
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    A rolleiflex is still something iconic

    I went to the grand-am rolex race yesterday at lime rock park in CT. It's a gathering of about 10000+ race fans of above average affluence. We can wander about anywhere except the track and pit line during the race. I carried a DSLR with a 300/2.8, a DSLR with a smaller kit lens, and a rolleiflex (an older automat mx). As the paddock area was open at all times, there was always interesting prep and repair activities going.

    I had at least 4 of the official orange vested photographers come up and give some credit for using film in a good film camera. I mentioned the film is better than ever and I like shooting some B&W. A couple other fans came up and talked about it too. While I was checking out a ferarri p4, someone came up and mentioned his mother had a camera like that and it's been a long time since he's seen it. I suggested he use it because it can do a good job. Since about every other person there had a DSLR (the other half had phone-cameras), people'd pay attention to what I shot since I was the odd guy out. I'd find an unusual view or position and make a photo and after moving on, a couple other people would be right there checking out the spot.

    I only had one person (probably a gearhead of some sort) who was working a booth ask about my 300mm lens. To walk around with a newish DSLR and an expensive telephoto or tele-zoom is not unusual. It's unusual, but kinda nice to blend right in aiming and shooting a big dslr with a 300/2.8 on it.

    I shot 5 rolls of 120 TMY2 and I can't wait to process them. (I also shot 400 frames on the DSLRs, for those interested in the comparison of shooting styles)

  2. #2

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    I've noticed this too. Even shooting a manual 35mm SLR people notice you, and if you pull out an old folder or TLR you really get stared at...

  3. #3
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Even my little 35mm rangefinder gets that type of attention at national parks and other popular venues. I love the industrial art that went into these cameras. They are and will always be iconic.
    K.S. Klain

  4. #4
    kwall's Avatar
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    I had the same experience while in Shanghai recently. Several Chinese people commented on the Yashica TLR I was using but no one paid attention to the Nikon DSLR I also had with me.

  5. #5

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    During the 1950s, my Dad had a number of jobs. The most durable was his stint as a high school principal. Of course, in those days, teachers were not paid in the summer. That meant he needed a summer job. One summer he took on the job of a newspaper reporter/photographer and the company camera was a Rolleiflex. I wuzza kid and duly impressed; its probably the reason that I own two of them now. They seem to be something of an anachronism, but a pleasant and interesting one at that.
    Geo.

  6. #6

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    It's amazing the credibility a weird camera will give even a schlep amateur. On the first time out stumbling around with my C33 on a hippie strap at an orchid greenhouse, never before having used a WL focus, fumbling and double-exposing, trying to figure out my light meter (read the manual? Heck no, I'm a programmer) a guy was waiting an interminable length of time for me to compose a shot said, "Oh, serious photography going on here." Boy, did I have him fooled.

  7. #7
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    But you should have seen the reactions to my using a Speed Graphic at an airshow two weeks ago ...
    Did they ask if it was a Hasselblad?

  8. #8

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    Kids seem to really love the old cameras too, especially medium format. For most of them, it is perhaps the first time they have actually seen one.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9
    zsas's Avatar
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    JP - Great story thanks for writing it up for us!

    2F - Totally agree! Was at the pool taking photos of my kids while they were swimming with my wife and got a comment of admiration of my 645 camera from a teenage folk who probably never has seen such neat equipment. Was expecting her to wonder why I was shooting film but instead she was quite happy to see someone using such a neat film camera.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    No, but one asked if it used 35mm film!
    At least no one asked if it used 120mm film!

    My first camera was a Rolleiflex (MX-EVS). My dad had gotten it as a birthday present from his sister, and as it happens, my year of birth. Bought in a PX in Spain. Dad had a 35mm adapter in it and took all the family slides/snapshots until we started to go backpacking and my dad "upgraded" with a lighter Instamatic 804...about 1970, give or take a few years. My sister took a photo class, but dropped the class, so the camera came to me in 1975, and the rest is history.

    That Rollei is no longer in working condition, but I always have a working one -- my 2.8F will be going with me on a solo backpack for a week starting tomorrow or Thursday...might also take along with a 6x9 folder. I guess it attracts attention, though I don't really notice all that much. If you want to attract attention, push a triple baby stroller with three 4-month-old boys in it...in front of the grandstands before the start of a college football game. I was just looking for a place to park the thing and as I passed the stands it was like an inverted "wave". From one end of the grandstands and following me the entire length of the stands was a wave of quiet and murmurs of "Oh, my", Oh, look.", "Awwwww", "Thank god that's not me". Now that is attention. So is an 8x10.

    Vaughn
    Last edited by Vaughn; 06-01-2011 at 12:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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