Howdy. I need some help with camera selection. First, a little history. I own and still use a modern wooden field camera (Shen Hao), have used Bronica ETRSi system, and am currently shooting a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye flash c. 1959 almost daily for the past month. I take photos as I daily drive in the Dakotas and Minnesota for several hundred miles. I mostly like abstract and "fine art" type of shots, but am also very eclectic. I have a complete Nikon D300 & pro lens system, but really enjoy using the finely made cameras of the past too. I've been thinking of buying a war years Leica IIIc and 50mm collapsible lens, but then saw a restored Kodak 4A folding model with red bellows from the 1920s. It was gorgeous! Then I read the bad news--116 film. Now, I'm onto the Zeiss Ikon Cocarette Luxus type camera. I LOVE THEM! My wants are: very fine quality, fine lens (such as Tessar etc.), good shutter with at least 1/200s, at least f5.6 and faster is better, beautiful leather, ability to focus, rise/fall would be nice but not essential, must take 120 film, tripod socket(s), and have very fine aesthetics. I'm thinking of either 6x4.5, 6x6, or at most 6x9. I will probably only shoot b&w film in it (probably HP5+). I don't want to go over $500.
I saw the Zeiss Ikon Cocarette Luxus from 1928 and LOVED IT! It had gorgeous brown & tan leather. I also liked some of the black & chrome deluxe models as well. I'm looking for something that can not only produce art, but is art itself. Would like to stay in the period of 1910 to 1940.
I'm a fairly experienced photographer with all sorts of cameras. I am primarily an outdoor photographer and camera will need to survive Dakota weather such as 100F degrees down to 40 below zero. The idea of a folding camera interests me, and I like the idea of something even older and fancier than a IIIc. So, what would you guys suggest for me?
Kent in SD
Difficult to advice, there are so many fitting your wants, try looking at Zeiss Ikon,Voightlander Bessa and Perkeo with Color skopar lenses, t.Richardi use a Ross Ensign 12/20 and 16/20 with the Ross express lens,and get great results,as I do with a zeiss Ikonta B, and others,so I can only suggest you get one you like and enjoy using it Richard
I've put some more thought into it, and here's what I think my criteria are. I want an outstanding lens, such as Tessar f4.5. Second, I prefer 120 although would consider 620. Camera needs to be very stylish--art itself! I'm mostly interested in those from 1910 to 1940. I really like the styling of the late 1920s! The 30s are OK. The 1950s are way too modern looking. I need adjustable focus, aperture, shutter speed. Want shutter speed minimum of 1/200 and faster is better. Camera will be use to take a fair number of shots after dark so good viewfinder is needed. I want tripod socket(s) too. I'm looking at format 6x4.5, 6x6, no larger than 6x9. I intend for this camera to be used just like my Nikon D300, but the beauty & finesse of it are extremely important to me. That's what I don't like about modern cameras such as Nikon D300, D700. Yes, they are technically excellent, but they have no styling or sense of grace about them. They're just plastic techno-boxes with no soul. That's why I love my Shen Hao 4x5 field camera. It has beautiful wood, great style, and I love the process of using it. A good camera must not only create art, it must itself be art. Not sure if I'm making sense here.
Kent in SD
Looks to me like someones about to embark on a long and possibly expensive quest for El Dorado. Exercise caution, and study the cameras carefully as you look, so you dont end up with an expensive turd. My own quest for an Agfa Isolette landed me a beauty, but unusable one. The thing looks in perfect shape and has potential, if I can find the parts I need for the film advance. Start with an inexpensive model from the 50's to get started, and keep your eyes open for other models (or earlier versions of same) , then before you know it, you have a large collection (just like the rest of us).
A quick update. I just bought a near mint Voigtlander Bessa, a c. 1937 one with brilliant and optical finder. It's 6x9, baby!
Kent in SD
Didn't Linholf make a Teknica 6x9?
jurgen has great cameras. i have purchased 3 from him in the last month. they are all great.
i am working on a process to make my own bellows, and will update as i go along. For 6x4x5, 6x6, and 6x9 folders.
Looks like you've made your move ("welcome to the addiction"). Over the last two years or so I have acquired a Voigtländer Perkeo II and an [East German Zeiss/Pentacon] Ercona II from the certo6 guy that Greg mentions. Both are really nice and have coated lenses, so they're a bit later (early fifties) than your target. I have been having fun with them, though I must confess the rate at which the 6x9 Ercona goes through film at eight shots per roll is a bit of a shock! That does help me remain more thoughtful about how I shoot.
My latest is a 1914 Kodak Autographic Special No. 1. (6x9) I had it restored by Ken Ruth in CA.
Kent in SD