Ansco Titan; update

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by ksmattfish, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The Ansco Titan is a medium format folding camera from the 1950s. I have two that I have been using for about a year. I bought the first at an antique mall for $15. It had many problems including fungus in the lens and holes in the bellows. I patched the holes in the bellows and shot a few test rolls; I was so impressed by the quality photos it produced that I began searching for a cleaner model. I found one on EBAY for $70; I've put about 20 rolls of BW ISO 400 film through it. Research seems to suggest that the Titan is very similar to the Agfa Speedex models. There are rumors to the effect that the Titan's lens and shutter were produced by Wollensak for Ansco.

    The Titan shoots 12 6cm x 6cm exposures on a roll of 120 film.

    Folded up it's dimensions are just a smidge bigger than 5.5" x 3.5" x 1". Unfolded it's dimensions are 5.5" x 3.5" x 4".

    It is fitted with an Ansco 90mm f/4.5 (to f/22) anastigmat (3 element) lens. The focusing ring is on the front of the lens. Minimum focus distance is 3.5'. One of it's neatest features is the easiest to use depth of field scale I've ever seen; each f/stop has a color that is also used on the DOF scale. I don't know about it's coatings; there does appear to be something there. It does well with BW for sure.

    It has shutter speeds of T, B, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 400. The shutter must be cocked with each shot. The shutter can be triggered with a right handed button on the camera body or on the right side of the shutter itself.

    It has an old style flash post. There is no double exposure prevention; the user must remember to advance the film after each shot. Film is counted by means of a red window on the back of the camera. It has a 1/4" tripod socket in the bottom.

    I have printed mainly 8" x 8" prints from the shots taken with this camera. At f/11 or f/16 the shots are as sharp as many modern MF cameras. Some of my photos are a bit soft, but since others are razor sharp I attribute it to camera shake or using f/4.5 or f/5.6. Tests shots using a tripod and blown up to 11" x 11" look very good on their own, but do appear softer when compared to similar shots from Zeiss tessar (4 element) or planar (5 element) lenses.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I've now run about 30 rolls of HP5 through my Ansco Titan, and I have to say that the quality of the images from this camera has been quite a pleasant surprise. I'm not going to be printing 20"x20" prints from these negs, but the 8"x8" and 11"x11" prints really shine when compared to similar sized prints from 35mm HP5. I'll post some soon.

    I would highly recommend the Ansco Titan to anyone interested in compact medium format (I've only done BW, but the lens is coated, and I've heard good reviews about color) for less than $100. This camera has become my camera of choice to carry when I'm not going photographing. ISO 400, and the sunny 16 rule, and it's my point-n-shoot.
     

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