My pre-50s cameras

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by walter23, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    Not included is a Speed Graphic I just picked up and a falling plate box camera (both of which are in the mail on their way to me).

    Zeiss Super Ikonta BX (~1950) - 120 roll film (6x6). Coated f/2.8 Tessar lens!

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    Rolleiflex Automat III (WWII era - early 40s):

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    Voigtländer Avus 9x12 plate camera (20s or 30s I think):

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    Dacora Digna (~1950):

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    The digna is a really low-end camera, essentially a metal-bodied holga with a glass lens. Ilford (the well-known B&W film & paper company) sold this camera, or a similar one, under the Sporti name. The shutter is stuck (but can be fixed with a cleaning). I bought it to convert to pinhole but I'm attached to it now, and it came in its original box. I may have to just fix up the shutter and shoot with it - and find some other $3 junk camera to convert to a pinhole.

    All the others have had film through them and produce very nice results (zeiss, rollei, and voigtlander - these all still beat 3/4 of the cameras today in terms of lens quality), all of them are functional but have problems that need to be fixed to be fully operational (rolleiflex leaks light in some circumstances, folders have slow shutters, etc). The voigtlander is my favorite, as it is essentially a 4x5 but about the size of a 35mm DSLR body (no lens) when folded up. Much more portable than my shen hao which travels inside a monster 40lb backpack.

    Missing is my 8x10 from around 1916, and its Turner Reich Triple Convertible 12"/21"/28" lens, and a few other miscellaneous things (like a common and crappy old polaroid folding pack-film camera worth about 17 cents).

    I'm working on adding a box camera or two, and someday I'd love to have an ULF monster like a 12x20 (will need to get rich first though). I'm sure there are a few other styles I should add at some point. A really old mid-19th century wooden plate camera with a brass lens would be cool.
     
  2. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    BTW, been awhile since I've been on this forum. Nice to see there's a film camera section :)
     
  3. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    The speed graphic that's on its way to me is a real beater. That's good because it will encourage me to use it rather than treating it with care. I have to be a bit careful with things like my Voigtlaender just because it's in such pristine conditon and once it's gone it's gone - there won't be more made! These beat up speedies are a dime a dozen so no tears shed if I lug it around in a backpack without concern for its aesthetics:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Very beautiful! I have a few of my own, and have gone through many more in years past. Collecting is one of my passions. Click on my siggie to see some.

    Keep collecting!
     
  5. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some beautiful cameras (I like the looks of Rolleiflex's). It makes me want to go to go to eBay and start a collection (not a good idea has I have no space at all to store cameras). The Speed Graphic looks a bit dirty but after a good clean and if the bellows are light tight, it looks like it could make a good user.
     
  6. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    Nice collection! I have a bunch of cameras from the early 1900s to the 1990s, nothing of any real quality though, except for the 1937 Jhagee mentioned in my signature. I'm constantly on the lookout for a 120 and a 4x5 plate camera with quality lenses, I would use them both.
     
  7. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Makes me miss Helen. She'd probably have some good input for this thread.

    Those are some awesome cameras! I would imagine that back in those days, you didn't just pick it up having no knowledge of photography and start taking good pictures... I didn't seen an AUTO setting on any one of them!
     
  8. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You're spot on! Automatic settings were not even conceivable at that time, until the solid state came into play.
     
  9. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    Keep the 9x12 folders like my Avus in mind. They're *really* portable compared to a 4x5, and give pretty much the same results. The downside is film is hard to find (though you can buy efke 9x12 B&W film from freestyle (freestylephoto.biz)).
     
  10. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    You'd be surprised. Granted in many cases you'd need to deal with loading your holders or dealing with pack film, but I've seen some ads from the 1900s that strangely remind me of modern DSLR ads.... "Simple one-shot convenience! Just send your plates in to Kodak for auto processing so you can just enjoy your vacation photos! Shoot like a pro without all the hassle!" etc.

    Photographic advertising from 1888 to 1940:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/bookle...-z_vol3/photographic_advertising_a-z_list.htm
     
  11. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, I have my eye on a 6x9 with a Zeiss Tessar at the moment, my problem is I really don't know enough about the older cameras, I know Zeiss lenses are good, I also know Rollei are good, other than that I am lost, could you possibly name a few decent ones for me?
     
  12. walter23

    walter23 TPF Noob!

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    There are a lot of nice folders. The 6x9 folders are really good, but make sure they take 120 roll film. Some of them use more obscure film sizes (not 120 - different roll films) - I think mainly the Kodak folding cameras. I think in general the German cameras take 120, but make sure you find out before buying one. The Zeiss Ikontas are good but tend to go for several hundred dollars - if you could get a deal on a 6x9 Super Ikonta C you'd have a fantastic camera.

    If you want to or can deal with 9x12 sheet film, go for a Voigtlander Avus or Bergheil (if you can find one for a decent price). There are also Ernemann HEAGs, a few Zeiss varieties, and some russian ones. Make sure you get some 9x12 plate holders with the film inserts (usually involves waiting for the right camera auction with all included to come up).

    But yeah, if you can afford it, a 6x9 Zeiss Ikonta / Super Ikonta would be an excellent way to go, because 120 film is so readily available, easily processed at professional labs, and you can shoot colour & B&W. The 9x12s are really cool, but you have to be setup to deal with sheet film, face possibly cutting down your own 4x5" film to 9x12, etc, and have the hassle of finding the plate holders.
     

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