Thursday, December 04, 2014

Camera Collection: Revue ML

Quite a number of German companies purchased products in the former GDR (East Germany) and sold the items in the West German market re-branded under different names. Foto-Quelle, the largest photo retailer in 1970, did this with quite a number of cameras (more info). This specific model, the Revue ML, is a re-labeled Praktica MLT 5B by Pentacon. They produced more than 500.000 of it between 1985 and 1989. There are dozens of it for sale at Ebay, mostly at unreasonable high buy-now prices at 30 Euro and more, I got 2 for 12 Euro.

Foto Quelle Revue ML
More info:

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Panorama Camera Collection: Kodak Fun Save Panoramic 35

This camera is the other/lower end compared with my other panorama cameras. You could buy this disposable camera in the 80's and 90's for a few bucks in any convenience store. This particular model was made for the Japanese market and expired in 1991. Hard to find them nowadays, I will keep in my collection.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Camera Collection: Canon AE1

This fantastic camera was introduced in 1976 and successfully sold until 1984 (1 million units). Quite a milestone in SLR history, the first camera equipped with a microprocessor. You can find them easily on Ebay from 20 to 100 Euro in average.
Canon AE-1
More info:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Panorama Camera Collection: Noblex 135N

This was actually my first film panorama camera I bought somewhere in 2001. Produced by Kamerawerk Dresden since early 1990's the camera follows the same principle as Widelux and Horizont cameras with a rotating lens (swinglens). It exposes on 35mm film 19 24x66 mm images with roughly 135 degree of view with a fix focus 29mm f/4.5 lens.
The N/S/U version differ by shutter speed range (actually no shutter involved!) and shift control. The N offers shutterspeed from 1/60 to 1/500 and no shift, U and S have shift, U extends to 1sec and S (sport) to 1/30.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Panorama Camera Collection: Seitz Roundshot 28 220

One of the jewels of my panorama camera collection, the Seitz Roundshot 28 220 which was introduced somewhere in 2002 and I bought a used set early 2007.
The set comes with body, lens, view finder and battery charger in a pelican case. My serial number is 009. Wonder how many they produced.
Did not use it for quite a while, I still run it once in a while to keep the mechanics smooth.

Interesting facts about the camera:

  • It exposes 120 film but uses a 35mm format lens, the Nikon 28mm/3.5 PC (Perspective Control, aka wider image circle) lens.
  • It has a standard Nikon mount, though it wont render any useful images with another Nikon lens. Never tried that.

You can notice a significant fall-off at the top and the bottom, sometimes my camera also produce the strange exposure problem on the left side.

More infos:

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Camera Collection: Bilora Stahlbox

Produced between 1948 and 1952 by Bilora, a company still in existence, but they stopped producing cameras in 1979. This camera, like all boxes, cant be more simple. Put in a 120 film, click the button to get a fix focus - fix aperture - fix speed - picture. The total reverse of any hightech loaded DSLR. The box would work at any condition I guess, provided the light conditions fit the settings.
This would I got for 3 Euro ! and it is in quite mint conditions plus a slightly stinky case.
(The shipping cost me twice as much.)
Bilora Box
Some info about the camera and Bilora:

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Camera Collection: lhagee Exa 1a

Like the EXA 500 this camera was produced by lhagee (later VEB Pentacon) in Dresden between 1964 and 1977. 

More infos:

Sunday, November 02, 2014

KMZ Horizont Manual

Share this with you, in case you come across a Horizont camera without a manual.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Panorama Camera Collection: KMZ Horizont

My latest addition to my panorama camera collection, the first real panoramic camera for the last few years. The Horizont was produced between 1967 and 1973, a direct successor to the FT-2 (which I already own since 2007). This one is in quite good condition for the fact it is well in its 40's.
Other than the FT-2 the camera uses plain standard 135 film and I am looking forward to give it a spin.

KMZ Horizont
Made in USSR
Some more info about this camera:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How to clean sticky rubber grips

The recently purchased used Nikon F70D with the panorama feature is more lessuseless because of the extreme sticky back. It must be a longterm reaction between rubber, sweat and humidity. Is not a pleasure to touch at all, your hands literally become sticky too. Anyway, someone recommended to have a try with alcohol, and I am not talking about having a drink while using the camera. I got some alcohol from the pharmacy for a few Euro's (actually the bottle costs half the price I bought the camera for) and started wiping, nothing to loose than the camera back. Indeed it works, though you must be prepared to to a lot of wiping and rubbing before a clean layer of rubber comes through the smudgy stuff. Can plan a good 1 hour before it is done.
I don't give any guarantee on this, not sure if the effect comes or whatever side-effect will surface.

Nikon F70D sticky back (red: before;green: after)
without words

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Camera Collection: Praktica LTL3

Another rock solid metal camera, the Praktica LTL3 produced by VEB Pentacon between in Dresden between 1975 and 1978. I bought this for 25,- Euro's and it comes with this fantastic old-fashion Stasi look-alike observation bag. Plus 3 bw Agfa films for the Chinese market (from the mid 80's) with a DM (Deutsche Mark, defunct currency before 2001) price tag on it.
Praktica LTL3 with manual and accessories leaflet

Action Bag

Open Action Bag

Agfa XR100i China


Friday, October 10, 2014

How to take picture - A basic guide from the 60's

This little leaflet (by DEWAG* in 1965) came with the original box the EXA500 was packed in. It is a basic guide how to take pictures by the camera maker explaining the basics of photography available at the 1960's in the former GDR (DDR). It is called 'erinnerungen sind eine kamera wert' ('memories are worth a camera') and written in rather old-fashion style.
Here the scanned version, hopefully not infringing any IP of a defunc company in history, this is meant for educational purpose and to keep camera history.

(*) DEWAG - Deutsche Werbe- und Anzeigengesellschaft, the governmental advertising agency, not the german company that operates under this name today. (Wikipedia)

Camera Collection: EXA 500

My latest addition to my camera collection. The EXA 500 was build in the former German Democratic Republic (DDR, aka East Germany) from 1968 to 1969. About 100.000 were built. The export version of the same camera was called EXAKTA 500, it got is name from the additional shutterspeed of 1/500, it is using a focal plane shutter. Solid metal handicraft work by lhagee founded back in 1921. The company was taken over by the government owned company VEB Pentacon. More in-deep info at the links in the reference section.
Unfortunately the model I bought does not work any more.

lhagee EX 500


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Consumer Cameras of the 1960's

I collected quite some 'consumer' cameras from the 50's and 60's, just unwrapped these cameras to be displayed on a shelf or stored in a dry cabinet. Not worth a lot, but they all still work fine and its fun to look at these old clunky metal bodies.
Mostly Agfa Isoly, Click, Clack, Isolette, Silette and others. I did not touhch this box since moving back to Europe 15 months ago. Btw, they were all wrapped, I just set this up for the picture.
What a contradiction to take a box of film cameras with a digital camera and then fake the bw image.
Camera Collection

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Why film can't be dead

We have the year 2014, most major companies (Agfa,..)gave up on producing film, though some smaller companies do so.
SLR cameras fron the 80's and 90's, basically most of the plastic bodies, go for a few Euros on ebay, but the prices medium format cameras achieve is breath taking. I don’t believe you buy eg. a Mamiya 6 for 900 Euros just to put it on a shelf. Except my panorama cameras, all the old cameras I buy, wont cost more than 50 Euro each.
Linhof Master Technika sold at 964 Euro
Mamiya 6 at 912 Euros
Linhof is certainly a well known brand, like Leica, it wont loose value, despite Linhof is still producing (non digital) cameras .

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Film Stock

Despite not using any film for a few years I still have quite a stock of film, I just discovered this 2 boxes with mostly 135 and some 120 roll film. Of course between 6 and 10 years expired, which should not be a problem for a black and white film. Guess will sell some of the film, at least any color/slide film and the infamous Shanghai film which is not worth to use developer on.

Panorama Camera Collection: F70D

Didnt add cameras lately to my collection of cameras with panoramic features and real panorama cameras. I came across this F70D (N70 in the US) which was introduced in 1994 and came with a panorama switch that allow to change from the fullframe 24x36mm to 13x36mm format (panorama by masking). The F70D is considered slightly rare, not as common as the regular F70 model.
SLR cameras from the late 80's to 90's you find on ebay for a few Euros or Dollars only.
Nikon F70D
Back with panorama switch
This camera has the usual problem, the rubber (20 years old) on the back starts to dissolve due to humidity and sweat and is quite sticky. Alcohol might solve the problem.

Some basic info at Wikipedia.

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 - Film is (still) not dead

Almost 3 years passed and I did not touch any film. I moved from one continent to another in the meantime bringing along all cameras and film stock (I sold all 120 slide film though but kept the bw stock). Now I am getting serious, the last weekend I shot one roll of Jessops black and white film in the infamous panorama plastic camera. I still have two packets of Xtol but had to order some fixer. I almost have to learn again how to take out the film and put it into the Job drum !
I will wait for tomorrow night and take out the film from the camera, finally living in a house again that has dark places.

Will keep you posted on this !

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kodak: End-of-Life'd

I cant believe that one of the most traditional or historical photography equipment and film companies (Kodak on Wikipedia) is going down the drain (link) and filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The company made photography accesible to the masses in the early years and introduced or invented a couple of fantastic things. To name a few:
  • 1900: The Brownie Camera
  • 1935: Kodachrome
  • 1963: Instamatic Camera
  • 1975: The digital camera (Engineer Steven Sasson)
  • 1986: First Megapixel Sensor
More than a few time Kodak missed the train with their products and the competitors happily overtook.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Film is not dead

I cant believe this year has passed so quickly. I noticed not a single post on this blog for a whole year. This actually reflects how many photographs (film) I created this year: Zero ! Reviewing my equipment in the dry cabinet I suddenly felt very bad and decided to develop a last roll that was still in the camera from 2010 and scan some of the negatives. I miss using the Noblex and the Roundshot, I will try to find some time in 2012 to use them.
So this is my tribute to film panorama for 2011. Two solid Agfa APX (original, not the remake) panoramas made with the Noblex.
All the best to my panoramic friends for 2012. May film be around for another few years !

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Noblex ceased production

Sad to post that another classic film based camera is no longer produced. Noblex Germany, based in Dresden, stopped the production. I have a 135S and always looked for a 150. Noblex Canada took over the service with the remaining spare parts shipped from Dresden. You better dont break it now.
Noblex Canada

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Noblex Re-Started

The very first outing for the Noblex after about a year of loneliness in the dry cabinet and its owner realizing there was still a film inside. And one more time I did the error of not "moving" it for a long period. The lens barrel would not rotate before several rounds of "supported" turning (aka turn it manually and listen to the squeeky sound). Finally it worked (turned at variou speeds without disturbing sounds) and I loaded an AgfaPan (from the 100 year supply fridge) and it had a little walkabout around town.
Half way through the film it started to get difficult to to forward the film, 2 more shots and it got stuck completely.. in both directions ! Only in my makeshift darkroom I could open the body and feel the mess, the film got tangled between the transporting mechanism. I recovered the film (badly fodled at 2 positions) and put it in an empty film can, hoping my lab will accept that.
Before wasting anther panoramic opportunity, I dry-run with some crap left-over film and see if there is any persistent problem. It seems to work fine, we will see.

Noblex from inside:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What happened to (Panorama) Photography ?

My blog has been very quiet this year (with hardly 3 entries so far), and so was my photography. Let me write down some of my thoughts about current photography.

What happened to Photography ?
Rewinding 10 years from now to 1999, the time I used a SLR and a medium format camera, and printed in my own darkroom, photography was something ordinary people were doing during their holiday or birthday parties only. You would see only professionals or hobbyists (aka. artists, semi-pro,..) using cameras regularly. That was the pre-digital era (few digital cameras at a low quality were available though) and the pre-mobile-phone time (yes, they were available but not everyone was carrying around 2 of them to ensure being connected all the time). Panorama Photography was truly an exceptional photographic form with exclusively film panorama cameras only.
Today photography is prostituted at large. Film photography disappeared almost completely, but digital photography is everywhere. Everyone is a photographer now (or claims to be), even more since mobile phones bring their build-in 6MP camera along. Wherever I go I see people either taking pictures with their iPhone's or with a DSLR dangling around their neck. We got virtually flooded with digital imagery. It is hard to find quality images in the classic sense, free of visible digital alchemy.
The product "photography" is dead in the commercial sense. Picture libraries are offering flatrates for images. Still they are the exclusive ones or the libraries working in niche markets but few photographers make a living of that. I met too many who gave up.

What happened to Panorama Photography ?
Panorama photography is getting more common in the sense of the digital age. Creating panoramas becomes just a result of the camera (with build-in panorama modes), such as the latest Sony model that only requires you to sweep along a scene to get a panorama. Software is getting smarter and faster, and with a few clicks anyone can venture into the panorama business.

What happened to my Photography ?
I didnt make any (film based) photographs this year. I didnt shoot or look much at photographs besides the day-by-day images (you usually do of your family or some simple product shots). Guess my version of an interrim creative break. Now the urge for outstanding photographs is coming back and I started de-dust my film equipment. Tired of HDR'd pictures and awful (even technical perfect) digital imagery, I am eager to take decent pictures and only few of them and enjoy some prints. My style or favorite subjects didnt change much, I still love decay and simple objects. Not necessary all gonna be taken with film but less images with more impact. I will focus on classic panorama formats again.
Also my project to create a book is back now, especially since mockup books are very cheap now from most of the online print-shops.

Stay tuned.