Seven Nation Brownie

Okay, I lied. Haven’t gotten around to doing any more developing this week, have been distracted by things like this:

Seven Nation Brownie

It turns out that the Kodak Brownie Special Six-16 is the absolutely perfect camera to recover. They came in 620 models, too, so if you see one and want to get crafty, pick it up. The leatherette pieces all peeled off the camera without tearing, so I was able to use them as templates to cut the vinyl.

Profile of the Seven Nation Brownie

I even made sure the film advance knob got some action!

The hardest button to button

I had been planning on sewing the vinyl strap, but I was afraid that my sewing machine would scuff up the white vinyl, so I used some industrial strength velcro on the handle instead.

Back of the Seven Nation Brownie

Except for getting a funky glue spot on the front (which makes a small area of the red vinyl look dull – I’m going to see if I have anything to clean that with today), I’m really happy with it! It’s sparkly! Now I just need to dig out another 616 spool (I have some 116s, but not so many spare 616s) and respool some film.

Diafine in the Summertime

New York Diptych

I hadn’t intended on doing any developing this weekend, but as we started trying out some of the new cameras, it seemed like the thing to do. I decided to give Diafine another chance, primarily because it was hot and I was lazy. It was already mixed up, and since you use water in place of a stop bath, there was one less chemical I had to deal with. Also, Diafine works well at warmer temps than other black and white chems, which was nice since I was developing out in the garage this time.

I had plenty of issues with Diafine last time, but this time went a little better, I think mainly because it was at a warmer temp. I’m still not crazy about it for sheet film. I have no idea why, but I just seem to get weird little dots and marks on the sheet film that don’t seem to show up on roll film. It probably has something to do with agitation.

So, here’s what Diafine is good for:

1. Developing found film. It absolutely rocks for this. It eats 60 year old Verichrome Pan like it’s a tasty dooughnut.

Mmmm, doughnuts…

2. Cross processing color negative film into black and white. The picture above was shot with Fuji NPS160, a color negative film. Dropped it into the Diafine, and it came out perfectly processed without having to stress out over developing time.

3. Developing film when the ambient temp is too warm for other black and white chems.

4. Developing film when you just have one or two rolls of film to work with, instead of an epic amount (which is how I normally develop).

So, what was I developing (besides the above roll of film, which was shot with the Savoy and left over from the New York trip)? Well, we started to get out some of our auction cameras and experiment with them. Or, I should say, Travis fell in love with a few cameras, so we started using those.

One of the first lots we won at the auction was a box filled with a bunch of miscellaneous cameras, the Agfa Readyset being one of them.

Agfa Readyset

It was the only camera I wound up getting that was loaded with a roll of film. It also came with a box, carrying case, and exposure guide. It’s in perfect condition, and Travis immediately bonded with it, so I guess it’s his now. He finished off the roll that was in the camera, and then immediately picked out a roll of Gevaert 620 that expired in 1947 to load into the camera.

Travis hearts the Readyset

And then he shot that roll up in about 40 minutes. It’s camera love, I tell you! I don’t even think I’ve touched the Readyset yet! Granted, the decades old roll of film was barely able to capture an image, but no matter. It’s now loaded up with some respooled Ektachrome that’s less than 10 years old. Fresh!

So, that’s Travis’ new camera. Here’s the one I’ve bonded with so far:

Revueflex E

It’s the mighty Revueflex E! Yeah, I’ve never heard of it before either. Apparently, it’s a rebranded version of the Zenit E, another camera I’ve never heard of before. All I know is that it’s big and clunky, the aperture ring seems to be the opposite of reality, it’s enitrely non-intuitive to use, and the lens sometimes looks like it’s getting ready to just give up and fall off the front of the camera. I kind of love it. I threw a generic roll of color negative film into it and am halfway through shooting the roll.

So Travis has the Readyset, and I’m having fun with the Revueflex, but we both can agree when it comes to one thing – the awesomeness of the RB Graflex Tele.

RB Telescopic Graflex

There is so much weird about this camera, I don’t even know where to begin. When it’s all closed up, it looks like a simple box with some metal mechanisms on one side of it. There is no obvious way to open up the front of the camera. We finally figured out that if you turn the knob at the bottom, the little door on the front of the camera pops open and the lens and bellows begin to extend.

Okay. But then how do you focus?

Hello, Tank!

Oh! You pull up on the handle on top of the camera, and a viewing hood extends up! And that’s when it hit us – this was not like our other Graphics. This was a true Graflex, a single lens reflex. That means there’s a mirror inside of the camera that allows you to focus, but then also flips up and out of the way when the shutter is pushed.

Oh yes, the shutter. Now how do we fire that?

Curtain aperture

Um… what in the who now?

It turns out that the metal mechanisms on the side control two things – which aperture setting the curtain shutter is set to, and the amount of tension that is used to pull the curtain down. So, if I wanted a shutter speed of 1/100, I’d round up to 1/110, and then set the curtain aperture at 3/8 of an inch (that’s the actual size of the hole in the curtain) and set the tension to 1.

That may sound really confusing, but after the first few tries, it started to make sense.

There’s actually some really cool features that the RB (or ‘Tank,’ as Travis named it, since it’s army green and black) has that Zarl and Zarl Jr don’t have. The viewing hood is really nice. It’s easy to focus, you don’t have to worry about glare, and you don’t have to worry about composing a shot and then having the camera move when you shove the film pack in, since you can load your film holder into the camera first, and then focus. Also, the “RB” in the name stands for ‘rotating back.’ That means the back of the camera will actually turn, so if you want to shoot a vertical photo, you don’t have to turn the entire camera or the tripod.

The RB takes 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ and special Graflex sheet film holders – apparently the regular ones don’t work in this particular camera. All we got at the auction was this particular camera, no extras. So you’d think that since we would need such specialty items, it would be a little while before we could try out this camera.

Well, not so! Turns out last summer, I bought a big lot of 4×5 film holders on ebay that also wound up coming with 3 3×4 film holders… specifically, the kind that you need to use with this camera. I never really thought much about them before, or noticed that they looked slightly different than the other film holders, but serendipitously, they turned out to be just what we needed.

Also, I wound up buying a pack of film (also on ebay) a few months back – I assume with the thought of using it in a pinhole camera – of Kodak Orthographic film. I know I bought it because it was originally supposed to be used with an electron microscope, and, well, electron microscopes are cool. But when it came, it turned out to be a lot smaller than I had anticipated, so I never opened it.

So, score on both counts, because the film fit into the film holders, albeit a little loosely. And since it’s orthographic film, it’s a lot slower than normal film – its film speed is rated at 12 (as opposed to 100 or 200, etc). We had to use slower shutter speeds and wide open apertures.

But keeping in mind the slightly bewildering developing affects from the Diafine, the actual image quality is pretty damn good.

Agfa Readyset portrait

Here’s a detail from the above photo at 100%:

Detail of the Readyset

Neat, huh?

We went to the camera show on Saturday, and I got a bunch of film, a new lens and lensboard for Zarl (it was cheap-ish, and the $5 lens made me nervous enough on vacation to want a reliable back-up), and a few boxes of old photo paper and glass plates (I know, I know… one more thing for me to try out). Most of the stuff for sale there, though, was more geared toward “The Camera Collector” – people who spend thousands of dollars on gear and shoot with Leicas and stuff like that. Which is fine, but not really what I’m into. I mean, there was almost no film for sale here – I guess because everyone shoots with in-date stuff and doesn’t deal with the expired film? Heresy!

Even with the film I did wind up getting, and the $3 box of glass plates, I still think Travis managed to find the score of the weekend – a pair of Kodak rocks glasses, which we used to drink copious amounts of alcohol while performing the Great Memorial Day Weekend Film Inventory:

The film inventory is still ongoing...

In which I find a use for junk

My dining room table is covered with camera junk, so I tried organizing it today. Now I have 4 medium sized bins with organized camera junk in them. So, I’ll have to find a spot for the bins to live. It’s a never ending battle. And the dining room table is still covered in camera junk!

Anyway, finally got up the nerve to detach the face of the Autographic 2A from the bellows. I had to tell myself that the main body of the camera was trashed, and that I was giving new life to the parts that still functioned correctly. It was still a little nerve wracking, though. I looked for a simple way to remove the face from the bellows, but if there was one, I couldn’t find it. I finally just wound up cutting the front of the bellows around the back of the face with an Exacto knife. Not exactly elegant, but it worked.

I was happy with the pinhole I made when I tried out the 2A earlier this week, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked. I basically made my pinhole in the center of an aluminum circle, and used electrical tape to tape it to the front of the shutter mechanism, therefore covering up everything that made it look awesome to begin with. I tried to figure out a better, more attractive solution today, and came across a box of broken watch parts Travis had picked up at an antique store a while ago. There’s all sorts of tiny gears and springs in there, and, more importantly, watch faces of a bunch of different sizes. What I did was cut my aluminum circle down and then taped it firmly to the back of a watch face (electrical tape, again, that stuff is my crack), making sure I centered up the pinhole with the center hole of the face. Then I superglued that to the ring the lens screwed into in front of the shutter.

Time to make a pinhole camera!

The shutter is about 1/4 inch behind the watch face, so it still operates smoothly. I had a bit of a light leak, but I think I managed to fix that by wrapping some cord in electrical tape and shoving that in the cracks. It looked light tight to me after I did that, but I guess I won’t know until I do a test run.

I still need to make the basic box, of course. I was originally thinking about constructing it out of black foamcore, and then wrapping the entire box with chunks of 120 backing paper. Decoupage would have been involved. I like this idea because I have a ton of backing papers saved up (I can never bring myself to throw them away unless they get torn) and I think it would look cool, but also because the backing papers would hopefully make it even more light tight. However, I think I may save that idea for another pinhole camera. I don’t really want to take anything away from the old 2A face, so I may make the outside of it out of birch plywood of something like that. Something simple. I’ll have to see what scraps I have in the garage. The inside will probably still be made out of the black foamcore, though.

I think I’m going to go make it about 2 1/2-3″ deep. I’d rather have aswide of an angle as possible, but I’m still afraid of getting a bunch of vignetting in the pictures. 3″ should work.

Randomly, here’s another picture from the Mad Developing Spree. This was taken with the Savoy and shows off the weird distortion of this camera. I heart it.

Bent World

127 Shoot-out!

Spent the past 3 days developing about 5 metric tons of color film.

What remains

That’s just some of the shrapnel from Day One. I used the Unicolor kit, as planned, and mixed up a third of it. I think I’ve used the color chems as much as possible before they’re completely cashed. I was able to process:
1 roll of 116 (which didn’t have any images on it, but at least the film developed)
3 rolls of 120
15 rolls of 35 mm/126
3 rolls of 127
2 sheets of 4×5 film

So, that’s a pretty good haul for 666 ml of chems. Admittedly, some of the rolls (like the 116) was old found film – I developed 3 rolls of process C-22 stuff, and of those rolls, only one came out with any sort of images detectable on them (I haven’t scanned them in yet). I had several rolls of 126 where I was able to pick up really faint, grainy images. But that’s not where I want to go today. today, I want to talk about two of my 127 cameras, the Brownie Reflex…

Brownie Reflex

…and the Awesomeness that is the Skylab Camera, the Revere Eye-Matic.

Revere Eye-Matic

I got the Brownie Reflex in the same ebay auction that had the Polaroid 230 in it. It was in pretty bad shape – there was mold and crap all over the inside of the viewing lens, but really, it only took me a few minutes to break down the camera and clean it up. After that, the viewing lens was bright and clear, and it was good to go. So, I loaded it up with some Efke 127 film and took it out for a test drive.

I thought I had loaded the camera up with regular Efke, but instead, like a doofus, I accidentally used one of the rolls of infrared Efke Travis had gotten me for Christmas. FAIL! So, I shot the whole roll of 820 speed Efke without a filter. As a result, everything came out really overexposed. I wound up scanning everything in as color, and then desaturating in Photoshop. I’d rather have dark skies than blown-out everything.

Actually, I wound up liking some of the pics quite a bit.

Bridge o' Dreams

Creepy barn

I find myself pairing together pictures from side by side frames with 127 film more than I do with any other format of film. Sometimes the images just seem to like to cuddle up next to each other.

Abandoned furnace thingy

I brought another roll of film along on Brownie Reflex Day – I grabbed a roll of Kodacolor 200 film that I had gotten off of ebay. This expired in November of 1989, so I was really curious what sort of color weirdness I would get with it, or if I would even get images at all. Turns out 20 year old water-damaged British film worked all right!

I did little, if any, color correcting because I liked the way the original scans looked.

Chew Mail Pouch

No trespassing

Field and tree

Not too sure why this roll of film seemed to be way more light leaky than the Efke. Anyway, very pleased with the results of the 20 year old film. I think I’ve got 2 more rolls of this stuff to use; I’ll probably take one to Washington DC.

I’ve had the Revere Eye-Matic since last summer. I bought it on ebay for $7 or $8, I think, and got it because it came with 3 rolls of 127 film (Process E-2 unfortunately). The camera is absolutely hilarious. It is large and heavy, and could easily kill someone if tossed at a skull. I found this advert on Flickr about it – turns out this camera cost about $133 at the time it was made (1959-60).

It’s a rangefinder, which I’m still getting used to. When it came, the camera was set on frame number 3 (there’s no red window in this baby, just an automatic film advance), so I worked on the assumption that there was a roll of film inside. I finished up the roll, and sure enough, the camera was actually loaded with film – more of the process E-2 stuff. So, I haven’t developed that yet (I am going to attempt that, just not today). The Eye-matic just sat around after that, sad and lonely, until Travis jokingly suggested that we stick it in his backpack when we go hiking to help him get used to having weight in it. Once he said that, I was all, “Oh hey! I’ve got the spliced 127 Portra film ready to go!” I stuck a roll in the Eye-matic and we went out in the front yard to take pictures.

I made Travis try the camera. It just freaked him out, so I think he shot one or two frames and gave it back to me.

Travis HATES this camera

I finished up the roll and developed it that evening. Now, I’m not sure if the subsequent weirdness as far as the color goes comes from my not having the chems at the correct temperature, but I suspect that was the case. I really half-ass color developing. I figure it’s supposed to be fun, so I don’t stress out trying to get a perfect 102 degrees. As long as I’m getting any image, I’m happy. But in this case, I was thrilled, because my other experience with Portra NC160 was really disappointing – the colors were just bland and normal. I have a ton of that film, too, and was all bummed out about it. Developing Portra in black and white chems was an improvement, but apparently developing it in cold/exhausted color chems does weirdness, too.

Pensive Wee

Look at this crazy sky! (This is one of Travis’ pics, obviously):

Me before the impending apocalypse

I also got a weird light leak or something on one of the frames. I have no idea how, though – the rest of the film was fine.

Watch out for light leaks!

Maybe something happened to the film when I was splicing it. It’s possible it got exposed by a static spark or something.

Anyway, as far as rangefinders go, this one is pretty easy to use, at least to me. I also like the weird circular refraction you get when things are out of focus, like in the above picture. The Yashica 44 does that, too, and I think it’s neat.

I’ll be selling the Brownie Reflex on ebay probably in a few days. It’s a good little camera, but I have other 127s I like and will probably use more. I’m hanging onto the Eye-matic, though. It makes me laugh just looking at it. I’d love to take it someplace like Wright-Patterson and take a bunch of airplane pictures with it. It has that early 60s retro-future “Explore! Adventure! SPACE!” feeling to it.

In which I help stimulate Indiana’s economy

Indiana camera haul

All right, I didn’t spend that much money there. Actually, everything I got was really cheap, with the exception of the Target 620 (that was $15 – more than I normally pay for an old box camera, but it had film inside, so I got sucked in).

First, the cameras. The 620 and Dualflex IV came from an antique shop in Speedway. It’s about a block and a half away from the actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we got there early, so we wandered around for a little while taking pictures. I was using an Instamatic camera loaded with GAF color film from the 70s or early 80s. I’ll have to check and see what the actual expiration date was. Not too terribly sure how I’m going to crack open the cartridge to get to the film, but I’ll deal with that later.

Anyway, like I said, the Target 620 was $15, but it was loaded with a roll of Verichrome Pan, so I grabbed it. The Dualflex IV was a silly purchase, since it was not loaded with film, and I already have a Dualflex II with a better lens. However, the booth it was in had everything marked 1/2 off, and it was only $5 after the discount – since it was in pretty good condition I decided to grab it. I like the fact that it’s brown instead of black. I have too many black cameras.

Picked up the Savoy and the Clix-O-Flex at an antique mall in Muncie. I’m nutty in love with the Savoy. It’s got that whole retro-space feel to it that is awesome.

Atomic mintyness

It’s in immaculate condition, too. $6 for the Savoy.

The Clix-O-Flex, on the other hand, looked like someone had flung it up against a wall and then kicked mud on it. Here it is, cleaned up a little bit:

Clix-O-Flex front

The Bakelite ring around the lens is cracked. It has funk everywhere. The viewfinder gives me a triple image. I probably would have passed it up had it not had a roll of Verichrome Pan in it. The asking price was $10, but I was able to get it for $5. I normally don’t haggle (because I suck at it), but even with the film in it, there’s no way it was worth $10.

It does have its charm, though. It takes 127 film, and thanks to Travis, I’ve well stocked up on that. The quilted diamond front is pretty cool. I really like the rectangular viewfinder, triple image and all.

I shot the rest of the film in both the Target 620 and the Clix-O-Flex, and, oddly, the winding dials on both cameras seized up after the last frame. I can’t advance the film anymore, so I’m going to have to try opening them in the dark to get the film out safely. I don’t care so much about the Target 620 (although it does have an attractive front), but it would be cool if I could use the Clix-O-flex as a working camera.

The other photo-y things I picked up in Indiana include an old Bakelite developing tank for sheet film. It cost $2.

Inside of the tank

The lid and light trap are missing a few small chunks of Bakelite, but nothing that looks too critical. I figured I can test it out and if I get hideous light leaks, I can try to patch it. The rack part in the tank is adjustable. It was wedged pretty well in there at a smaller size than 4×5, and Travis and I had to mess with it for about 15 minutes before we finally got the rack thingies to move. I guess if I ever mess with sheet film smaller than 4×5, I can use this tank to develop it, too.

Here’s the Polaroid AutoProcessor for Polaroid 35mm film:

Polaroid AutoProcessor

This cost $4. If it works, it’ll be worth the price. I’ve got two rolls of Polaroid 35mm film – one is their slide film, and the other is Polablue, which makes really contrasty blue images. I’d love it if I could actually develop these film, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’ll probably try shooting this film in the next month or so – it’s not like the developer that was included with the film is going to get better with age. I suspect it’s all dry and crunchy now.

Also picked up some old Kodak books:

Kodak books

I got these three and two smaller ones. 4 of the books were 25 cents each (the other was $3.00). Actually, the thing that was $3.00 is pocket-sized Kodak Master Photoguide printed in 1954 (the other 4 books are all circa late 40s/early 50s). The Photoguide is basically page after page of dials and information so you can easily figure out exposure data, depth of field, aperture, etc. It looks like something I may actually use. All of the old books have info about the old films (Verichrome Pan, etc) that I’m finding in cameras, so that’s pretty nifty.

I’ve got this gigantic backlog of color film I need to develop, but I think I want to pick up an aquarium heater before I do so so I can keep the chems at approximately the right temp. I’ve got some color chems I mixed up in August or September that may (or may not) still be viable. If not, I can mix up one more small batch to use. I may take the bold step of ordering a bigger C-41 kit from Freestyle next time I place an order with them, and maybe even an E-6 (color slide developing) kit, too.