I find myself returning to the Tourist on a regular basis. Despite its fixed focus and limited settings, it is a joy to shoot. The shutter release is located on the side of the folding bed. When depressed, the mechanism can be seen through the viewfinder, removing any doubt as to whether the shutter has tripped. It’s just cool in a camera-geek-y kind of way..
The Tourist can be a bit fiddly to load, however. It requires 620 spools in both the feed and takeup positions; the tolerances are too tight to fudge a modified 120 spool in there. I’ve learned from past experience that with faster films it is vital to keep the cover over the red window closed when not winding to prevent light leaks. That did not seem to be an issue with 100ASA Ektar.
In my opnion, the results are worth the effort of dealing with the quirks. It creates beautiful 6x9cm negatives which are 6 1/4 times as large as a 35mm frame. With the large exposure latitude of modern film, it’s virtually a point and shoot camera.
I really enjoyed the D. When shooting a TLR I’ve found that a good neck strap is a necessity. My FPP Super Groovy strap fits the bill.
This camera has a nice, bright waist-level viewfinder. The motion is smooth and solid when focusing, winding, or shooting. I shot the entire roll on an overcast hiking day in Crawford Notch using my best guess at the “sunny 16” rule, and I’m very happy with the results.
The Yashica D is a nice, hefty twin lens reflex (TLR) camera of unknown vintage. I’m guessing mine dates from around 1960. It features a pair of 80mm Yashinon lenses; f3.5 for the taking and f2.8 for the viewing lens. Shutter speeds are up to 1/500 with M or X sync for bulbs or electronic flash. The shutter must be manually cocked via a lever on the side of the taking lens before shooting. Film advance is via a knob on the right side. Pushing a button on the knob releases it to advance one exposure, then it locks again. There is a mechanical counter next to the knob. It takes 12 6x6cm exposures on 120 film.
Focus is via another knob on the right side of the camera. The entire front of the camera moves in and out as it focuses. The waist level finder is nicely bright, and it features a flip-up magnifying loupe for fine focus adjustments. It has no light meter.
My example came from a local seller via Craigslist. Without giving away all my secrets, I’d advise you to check out IFTTT if you want to haunt your local list for similar bargains. I’ve loaded a roll of Ektar 100, attached my FPP Super Groovy neck strap, and plan to take it on a hike in the White Mountains this week.
My results with the pinhole cap on my Nikon FM2 were mixed. I remember it being sharper in the past, but I did most of my shooting without a tripod this spring.
Shooting a pinhole on an SLR is a bit odd, as the viewfinder and meter are useless. I used my neck strap and rested the camera against my abdomen. I thought a deep breath, a sold stance, and a cable release would provide adequate stability. It has in the past, and it did for some shots this time. Others weren't as lucky.
Black & white shots are FP5 stand developed in Rodinal; color is Ektar.
Introduced in 1971, the Konica C35 Automatic is a compact ragnefinder small enough to carry in a pocket. It features a fully automatic exposure system in which the shutter speed and aperture run in predefined combinations.
Mine was an eBay bargain; the leatherette is peeling from the back cover and it needs new light seals. In any event, the shutter and meter seem to function properly. I've loaded it with a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 and pocketed it for a few days.
The Anscoflex was an interesting experience for me. I've never worked with a bulb flash before.
Initially the flash was not working. I cleaned the contacts and replaced the batteries to no avail. The next step was to disassemble the camera and clean the internal contacts. Upon reassembly I learned a valuable lesson: DON'T LEAVE A BULB IN THE FLASH UNIT WHEN ASSEMBLING IT.
Once my vision returned, I assembled the unit and tried again. This time I wasn't looking directly at it when it fired. I soon discovered there was an insulator missing and the unit was grounding to the camera shell. A quick trip to the workbench produced a suitable substitute, and we were in business.
My first subjects were dazzled. Those P25 flashbulbs are impressive.
In use the viewfinder is large, clear, and easy to use. The shutter button sticks out and is easily bumped; I had to remember not to wind until ready to shoot. The double exposure prevention means I accidentally wasted a few shots.
These shots are from a previous roll that was in the camera. This week's roll is still at the lab. I accidentally discovered that using the yellow filter with Ektar produces an interesting color shift.
Above, with yellow filter. Below, without.
More to come when the other roll comes back from the lab.
I learned a long time ago that my internal balance is off slightly. Most of my images tilt a few degrees to the right and have to be corrected in post processing. The Bessa 66 taught me that I also cannot estimate distance well.
The zone focus system means you either have to measure or guess, then set the appropriate distance on the camera. I didn't guess very well. In wide aperture, low depth of field situations, my images are out of focus.
Shooting the folder is still fun. It's a sure way to attract attention in public. There is no mistaking it for a modern digital. The controls are a bit clumsy, with three levers and a focus ring arranged on the lens. Winding the film is a fully manual experience with no mechanical stops, making it easy to overwind. In spite of the sport finder, I don't think I could ever shoot this camera rapidly.
The shutter fires with a satisfying click, accompanied by a bit of clockwork whirring at the slower speeds.
In my eBay travels I stumbled upon the Kodak Signet 50 recently. After a half day of shooting it, I was disappointed. It’s oddly put together, with the film advance lever on the bottom and an odd feel. The ASA setting is jammed, and I had begun to suspect that the selenium meter may be dead. I gave up on it, rewinding a partial roll of Ektar and transferring it to my Uniomat.
I set the Signet aside on the ‘to sell’ pile and forgot it, until I got the roll developed.
I am stunned. I knew Ektar was a great film, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the results. I’m very happy with all of the Signet results. I think it has earned a second (and possibly third) chance.