I had high hopes for my 203-i. On paper it looks like a great camera. My first experience was otherwise, but it got better.
My gripes are small, but they kept me from enjoying the camera. The leather case is thick enough that it casts a shadow on the film windows, making accurate film advance difficult. I did find this to be less of a problem in more subdued light. The lever actually feels odd on this type of camera. I wanted to advance until something told me to stop. Nothing did.
I left the camera partially exposed for over a month. When I took it up later to finish the roll, my experience was much better. I removed the case and had no problem advancing the film properly. The whole experience just felt better without the clumsy case.
This one will be revisited soon.
On October 11, we took the bus for a day with our fellow VW nuts (enthusiasts!) at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. Although named for the iconic buses, VW’s of all stripes were welcome.
I have heard large format photographers claim that their cameras force them to slow down when shooting. I experience a version of this phenomenon when shooting a twin lens reflex.
The waist level finder forces one to let the camera hang, look down, and frame carefully. The reflex mirror causes the image to be reversed from side to side, forcing me to think more when framing. On the Super Ricohflex, I often use the flip-up loupe magnifier to ensure a proper focus.
It’s a nice camera to shoot, although not as smooth as my Yashicamat. The shutter requires only a light touch to set or fire. The focus is still stiff, but it does work. I’ve been working on my Sunny 16 technique for meterless cameras, and most of my shots required only minimal post-processing.
This is another camera which cannot be mistaken for a modern digital and will definitely attract attention in public.
(Shot on Ilford FP4; stand developed 60 minutes in Rodinal 1+100.)