Manufactured circa 1964, the Voigtlander Vitoret L is a viewfinder camera for 35mm. It features a 50mm f2.8 Color Lanthar lens with a Prontor 1/300 shutter. A coupled Selenium meter reads on the top plate of the camera; adjusting shutter speed or aperture moves another needle to match it.
Focus is via distance markings on the lens. There is no RF or other mechanism to assist.
I’ve loaded a roll of Ilford PanF+ 50ASA for the week. As I’m notoriously bad at estimating distances, I will be using my BLIK rangefinder a lot.
The Spartus 35 provided a nice afternoon’s shooting. It’s relatively small, light, and simple to use. The viewfinder was useless, however, as it is full of dust. Cleaning the exterior made no difference.
The shutter was also slower than I had guessed. All of my shots were a bit overexposed.
Wikipedia reports that the Holga was originally designed as an inexpensive family camera for the Chinese masses. The company envisioned a sort of Asian Kodak recording family vacations and events.
Things may not have worked out as originally intended, but I found my Holga perfectly suited to the task when we took it on a recent trip to Six Flags. Its light weight meant I could hang it around my neck and forget it, while its simple construction and lack of electronics meant I could take it places I would never dare take most of my collection.
This week’s images were shot on Portra 400 and developed at home.
Despite its precise Germanic appearance, the Beirette is a lightly built snapshot camera. I found the controls easy to manipulate accidentally, and its versatility was somewhat limited by a maximum 1/125 shutter speed. It reminded me a lot of my SMENAs; it was better looking but not as fun to use.
A flat tire last week brought me to the shop, and the Bierette was in my pocket. It makes decent images, and it does look sharp doing it. If I had to choose though, I’d take most anything from Voigtlander instead (especially my Vito B.)
The Spartus 35F “Model 400” is a Bakelite 35mm viewfinder camera manufactured by the Herold Mfg Co (Not Inc) of Chicago. It features scale focus and a single speed shutter. Four apertures are available which are selected by an aperture dial below the lens. It appears to have been made between 1951 and 1960.
Mine was an inexpensive thrift store score. I’ve guessed the single shutter speed to be around 1/100 and loaded a roll of Fuji 200 ASA color.
The Holga 120N was my entry into medium format. Prior to my return to film about 2 years ago, I knew nothing of things larger than 35mm. The Holga was an inexpensive way to learn. It features a zone focus plastic lens with symbols for Portrait, Single Person, Group, and Landscape. A switch selects different apertures for sunny or shaded, and the single speed shutter can be switched to bulb mode if you wish. Film advance is via a knob on top with a red window on the back of the camera.
I’ve found it works best with 400 ASA film, so I’ve loaded a roll of Portra 400 for the week.
This small viewfinder was manufactured in East Germany sometime between the mid 1970's and mid 1980's. I believe it is an early VSN model. It features a 1/125 shutter, f2.8 lens, and scale focus delineated in meters. Exposure is assisted by a series of symbols on the lens barrel in similar yet inverse fashion to the SMENA cameras. In this case shutter speed is varied according to the film speed, while aperture is varied according to lighting conditions.
Mine is a relatively recent eBay acquisition. I've loaded a short roll of Ilford FP4 for the week.
For this week I’ve trotted out a curiosity. The Nishika N8000 is a stereo camera from the early 1990’s. It uses fixed focus lenses to take 4 simultaneous half-frame exposures on 35mm film. It was originally intended to use lenticular printing to create 3D images which could be seen with the naked eye. (Think of those bookmarks with jumping kittens or galloping horses which appear to move when you tilt them.)
The idea never caught on, and the technology is largely dead. The camera still takes stereo exposures though, which I will attempt to stitch together into GIFs. Even if I don’t succeed, the resulting images should be interesting.
The camera has one fixed shutter speed and a switch on the front for 3 different apertures. An LED in the viewfinder lights if flash is needed. There is no built in flash, but there is a hot shoe. Everything is designed to work with 100 ASA film only.
I didn’t read the instructions this morning, so I’ve loaded a roll of 200 ASA color. I’m taking it to a muster tomorrow, but the weather is supposed to be gray. I’m sure I can compensate with the aperture switch.
Camera-wiki is a bit thin on information, but you can follow the links to see its cousins the N9000 and the Nimslo 3D
The scale focusing is simple to use, and there is a mirror arrangement which makes the setting visible in the viewfinder. There are two apertures, marked 75 and 3000 for color and B&W film respectively.
When shooting 3000 ASA B&W film, the depth of field is so wide that the camera can be focused at 5 feet and forgotten. Alas, Fuji took that option away from us this spring. (BRING BACK FP3000b!)
The camera features a large plastic handle on the strap, which Polaroid advises to hold while pulling the tabs. This is necessary as the spreader bars provide more resistance than the rollers used on more expensive pack cameras.
Some users complain about the shutter release being located on the front standard and its causing camera shake. I feel this minor issue is offset by its use of regular AA batteries.
Although a cheap entry level model, the Colorpack II is still capable of beautiful images. It’s small and tough; I’m not afraid to carry it around. My only complaint is that I miss the ringing sound made by the rollers of the more expensive units.
All shot on Fuji FP100c, which is sadly the only film currently in production for these cameras.