It’s funny what catches your eye when you’re casually roaming around the ‘Bay. The words “rapid rectilinear” caught my eye, a lens type well respected in it’s day. After a little negotiation with the seller, for a good price it was on its way to its new home. Although, as far as I could tell, not entirely un-interfered with at some point in it’s history, the box is in surprisingly good condition for a camera that’s about a century old with a working shutter and a clean lens.
After semi-stand developing a roll of Kentmere 100 in caffenol, I was pleasantly surprised how well the negs came out all things considered. There was a stop or two of overexposure (as expected) and fair bit of flare when the sun was anywhere but over my shoulder. When you also factor in a light leak from the rather pale frame counter window (even though I had a film box end flap taped over it when not needed) the scans came out pretty well. Although far from a stellar resolver, the lens did surprisingly well, with an even-handed, low distortion rendering. The biggest limitation to sharpness was probably me, with all photos taken handheld at the only shutter speed available of around 1/30th second.
The last time I used a box camera, flared trousers were still in fashion the first time round, so it was fun to use one again despite the tiny, rather awkward portrait/landscape viewfinders and decidedly limited functionality.
At some point I intend to use it again, though next time with a steady platform to stand it on. With no threaded bush, some sort of diy adaptation will be needed to mount it to a tripod.
There’s something quite rewarding about creating surprisingly useable images with a camera that was introduced in 1923 and processing them through a home-brewed developer.
Thankyou for reading my ramblings.
First frame: Parton Village, D & G. Remaining frames: Crossmichael Church, D & G.
More of my film-based images with kit old and (relatively) new can be found on https://grainery.app/login
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