A few years ago I became interested in photography. I was mostly attracted to the old twin-lens reflex cameras, but soon I had to face the fact that my weak eyes cannot focus well enough (my contact lenses are not able to fully correct my vision).
I found it frustrating that in order to take a sharp photograph, one would actually have to see what they are photographing – and see it sharply. I did not enjoy guessing the distance; it made photography a stressful experience. That’s when I turned my gaze to the box cameras, and eventually got a Pajtás 6×6 box camera in my hands.
This very light Bakelite machine was manufactured in Hungary between 1955 and 1962. An improved version, named Superbox, was patented in 1956, but it did not reach mass-production. The Pajtás has a focus-free 80mm achromat lens with a maximum aperture of f/8. It has only one shutter speed: 1/30 sec (plus a Bulb mode). But there are three aperture options: f/8, f/11 and f/16.
The Pajtás I used was a borrowed camera which I’ve now returned. To show you what it looks like, I’ve used an image from this review by George Pauka (with his kind permission).
I took some multi-exposure pictures with the Pajtás Camera, this being one of my areas of interest in photography. Due to the 80mm focal length, in smaller indoor spaces and rooms, it can be difficult to find the right composition and fit everything into the frame (one of the photos I’ve shared is a portrait, where you can sense the small size of the room).
I feel that a camera like Pajtás has its place in the photography community. For example, those who don’t crave extremely sharp images and are attracted to the Lomography style, those who are happy to be on the road with a light, simple camera – they will love the Pajtás. I would say that Pajtás photos have a similar aesthetic to photos taken with the Holga 120N. Some people informed me that that the Pajtás is just a toy camera. But I did not let this discourage me. I love to play, and I think a lot can be brought out of this little camera.
The inexpensive camera was very popular in Hungary in the 1950s and ’60s, with almost 200,000 units produced. So now, it often pops up in used-goods stores and flea markets in and around Hungary. Current prices vary, usually between 15-30 euros. I would love to recommend the camera to Lomography enthusiasts and those who have the desire or defiance to take photographs with an analogue camera, even in the absence of sharp vision.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy my pictures taken with the Pajtás box camera. Finally, I would also like to thank Röckné Tüske Krisztina for helping with the translation from Hungarian into English.