I forget how I acquired this Balda Baldix camera but I love the compact nature of it, and how it “pops” out at the touch of button on top which never fails to amuse me. This is a very compact camera for a 120 film camera, it has a f/3.5 75mm lens and is all manual with no light meter. In fact taking a shot is even more complicated than normal.
You have to rewind the film advance knob fully before winding onto the next frame (I lost a few frames with the first film due to this) then cock the shutter, select the aperture and then guess the distance on the scale. There are a couple of red marks on the aperture and distance scale and I guess these are for a “snap” focus setting to help grab shots.
I have been meaning to put a film through this camera for a while, so compact in it’s leather case, it went with us to Tuscany in Italy this year with two rolls of expired Porta 400. I normally shoot black and white (digitally and analogue) so this would be interesting using a camera almost as old as me.
The Balda Baldix was produced around 1955-57 in Germany and I love the design and construction, apart that is from the viewfinder. The viewfinder is amazingly small, and even worse for spectacle users. You could fit a viewfinder on the top but that’s another step in the already long process that makes taking close shots even harder through trying to guess any parallax adjustments.
The lighting in Tuscany was fairly harsh as the images weren’t taken in the golden and blue hours. Given how bright it was, and that I was shooting a 400 iso film, the Balda Baldix maximum 1/300th second shutter speed and f16 and f22 were order of the day. But given the depth of field of medium format cameras, and though the lens might not be in its sweet spot, I hoped this would help with any landscapes images.
I had the film processed at Ag photo labs in Birmingham for the negatives only and then scanned lower resolution jpeg’s at home on an Epson V500. The scanning was challenging as the frames were not the usual set distance apart, and some over lapped due to the rewind/wind process. Though I should add, the second film was much better as I had got into the right sequence for advancing the next frame .
I finished the second roll in the UK so the apertures are round f5.6 and f8.0 . I’m quite pleased with the results and had only done a basic edit in On1 software .
Due to the viewfinder, I won’t be putting another film through it any time soon.
I’ve also just finished my first film in my Yashica 124g (again expired Porta 400) and want to put more film through that instead – expect a report soon…
My other posts on 35mmc can be found here
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