The Rolleicord VA is a medium format (6×6) camera using 120 film. It is a twin lens reflex (TLR) camera. It has Xenar 1:3.5 75mm as a taking lens and 1:3.2 75mm as a viewing lens. This camera is version 2, which, according to camera-wiki.org, was in production from 1958 to 1961. The Rolleicord is the sister camera to the iconic Rolleiflex and was designed and manufactured with enthusiasts in mind. It is a product of excellent engineering and is easy to use. It has a shutter speed range of 1/50s to 1s and bulb and aperture range of f/3.5 to f/22. Although it has ASA/DIN settings, it doesn’t have a built-in light meter.
A couple of years ago, when I first came to own this TLR, the slow shutters, ie, ½ sec and 1 sec were sticky – a common issue with vintage cameras, as I’m sure many of you know. Other than that, it was in good working order and seemed well looked after by previous owner(s). I had it serviced by a former Rollei service engineer and since the service all the shutter speeds have been as they should be.
Back in August this year, I spent a few days in South Pembrokeshire in Wales in the UK. The following 3 photos were made during this period. In addition to the camera, I used a tripod and a spot light meter – Sekonic Dualmaster L558.
I arrived at Tenby old town before the sunrise and eventually set up my camera on the tripod at this scene to make the first exposure of Tenby on the film.
One might say that this image defies the common compositional advice not to cut the image in half. However, I wanted to capture both the subdued ambient light before the sunrise and the moon, which was a bit higher than I would have liked. Had I tilted the camera slightly downwards to fill the frame with more boats and houses, the moon would have been pushed too close to the top edge. I thought that would affect the balance of the image.
Townscape of Tenby. In principle when I make this type of town image, I try not to include people nor cars as they can cement the image in time. For this reason I would have preferred the image without the two parked cars on the right hand side in the middle ground. Should I have moved a couple of steps down to avoid them? The number of decisions a photographer has to make in a matter of seconds can be challenging!
Two fishing trip stalls which I decided to try before I left Tenby. I particularly liked the symmetrical and yet asymmetrical aspect of this image.
This image was made more than a month later at Sharpness Dock in Gloucestershire. A place I have visited several times before.
I was hoping for some clouds in the sky and when I left for Sharpness in the morning, the sky seemed promising. However, after a 30 minute drive, the sky was clear, apparently the weather was not on my side. Even so the rising cranes out of chaotic metal frames on the ground were picture worthy. Again I broke the conventional composition advice.
Another month and a half elapsed and the season of autumn has arrived. The autumn leaves provide an array of photographic opportunities. On this occasion appearing to floating in the air.
For the above 5 images, I chose a roll of Ilford Delta 100 for its fine grain. It is one of my frequently used films for black and white photography.
I thoroughly enjoy using this camera every time I am out with it. The whole process of image making with this camera is rather slow, especially when using a tripod but it forces me to think more carefully about exposure and composition.
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