Many, many years ago, I shot film. I think I had a Zenit EM. There is a photo of me with it around my neck, but it’s too grainy to definitively see the make. After that camera was in stolen the mid eighties I never bought a replacement.
In the early noughties my late step-father left me his Nikon D100 and my passion for photography was reignited. Since then I have progressed to a D200, D700 and now the D850. I had forgotten about film, and all that process of waiting for weeks to get photos back from TruPrint and then wondering where the hell the photos were taken.
That was until last year when I was furloughed for a few months and bought the dream camera from my childhood, an Olympus OM1. Since then I’ve made up for lost time and bought quite a few 35mm and 120 cameras…
The latest one, and perhaps the oldest I now own is a 1950s Bencini Koroll S. It’s a lump of Italian aluminium that takes 120 film and it only cost a tenner.
It’s very basic, load the film, pull out the lens tube, guess the focus distance (6ft – ∞), click the shutter and wind on. It has an f/11 fixed aperture and the spring shutter is 1/50th second. You can pull out a little lever that allows bulb function but that involves guesstimating the exposure time.
The 6ft minimum distance is no good for selfies.
One quirk with the camera is that you can insert ‘baffles’ that change the 6 x 6 format to 6 x 4.5. Mine however, didn’t come with these, so cardboard, scalpel and steel rule later, I made my own baffles. Here it is with and without my homemade baffles:
16 shots later and I can see I’m not going to be taking award winning photos with this camera. Being wholly reliant on the available light is pretty tricky, but here are five taken on KosmoFoto 100 120 film and developed in Rodinal 1+50 for nine minutes.
I might be able to get sharper pictures but the following photos show that the lens might not be the sharpest in the world – it does make the photos look as if they were taken 70 years ago though.
I intend to ask a friend of mine with a 3D printer to see if he can ‘print’ the baffles. In the meantime, I’m going to leave them out because, last week, some 120 to 35mm adapters arrived. I fancy trying some 35mm film in it and seeing if I can make some ‘panoramic’ pictures with sprocket holes in them.
The Bencini Koroll S is an odd, fun camera… I doubt it’ll replace my Nikons…
Thank you for looking.
I have two websites in production, filling them is slow as most of my spare time is taken up as I am a volunteer coastguard. One is for new photographers to get a little help www.j3ff.co.uk and the other is a showcase for my work www.lightsauce.co.uk