Not only did I find this GB Kershaw 630 camera at a car boot sale, I found it on the floor. I arrived with the hope of finding someone getting rid of 35mm cameras, not expecting to find a medium format camera that looks suspiciously like an Agfa Isolette. No one else seemed to notice what was innocently resting on the ground, and I lost any hopes of playing it cool by gasping aloud when I saw the GB Kershaw 630. I ended up buying 4 cameras and a yellow filter for £25.
I cleaned up the camera, made some heavy handed repairs on the bellows, and ordered some Ilford Delta 400. I went out for a walk on my local heath, excited to shoot a test roll and see what I could come up with, then disaster struck. The GB Kershaw 630 is a folding camera, and when I opened the bellows for the first time that day, some of my repairs had stuck together. I could only assume this had revealed some pinholes and ruined the film. I walked around this beautiful heath muttering to myself, ‘stupid bellows, this is why people hate bellows, I thought the repair would work… wasted film…’ etc. I kept walking and decided if the film was ruined I might as well shoot it, see what the damage was and repair the bellows later.
It was a sunny day with big, fluffy, fast moving clouds, which made for some interesting shadows on the open land. There are a few limitations with this camera that I had to get used to, it has no light meter, no rangefinder, and there are a grand total of 4 shutter speeds (200, 75, 25, B). Armed with a light meter app on my phone, I was happy enough and snapped whatever caught my eye. I got home and developed them myself in Ilfotec DD-X, standard dev, shot at box speed. When I scanned & converted them, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. The level of detail in the 6×6 negative, the range of midtones in Delta 400, the character of the lens, the way this camera, film and yellow filter combination captures clouds! They look slightly surreal to me. I never go out with the intention of strictly documenting reality so this works for what I want.
In all honesty I haven’t shot with a lot of different film stocks, and I picked Delta 400 on a whim but I’m really happy with it. There’s so much detail, the grain is there but not overpowering, great sharpness, and then there is the midtones – smooth midtones for days! It doesn’t have that classic black and white feel that HP5+ has, but rather a cleaner perhaps more modern look. But that’s mostly subjective and I get the feeling I would like these images just the same had I shot them with another film stock.
As for pin holes and light leaks, the last 3 shots had them, but I had been standing around with the camera open for a long time waiting for the light. Luckily the first 9 shots were not affected, all that muttering to myself for nothing.
I’m in love with this camera and its 4 shutter speeds, despite a slight sense of fear that I’ll never take images I like this much again. But I’ll keep wandering and snapping anyway. Next step, new bellows. Thanks for reading and if you would like to see more of my images you can find me here: @amygottophoto
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