Recently I stumbled across a very old brown leather bag at the flea market in the German School in Beijing. It turned out it housed an equally old camera. On the back of the camera it said 120, which meant I could load it and shoot it with film that’s still readily available. I asked the seller if he was ok if I paid 120 RMB (c. 16 EURO) and he agreed. So I got a roll of 120 film for it and youtube’d how to load and shoot the thing. I believe there are at least 50 models of this camera and so I couldn’t find out if it is from 1920 or 1936. Nor could I find a matching manual.
The negatives are huge at 6 x 9 cm, especially considering you have a camera that measures only 80 x 165 x 31mm. There is a viewfinder on top of the lens that you can turn depending on if you are shooting in portrait or landscape orientation.
Unfortunately there are only the numbers 1 to 4 for the aperture and that certainly does not reflect the f-stop. Most likely 1 equals f/8, 2 is maybe f/16, 3 is f/22 and 4 means the lens is stopped down to f/32. But I could be wrong.
The shutter speed is just as mysterious. It only has a T and an I setting. Pressing T opens the shutter and pressing it again closes it again. The I-setting is probably 1/30 of a second.
I decided first to use Kodak Ektar 100 and just give it try. On a perfectly sunny day I stopped the simple lens to a number between 3 and 4 and clicked away. The flare is no light leak but shows my inexperience with unloading the film. It almost unrolled.
The next challenge was with a FomaPan100. I don’t know if it was the film itself or the camera that caused the black mottles, maybe the camera has too much debris inside which I was not able to clean.
I like the results from both spools even if the pictures were mostly blurry. The last one was with the use of a tripod. The camera has 2 threads to shoot in portrait or landscape. Everything is so well thought out, it certainly could not be any simpler.
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