Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rolleiflex - The Beginning of a New Adventure

My latest find! It's an early 1950's Rolleiflex, Model "Automat-4" (from what I can gather so far). I can't figure why it was called "Automat" (nor can I figure out why Pentax named their immortalized SLR the "Spotmatic") - there is nothing 'Matic about these cameras! Absolutely nothing! I've been here before, having reintroduced myself to photography with a Russian Rangefinder, also a "nothing - 'matic". It's actually a wonderful way to take pictures - slow, deliberate, check and double check - re-think, tweak a little, then fire! Then you have to wait for the (hopefully ) pleasant surprise when you get your film processed. It wasn't exactly a bargain - bought it from local classifieds, but paid pretty much a good Ebay bidding price (not the "in your dreams" Buy-It-Now amount) - I know if this relationship doesn't work out, I can get my money back pretty quick - these are popular items on Ebay. It is definitely in close to pristine condition, with only a little ding in one corner of the case back. Everything appears to be in good working order.

So why in the word would I do this? Well, I've been "film-curious" for quite awhile now, and although I came very close to pushing the button on another Russian FED or Zorki, I knew in the back of my mind that if you're gonna go film, you might as well forget 35mm and go with Medium Format, and getting a real-deal West German built camera is always a good idea too. So I saw the ad for this gem, then checked what kind of results people are getting here on Flickr, and with my sense of wonder piqued, I went for it. Tomorrow, I'm going to get a roll of Ilford B&W something, probably ISO-100, as the fastest shutter speed is 1/500, and hopefully in a few days I'll be able to show off my results.

One thing about this camera did surprise me, not having actually held one of these in my hands before - it's a lot smaller than I expected, even though it shoots a square 60X60mm negative (compared to 35mm which is much smaller at 36X24mm). With the top Viewfinder "chimney" folded down, this camera is of similar dimension to my EOS 7D, although obviously oriented completely differently, and it feels a bit lighter too. You know how I love small and light!

So from smartphone to DSLR and everything in between, this will give me a lot more to talk about here in the coming days, hopefully. I know there are a lot of film buffs out there, and I hope I don't disappoint you (or me!)

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