Of all the things I know
I understand almost nothing

zondag 1 april 2012

Easter Lecture 2012 "the BIG ONES"

These are the real "camerae obscurae". Nothing automatic, you take every step yourself, you can see what's happening. Ansel Adams in 2012 (well, more or less...)

 I cannot show you a wooden one, but let's see what happened in the last century.


When I got the Bob O, long ago, a gift from my Canon dealer, I didn't take it very seriously. Nice for the book-shelf. I didn't have sheet-filmholders. But a few years ago I put some 120 through, and they were remarkable. The lens holder has become wobbly, so I put a strut on to keep it firm; I can't focus anymore, but at infinite it's usable. The 125mm Ernemann Detektiv (how romantic) Aplanat is rather soft at 6.8 but not bad at all for this 95+ lady! The oil-valve shutter works fine in springtime, of course it's too fast in the summer heat, and slow in winter cold.


I also got a Kern Aarau from that dealer and took it apart, little did I know. All that's left is a picture from a ± 1971 garden-exhibition, and:
I kept the lens, made it fit to my Linhof and that does work! 150mm Swiss quality from around 1926. Very soft at 4.5 as you can see below but at F 8 it's more than okay.

The 135mm Ортагоз on my ± 1940 Фотокор on the other hand is razor sharp at F 4.5 and it has to be because the diaphragm is stuck. Otherwise no problems with this wartime-hero, and look at that cute original bakelite filter (and I have the also bakelite box)!
Nice, small, fast camera. The sheet holders a bit rusty, but so am I.

And last but very professional the ± 1960 Linhof Technika. Big and heavy, but so easy to handle and fast. And the 90mm Schneider so unbelievably good. Only the shutter has aged. (I developed the sheet very badly, look at my flickr photostream erwinruys for that.) Nice double sheet holders too.

Working with those 9x12 cameras is very slow, of course, but that means: concentrated. You don't push the button without thinking when you only have four negatives with you! And the choise of film is very limited: I use Foma, or older stuff when I can get it. But how nice is it, really composing a picture on that 9x12 finder, and, if you wish, developing individually one negative at the time.

They are not only big, they are great.

(For other "tutorials" click on the label below.)