Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#15 Purma Special

Purma Special

The Purma Special was manufactured from 1937 to 1951 by Purma Cameras, Ltd and distributed by R.F. Hunter, both in London.

The camera body is made of bakelite its design being credited to Raymond Loewy.
It is claimed to be the first camera with plastic optics, restricted to the viewfinder.

Purma Special

This camera although a simple snap-shooter has some very interesting features, the fixed focus and aperture lens, Beck Anastigmat 57mm 1:6.3, is spring loaded and kept in place by the screw in lens cap, when it's retracted it prevents the shutter from being cocked or released.

DSC_9506 copy

The most interesting feature is the shutter, it's inventor, Alfred Mayo, devised a way of controlling it by the way the camera is handled.

It has three speeds: Slow 1/25, Medium 1/150 and Fast 1/450.

In horizontal position we got the medium shutter speed, turning it to the vertical, one way the Fast and to the other the Slow. We know which side to turn by reading it on either side of the back viewfinder window.

As the camera exposes in 4x4 cm square format, the way it is turned doesn't matter.

The ingenious system is composed by a curved metal focal plane shutter, tensioned by a spring by giving half a turn to the knob on the top plate of the camera. The shutter speed is chosen using the camera position, a brass weight performs two tasks: selects the size of the slit and speeds up, acts neutral or slows down the movement of the focal plane shutter when we press the shutter, that's why many people call it a gravity shutter.

The shutter view from inside:

DSC_9500 DSC_9501 DSC_9502

The shutter view from the back of the camera:

SS 25 Slow SS 150 Medium SS 450 Fast

Left to right: slow, medium and fast shutter speeds.

The rest of the entrails are very simple


There is a capping shutter, to protect the unexposed film, as the main shutter is cocked, that gets out of the way as we press the shutter release and before the focal plane travel starts.


In the above shot you can see the focal plane shutter in place.

In the following shot the camera is completely assembled and ready to be loaded with a 127 rollfilm.


The film advance is monitored by those two ruby windows.

Purma Special

The 127 film was supposed to be used in cameras delivering 4x7 cm format, in the present case we advance the number to the left window, take the exposure, advance the same number to the right window and take another picture, 16 exposures a roll.

Some shots taken with it:

Purma Special - Luz

Purma Special - Oliveira

Purma Special - Luz

Purma Special - Caminho na Luz

If you are interested to know how I got 127 film read this post.

Some more pictures in this Flickr album.

Stay tuned (o;

Sunday, May 29, 2011

#14 Kodak Ektra 12

Kodak Ektra 12

My wife had this camera before we got married, so it naturally ended up in my collection.

Kodar 23mm, 1:11 
Fixed aperture and focusing.
1/125 or 1/250 depending of the film ISO. 1/40 when using the flipflash.
Made in Germany, 1978-81.

Kodak Ektra 12 (2)

I got some 110 cassettes, some day, I'm going to put my 110 cameras back to service, then will be back to this.

Stay tuned (o;

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#13 Vredeboch Vrede Box

Vredeborch Vrede Box

Vredeborch Vrede Box
Meniscus lens, about 100 mm, two apertures f=11/16
Shutter speeds I (1/30ish) and B
Yellow filter controlled by the small button in the bottom.
Eight 6x9cm pictures on 120 film

Vredeborch manufactured a large number of models of this Vrede Box with very small differences:
Some with or without the yellow filter, self-timer or flash synchro socket. Some had the handle positioned in the center of the top panel others transversely. The same with the film advance by a round knurled knob or by a key. Also in colors, besides black there was some green and others red.
The lens were unmarked or marked as "Standard Menis 49" or "Paloma Menis"

Vredeborch Vrede Box

This camera was a gift from my great late friend Vitor Rodrigues (1962-2009).
He offered me this camera, a Kodak Vigilant Junior six-20 and a Canon A-1.

Vredeborch Vrede Box

I was called to the attention by a Dutch friend that the name "Vrede" means "Peace" in the Dutch language.
It's funny and I don't believe it's a coincidence: one of the lens names was "Paloma" that means dove in Spanish.

Edit - A reader asked me how does it work, as I think that the answer might help other readers here it is:

Open the back, pull out the film advance knob, remove the film camera box, load a roll of 120 film, put the film camera back, push the film advance knob back to place, close the back door, monitoring the film advance, with the little red window, advance it until you see the figure one.
Now you have some choices to make:
There is a round knob under the lens when you turn it you interpose or remove a yellow filter in the optical path, useful if you use black and white film.
Above the shutter release there are two sliders, the top one controls the aperture: out = f16, in f11.
The one under it controls the shutter: out = B (it remains open as long as you keep the shutter release pressed) in = 1/30 of a second exposure.
After you take the first shot, turn the film advance knob until you see the figure 2 in the red window, repeat this procedure until you reach the 8, after that turn it until there is no tension, remove the film the same way you loaded it.
I advise you to try all the controls before loading film to it to check if everything is working and get used to them, film is expensive.

Some pictures taken with it:

Me and my Vrede Box

Train by a Box

Just to show what the old gal can do

Stay tuned (o;

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#12 Kodak Vigilant Junior six-20

Kodak Vigilant Junior six 20 (3)

This camera was a gift from my great late friend Vitor Rodrigues (1962-2009).
He offered me this camera, a Vredeboch Vrede Box and a Canon A-1.

Kodak Vigilant Junior six 20 (2)

This camera is a very simple model, it was made in USA around 1940.

Kodak made lots of variants of these folding cameras, most of them very simple, their business was selling film.

Kodak Vigilant Junior six 20 (1)

The lens is an Anastigmat 100 mm 1:8.8 in a Dakon shutter, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, B and T.
Focusing scale, brilliant and sports viewfinder ´
Film advance using ruby window
Eight exposures 6x9 cm on 120 film.

Kodak Vigilant Junior six 20 (4)

As you can see it isn't a great performer, the lens is quite slow and the shutter is very limited in the choice of speeds.
The pass of time was not too generous with it. The bellows is full of pinholes. This is one of the non-working section, but one that I treasure the most.

Stay tuned (o;

Monday, May 23, 2011

#11 Graflex Speed Graphic

Graflex Speed Graphic (2)

The Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic is a press camera, fruit of the evolution of the press cameras made by Graflex at Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A.
The main difference to the older models is the introduction of a focal plane shutter, allowing the use of barrel lenses, without shutter. The consequent disadvantage is the limit of 65mm in the use of wide angle lenses.   
This model was built between 1947 and 1970. This example is of the later, recognizable by the integrated viewfinder range finder mounted on the top, earlier models had a Kalart rangefinder mounted on the right side and the viewfinder on top.
It's a camera with a limited range of movements on the front standard.

  • Graflex Optar, made by Wollensak to Graflex, 135mm 1:4.7 lens
  • Front Shutter - Graphex leaf shutter, full synchromatic also made by Wollensak to Graflex.
  • Shutter speeds 1" - 1/400", B, T and Open
  • Back shutter - Focal plane shutter 
  • Shutter speeds 1/30" - 1/1000", T and O (open)
  • Sports finder, telescopic wire frame in the front standard and retractable peep hole, with parallax correction.
  • Optical viewfinder with auto parallax correction and interchangeable masks, for different lenses.
  • Coupled range finder.
  • Coupled Rangelite
  • Graflock back with integrated ground glass and removable folding metal shade.
  • 4x5" exposures on sheet film in sheet film holders.
  • Body shutter release - controlling both shutters independently. 
  • Focusing, by double knurled knobs, on rails with folding infinity stops and focus lock.
  • Movements of the front standard: Tilt 20º / Bed drop 20º / Rise 26mm / Shift 19mm, 8,5mm each way from zero position.
  • Double tripod mount: Bottom for landscape and side, behind the leather strap, for portrait.
  • Dimensions:                        Height           Depth            Width
         Closed                              210mm         116mm          210mm

         Open using ground             210mm         370mm          210mm     
         glass with shades

         The same with                   230mm         360mm          210mm
          bed dropped 
  • weight: 2.6kg, with 2 AA batteries, don't laugh I'll tell you later what the batteries are for.

Graflex Speed Graphic (4)

Here on the right side of the camera are the shutter controls:
  • On top the winder/selector for the focal plane shutter
  • Right under it, the window displaying the chosen shutter speed
  • Under it, the shutter selector, Back, front and trip, used to reset the shutter
  • To the right and bellow the shutter release, almost on the same level, on the back, the flash connector
  • On the bottom that small lever changes the tension of the shutter to allow doubling or halving the shutter speed
We can see also the front standard with it's movement controls, the focusing knob and rails and the focus lock lever, close to the right focusing knob.
On top is visible the range finder with integrated viewfinder
On the left the Graflock back

Graflex Speed Graphic (5)

On the left side:

On top and also integrated on the range finder that red button activates the Rangelite, a device coupled to the range finder that emits two light beams, that when coincide on the subject guarantees accurate focusing in low light conditions. Now you know what the batteries are for.

The leather strap, under it and not visible the side tripod attachment.

Close to and on the left focusing rail, near to the left focusing knob is the focusing scale.

Graflex Speed Graphic (6)
This picture displays the dropped bed, compensated by the tilt of the front standard.

Graflex Speed Graphic (7)
This one displays the extreme extension of the bellows, this permits obtaining 1:1 macro shots.

Graflex Speed Graphic (1)

The front view:

On top: The combination viewfinder with 135mm mask, range finder and Rangelite.

The magnificent Graflex Optar 135mm 1:4.7 lens on the Graphex shutter both made by Wollensak to Graflex.

Down on the left panel the shutter release with the remote release attachment hole.

Under the lens in the middle that big key is the front standard lock.

Graflex Speed Graphic (3)

In this back view:

The ground glass with opened metal folding shades.

The sports finder with the parallax correction scale on the peep hole support.

To the right of the peep hole support, the range finder viewer and the optic viewfinder.

Laying behind the camera a sheet film holder.

I find amazing the versatility of this camera viewfinder and focusing wise. It has:
  • An optical viewfinder with auto parallax correction and interchangeable masks for different lenses.
  • A sports finder with parallax correction and auto adaptable to all lenses, except extreme long lenses. Auto adaptable because when we change the lens the distance between the lens and film changes in the same amount of the wire frame to the peep hole.
  • The priceless ground glass, both for composing and focusing.
  • Coupled range finder.
  • Coupled Rangelite.
  • Scale focusing.

    My first experiments with it were very conventional:

    Graflex - Porto
    Graflex - Porto by RaúlM.

    Graflex Speed Graphic - Porto
    Graflex - Porto by RaúlM.

    Just the sheer size of the negatives is amazing.

    Speed Graphic tiltedUsing the tilt feature the camera looks like this:

    Using this feature, that compresses the dof to a narrow band, I got this, model look alike, pictures:
    Honey I shrunk the bridge
    Honey I shrunk the bridge by RaúlM.

    My "model" town
    My "model" town by RaúlM.

    Rabelo "model"
    Rabelo "model" by RaúlM.

    Now all I want is pick this big baby, load the holders, take along a sturdy tripod and shrink my home town.

    I couldn't finish without my reflected self portrait:

    Me and Graflex Speed Graphic

    This is part of my project "I, me and my cameras"

    I've been playing with it, look in here to see what I did

    Stay tuned (o; 


    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    #10 Yashica Mat-124

    When I took this step forward, back to film, I wanted something more than what I could get from 35mm.
    So I started looking at medium format cameras.
    The Yashica Mat-124 was one of the first medium format cameras that I got, a birthday present from my wife.

    Yashica Mat-124 (5)

    Yashica Mat-124

    Yashica Mat-124 (7)

    The Yashica Mat-124 is a twin lens reflex (TLR) waist level finder medium format camera.
    This is a Rolleiflex clone, maybe the optics are not in the same league, but I'm very pleased with the results that the four elements in three groups, 80mm 1:3.5, Yashinon lens delivers.
    In the lens-board it has the viewing, top, and taking, bottom, lenses.
    The shutter speed and aperture controls, round dials on each side of the lenses.
    The flash socket, top right and flash synchronizer lever, the yellow dot behind the aperture control dial.
    The red dot, at five o'clock of the taking lens is the delayed shutter release lever.
    On the bottom left there is the shutter release and lock lever, in lock position.

    Above the lens-board, to the right of the embossed brand and model, that round "eye" is the window of the CdS light meter, powered by a defunct PX625 mercury battery.
    I solved the problem, in this and other cameras with an adapter to zinc-air batteries, used in hearing aid devices.

    Yashica Mat-124 (2)

    That big round knob is the focus control, turning it makes the lens-board go back or forth allowing the user to control the focus on the ground glass.
    On this kind of cameras the focus achieved in the ground glass is the same of the taking lens, at full aperture, due to the solidary movement of the lenses. One has to be careful with the parallax error, at close range, caused by the distance between the lenses.
    The distance scale is engraved on the outer rim opposite the depth of field scale engraved on the chrome plate.
    The two smaller knobs, top right and bottom left are the spool locking knobs.
    On the bottom right is the battery compartment with its chrome lid.
    Probably you have already noticed something missing on the top left. I removed the accessory shoe, for two reasons: one, I don't plan to use a flash with this camera and two, the camera doesn't fit the case with it on place.

    Yashica Mat-124 (3)

    The big film wind crank, that doubles its function cocking the shutter, dominates the scene on this side.
    When its winded all the way clockwise it winds the film to the next exposure.
    Winding it back, CCW, it sets the shutter.
    I love that "taka-taka-taka..." sound.
    The window over the crank shows the type of film being used 12ex (120) or 24ex (220).
    The window on the top right shows the number of exposures taken.
    The loading process of the rollfilm avoids the use of a red window by aligning the start marking of the film with an arrow on the film path, in the camera. From there all we have to do is wind the film to the next frame.

    Yashica Mat-124

    Here it is with its beautiful brown leather case, with a story of its own

    Yashica Mat-124 (6)Yashica Mat-124 (4)

    You can see it with the hood opened, ready for action, inside it there is a 3x loupe, that can be flipped up, for critical focusing.

    Peeking through the sports finder
    There is also this sports finder, for fast action photography. It's a great asset, you know what I mean if you ever used a waist level finder camera before. In the finder one gets a left-right inverted image, that can be puzzling if you're not used to it and are trying to follow a moving subject.

    The light meter is quite accurate but gives a too wide reading.
    For critical readings demands for proximity or ingenuity.

    This is a very nice and usable camera, if you don't mind to be stopped by people on the street that want to admire your camera, and also if you don't bother to carry more than a kilogram worth of camera.

    I think it pays...


    Caged colours

    Money makes the world go around

    If you liked these I have more on this set


    Type: Twin-lens reflex camera

    Lens: YASHINON 80 1:3.5 lens, 4 elements in 3 groups

    Shutter: COPAL-SV shutter, speeds 1 to 1/500" and B
    Delayed timer; M or X flash synchronizer selector.

    Finder: YASHINON 80 mm 1:2.8 viewing lens.
    Fresnel field lens for corner to-corner brightness, 3X magnifying lens for critical focusing.
    Eye-level sports-finder frame incorporated in the viewfinder hoodrg

    Exposure meter: Built-in match-needle CdS type
    Film speed range 25 to 400 ISO
    Meter on when the viewfinder hood is open
    Powered by 1,3 V, PX 625, mercury battery

    Film advance: Crank-handle film advance with automatic film stop, simultaneously sets the shutter for the next exposure
    Automatic resetting exposure counter displays the number of exposed frames.

    Focusing: Extra-large knob extends or retracts the front panel to secure focus on the subject
    Distance scale calibrated in both feet and meters (3.3 ft to infinity; 1 m to infinity).

    Film: 120 (12 exposures) or 220 (24 exposures)

    Other features: Aperture scale from F3,5 to F32.
    Adjustable film pressure plate for use with with both 12 and 24 exposure film
    Exposure load reminder window
    Tthreaded cable release socket
    Bay-1 filter mount (Rollei compatible) for 30 mm filters.

    Dimensions: 77 x 148 x 101 mm

    Weight: 1,100 Kg

    Stay tuned (o;