Updated: May 31, 2020
Hi everyone! Another late Monday Newsletter from us is afoot, so welcome to it and lets dig in:) The last couple of weeks I have been dabbling in dreams of medium format. Since digital medium format is well beyond our reach (and wallet:)) I decided to go really old school and get a TLR (two lens reflex). For those of you who don't know what medium format is, its basically that the camera stores a larger image (larger sensor on digital, or larger negative on film). I am not going to go completely nuts on specifications here, as it will obviously be just interesting for us camera geeks and bore the hell out of everyone else. No, instead I just want to share some small facts about these cameras, why I got hooked, and the story behind how it came in to my possession. I did some days of research when I first got interested in these strange cameras, and to my surprise they have a huge fanbase and a lot of users. And also it was possible to get cameras like this from only 500 NOK and upwards. Even here in Norway! Considering that these cameras can date anything between 1940-1970, that is pretty cheap. Obviously the condition of the camera reflects the price. The cheap price range I was aiming for was a camera that would probably need some attention or fixing of some sort. These cameras use 120 film which they even sell in camera stores today here in Norway.
To the facts; The camera I got is a Flexaret. From what I have found out, this camera is a crossover of model II and III, which dates it between 1945-1950. That is almost 30 years older than me! This is made by a company called Meopta and is completely mechanical. That means there is no battery, and less to worry about. On the other hand there is no auto mode, and one has to make all the adjustments (shutter speed, focal length, and focus) before you can take a shot. This is really not a point and shoot, but if you exercise a bit, it probably can be done to some extent. Ok, enough about the camera, and lets hear where and how I got it.
I found this one on Finn.no belive it or not. (Right now there are 3 other Flexarets for sale, if you get intrigued:)) I checked out a few and asked some questions about them, just to rule out the ones in very bad condition. One guy took the time to check movement on levers, checked for scratches and dents and that everything seemed ok. I bought from the guy who bothered to check for me. Thor is his name. I told him that I planned to use it for actual photography, and that it wasn't going to get stuck on the shelf as decoration. He then told me that this was his Grandfathers camera, and that he would love to have a picture that is taken with it. I will of course grant the man his wish when it is cleaned out and serviced. He also offered to check through old pictures to try and date the camera more precisely. The camera has been through world war two and even the liberation of our country. Pretty exciting to know! My hat off to you Thor for all your help, and I am honoured that I get to use your Grandfathers camera. Can't wait to find out more:)
The first reason for getting a bit hooked on these types of cameras, is of course the outcome. Shots with a camera like this just look great in my opinion. There are also a lot of different types of film for different results. The second reason is that in theory you can print the pictures bigger, since the negatives are 60mm wide instead of 35mm. My plan with this camera is to mainly shoot people and portraits with black and white film. But I am also eager to try it shooting landscapes in color. So we will see how this turns out and where it will take me:) As I mentioned before, this camera needs a bit of attention, and also needs a mirror for the viewfinder before I can use it, but you will definitely get news here when its up and shooting:)
As for last weeks picture project, I have started my days of strictly shooting black and white. We had a beautiful day with our little family on the beach. Grilling, stopping anywhere we felt like it, and just driving around Tromsø. I wanted to get som good portrait shots of them, and then figured I would limit my self for this day to strictly shoot black and white. Even landscape pictures I shot black and white. You see shadows and light, and you are not blinded by all the colors, and you shoot completely different. If you have never tried it before, I urge you to test it out. You really learn a lot in terms of seeing by doing that. We will see if there will be any usable shots from that day when I have time to go through the pictures:)
Getting late, so I will bid you all goodnight.
Thank you for reading,
All the best, Sjur
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