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Living with a 1950's Folder
Living with a 1950's Folder
Published by Brian
16th January 2009
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It was also whilst at Malta that I decided to put a roll of Delta 3200 through the camera; what a mistake that turned out to be. Firstly the frame numbers are even paler on Delta 3200 than other Ilford films, so, when you need to use this film because of low light you find yourself unable to do so because you can't read the frame numbers. Hmm, have to think about that one. The second, reason why Delta 3200 was a mistake was the shutter, not only in the top speed of 1/300th pretty slow for this film, but it turns out that the faster shutter speeds were a least a stop slow and I ended up we some extremely dense negatives.


So, after coming back from Malta I realised the camera had the following problems:


  • Slow Shutter speeds;
  • Rangefinder out of calibration;
  • Self timer not working at all;
  • The lens was prone to flare.


Time to send it off to Newton Ellis for a repair... When it came back I was over the moon; the viewfinder was now lovely and clear, the shutter was crisp at all speeds and the self timer worked beautifully. I needed to take it out to give a test drive.


It just so happened that I was off to London that weekend and I decided to take the Adox to the camera fair in Sidcup, Kent. I surmised that taking pictures in the relatively low light conditions of the school hall would be a good test for the rangefinder accuracy. Whilst I was there I managed to pick up a lens hood that fit perfectly; with a bit of luck I would be able to cut down on the dreaded flare.


Last year when I went to Poland I made the mistake of taking both medium format and 35mm. This meant that I had to take twice as much film and in the end meant I ran out of 120. Well this year I could take my Mamiya C330 and an Adox mess Golf. Well, what joy, when I wanted the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and the ease of a lever wind I would take the Mamiya, but when I wanted to travel light the Adox was just the ticket.


I was using a mixture of films, from ADOX CHS25 & CHS50 and Ilford Pan F & FP4 Plus. Anyone whose used Ilford films in old cameras will know just how difficult to see the numbers through the red window in anything but bright sunlight. However, I overcame this by purchasing a small white LED torch that was designed to fit on a keyring. It doesn't matter now how low the light is now, I can always read the numbers through the window, and before you ask, no I've not had any problems of light bleeding through the backing paper.




I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed using the camera around Budapest, it was light and fun to use and it certainly made a change from lugging a C330 around.


Conclusions


This is a cracking camera that I really like to use. OK, the rangefinder isn't coupled so focusing takes slightly longer than it should, the film advance relies on you peering through a window to check that you've wound on the correct amount, and the shutter needs to be cocked separately. But, despite these foibles I probably enjoy using this camera more than any other I own. However, there is a down side: flare. Although the lens hood has dramatically cut down the amount of flare, still one or two pictures on a roll will probably have flare issues if used in bright conditions. Sod's law says that these will be the best pictures. So, the question is do I get the lens re-coated? I will probably lose some of the character of the lens, but then it might make the camera that little bit more dependable.
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  #1  
By Richard Gould on 16th January 2009, 08:47 PM
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interesting to read how you get on with 1950's folder, they are great fun to use,I have a couple myself and love them Richard.
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  #2  
By Dave miller on 16th January 2009, 09:13 PM
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Good article Brian, I hope it persuades others to rescue a folder and put it to use. I have Balda 6x6 which I donít use nearly enough. I like the idea of the LED torch, a good addition to any camera bag.
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  #3  
By Sandeha Lynch on 16th January 2009, 09:26 PM
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Great, Brian. Your lens is probably single coated, and therein lies half its character so I wouldn't touch it, but I'd agree that a hood is essential to get the best from it. I can't see the photo you mention, so I hope you'll put it in an album. Sometime you might want to look out for a Mamiya 6 from the same period ... multi coated 4 element lens, and a coupled rangefinder.
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  #4  
By Andrew Bartram on 17th January 2009, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for an interesting article Brian.
Although it isn't a rangefinder I enjoy taking my 6X6 Zeiss Nettar out for a spin.
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  #5  
By Barry on 17th January 2009, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandeha Lynch View Post
Great, Brian... Sometime you might want to look out for a Mamiya 6 from the same period ... multi coated 4 element lens, and a coupled rangefinder.
Like this one?
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  #6  
By Brian on 17th January 2009, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandeha Lynch View Post
Great, Brian. Your lens is probably single coated, and therein lies half its character so I wouldn't touch it, but I'd agree that a hood is essential to get the best from it. I can't see the photo you mention, so I hope you'll put it in an album. Sometime you might want to look out for a Mamiya 6 from the same period ... multi coated 4 element lens, and a coupled rangefinder.

Well, fixed the picture problem: it appears I've got to use a public gallery for the picture links to work.


Brian
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  #7  
By Sandeha Lynch on 17th January 2009, 12:21 PM
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That's the type, Barry. The camera is rear focus (the film plane moves) so one would need to check if it has the pressure plate. I have a slightly later one with both 6x6 and 6x45 options.

Pics visible now.
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  #8  
By Steve Smith on 17th January 2009, 01:33 PM
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I find folders useful when I want to go on a walk and not carry too much - when the actual walk is more important than the photography (sometimes it's the other way round).

Last year I was given a re-furbished Ansco Speedex R which is the same as an Agfa Isolette III. It too has an un-coupled rangefinder which I find works quite well and is accurate.


Steve.
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  #9  
By Barry on 17th January 2009, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Well, fixed the picture problem: it appears I've got to use a public gallery for the picture links to work.


Brian
Currently its the only option Brian. However we are looking at setting up an articles album in the gallery just for this purpose. This will avoid you filling up your personal album.

We will get back to you on this one.
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