Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camera Challenges with Challenged Cameras

One aspect of photography I enjoy is to work with vintage and antique cameras.  Many of these are "challenged" (in need of serious cleaning and repair) or they may be working as-new with fine cosmetics. I do like to work on cameras that are in need of repair to get them operating as they were designed. That is the challenge for me.

This past weekend I did some photography with an Argus camera from the 1950s. It is an Argus Super Seventy-Five and uses a large film that is rolled with a paper backing, unlike 35mm film. The other problem is that it uses a film that is rolled on spools that are no longer manufactured and are hard to find. It is a 620 sized spool.  However, the film itself is still manufactured and is used mainly by professionals and art photographers but is rolled onto a 120 sized spool. A 120 spool won't fit into a 620 camera. The challenge to using the Argus camera is to first re-roll the film from the 120 film onto a 620 spool in the dark. That done, the film can be loaded into the camera and used for photography.

Simply because a camera is 50 or 60 years old does not mean that it can't produce fine photographs. I develop the film myself but then I scan the negatives digitally. This way I can work with the scanned image in Photoshop and make the image of higher quality than what would have been printed by a photo lab 50+ years ago.

This is a challenge for me and it is a challenge for the camera to perform as it was designed, but it is an enjoyable experience. 

Here are a few photos that I took using the 1950s Argus over the weekend.

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