See, I said I liked this type of little camera. I doubt I will buy another though, I am not into buying every type of a single camera. This version was released after my other VPK and was produced between 1925-1934. The autographic style back was removed in 1932 so I know mine predates that. Oh and this is the actual version Mallory took to Everest.
This version seems to have less variables than the first VPK I tried. There are only two shutter choices, instantaneous or timed. The shutter doesn’t return to the original setting either, it is more like the box brownie. You push the shutter lever and it stays in that position until you use it again. For timed shots, it is perfect as you can push the shutter and it stays open until you move it again. You don’t have to hold it in position.
There are choices of aperture, but unlike the other version it doesn’t say what they are. They are just labelled 1,2,3,4. When I first saw this camera I didn’t notice the dial at all. The ‘1’ had been so well used the paint had come off leaving it black and hard to see. Luckily ‘1’ is the setting the manual recommends for instantaneous shots…meaning shots taken around 1/30th. This version also has a tripod attachment, a hole on the front of the camera.
The largest aperture is 1 and the smallest is 4.
To load the film is also different. The front comes off this one instead of the back. You press two round buttons at the same time, one on the top and one on the bottom. The front then pops and you can swing it out from that side.
That means you put the film into the side chamber backwards to what is usual, the film is facing out, not inward and covered by the paper. In this case the numbers are towards the back case so you can’t see where it says “start”. To load a film you have to pull out the winder and take care not to wind on too much. If you do you could expose the film before returning the front to the camera’s back. I would also suggest covering the red window in black tape as the colour doesn’t seem quite the right shade of red.
I cut down a roll of Ilford FP4 with the FCK127 and took care not to tighten the film too much. I have found doing that can scratch the film. Then I took a shot in my bedroom on the bulb/timed setting, because I could.
I used the rest of the film on an outing to Manchester. I have found for this version of the VPK, 4 half turns of the winder are needed to advance the film enough. Cut down film means the numbers are not in the right place for the window.
Here are my results. One shot is missing as I left the camera on bulb after the bedroom shot…oops. I also left the camera on 1 as it was quite dull and I needed all the light I could get.
I was impressed with the results, I prefer this camera over the autographic version. Though it is stiffer and not as clean, the results seem sharper. The slower shutter speed didn’t see to affect me. However, I do seem to have an issue getting a straight horizontal shot. The vertical shots are much straighter.
I will use the camera again as I hope to take it to some military shows or reenactments when they are on again.