A friend wrote to me saying he had seen an interesting camera for sale near him on Facebook Marketplace, did I want it? Well maybe, what is it?
It was this camera…of course I said yes. It even came with the original box and a 4×4 mask.
What a lovely, clean looking camera. The lens is glass which is a bonus. The shutter is the spring kind so probably 1/50th. You can see in the photos, there are 3 aperture choices f8, f11, and f16. On the last photo you will see there is a tiny stand to keep the camera vertical when placed on a table etc. You can also see on the first photo I didn’t notice it as I shoved some toilet paper under it to steady it for the photo. I thought it was some sort of bending clip to keep the cover in place, durh.
The quirky thing about the camera is the viewfinder and red window. There are two of each and you use them depending on the mask you have inserted. I haven’t seen another camera with this set-up, usually there are guide lines in the viewfinder.
It was first manufactured around 1962 in Hong Kong, hence the “Empire Made” stamp on the base.
This example worked as smoothly as it looks. Easy to load, easy to advance, easy to remove the film.
I loaded mine with FP4 after inserting the 4×4 mask, you have to do it beforehand. No changing midroll like the auto-reflex. Then I took it on a quiet walk near the National Coal Mining Museum. I kept the aperture on f16 due to the slow shutter.
There is one shot with a light leak, a bit random. I think it might be due to the position of the sun on the lens rather than an actual issue somewhere. Only another film would tell that, so I reloaded it with Fomapan 200 without the mask. That meant I would get 6×6 shots this time.
I took the camera around Stanley Ferry and stumbled upon an abandoned house. I knew the area would be dark due to the weather and the woods, but I forgot to reset the aperture..another durh for me. You can see more of the area on this blog/vlog. Unfortunately, some of the area is set to be demolished for the HS2. It is used locally for farming, recreational pursuits and as common land used for grazing. What a shame 😦
Anyway, here are my photos from the walk. A couple of the shots have camera shake as I left the shutter on bulb due to the lack of light. I tried hand holding and bracing myself. I could have done with my string tripod. I will keep that in my camera bag next time I take this out.
What a super little camera. It is pretty basic, but still better than most toy cameras. You can read another review here. If it didn’t have a shutter lock to avoid double exposures, I would say it is perfect for the price. My example’s skin is falling off so the next time I am out and about I will look for something funky to recover it.