Dollond Owl No.2

While picking up the Piccolette from the buyer, he asked if I would use it. I said yes and explained how I would cut 120 film for it. On hearing that he offered me this camera for free. He liked that the cameras would be used rather than sat on a shelf. Lucky me.

This cameras was a little rougher than the Piccolette, the case didn’t match the camera…it being a kodak. Pulling the bellows out was stiff and the film back wasn’t exactly tightly fitting. But it was a free camera and one I hadn’t tried. According to my research this camera is quite rare in this incarnation, but it is the same as the much more common Ensign Carbine number 2. When I first saw it, I didn’t recognise the name. Then I found it was part of the Dollond and Aitchison brand that use to have spectacle shops on the high street. Oh, I remember those

As you can see this late 1920s camera’s bellows are in good condition and were light tight, just a little stiff to pull out. The lens was a little dusty, but it unscrewed very easily so was easy to clean. Interestingly, this camera had the same shutter choices as the Piccolette of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, B, T. The aperture choices started slightly wider and ended slightly narrower, between f4.5 and f25. This example still had the shutter release cable attached.

There is a focus plate on the side of the fold out section. This plate also locks the lens and bellows in place. To change the focus zone you push the plate down and move the lens forward or backwards to a new locking point. You also push this plate down to retract the bellows and lens. With the lens locked on the plate it is hard to see the focus choices so I tended to keep it on infinity while using the camera.

This is a 120 camera so there was no need to cut the film this time, so I used my last roll of Fomapan 200. I taped around the camera as I suspected it might have light leaks. I also took this camera on my Scotland camping trip. I actually used this film on a day trip bus tour to the Orkneys which I highly recommend.

Due to the stiffness of the bellows track mechanism, it was tricky to use. I didn’t enjoy using it and once locked in place I walked around with it fully extended until the film was finished.

Here are the results of that roll.

As you can see, there were light leaks despite the tape. These seem to have occurred at the end of the roll…when I handed the camera to someone who was intrigued by it. Coincidence? Maybe.

The photos are a little flat due to the dull weather, but I didn’t have a choice in that respect. The buildings were grey and dull anyway, the weather didn’t help. But I think the flatness somehow adds to images, capturing Orkney’s towns quite well.

As I said, I didn’t particularly enjoy using this camera. I think I compared it to the Piccolette which I used at the same time. Despite it using 127 film, the pic was smaller and easier to use which tainted my opinion of this camera.

I have decided to move this camera on to a friend. I got this camera for free so moving it on to another person who loves cameras seems fitting.

9 thoughts on “Dollond Owl No.2

    1. Kurt Ingham says:

      A tiny amount of grease on those rails and or/gears sometimes helps a lot. But sometimes things are bent- But looks like your results are quite nice, even with your dislike of the camera!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Roger B. says:

    Sharing a recently-learned method to seal pinholes on bellows corners: Purchase some Liquitex Mars Black heavy body acrylic paint. A tube costs about US $10, and it’s apparently available worldwide. This product is water-soluble, dries quickly and stays flexible. I treat all the corners of bellows, both inner and outer surfaces, with this paint. Two coats about a day apart. The color blends perfectly with black bellows, and even hides the grey tinge created by decades of wear.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peggy says:

      That is useful to know. I don’t think this was a bellows issue though. I have just been given a rail bellows that is shot. So I might be attempting to make a bellows if we have to lockdown again.


  2. Darrell Meekcom says:

    I’m just impressed you got it up and running again AND taking photos of character with it. I’m out of my comfort zone if it’s not 35mm but I’m certainly edging towards dipping my toes in withTLRs now, unlike 35mm SLRs and PS there seems to be more room for manoeuvre and experimentation eventho thinking ‘outside the box’ is clearly a necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

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