Tag Archives: 120mm

Fujipet Thunderbird

I got this Fujipet really cheap as the back lens of the viewfinder was loose and rattling around in the funky bullet looking thing on top. Once I got it back to my house I undid the two screws holding the viewfinder on, but it took me a lot longer to get the metal ring off. I must have yanked it for a good ten minutes, but I didn’t give up. Finally, with the ring removed the front glass popped off. To reattach the back lens I used a strip of a post-it as I wanted a glue that was not strong, but strong enough. I attached the strip to the tiny piece of glass and put superglue on the viewfinder part where it should fit. It worked like a dream, the lens stayed in place and the post-it strip released easily….and then the problems started.

Have you ever seen CSI, where they use superglue to reveal fingerprints? I have, but I conveniently forgot. I put the viewfinder together again almost immediately. Have you also read that Japan is having an unprecedented heatwave right now? Combine a small enclosed space, heat, superglue and what do you have…cyanoacrylate. I slowly watched the viewfinder glass I had just reattached get covered in a white film. Then stupidly I decided to see if I could still see through it…up goes the camera to my eye…and holy crap!!!! Lesson quickly learned. My eye started to sting and burn. And then my brain switched on and I rinsed my eye. Once pain-free I quickly removed the pieces of the viewfinder and chose another glue. This glue was much thicker and harder to handle. I made a complete mess of it, especially as I decided to put glue on the front glass too. The front didn’t need glue, the metal ring holding it in place. Durh. I could take the front off and clean it, but I was done with the whole thing. At the end of the day, the actual camera lens was clear and the viewfinder was clear enough to see through.

So here is the camera, with a crappy front viewfinder.


This version was known as the Thunderbird in Japan. According to this site, I have the 1959 red version. I have seen a few of these around. I didn’t think they were so rare, but apparently, they are. This site has lots of technical details and instructions on how to use it. Though it is pretty straightforward, select an aperture, press 1 to cock the shutter, then press 2 to release the shutter. You can wind on if you like or take multiple exposures.

But did my gluey version work? I tried it at a very Japanese place.


Like the other Fujipet I have, it worked really well. It doesn’t have all the attachments of a Diana F+, but it has its own charm. I tried another film a bit later, a very expired Svema. Only a few came out, but it was fun to use.


Keep or sell: I want to keep it, but due to the current situation and “taking time out” my collection is being decimated. I sold this one too.

More Stuff – Amazon Associates

I just this minute applied for and learnt how to link products for Amazon on my site. As my stats show I have more viewers in America than anywhere else, I have linked both the Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk sites.

So, on the “Stuff” page you can find links to 35mm and 120mm film searches on Amazon…like these.

If you want to buy some film, then buy it through these Amazon links and I will get a little money too. It’s a win-win (mainly for me) 🙂

UK Amazon – 35mm film

UK Amazon – 120mm film

US Amazon 35mm film

US Amazon 120mm film

Rolleicord III – K3B

This is the final camera that I bought while on holiday in Hong Kong. Before writing this blog post I didn’t realize there were so many variations. Looking at this blog I matched the serial number to the Rolleicord III – Model K3B produced between 1950-1953. Now researching this camera I realize what I suspected at the time, I overpaid….but look at it.

It is in perfect condition, with box, case, and instructions. You can find more technical details from the previous link I supplied and this excellent blog shows you how to take care or repair it. I agree with that blog that the screen is a little dim, but that is the only thing I can find to fault. This cheaper version of the Rolleiflex is a delight to use. This particular version lacks the red window as it has an automatic stop function on the winder. Compared to the Seagull and Yashica TLRs I have tried, it feels much more luxurious and better made.

I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3, which has terrible reviews. That review said it curled a lot after self-developing. I did not find that at all. I quite liked it and would buy more. Here are my test shots, taken around Tokyo Station and my local park.

The position of the viewfinder on top of the camera made it much easier to get the duck photos. I have not tried a Rolleiflex, but I am very happy with this holiday purchase.

Zeiss Ikonta 520 A

I went to Tokyo recently and had to wait around for a friend. I was early and just happened to be near a camera shop, might as well take a look. They had a basket of folding cameras of various conditions, makes, and formats. I bought two. This one was in better condition and had the famed Zeiss Ikonta name. I had always wanted to try one…even if it was a cheap junk bin one.

They were originally produced between 1929-1938 after which it changed to 521. It is tricky to pinpoint the actual model as there seem to be many variations, but I am sure this is a 520 A, it does say 520 on the body 🙂

The black tape on the back covers the red film number windows. I think this is to stop light leaks on colour film which was not readily available when the camera was in production. Here is a blog with a great review and some technical details that you might not be able to garner from the photos above.

I tried two rolls of film in this camera before writing the blog. The main reason for this is that I mistook the size of the negative. This could be because the last folding camera I tried was the Certix which had massive negatives. So instead of moving the film numbers from one red window to the other, I just focused on one window…and a half of each film was wasted. That did mean I got through the films quicker.

Here is the first film.

Well, a bit fuzzy, but it is a 90-year-old camera. It can take multiple exposures as the shutter is not linked to the winder. I didn’t do that and just tried to get the thing in focus and straight. The one shot of the bollards seems to be where I managed it. You have to guess the distance and set the dial on the lens. The camera was made before lenses were coated to reduce haze, so in a bright light, haze is apparent.

As 120mm film takes 10 days to get back I got bored and shot another roll. This time black and white so I could develop it. Here you can see the negative issue.

And here are the photos from that film.

As you can see I had a bit of trouble holding the camera steady. The 1/100th speed coupled with the position of the shutter release was not easy for me especially when I tried to use the framing mask.

I enjoyed using the camera, but I don’t think I will use it very often due to the trouble I had keeping it steady.

Keep or Sell: I am reluctant to sell it as it is really, really old and works. But I doubt I will use it much. Sell…eventually.

UPDATE: I tried the camera on a monopod with a cable release and the results were much better.

Fujipet EE

I read about this camera line on a number of blogs including this one and this one. According to the latter site, the EE was produced in 1961 which I think is very early for a toy camera. According to this site, they were made exclusively for the Japanese market. So when I saw one I thought I should try it out, despite my dislike of plastic cameras.

I was very lucky to get a really clean version, I have seen some shockers in junk bins. The light meter arrow moved too, weirdly, jerkily, but it moved.

There is absolutely nothing to do but point and shoot. There is no focusing, no zoning, nothing. A fixed lens and a shutter release. The shutter always fires so multiple exposures are perfectly easy either on purpose or by accident.

I loaded up this one with Fuji Acros 100 and went for a walk. It takes 12 6×6 shots, so a short walk.

I liked the shot of the small bushes, there is a weird lens distortion that has a pleasant effect. I might actually use this again another day with colour film. There also seems to be a light aberration which I don’t like so I would like to try it again to see if that shows up again.

Compared with the current Holga cameras, which I have written about here and here, I think they performed equally. BUT this one looks much cooler and is sturdier. There is no way the back would drop off on this one, and there are some metal parts. If I had to choose I would pick a Fujipet over Holgas.

Update: This one was bought by a rogue eBay customer, who claimed it was not as listed and damaged. When I received it back it had an obvious dint in the bottom and the viewfinder was damaged. I suspect they were not sure what they were buying and was disappointed by the ‘toy’ feel of this camera then intentionally dropped it. Even so it still worked, I said it was studier than it looks. I fixed the viewfinder, but the dint remains. Luckily another buyer didn’t mind the dint and it was resold.

Certo Certix

I am not sure which version of the certix this is, there is an A and B version. There also seems to be a few variations of each. I am sure this is a German camera from about 1935. I bought it from a charity shop for a friend who has a love of folding cameras. It seemed in good condition, the bellows being intact and the shutter working. So I bought it and tried it out before passing it on.

This camera is the oldest I have ever tried and produces the biggest negatives, 6×9. So a 120mm roll only gives you 8 shots. The tiny glass viewfinder swivels so you can line up horizontal and vertical shots. On this one, the glass had a tendency to fall out if you weren’t careful. As I said the mirror/glass is tiny and very hard to use. I had real trouble framing shots and as I only took 8 shots I didn’t get much practice.

This one had aperture choices from f4.5 to f22 on the front of the lens. The shutter speed was chosen on the small dial at the top of the lens with 1/100 as the top speed. So I recommend a slow film of 100asa or less, which would match what was available in 1935. The red button on the side of the lens is the self-timer, but it did not work …or maybe the lens speed has to be set to T to make it work??

The whole bellows folds back into the case and can be opened by a small metal button near the film winder. To open the back and insert the film, there is a sliding button under the handle.

The film winding is completely manual, as is the shutter which always fires. That means it is very easy to take multiple exposures either by accident or on purpose. There are two red windows, for 6×9 pick one and stick with it. Then wind on the film until the numbers change in the window you have picked. Having two makes me think there might have been a mask option in the past for 6×4.5 photos, but not now for this one.

To focus you have to guess the distance and match it to the very hard to see numbers on the front part of the lens. I assumed they were in meters, but for the most part, I left it on infinity.

And that is it and here are my 8 shots.

Actually, I did like using it and is fascinating to think about the photos it has taken in the past.

But I bought it for someone else so I haven’t kept it now I know it works. I hope she has better luck framing the shots.


Lubitel 166B with 35mm film

I have previously written about this camera here.

As I now have a few medium format cameras that I prefer, I have decided to sell this one. Before doing so I thought I would try using it with 35mm film…just because I can. I was spending the morning in Tokyo while waiting for a friend so it was also the perfect time.

I had read about it on a few blogs, including this great one. I had bought some 3D printed adapters ages ago, but this would be my first time using them.


When I first loaded it into the camera I decided not to close it straight away so I could figure out how much to turn the film advance winder. That meant sacrificing the first bit of the film, but as this was a fun project I didn’t mind. I put a black mark on the winder and then watched the film move as I turned it. I thought it would be about 2 full turns.

Then I had to close the back. The Lubitel back is not the sturdiest and I had to really force it to get it fully closed. Then for good measure, I wrapped sellotape around the top to keep it down. Then there is the red film number window, which I covered with black tape.


I didn’t think to document the process so this is from my Instagram feed. And then I was off on the train.

Firstly with this camera, I had to guess the distances as the focusing screen doesn’t seem to change much. For this test, I mainly kept it on infinity. The other issue I had was that I completely forgot that the film would not fill the whole of the screen area, just the middle strip. I did eventually remember and it was a bit of a slap on the head moment. DURHH.

There is no rewind of course and the film is not covered with paper like regular 120mm film. That meant I had to place the whole camera in a light-tight bag and rewind it manually ready for processing. Developing the film the next day, I found that I had over-estimated how much to advance the film. But, better to be too much than too little in this case.

And here are the scanned images.

I really like the sprockets on the negatives. I used the 120mm film mask to scan them to make sure they were included. I think I will try this again with a Mamiya, it was fun for me.

Lubitel 166B

I wanted a Yashica Mat, but I couldn’t afford one. When I did finally get one at a reasonable price it didn’t work. That is the gamble with junk bins sometimes. Actually, not only did it not work, I crashed my car when taking it to a camera repair shop. They said it was beyond repair…the camera not the car, that was just a brake light. So, I did a bit of research and given my love of Russian cameras I decided to get a Lubitel 166B. According to this site there is no comparison with the two cameras, but I was happy to try the Lubitel for the price, while I keep looking for a reasonable medium format camera. (ignoring the Bronica and Koroll I have).

As with most Russian cameras, they can be found on eBay in abundance for a reasonable price. This one was clean and everything seemed to work, but the pop up magnifier which helps with focusing didn’t really do the helping part. I really could not see the difference when I tried to focus. In the end I used the camera like a rangefinder, I guessed the distance and set the lens to that. To be honest it did look focused in the viewfinder.

This website says the camera was initially produced from 1980, which seems late for a twin-reflex camera. Mine is set to take 6×6 photos, but masks can be inserted for the 6×4.5 format. I have read that the camera is prone to light leaks and the back catch is weak. I did find mine quite weak and I when using it I was worried it would pop open, but it never did. There are a few Lubitel versions out there. On this website you can find details of this and other versions. This one is fully mechanical, no batteries are needed so you have to use a light meter. The speeds go from 1/15 to 1/250 with a B option with the aperture going from f4.5 to f22. There is a reminder dial on the side so you can remember what type of film is inside. That is as technical as it gets. you can find a full manual at butkus.org.

For my first roll I chose a black and white film, fuji acros 100 (I think), so I could develop it myself.

I really like the photo of my dad’s chair..he is alive right now, but it is still poignant. As you only get a few photos from a roll I tried another film, this time colour.

Using the camera by range only is tricky as you can see by the out of focus shots. Maybe I just need practice…or a Yashica Mat or Mamiya. But I do like the quality the shots have and I do like using the camera. Unless I can actually compare it to one of the more expensive versions of this type of camera I cannot comment on how much better they are. For me, this one is fine and fun.

I am keeping this until I get a better one…..I got a better one so, sold.