Tag Archives: Norfolk

Bencini Comet II S and Rollei 80s Retro 127 film

Well, you live and learn. :)

Bencini Comet II S

I got ridiculously excited about this camera partly, I suspect, because it is *so* beautiful. Bright and shiny and small, with smooth motion and very simple mechanisms. But each time you use a new camera you are, of course, unaware of its capabilities or limitations.

This camera and film combination, I have discovered, is not much good for taking pictures of people. But photographs of architecture, under the right conditions, can be lovely. The lens on my copy is not very sharp, nor the focusing very accurate or easy, but I suspect that beautiful results could be achieved with a rich colour film and some woodland / countryside.

Out and about in Norwich yesterday, I saw this chalkboard and the one in the shop window and thought them rather charming. This, I believe, is one of the shots that came out best.

St Benedict's, Norwich

 

This one, too, I liked, of the Belgian Monk and the church next to it.

The Belgian Monk, Pottergate, Norwich

 

The rest of the roll can be found here.

I have just done something that felt rather brave and risky. In a dark bag, I spooled some 35mm film onto a 127 spool and backing paper, and I’ve loaded it into the Comet. Another experiment in the offing… :)

Ensign Ful-Vue Super – the results are in!

I wrote about the Ensign Ful-Vue before. In short: saw it, loved it, used it, was totally underwhelmed by the results.

Then Jem surprised me with an Ensign Ful-Vue Super; a slimmer, smaller, more streamlined version with a twisting focusing lens and viewfinder cover. Whilst I appreciated its obvious beauty, I’d been seduced and disappointed by its predecessor, so I approached this one with a little more reticence. I filed down a 120 roll of Kodak Ektar to fit, as it takes 620 film, loaded it up and off we went.

The only real problem I encountered is that the take-up spool began slipping before I was halfway through the film. By exposure 10 neither gentle persuasion nor brute force was going to budge it. Since it was loaded with Ektar and we haven’t got as far as home-developing colour film yet, we were taking it to the shop for a develop only, and I was tasked with removing it from the camera and putting it in a light-tight case inside a dark-bag at the shop counter. This, I discovered, was a very different experience from the privacy of my own kitchen table! Thankfully, it went without a hitch, and when we examined the camera afterwards, it was quite obvious that the pins that turn the take-up spool have bent upwards and are no longer gripping effectively. Jem assures me this won’t take much to fix. :)

So home we went to scan our films and I was incredibly happy with the results.

This is the portrait I attempted, bright sun outside, in our bedroom window, my eldest son. The tones, colours and sharpness were a real surprise. I should add that I don’t believe it has a light-leak, in spite of the fact that this exposure appears to have one. Rather, I believe I left the counter window open in bright sunlight, which has flooded this shot somewhat. Oops! You live and learn, eh? ;)

Ensign Full-Vue Super, Kodak Ektar film

And here is an example of how well it works in a sun-flooded room:

Ensign Ful-Vue Super, Kodak Ektar. A sunny June Saturday.

It also has a lovely quality when photographing buildings:

Recommissioned church in Norwich. Ensign Ful-Vue Super on Kodak Ektar

You can find these and some other shots from the roll here.

Ensign Ful-Vue – or – don’t judge a camera by its looks…

I’ve come to a realisation lately. I have been seduced, endlessly, by the beauty of old cameras, but the truth is a universal one:

Don’t judge a camera by its looks. :)

I have been disappointed by two notably: The Kodak Brownie Reflex 20 and the Ensign Ful-Vue. The fact is that they have utterly stunning viewfinders but the end results – the shots themselves – are totally underwhelming. If a photograph looked like its image in the viewfinder, if the judging of the camera were that simple, wouldn’t we all be incredible photographers!

The Ensign Ful-Vue has possibly the most beautiful viewfinder I’ve yet seen. I was wildly optimistic when I took it for its test run, and I restored it lovingly before I had seen the results, the best of which I am posting here.

Village View

 

St Giles Church, Norwich

Clouds

Rural Norfolk

Conversely, the Halina Paulette, which looks a little like a toy camera and has an innocuous and unconvincing shutter sound, not to mention the most pathetic little viewfinder which has no bearing on the lens either (manual focus according to distance from subject), can produce some stunning results.

So… the moral of the story?

Well, actually, there isn’t one! The Lomo Lubitel2 has a beautiful viewfinder and produces gorgeous results, so… at best the moral is: don’t be attached to the results – just suck it and see. :)

The Halina Paulette

Camerapedia says of this camera:

“The Halina Paulette was a 35mm viewfinder camera made in Hong Kong by Haking. It was introduced in c.1965, with a 45mm/f2.8 lens in a 4-speed (1/30-1/250) + B shutter. “

Yesterday I developed a roll of Kodak TX400, the first I have put through this particular camera. And I developed it with some trepidation.

First off, the shutter makes such an unassuming noise, I was convinced it didn’t work. These two shots (which made me laugh out loud when I scanned them) are evidence that I was still looking through the lens to ascertain any aperture movement at all… :)

Then there was the problem of the camera-back, which seemed to me to be terribly loose. So I couldn’t be entirely sure the film hadn’t been completely light-flooded. My particular copy (which is rather a beautiful thing, I’m sure you’ll agree) has its own original case. So I decided to leave it in it, cumbersome as that might be, so as to minimise light-leaks. This worked to a degree, but as even these two shots show, it was very limited success, and some shots were too damaged to be viewable.

However, for me, shots such as this:

Or this:

Or even this:

demonstrate its great potential.

So here is a gallery of these and the remaining shots, and now I shall be attempting to fix that light-leak, loading her up with another roll of film, and having another go! :)

 

 

 

28
May

Cathedral View

Gakkenflex / Ilford HP5 Plus

Taken yesterday.

Norfolk Broads

We spent yesterday on a ‘field trip’ in the nearby environs of Rockland Saint Mary – in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. It’s a really beautiful part of the country, I went on a holiday there for a week with some friends when I was younger and we had a fantastic time fishing for eels and frying them up for breakfast on the boat stove. It was a rather wild and unkempt place back then.

Going back there yesterday, I was initially taken aback by how much it had changed. It seemed that every hedge was neatly trimmed, all the grass verges were mowed to a regulation length, and all the paths were properly edged and signposted. All trace of the splendid wilderness of 20 years ago seemed to have vanished.

Maybe this is just a reflection of our times, it seems to me that there is no delapidation, ruin or decay allowed in the world anymore and everyone works very hard to turn our great wildernesses into golf courses. Why would that be? The world is losing its character in this way, and one place looks much the same as any other. The English countryside is becoming uniformly twee.

Even so, there were some beautiful sights and sweeping vistas. I went out with the two mamiyas – the 645 and the 330 – and hopefully there will be some pleasing results after our long day’s walking. I must add that the photography seemed to flow better after our halfway stop at a riverside pub. Neptune loves company!

Fenland

This is a typical local scene, at least when the sun is shining.

Mamiya 645 / Kodak Ektar

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