I’ve been putting off shooting with the Belair, as I’m missing a couple of pieces. The viewfinder I have is for the wide-angle lens (this camera would originally have had two lenses, each with matching finder). I’m also missing the attachment to shoot 12×6 negatives*, I’m stuck with 9×6 and 6×6, which is disappointing; I like a good panoramic photograph. This means that the framing is a bit hit and miss, as I’m not sure how a 90mm lens and 58mm finder work together…
Lomography help desk are working on finding me replacements for these pieces, which is decent of them as I’m not even the original owner of the camera. I thought it would be a bit cheeky to ask for the wide-angle lens too, although I’d have liked to shoot with one, if only to see if they are as ‘soft’ as everyone says. (I’ve shot a bit with Lomography’s Sprocket Rocket camera, and that’s a bit soft, but in a good way.)
Since the Belair is auto exposure, I can shoot slide film with the expectation of it coming out ok. Slide doesn’t really have any latitude, not compared to negative film which you can under or over expose a fair bit before ruining your photographs. Although, some shots have come out with very white skies, so it’s not a perfect system.
There’s a bit of lens flare on a couple of them, but I’ve located a lens hood for it for next time.
*The Belair takes medium format (‘120’) film, which is quite a bit larger than 35mm, with a corresponding increase in resolution. Although nowhere near as large as some large format film, where sometimes the negatives are 10″x 8″ or bigger.
During her recent house move, my friend found some unused films in a drawer, and since she no longer has any film cameras, offered them to me. Except, these weren’t 35mm, they were APS.
As far as I can tell, it has been almost a decade since anyone has manufactured APS, it is a dead format. Because of this, APS cameras are generally quite cheap, so I bought one just to shoot these three films. And the camera came with 2 films.
The advantages of APS: the cameras are generally quite small, as the film cartridges are small. Disadvantages? The films are small, so not much better than 110 film from a quality point of view. And it’s not easy getting the film developed, as not all labs have the facilities any more. I’m not sure why I’m bothering with this APS film, even. Each negative is only 56% of the size of a 35mm frame. I think I just liked the look of some of the tiny cameras…
Anyway, here is my first film:
My first APS Film
As you can see, there are no photos on the film. I’m assuming that the camera is at fault, since it loads the film automatically (not user error!). Trying it without film, it seems to be that the shutter doesn’t even open, so that’ll be it, then. At least the lab refunded part of the cost, which was nice of them.
This is the 2nd roll shot with the Baby Bessa. This one shoots 12 6cm x 6cm negatives on each roll of medium format film. It is a little unusual taking square photos, it can make framing the shot more of a challenge, but at least you never have to turn the camera on its end to get a shot.
I shoot this view of the English Bridge frequently, it looks different every time, and I’m usually using a different camera so get different results. This one, you might have noticed, isn’t square – there was some horrible lens flare on the bottom half of the shot, so I cropped it (and some off the top for balance).
This is another ‘stock view’. As you can see the framing is off – the viewfinder on this camera is rather primitive (a hole in a piece of metal!) and I’m not yet used to it, I often cut the top off a shot. This could have done with more sky and less road.
St Mary’s Church #1
Another one that could have done with less ground. This church photographs beautifully when the sun hits it just right.
I really like this street for photographing, especially with the light catching the details on the medieval building on the left. This is about the 10th attempt so far!
These shots taken with 1938 Voigtlander ‘Baby’ Bessa 66, Fomapan 100 B&W 120 film.
It’s always a bit of a gamble buying cameras from eBay, you’re never sure what hidden faults quirks the camera might have, especially if the camera from 1937. I’ve recently bought another old Voigtlander folding camera, like the Baby Bessa but larger. This one takes 9cm by 6cm negatives (with an optional film plate to enable you to take 4.5cm by 6cm photos).
The first roll would tell me if the camera worked, if there were any light leaks in the bellows, and if the shutter speeds were anything like they were designed for.
As you can see, it all works fine! The one disadvantage with taking 9×6 photos, is you only get 8 shots on a roll.
With the sun out this week, I took my Bessa 66 out with some B&W film in it. I won’t get the negatives back for a week or so, I always try to sent at least 2 films off at the same time, to make the postage more cost-effective. If the weather is good tomorrow I might go up on the Longmynd with my Belair, (last time I went I shot 3 rolls of film with my Olympus Trip 35 and Fed 2 cameras) and then I’ll post it all off. I’ve still not received the 12×6 film mask, so I’ll have to shoot 9×6 which is still a pretty big negative, and I’ll get a few more photographs out of my 120 film.
This is one of the things I shot with the Bessa 66, this is a great door on the remains of Old St Chad’s church in Shrewsbury, which collapsed in the late 1700s. All that is left is a side-chapel with this weathered door on it.
I took this with my Fuji XF1, I expect the film version will look quite different.
I’m new to medium format cameras (but I’ve already got 4 of them!) so I don’t get everything right. My first roll, shot with a Lubitel 166B, came out looking horrible, as if I’d deliberately overexposed it. The 2nd, shot on a Diana F+ was beyond terrible, only 2 shots came out ok, the rest it looked like fungus the Bogeyman had been sick on them (light leak problems were the least of it).
Yesterday I got the rolls back from my Baby Bessa and my Zeiss Ikon Nettar 517/16. I shot B&W for the Baby. I shot what I thought was normal colour film with the Zeiss. I was slightly surprised/mortified to get an email form the lab asking me if i was sure I wanted this slide film processed in normal chemicals. I checked the box of films again – sure enough, it was slide film. Since slide processing is an extra £1.50 and I am nothing if not a cheapskate, I said ‘sure what the hell – cross process it!’ (or words to that effect).
Cross-processed film (sometimes called x-pro) is notorious/celebrated for the unusual and sometime bizarre things that happen to the colours. These pink trees are not only cross-processed, it is also a double-exposure. This is very easy to do with these old cameras without meaning to.
This photo of some trees (I get impatient shooting test-rolls and tend to snap just anything) is a bit more normal, but still obviously different, like this bridge.
The English Bridge, Shrewsbury (X-pro)
I think I’ll be doing some more X-pro films, soon.
I don’t often take the same shot on different cameras at the same time, but this time last week I did. There was some lovely haze in the distance, and I wasn’t sure if I’d got it with the film camera, so I shot it with my Fuji also.
Castle to the Bridge #1
Castle to the Bridge #2
I don’t know what you think, but I reckon that the film version has the edge over the digital version.
The top photo was taken with a Diana f+ with a 35mm film back and a wide-angle lens. The bottom shot was taken with a Fuji XF1.
I had decided this year to stop buying cameras, and sell some of my 35mm collection as I wasn’t really shooting with them all and there were some I wasn’t that fussed about keeping. I’d bought a Fuji XF1 in the sales, so I had a really good digital camera too. Now I’ve got a Lomography Belair X 6-12.
Belair x 6-12
I somehow decided to start shooting 120 film, in addition to 35mm, and ended up buying a few medium format cameras. This new one is one of them. (I also have a Baby Bessa and a Zeiss Ikon Nettar).
in folder state
There aren’t many new film cameras being made today, not at the consumer end of the market (at least not at the affordable end of it), and certainly not shooting 120 film. One of the advantages of 120 film over 35mm, is the size of the negatives, the standard size is 6cm x 6cm and 6cm x 9cm is common. This camera can shoot both of those, plus 12cm x 6cm – which I’m hoping with be great for panoramas.
The camera is quite big – it needs to be – but not too heavy. Even though it’s plastic, it doesn’t feel too flimsy. Unfortunately, it is missing one of the lenses (which is why I got it cheap) but somehow the viewfinder is the one that matches the missing lens… so I’ll have to guess what is in my shot, unless I can get a finder from somewhere! (The other lens is wide-angle).
No, I haven’t had a baby – it’s a camera. A Voigtländer Baby Bessa 66*. You might be thinking it’s looking a bit corroded, that’s because it was made in 1938, and has been stored badly. The insides look pristine, though.
It is otherwise in fairly good nick – the bellows are still light-tight, the shutter still works (although all speeds work at 1/150 second), and the lens is in fairly good condition with no scratches. The aperture looks really good. The viewfinder has no glass or lens in it, just holes in two pieces of metal – it is meant to be like that. That’s how they did things before the war.
It had a roll of film in it when I got it, only 7 of the shots had been taken, but I’m not paying to get that developed (B&W medium format film is about £10 to get developed, that’s without printing!). I’m keeping it carefully until the day I finally get around to developing my own negatives, then this can be a test roll!
I’ve already shot a roll of film with it – B&W – which I hope will be back by the end of the week. If it comes out ok, I’ll post some pictures. Or I might post them anyway.
*The 66 refers to the size of the negative – 6cm square. They also made a 46 which was 4.5cm x 6cm.
Yes, I have too many cameras*. It’s not yet become a problem, none of them have cost me over £35 and I still have room underneath my bed to store them. Here is my new one:
This is a pretty small camera, as you can see from the film canister – only 95mm long. The lens partly retracts, making this more-or-less pocket-sized. There is a selenium light meter on the top, which will be handy while I teach myself to use the Sunny-16 rule accurately.
In truth, I have two of these – I bought one as ‘spares or repair’, as previous owner had got the retractable lens jammed in the ‘out’ position, plus other things (The broken one coast me slightly more that the working one!). I’ve sorted the lens, now got a couple of other things to fix. No idea what I’m doing with it then, it’s a bit too beaten-up to sell.
*So far: Voigtländer Vito C (broken), Voigtländer Vitoret D (going to sell this, I think), 2 x Voigtländer Vito B (I love these), Zorki 4, Fed-2, Rollei B35 x 2, Recesky TLR (Gakkenflex clone)