Saturday, January 24, 2009

(Another) New Camera

So last week I picked up another old twin-lens reflex camera. This one is a Foto-Flex c.mid-1950's, manufactured by Hadd's Mfg. Co., for Photo-Flex Corp. of Chicago. Some folks might call this camera ugly; I prefer "utilitarian". Whatever. This thing's pretty weird looking. The main body of the camera is made of black enameled steel, and the front face is stainless steel. The back of the camera is made of heavy-duty plastic, as is the front lens holder and the viewfinder hood (which I've already removed), and weighs as much as a medium bag of potatoes. There are two metal clips that hold the front and back of the camera together. The camera has two shutter speed settings, "Instant" and "Time". With the "Time" setting the lens stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release. The viewfinder is a square piece of frosted glass. Pretty basic.

Here's the back of the camera, also showing the viewfinder:

Alright, let's crack this puppy open:

The picture above shows the back of the stainless steel faceplate, viewfinder, and the shutter mechanism, which is held in place by two screws (the whole camera comes apart by taking out four screws)

This is the main body of the camera with the lens/faceplate removed. There's a corroded chunk of mirror glued to the inside of the camera which reflects up onto the frosted glass viewfinder.

Tomorrow I'll make an adapter for my digital camera so that I can try shooting through the viewfinder. I've already noticed that the camera has to be pointed at a really, really strong light source for anything to show up in the viewfinder. According to the original manual:
(The) Foto-Flex is scientifically engineered embodying streamlined features and cerium polished lenses insuring the most critically sharp pictures in either color or black and white.
Honestly though, I can't imagine how anybody originally took pictures with this thing (although I bet you could beat a rabid badger to death with it.)

Stay tuned..

Lloyd Cole & the Commotions - Perfect Skin

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