Sunday, February 15, 2009

Imperial Insta-Flash

I recently picked up another camera on ebay, an Imperial Insta-Flash made by the Herbert George Co., of Chicago, Ill., probably in the late 1950's - early 1960's. The lens and camera body are made of plastic and the viewfinder on the top of the camera is frosted glass. There's also a mirror which reflects the image from the lens to the viewfinder - most of the original mirror was corroded so I replaced it with a new one.

After replacing the mirror and cleaning the frosted viewfinder glass I made an adapter for my digital camera and took some test shots through the viewfinder. Two things I noticed right away-
1) Like the Foto-Flex you get a bright spot in the center of the viewfinder.
2) Anything closer than 6 feet is out of focus.

Anyway, here's some shots:

Indoors, kitchen table and light fixture.

Topper in the kitchen.

Shrub in the front yard.

Top of same shrub in the front yard.

Spooky trees.

Another thing I've noticed with the frosted glass viewfinder images is that if you manipulate the contrast or color balance with Photoshop you end up with an image that looks like a bad color photocopy, so I haven't done much more than cropping to the images above.

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