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Back to basics - box cameras

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by gray1720, May 15, 2019.

  1. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I should be suggesting this as it might drive prices up (ha ha!)... but with the recent run of second-hand and film articles in AP, does anyone else think it would be nice to have a piece on really going back to basics and using box cameras?

    I know a few of us here use them when the mood takes us (hey, I even got one of my photos published in AP - and haven't shut up about it since...), and they are probably easier to use than that Halina 35X.

    neilt3, steveandthedogs and Zou like this.
  2. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    You mean things like the 'sunny 16 rule' & which old film sizes are still available?

    I've recently brought a handful of vintage cameras to try & repair, or extract the lens (reversibly) for use on digital. The Voigtlander Skopar lens has already come out of a prewar folding camera (which has a faulty shutter interlock - I'll try fixing that later) but the mounting ring is a little less accessible on my Agfa Silette. Both lenses will easily mount on a M42 body cap (once a suitable sized hole is drilled) & one of my helicoids will correct the registration on mirrorless bodies.
    Quite a selection of these interesting old cameras around and most I've seen have been less than the price of a typical round.
  3. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Even more basic than sunnny 16 - three apertures if you are lucky, one on most. No,. more about the joys of using soimething so very basic.

    The Skopar could be a treat - I have one on a Brillant and it is sharper than a pre-war triplet deserves to be.

    Petrochemist likes this.
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I don't know. I suppose that you could create a piece; submit it; and see if it flies. I would certainly look at the pictures, and if I liked them might read the words.
  5. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    There's nowt so damning as faint praise, is there?
    peterba likes this.
  6. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    "Here is a box. You put film in that end, point that end at something, push the lever and, if you are lucky, it makes a picture."

    There you are, written it for you!

    All right, I would like to see a [proper] article about using them. How are your writing skills? You can see my level above.

  7. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Well, if you rummage far enough back in classic marques you'll find some pieces I've written before - I suspect a good editor would be needed, along with a word limit to work to, but I'm happy to be critiqued!

    I think there's room there to write something on checking that what you are looking at works, a little bit of history, and the pros and cons of things like the early Kodaks vs something like the post-war Coronets and the faux-TLRs, plus how to get the best out of something with one slow shutter speed. And how big negs hide all sorts of evils. After all, people look at photos on phones that aren't a lot bigger than a 6x9 contact. To me it's the sheer simplicity that I love.

  8. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Is the word "simplicity" a bit misused here?

    Yes: you wait for a bit of sun then point and shoot but...
    • You have to wind on while peering through a piece of red plasic;
    • get to the end of the film;
    • take the film out of the camera;
    • put the film in a developing tank (making sure it stays in the spirals);
    • make up developer and get it to the right temperature;
    • pour the developer in and time the process while ensuring you give the right amount of agitation;
    • pour out the developer and pour in wash water;
    • pour out the wash water and pour in the fixer;
    • wait until the film has cleared;
    • pour out and save the fixer for the next session;
    • wash the film sufficiently to remove all the fixer;
    • dry the film;
    Then you have to print each shot. :eek:

    Compare with a digital camera: take picture; look at picture; share picture. ;)
  9. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    You obviously have less knobs and dials on your digital camera than me! I discovered a new one at the weekend that I had no idea what it did... probably to do with autofocus, as I don't use it I'd never noticed it.

    Personally I find the developing fun as well, and I scan rather than print as I've yet to convert the downstairs bog, but you could make the exact same argument against at least one of the cameras featured in the AP film article, I suspect most people would send to be developed.

    I suspect that box cameras is a thing you either get or you don't.
  10. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Yes. That's true of many things. I still have my Hasselblad and Canon FD outfits. Every so often I think I should put a roll through them but then I pick up the bags and realise I don't want to lug all that metal and glass around. :(
  11. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Is it a case of being more "hands on" in the process, and also having to exercise any grey cells that one might have as well? It's been ages since I did any film.
  12. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! I'm quite hands-on anyway and get a buzz from doing stuff like that. Let's put it this way. We have a lot of concrete to shift in the back garden. I'm hiring a kango!

  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    You obviously need a box camera.


    ps or a Vito II...
    peterba likes this.
  14. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Would you like to re-phrase that?

    Seriously, why not have a go at writing an article? You probably have more of the things than the rest of us idiots er vintage users.

  15. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I'm obviously missing an innuendo, Steve!

    I definitely resemble the last sentence, though. I did once build Boxcamerahenge on the kitchen floor for a laugh...

    I think the editor (Nigel Atherton?) drops in occasionally - maybe I'll message him? Unless he beats me to it, of course.

  16. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Read your first sentence!

  17. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Well-Known Member

    You mean 'Absolutely!' ?? ;)
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Even I, the King of the Snigger, would struggle to get a rise* out of that one - I reckon Steve's been on the Morris Dancing Juice.


    *See what I did there? *snigger*

    Anyway, box cameras...
    peterba and steveandthedogs like this.
  19. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    [​IMG]Ashton & Shaw by Steve Ashton, on Flickr

    Just not recently...


    Not my shot!
  20. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Thanks for the suggestion. We'll look into it.

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