Copyright: 2020 Rudy Umans

Rolleiflex 3.5E. This camera is from 1958 and made in Germany. The design is a Twin Lens Reflex” (TLR) design. The upper lens is the “Viewing Lens” and the bottom lens is the “Taking Lens” The image is composed through the viewing lens while the taking lens directs the light directly to the film (takes the picture) Rollei invented the TLR and was copied by many manufacturers, including Graflex, but none of the copies had, and has, the same quality as a Rolleiflex.

Zero 69 Pinhole Camera. A pinhole camera is basically a box with a place to put a film on one side and a tiny little hole on the opposite side. Like a Camera Obscura, the light coming though that tiny hole is projected on the opposite side. The camera has no lens, no electronics, and no viewfinder. Just a box. That tiny hole is much smaller as what you typically would find in the lens on a “normal” camera or on your phone and consequently, a pinhole camera has in principle a much longer shutter speeds, so a tripod is mandatory.

Graflex Crown 23 “Pacemaker”. This camera is from 1948 and made in America. This particular one is a medium format camera. The size of the negative is 2 ¼” x 3 ¼” or 6 x 9 cm.  The shutter is in the lens. Within limits, the lens is interchangeable. They were made in different varieties and sizes. The “Speed” model had a focal plane shutter in the back. (same principle more or less as a modern camera). The “Speed” model in 4” x 5” or 9 x 12 cm was the most popular camera in the forty’s and fifties of photojournalists. If you see a picture of that era with news photographers, it is most likely one of those.

Graflex Model RB, series B. This camera is also from 1948 and made in America by Graflex. Over the years, they also came in a variety of configurations and sizes. This one is a medium format, but they made them all the way up to 5 x 7 inch. Although the lens can be replaced by another lens, the camera is not really designed for interchangeable lenses like the Crown and the Speed. This type of camera was popular by Fine art and/or portrait photographers. The RB stands for Revolving Back, meaning the back rotates from horizontal to vertical. The camera has a mirror with basically the same principle as an SLR in the film days that so many of us are familiar with.

Zeiss Ikon Maximar 207/7. This camera is from 1937 and is a 9 x 12 cm (approx. 3.5 x 4.75 inches film size) plate camera. This madel camera came in different sizes of which the 9 x 12 is the largest. This type of camera was one of Ansel Adams’s favorite. Zeiss Ikon was born out of the merger of 4 manufacturers, under which Carl Zeiss and Goertz and became a highly sought after camera brand back then and still today.

A popular camera in the days by many popular and famous early and mid 20th century photographers.

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Reality So Subtle (RSS) 617. Also known as “The Beast” (At least by me). This is a large pinhole camera that produces 6 x 17 CM ( 2 ¼ x 6 ¾ inch) negatives.The camera has an extreme wide angle of 143 degrees. The film follows a curved plane inside the camera to maintain a consistent focal length from left to right. It takes some practice to load the film, but the advantage is no or very little light fall off at the extreme ends. The camera is handmade in France. It is my favorite pinhole Camera.

Zeiss Ikon “Super Ikonta”, Type “C” 531/2. This camera takes 6 x 9 cm negatives. Super Ikontas were made in different sizes. This particular camera was manufactured in 1938 and was one of the first cameras with a so called ‘Rangefinder”, which is a mechanism with mirrors and gears to focus the image. The camera is of the folding type (“Folder”). The lens and the bellows “folds” inside the camera body to get a compact and well protected unit.  Built like a tank. Great “walk around” camera.