My new (old) camera| analog, news
So if you’ve been following this blog you know I’ve been really into shooting film lately. I’ve had a lot of fun with my unpredictable toy cameras, and I’ve been especially fascinated by the results of the layering that happens in multiple exposures on film. Much as I was pleased with the images that came out of those experiments, I found myself wanting to see what I could do with a little bit more precision, or a little bit larger of a canvas. Or both. I shot a couple of rolls of medium format (120) film on a toy camera but it wasn’t producing the kind of results I was looking for. So I started researching other medium format cameras online and I found this Rolleicord V. According to this totally geeky and incredibly helpful website, my camera was made sometime between 1954 and 1957. I’m more than a little enamored with it.
This style of viewfinder is captivating for me, but composing shots with it has taken some getting used to. With this camera, I hold it at waist level and look down, which is a lot different than putting it up to my eye. I’m used to moving my body and my camera as one to adjust my compositions, but I don’t yet know how to do that with this camera, or if it’s even possible. But the most confusing thing for me is that the viewfinder shows a mirrored image – so panning to the right, for example, will appear in the viewfinder as a movement to the left. While shooting the first couple of rolls of film, not only were the movements I had to make to adjust compositions counter-intuitive, but watching the viewfinder with everything moving backwards and opposite of what felt normal gave me such vertigo that I very nearly fell over more than once.
Still, this camera is a dream come true for me in so many ways. The most special thing about it, for me – and the reason I chose this particular model of this particular camera – is the switch that hides the red dot, shown on the image above to the right of the lenses. That switch is called the “double exposure prevention switch” – or in my case, red means go.
If this keeps up, I may never go back to shooting digitally…