Bronica SQ-A – a satisfying but nonsensical use of money

One of the first cameras I owned was an Ensign Selfix 120. And I’ve tried lots of 120s since then; Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Kodak autograph. None with much success.

Excuses:

  • I’m no good at guessing exposures
  • Turns out my old Weston light meter is unreliable
  • Gummy shutters (my Rolleis are long overdue servicing)
  • Light leaks (the Autograph, but then it is circa 1920)

I wanted a new toy, so I decided to give 120 another chance.

Continue reading “Bronica SQ-A – a satisfying but nonsensical use of money”

Agfamatic 2000

As well as a teeny little Pentax Auto 110, my brother gave me an Agfamatic 2000.

It’s a great example of ’70s futuristic design. Did they have cameras in Space 1999 (http://www.space1999.org )? If they did, they would have looked like this.

Agfamatic 2000 – Open

Agfamatic 2000 – Open

Agfamatic 2000 – Closed

Agfamatic 2000 – ClosedIt’s a super-basic camera. A setting for cloudy or sunny, and a big red shutter button. That’s it.

I think the word ‘sensor’ writ on the top just means that if you push the big red button, it senses that it has been pushed. There’s certainly nothing complicated relating to sensing light going on in there.

The camera closes up, covering the lens. It is opened using a switch on the bottom. Squishing the camera shut again winds the film on. It springs back open unless you lock it shut.

It’s a really nice camera to use.

It feels solid, it is friendly, the winding mechanism makes a satisfying noise, and the slinky metal wristband is a fine thing.

Results

Unfortunately, the pictures that come out of it ain’t no good.

Pentax Auto 110: The World’s Smallest SLR

Look what my brother gave me… The World’s smallest film SLR. It’s a Pentax Auto 110.

Pentax Auto 110. Apols slightly crappy pics; left Ricoh in a hotel room so tried using the camera on my Moto X. Not the best quality pics and a stupid interface that makes it hard to get the best out of it.

It looks like an SLR, right, but is super tiny. Here it is compared to an FTb.

Auto 110 vs FTb

The Auto 110 fits nicely into the hand. And is probably just about big enough to be useable.

However, despite being super-small, thanks to its depth it is less comfortable in a pocket than a GR1.

Features

It’s got no features. None. Well a shutter button, film advance and a focus ring on the lens. Film speed and exposure are automatic. Short of fixed focus you couldn’t get away with less.

But at least you see what you get through the viewfinder, which is surprisingly bright – not the pokey little thing you’d expect. And it has a nice split ring focusing aid.

Oh, one feature; you can swap lenses. I’ve only got a 24mm (50mm equivalent) and a tiny little Soligor 1.7x teleconverter.

The rub

How can it be so small… therein lies the rub. It takes 110 film cartridges. Which can only be had from Lomo: http://shop.lomography.com/films/110-film.

So… I’ve got to wait ages for the film to arrive… and then take some pics… and then wait ages to get them processed; the lovely Max Spielmann will process them, but they have to be sent away, and take ‘about 20 years’ to come back.

So compared to 35mm film (£1 a film from the pound shop, a couple of quid and an hour to process onto CD) it’s an expensive pain. Still, I can’t resist trying. So I’ve ordered some film and we’ll take it from there.

Uh oh… another rub

Just read something about the Auto 110 and film speed here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_Auto_110 …

Seems it only sets itself to ‘low’ (roughly 100) or ‘high’ (400). Which means the 200 asa film I just ordered may not work. Damn. Still I can use the film in the Agfamatic 2000 that my brother also gave me. Don’t you wish you had a brother that gives you interesting cameras?

The results

So, I ordered some film, took some pics. Got them processed. Not very good.