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Saturday, 04 September 2010

Comments

It's a great photo.

But what I took away from the story was this:

If news photographers in the middle of an American military occupation have the time to fool around with antique cameras and send their film back to Switzerland it means one of two things.

1.) The country has become so stable there's little or nothing to do.

2.) The press is confined to a relatively safe, restricted "green zone".

I can't imagine Edie Adams lugging around an old view camera during the Tet Offensive and taking landscapes.

Sorry for whizzing in your corn flakes but that's my honest impression of this experiment.

Mike,
I've been following this website for a few months now and am really impressed with the photographs. Encourage everyone to glance at this site a few times a week for the images and the stories. Thanks for connecting TOP crowd with this one.

#9 is a dead ringer for Fidel Castro. Glad to see film continuing to find a place in the world.

The photos of Christoph Bangert are wonderful. They reminded me of the book "The places in between" by Rory Steward in which he describes his walk through Afganistan in the winter of 2001-2002. Some how both succeed in showing some real people in the Afgan war.
Also thank you for pointing me to the excellent Lens blog, again. I'll try to hold on to the link this time!

"Rolleiflex for a year" - how about it? I use mine quite a lot and having only 12 exposures before the relatively slow business of reloading the camera can be very focusing (pun intended). Great lenses, with, dare I say it, a "signature look" which I can see in these portraits.

I have my dad's Rolleiflex now. He was great with his hands and could build and/or fix anything. I don't know why he bought it, he didn't use it much but I think he kept it for me. I have the Rolleikin too, which I might try sometime. Dad used to service it himself but while I may have some of his talent I don't have his experience or confidence. I could try to service it myself but I'd rather get it done properly, at least once, before I start tinkering. Anyway, does anyone know where I can get a 3.5F serviced, preferably in the UK, possibly elsewehere in Europe?
I *really* want to use this thing, it'd be nice to trace previous owners, sort of like how people do with old cars. A definite candidate for a 1 camera year - along with the XA and the OM4/50 f1.8 of course.
But I really want to use the Rolleiflex - and I think there's a brighter focussing screen too that I might be interested in...

Bill,
I assumed you meant "3.5F," not "35F," so I edited your comment accordingly.

The best-known Rollei repairman in the U.S. is Harry Fleenor. A good name for Google, which is how to find him...he might know of a good shop in the U.K.

Mike

Bill

My Rolleiflex 2.8c had a very dim (original) focusing screen. I replaced it with one from Rick Oleson and was very pleased.

http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/

However you might want to have a service first as a dirty mirror can also be a problem. I have a good contact in Zurich for camera maintenance, but that might be a bit distant, and pricy given the state of the pound at teh moment

That Rolleiflex seems to definitely be working just fine...

And swr- it's definitely not #1.

I looked at more of Christopher Bangert's photoraphs and part of me regrets my first comment.

The man really is a great photographer.

But part of me resists the idea that we're seeing as much of Afghanistan in his photos that we saw of Vietnam in some of the classic photos of that conflict.

A lot of Bangert's photos, as good as they are, say "embedded journalist".

He certainly does his subject (American soldiers and American Afghan allies) more than justice.

But I just wish I were seeing the larger story from that country.

Anyway, does anyone know where I can get a 3.5F serviced, preferably in the UK

Newton Ellis: http://www.neco.myzen.co.uk/camerashop/repairs.html

Re: the slowness of loading film onto a Rolleiflex, alluded to in a couple of posts above. Yes, in comparison to digital, but ...

1. The automatic film-sensing mechanism of these cameras (in models that have it) makes them the fastest to load medium format cameras, in my limited experience. The only medium format cameras I have used that are easier (but not faster) to load are the automated GA645-series Fuji cameras. Changing film magazines on a modular camera is faster, but you still have to load the magazines.

2. I remember reading about Richard Avedon using a clutch (is that the correct collective noun, Mike? Or, should it be a pride?) of Rolleiflexes in the studio. As he finished a roll, he would toss the camera behind his head and grab a "fresh" camera. An assistant would catch the flying Rolleiflex mid-air, replace the film, and place the newly loaded camera where the master could grab it when he finished the next roll of film (and tossed the camera holding it behind him).

Adrian

I didn't mean to imply that the slowness of film changing was a problem with the Rolleiflex - not in the situations I use it for - but for what it's worth I think the Bessa III is the fastest loading medium format film camera (without interchangeable backs). Just like an SLR, if you discount having to swap the takeup spool.

My father used a Rolleiflex working as a wedding photographer back in the 60's and from what I remember there was never any rush to change films. From my hazy memory I think this meant capturing the standard group photos on one roll of 12 exposures. Scary or what?

I shot a wedding for friends recently and came away with 700 images without even trying

My father used a Rolleiflex working as a wedding photographer back in the 60's and from what I remember there was never any rush to change films. From my hazy memory I think this meant capturing the standard group photos on one roll of 12 exposures. Scary or what?

My father also used to use a Rolleiflex for weddings (and a Rolleicord). There's no hurry to change film as the wedding party is waiting for you, not the other way round.

The first time my father was sent out to do a wedding on his own he was given ten glass plates and told not to waste any of them!

"capturing the standard group photos on one roll of 12 exposures. Scary or what?"

Terrifying! The wedding photographer I assisted a little in the 70s taught me how important it was to get each group photo with at least two different cameras (and hence of course on two different rolls of film), and to send those rolls to the lab on separate days so a bad chemical batch or whatever wouldn't wipe you out completely. ("A" rolls and "B" rolls is the terminology I'm used to.)

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