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Rainbow No 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Posted 2011.09.06 20.07 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

It’s quite a mouthful – that’s the name of my newest oldest camera! The Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C was a “box” camera made in or around 1930. It was actually a re-issue of a camera design that was introduced in 1913, but Kodak re-released them to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.

In fact, to celebrate its 50th birthday, Kodak gave away a half-million cameras like this one, to 12-year-old children. Mine is not one of the 50th anniversary specials – just a standard rainbow No 2 Model C. Mind you, it’s better than your average box camera – mine is Red!

My Red Camera!

Kodak No.2 Hawk-Eye Model C

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see how it worked. I loaded it up and shot through a roll of film in a few minutes, outside around the house.

One of the things I needed to figure out, was exposures. Box cameras tend not to have any settings. Well ok some do, but this one sure doesn’t. One shutter speed. No aperture settings. Certainly no focusing. Without knowing the technical info, it’s very hard to know what to expect from the camera. And I know they weren’t running ISO 800 colour film through these things, back in the 1930’s.

I’ve read that the shutter speed is probably about 1/30th. I measured the focal length (about 105mm) and estimated the aperture at f/6.3. So using ISO 100 film, I calculated that would work at EV+10 — say, indoors under bright light, or outdoors under heavy overcast.

In actuality it looks like the aperture is probably more like f/8 or even f/11 which means it’s better off at EV+11 or EV+12 – I’d guesstimate that the Church image was a 12 and that came out properly exposed. So now I know what sort of conditions to look for next time!

Incidentally, if you’re wondering where one might find a camera like this… I actually scored this beautiful example from an Etsy store. If you’re looking for an antique or classic camera, follow the link and have a look – I found Rebecca a real pleasure to deal with.

p.s. Technical details – film was Shanghai GP-3, ISO 100 B&W processed 7 1/2 minutes in Kodak T-Max developer, 1:4 mix.

Compact Camera Quest (Part 1)

Posted 2011.07.14 16.14 in Photography by Stephanie

“The best camera in your collection is the one you have with you when you need it.”

I don’t know who originally said that, but they were right. The fanciest gear and finest lenses in the world won’t do you any good if you’ve left them at home because they’re too big / heavy / bulky.

Granted, every cellphone now has a “camera” in it. Or the latest Canon or Nikon digital P&S is about the size and weight of a deck of cards… but that’s not what I like. I like film. I like old-school. I like classic cameras. I do like convenience though, and I don’t always want to have to stop to tinker with my camera before taking the shot.

At one point, I had thought my Canonet GIII QL17 was the perfect 35mm camera. And my Zeiss Ikon Nettar is a nearly-perfect medium-format. Problem is, I don’t carry them around everywhere. The Canonette isn’t all that bulky but it is a bit heavy, and doesn’t fit in a small purse or jacket pocket. And the Nettar is a fantastic folding camera, but it’s an antique in great condition, so just a bit too dear for me to lug around everywhere day after day.

Then I learned about the Rollei 35 – a full-frame 35mm camera that some referred to as “sub-compact”. Intrigued, I soon found one available online at a good price, and took the plunge…

Rollei B35

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One of my Favorites

Posted 2010.12.04 22.28 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

The last couple weeks I’ve been carrying around my Zeiss Ikon Nettar camera. It’s one of my favorites – made in 1949, it’s a real classic. Uses 120 rollfilm, shoots 6x6cm square images. With a 75mm f/4.5 lens, and an all-mechanical shutter that can go all the way up to 1/200sec! Yeah, mine is the good one with the f/4.5 aperture and the Pronto shutter!


I’ve been trying to rekindle my interest in photography, and as a result this is the camera that’s been bouncing around inside my purse for the past few weeks. I really need to dig it out of the purse and take some pictures, but… I don’t know what to shoot.

I feel awkward doing ‘street photography’, like people probably don’t want to be caught in some stranger’s snapshots. I do like landscapes or abandoned industrial-style areas, but there’s nothing interesting around my usual routes.

It’s not like I have 36 or even 24 frames to get through – at 6×6 you only get 12 shots on a roll of 120, and I think I got half of those off just playing around the house. So, I just need to get around to shooting a half dozen more frames, then I can put the Nettar away and start thinking about processing some film.

It’s just… it’s harder than I expected, to get myself re-interested in any of my old hobbies.

Canonet Test Roll

Posted 2009.09.12 8.15 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

I processed the first roll shot with my ‘new’ Canonet QL17, and the results were… mixed. Almost the entire roll came out under-exposed, so I have to try and figure out why. Two possibilities come to mind, the first being that the Electric Eye is not working right, i.e. giving incorrect metering, and the second being that I &#%ed up the developing somehow.

I’ll have to do another roll and be sure to vary the exposures so there are some different levels I can compare. The Electric Eye was designed to use the now-verbotten 1.35v mercury battery; the alkaline replacement is 1.55 volts and that might be enough to throw the meter off by one or two stops. And alternatively, when I decided to process the film it was late at night and I’d enjoyed a few adult beverages, so it’s entirely possible that the camera is fine and I baffed the whole thing up by mixing the chemicals wrong or getting the timing wrong.

I tried to find a book yesterday at Chapters that would include some info on developing film, but literally every single book in the ‘photography’ section includes the word ‘digital’. Even the darkroom books are all ‘digital darkroom’.  Ptooey!

Anyhow, here are a few results from that first test-roll.

Because the whole roll had come out under-exposed, I was forced to push the exposure when scanning the negs and that affected the quality somewhat. It’s not unlike going from neg to print, you can fix some problems by varying how you expose and develop the paper.

Also, I was more interested in rushing through the roll so I could ensure that the camera was working, and didn’t think much (at all) about actually composing good shots. I’ll have to work on that – still trying to re-train my eye for photography.


New Old Camera

Posted 2009.09.09 17.39 in Hobbies by Stephanie

1972_netg3-17My photographicalogical interests continue to spread out, having gone from a shiney new DSLR to my old manual Minolta, and are stretching further back in time. Today I got a nifty ‘new’ Canonet GIII QL17 35mm Rangefinder! The very best compact photographic technology that 1972 had to offer!

It really is a ‘compact’ camera, yet has all the bells and whistles of a serious / pro rangefinder. This website compares the QL17 to a Leica M6 – and I do believe the very economical QL17 stands up pretty well to the rather expensive Leica.

For a camera that’s pushing 37 years old, it’s in reasonably good shape. As soon as I verified that the shutter, aperture and winding mechanism were working, I threw in a roll of B&W film and when I’ve worked through the 36 shots I’ll develop it and post the results.

The camera is ‘almost’ entirely manual – the only non-manual thing it can do is it has an Electric Eye sensor that can be used to run the camera in Shutter Priority mode. That is, you pick a shutter speed and the camera can select the correct aperture. This is actually opposite of my prefered mode (Aperture Priority) on my DSLR and my Minolta X370. The QL17 uses a (banned) mercury battery to power the Electric Eye, but there are non-toxic replacements now. Without a battery, the camera works just fine in manual mode.

Camerapedia has an entry for the Canonet GIII QL17 which has some good info and links. Canon even has a page for the camera in their Camera Museum site.