„The photographic apparatus is a combination of physical prerequisites with chemical effects, which are combined in a complicated case of mechanical reactions. —- This is all precisely worked technology that works according to calculated laws. The automatic system is perfect. Man only has it operated with a push, a light pull – that’s all.“ Theodor Heuss
When the Federal President of Western Germany at the time put this on paper on the subject of „cameras“, nobody could have foreseen the electronic possibilities of today’s „digital cameras“. These pages are intended to keep alive the memory of the cameras used by amateur and professional photographers from the 1950s to the 1990s. There are cameras that correspond to my personal inclinations that have found an entry here. There are certainly dozens of other highly interesting cameras that have not (yet) been able to secure a place in my collection for reasons of space and cost. For example, get to know the Contessa from Zeiss Ikon, the Contaflex in its many expansion stages, the Icarex and the Contarex. The legendary Retina is represented by Kodak, the Rollei 35 and the Voigtländer Vitessa are waiting for your visit. In the (constantly growing) Japanese department, the most diverse constructions reveal the ingenuity of their developers. All my cameras have one thing in common, they are used as often as possible for what they were built for: to take pictures.
For many years my ancient Agfa Billy stood alone on its tripod between the green plants in the living room.
About this camera: The roll film camera for the 6x9cm negative format was built around 1930. An old heirloom that somehow got through the years.
A black and white film with 50 ASA was used after the dusty apparatus had been cleaned. The result was devastating, as almost all the images were hopelessly underexposed, I didn’t have a separate exposure meter back then. Since then, the device has stood decoratively but almost unnoticed between the yucca palm and the ficus benjaminus.
As a partner I found a beautifully preserved Kodak Vollenda from the same era with a matching tripod.
The only pity is that the uncoated lenses have become cloudy over time. Because the shutter with the shortest time of 1/100 sec and the front drive work perfectly. The 1:4.5 lens, which was quite high for the time, would certainly ensure good negatives in the 6 x 9 cm format.
So the Kodak remains a beautiful showcase model that looks quite noble on the handicraft table.
Those were two decorative old devices, but neither of them were really suitable for taking serious pictures. However, I am pretty spoiled by the many years of using a fully automatic Nikon F 70 (SLR), so I came up with the idea of reactivating my brother’s Porst LK 500. The big advantage: This device requires inexpensive 35 mm films. A beautiful camera from the early 1960s with a matching flash. The light meter alone has stopped working over the years (selenium cell) so that I came up with acceptable results through rough estimates. The lenses of the Steinheil-Cassar lens are clear and with a light intensity of 2.8, today’s film material can also be used for short exposure times (up to 1/500 sec.). So the photography virus with mechanical cameras had grabbed me. It has become something special to have to think before taking the picture: what exposure do I choose; which aperture is appropriate and above all: don’t forget to focus. Photographing with viewfinder cameras is a real challenge for people who are spoiled for autofocus. When the mechanical shutter has done its work with a gentle purr and you move the film on yourself with the lever, you can already look forward to the result. Because: every successful picture is the result of your own work and no automatic decision has been made.
So I was back where I started, because: where there is one camera, there should be a second one, a third isn’t wrong, etc. etc., and that’s how I came to my little photo collection.