The Pony 828 Experience

2011.05.18 in photography

I recently took a trip with Connor and Carol to the home of both Connor, and the Eastman Kodak Corporation: Rochester, NY. One of the first things I noticed about his house was that it was decorated in the most awesome way possible: with a variety of ancient cameras, on every shelf and coatrack. Apparently his parents acquired a box full of antique cameras at a yard sale years ago, and put them all around their house.

One day while we were sitting at his table, Connor grabbed one of the cameras and started playing with it, trying to figure out how to make it work. We got it working pretty quickly, as even though it's about as old as all three of us combined, the basic concepts of photography haven't changed much.

Connor decided that he wanted to see if we could take pictures with it, so, after shopping around (and after contemplating cutting down some rolls ourselves), I found a single roll of 120 format Kodak Portra-160 which had been cut down to 828 format.

I loaded it up in the dark, accidentally rolled past the first frame, and then took the remaining seven exposures over the course of the following week. PhotoGarden had some fun trying to figure out what to do with it — developing it wasn't a problem, but printing it was going to be impossible. They said they could scan it, but it would be expensive because they'd have to do it by hand because of the odd size... I took it home and scanned it on my film scanner instead.

I very quickly noticed a focus problem: there wasn't any. I'm not sure what's up with this... maybe the camera was dropped at some point in its long life? Maybe I'm using it wrong? I don't know...

You'll note that this picture, at the camera's closest focus (2.5'), has the distant background in focus, which is bizarre (and suggests that the lens is way out of whack):

This only reaffirms my attachment to modern digital photography; the slow turnaround time and expense aren't worth the added romance of film!

I also really don't understand how people use non-TTL-preview cameras (i.e. anything not SLR or EVF); not being able to adjust the focus through-the-lens just seems insane to me, and must have made things — especially macro photography — very difficult to pull off.