Turning Back Time For Creativity

A while ago I wrote about how I took an online photography course to help develop my creative side. It was a great experience and I want to keep doing things to challenge myself and explore more creative options, so I took another leap. This time I bought what is technically a Medium Format, antique camera. I say technically because it is certainly not what first comes to mind when I hear medium format (ie. Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax… Or one of many others with interchangeable backs and lenses…). It is a Pocket Ensign No. 28 camera (made in England), that is somewhere near a century old and I have been assured it works. It’s by no means in mint condition, but that’s part of the charm.

Pocket Ensign bellows camera with case and Ilford film
The Old Brit

After doing a little research on it, I haven’t been able to nail down the specifics on this exact model, but have found details on a similar version of the Pocket Enfield, including as an old manual. This should help me as I go through some film learning the peculiarities of the camera. There are only a few settings available. Shutter speeds are I (instantaneous, about 1/25 second), B (bulb) and T (time). Aperture settings are f11, f16, f22 &  f32. There are also range settings of 3, 5, 10, 25 and infinity, all of which are selected by sliding the bellows forward / back to the appropriate notch. This is a lot more basic than a modern DSLR, or even something like my trusty SLR, a Canon AE1.

Since I will be using a century old camera it seemed only fitting that my first roll of film be black and white, so I chose Ilford FP4 ISO 125 “120” film. This camera is a 6×9 format, so the roll of film will allow for 8 shots. I’m not set up to develop film and there are not too many places left in Victoria that develop 120 film… but I do know of at least one good one, so it might take me a bit of time to develop, print and scan the images, once I get around to making them (hopefully soon), but I will get it done.  Once I do, if the camera worked as promised, I will post the results and more about my experience.

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