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.
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.
Good on you! I’m impressed and I look forward to seeing the results.