Agfa Clack – how it all began
The picture left shows the first camera in our family. My father bought it during our first holiday in Holland when I was very young. More than 50 years ago. I believe he paid about 10 Euro for it. It was a very simple basic black box. You had to make a choice whether it was a sunny day or a cloudy day. And two choices for the distance. Of course it was for roll film. When you made a photo you rally heard “clack”. In our family albums we still have old black & white pictures of these early days. It was my first experience with photography and I found it magic.
Agfa Iso Rapid – my first camera
This was my first camera. I am not sure how old I was when I got it, but I believe I was about 10-11 years old. My first pictures were made during a school trip on a boat. It had even less options than the Agfa Clack. Is it a sunny day or a cloudy day? That was it. Life was easy that time. Recommended film was the isopan.
The old box camera’s
I asked my family, in case they wanted to throw away old camera’s, to think of me. I started to collect them. I do not buy them, because I prefer to get an old camera of an old aunt or a grandfather of a friend. Over the years I have collected quite some nice old camera’s. Not a lot of money involved, but camera’s with a story.
Mamya 645, my first medium format camera
It is almost 30 years ago, that I bought my first medium format camera. I was inspired by some of the members in my photo club at that time, who took their photos on medium format film. What a sharpness and a nice bokeh! I bought the Mamya 645 1000S. This was an affordable camera at that time. The quality is very good, in particular the quality of the lenses are first class and compared to 35mm, the DoF and sharpness is great. I bought 3 excellent lenses: the 150 mm 3.5, the 80 mm 2.8 and the 55 mm 2.8. When scanning negatives/slights of this camera you will have qualitatively good digital photos. I still have all equipment and it is all in excellent condition.
The Hasselblad experience
Just before the digital age really started I bought this Hasselblad 501 C. It was an occasion of course . But it was a dream to have one day a Hasselblad camera. I was very proud. And to develop these big medium format negatives was great. I still have the camera and now and then I buy a roll film. To make good pictures with a camera like this is something else than pressing the button on my Canon 5D camera.
The Hasselblad camera that I owned as well was the XPAN. The XPAN is a 35mm, manual focus, rangefinder camera with an aperture priority/ exposure compensation mode and all manual exposure option. It shoots a wide-format or ‘panoramic’ negative. Rather than producing the classic 24mmx36mm (2:3) frame, it shoots an almost double frame – 24mmx65mm to be precise. There are only three lenses available for the camera system: 30mm, 45mm and a 90mm. Aperture is controlled by a ring with all three lenses. I sold it two years ago for a good price, in order to buy my new Canon camera. I should not have done it. This was the camera that gave me the wow factor at that time. The panorama pictures were so amazingly beautiful. When there would be a digital XPAN I would sell all my other stuff.
The most left camera I got as a present my friend Walter from Belgium. He has photographed with it for many years in all parts of the world. The lenses are real glass. Heavy, but very good quality. I also got a small film camera from Walter. The camera on the right is also a Zeiss Ikon with 75 mm lens. All cameras are made in Stuttgart, Germany.
Camera’s with a high emotional value
Both camera’s are from dear friends that passed away far too early. The Konica Autoreflex T3 was of our friend Rudi, who had the camera always with him when visiting us and on our joined holidays in Greece and Italy. The camera was very robust and the quality was excellent. The Zenit – E was of our Greek friend Helena. She was proud of her camera. Just after she died her husband came to our house in Kifissia and gave me the camera. Helena had asked him to give the camera to me after her death. I had the honour to be her boss for six years and she learned us many things about Greek history, the Greeks and Greek music and food. Both camera’s are of great emotional value to us.
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