I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this year. I was very pleasantly surprised at the gifts that I received from my wonderful wife, Melissa. She knows that I love old things, antiques and the like, and cameras in particular. So for Christmas she got me not one, but three antique cameras. Two of the cameras are still film cameras and one is a movie film camera. I did a little research on them and took some photos to share below. And you can believe I will definitely attempt to take some photos using the cameras in the future, as well.
Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515
The first camera is the Nettar 515 from Zeiss Ikon. I had to look it up and found it was first released in 1937. It is a fold-out medium format camera that uses 120 film. Though most of what I found online said it shoots 6cm x 4.5cm but inside it says 6cm x 9cm, so it may actually be the Nettar 515/2. It does say B2 inside so maybe that confirms it, but the thing is, much of what I found on the 515/2 has differing stats as well.
This particular one has a 7.5cm focal length with a 9-blade aperture from 4.5 to 22. It can focus somewhere less than 4 feet to infinity. The shutter speed is from 1/175 to 1 second with a bulb (B) and T setting. I’m not sure what the T setting is, though. It has a self timer and a port for a remote shutter release (at least I assume that is what it is).
For the most part it seems to be in working condition, though some functions not so well. The shutter works from 1/175 down to about 1/10, but then sticks open on the slower speeds. The self-timer partially works, as I can hear it clicking, but I think the gears probably need a good cleaning. At this point I don’t really intend on fixing it myself. This is the camera that is most likely that I will still be able to actually use. 120 film is easy to get, though not very cheap when it comes to buying and developing/printing. Regardless, I will shoot at least one roll through it.
Vest Pocket Kodak
This little folding camera, from what I could find on Camerapedia.org, was released in 1916. It was marketed as the ‘Soldier’s Camera’ during World War I and sold over a million units. It was made by the Eastman Kodak company (maybe you’ve heard of them?) and had me fooled as per the date as there is a patent date as early as 1902 printed on the back of the camera.
It has a focal length of 84mm with an aperture from f/7.7 to f/32 and shutter speeds of 25, 50, B & T. I assume that is 1/25 and 1/50, but it’s not real clear. It has a Ball Bearing Shutter and is ‘Brilliant Clear’. I love how it lists absolutely every patent date in every country (USA, Canada, England, & Australia) that it could possibly fit on both the front and back. Next to the aperture settings it has some suggestions for setting for specific scenes. At the f/32 end it states ‘clouds marine view,’ at f/11 it says ‘Average View Portrait’ and at f/7.7 it says ‘Moving Objects.’
I haven’t yet figured out how to load the film, which apparently is of the 127 format. Very similar to 120 film, it was developed for the Vest Pocket cameras, but can still be bought on B&H Photo for around $12 per roll. So I will definitely try to shoot a roll of this as well. Developing it might be a bit harder, but I’ll look around. Someone will do it, I’m sure. Anyway, the 127 film is paper backed and there is a little door on the back of the camera that opens where you can write a couple little notes. And it came with a handy little case. Interestingly, this is apparently the type of camera that the first climbers to mount Everest in 1924 carried.
Cine-Kodak Royal Magazine
I couldn’t find a lot of info on this movie film camera from Kodak. It was produced in 1950 until 1967 and uses 16mm film magazines. From what I found the magazines are no longer available but the film is. The cool thing is there was partially exposed film in the magazine that came with the camera, so I am going to try to unload it and have it developed. I will definitely share the result if it works. Who knows how old it is though. I can also reload the magazine with new film and thus still use this camera.
It has a 25mm f/1.9 interchangeable lens on the front. The aperture is adjustable from f/1.9 to f/22 with a focus distance from 12 inches to infinity. The viewfinder is apart from the lens with adjustment for different lenses from 152mm down to 15mm. The movement is spring action, so there is a crank on the side to wind the spring, then a button for the automatic movement. It runs at three different speeds of 16, 24, and 64 fpm (feet per minute).
There is a little window in the door that shows the remaining unexposed footage in seconds. I have no idea at this point how long of a film reel the magazine can hold. When I got the camera it had 20 seconds remaining, so of course I shot the remaining. There is a little guide that shows what aperture to use in different scenes for Daylight Kodachrome Film, from Clear Sun Front Lighting to Open Shade Clear Sky.
This camera is a heavy little bugger. What I found it is listed at 1200kg, but that can’t be right, as that translates to over 2600 pounds! I assume it must be 1200g, which is about 2.6 pounds, though it feels a lot heavier than that.
If you know any more information on these cameras, I’d love to hear it. Just post in the comments below. Like I said, I fully intend to shoot film through all of these cameras and will definitely share on this blog any results. Make sure you subscribe so you can see that later!
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