Winter Wonderland

  Hello from Michigan. It’s -3F outside, been working outside all day, what’s better to do than blogging next to the warm exhaust fan from my computer? Somehow it turned into a tradition to do a Winter Wonderland post every year, this must have been the third or fourth in the series.  It seemed like that every year I use an older camera than the previous, the Olympus Epic Zoom 80, Nikkormat FT, Exakta VX. This year I saved the best for your entertainment- a 1935 Fothflex and the Kodak Retina IIIC, I will talk about the Fothflex at the second half of the post. But first, let’s look at this years photos. The Squares ones are from the Fothflex – sledding, and the rectangular ones are from the Retina – Cross country skiing.

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Fothflex by C.F. Foth & CO – 1935 Berlin, Deutsches Reich

1936 Fothflex (Original)

1936 Fothflex (Original)

  I saw this camera at an antique store several months ago. I go to that store quite often, I did not buy it the first time, nor the second time. I did check up on it and found out it’s pretty much an oddball, one of the two TLR (models) with focal plane shutter ever been produced. By the third time I pretty much had an agreement with myself before I go in. I said to myself if that camera is still in there, I may have to “rescue” it and return it to its former glory (within reasons). Well after checking it out for a little bit, I brought it home with me, along with the original wooden tripod.

  The camera was dirty, but all the mechanic seems to be functional. I cleaned up the camera the best I could, and painted the leather with liquid shoe polish – yes I did and it’s awesome. Lubed it all up, and then I found out the mirror for the viewing lens is a goner, there was no saving that piece. I didn’t want to go spend 3 digits to buy a new one, I found a way to produce front surface mirror from acrylic mirror. Took me a couple weeks to gather the stuff, it was a success, But i had to recalibrate the viewing the taking lens. Now the last thing I have to do is patch that one pin hole on one of the curtains.

   I am happy to report that it’s alive and well at age 78! Still charming with lots of character, and highly usable.

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9 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland

  1. What a fascinating day out! With two cameras and one being quite bulgy. And the results are stunning! I like the first one very much. With what mm lens is the Fothflex equipped?
    Is it easy to use with all the fixing up? The screen is reversed, clear, has any gimmick to make focus easier? I have trouble using my RB 67 Mamiya, after 20 years of using SLR cameras. It seems to me that it is for other types of photography.

    • The lens is a 75mm f3.5. It is rather easy to use, it does have a film counter in there believe it or not. But it won’t stop winding when you advance, you have to stop at the number on the dial once it’s set to go. Well, I imagine with a proper mirror the focusing screen will be a little bit brighter, it’s not horrible at all right now though. It is just a clear ground glass with no markings at all. The Image is corrected and not inverted. But obviously it still looks weird thing when you move it like any other waist level finder, Cocking the shutter and release are on the right hand side of the body, It is also equipped with self timer. One good thing about this camera though is the shutter lever, you pushes down on it. Unlike most TLR with awkward position for a push button.

      I remember the first time I use a TLR it was really hard to use the waist level finder, it seems like when I move right it looks like its moving left. However nowadays I don’t have to think much about it and it just seem natural to me on how things move around in the viewfinder.

      I think the more work I put into a camera, the more of a connection I make with the camera.

  2. The Retina shots are just super. Great candids, well composed. But I’m charmed, totally charmed, by the Fothflex. And I’ve used the shoe-polish trick, too.

  3. Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

    Happy New Year !!!!!!! and best wishes for you in 2014 🙂

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