Monday, December 7, 2009

Brave New World: Presenting my new flock of vintage 35mm rangefinders

I've been like a kid at Christmas, staring at my little pile of black and white film and longing for the day when my rangefinder cameras would arrive from California (thank you, eBay). Today I turned into a parent at Christmas, staring at the kid-at-Christmas's new, state-of-the-art toy and thinking, "How the hell does this thing work?" Thanks to the fact that I'm not the only person interested in vintage 35mm rangefinders, the internet has schooled me in a few areas; and while I hate to waste anything, I'm sure these first few rolls of film will be of unimaginably bad quality while I sort out the mechanics. Have I really been using digital cameras so long that I've forgotten how 35mm's work?

Three arrived in the mail today, two from California and one from the Ukraine (I really wasn't expecting it so soon!). Of these three, I can open two, figure out how to load film into one, and stare in perplexity at the other. The one I can open but can't figure out how to get film into is a bottom-loader (as opposed to a back-loader). The one that confounds me is a back-loader, but being from the 60's it's more modern than the others and doesn't seem to want to work with me.

Anyway, to the important part. First up is the Bosley B2--the one that works with me the most.


Take note of the two windows: The one on the left is the viewfinder and the one on the right is the rangefinder.


Next is the Seagull, a Chinese camera that causes me no end of "Baroo?" face.





And then there's the Ukrainian camera, a Soviet-made Leica knock-off.
Hold on, let's zoom in on that.
Yep, it's a commemorative camera for the 1936 Olympics ... in Berlin ... hosted by one Adolf Hitler ... ironically made by Soviets.
It makes me smile to see it because I think of Jesse Owens. Take that, master race!
And because I speak German, the instructions for opening the bottom make me smile.

I do feel a little irony having taken these pictures with my digital camera, but how else am I supposed to show these babies off?

Let the fun begin!

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