Week 40 – The Gallus Derlux
The Gallus Derlux, I remember its appearance in the shop and I also remember Russell pointing at it a lot in the following weeks usually with me shaking my head in answer with a slightly worried face. I don’t know why but the little chunk of metal was quite intimidating. However I stupidly paid the shop a visit with wifely in tow this week who spotted it and decided I should shoot as it was pretty …argh, I had to do it now! I left with it in my bag with Russell’s parting words of “I want sprockets”.
So, Gallus is a Jewish company that was firstly based in Germany and were making the Derby Deluxe already, they moved manufacture to Paris France in 1945 and changed the name to Derlux. A 127 half frame camera made of aluminium and polished it has quite look, simple in design with distance focus and aperture ring on the lens. The shutter release is in the front top which is cocked by a twist of the shutter speed select knob, that has to be lifted and dropped at your chosen speed of the curtain shutter, beside that is another Knob for advance. On the other side on top is your viewer with a couple of frame counter windows on the back…that is pretty much it really. I researched on the web but there isn’t a whole lot on there so I just did what felt right.
With sprockets being ordered I rolled an Ilford FP4+ 35mm into backing paper and cut down a roll of HP5+ 120 for roll 2. With the kids of school a few day trips were planned so there was my shooting opportunity. I loaded up the slower sprockets for a forecast bright day and spent it at Tavistock, a local market town on the moors under dark ominous clouds. I had noticed a little lag at 1/25th when playing with camera so decided to slightly push it up a stop rating it as asa 200, I still though really never got above 1/75th and f8. We wandered and I snapped away where I could metering with the spot meter, I tried to capture the feel of the little place but it was not exactly bustling with action. Once home the usual process commenced and I was able to scan after work that evening. They were a little disappointing really, I was convinced the longer straight flat back would work with sprockets but blurry spots were there in most where the film had not run straight and flat. There were a few good shots and exposures were not too far off but overall sprockets were not the call and the HP5+ would have given me more flexibility. I loaded roll 2 and the next day we set of on a coastal road trip, would you believe it we had bright sun! I could, maybe should have pulled the film speed to asa200 but I didn’t, I found myself shooting in the 200/500 bracket at its top f18 for most of the day. We first visited the river town of Kingsbridge for lunch where I shot several, then we stopped at the long pebbled beach of Slapton where I quickly finished the roll shooting the family skimming stones. Once more to the processing… Grainy! I processed this fresh film in my usual manner with fresh developer but just too grainy for me, I can only put it down to the smaller frame size. There is a line through many where I think the double curtain shutter is out of time and there are a couple of scuffs where the curtain probably made film contact. The focus was much better on these though with the film rails keeping its passage straight and true. There is one really wonky one where I fired prematurely but that was just a one off.
Overall I liked it, it was quirky looking and wanted to perform well. For a 1945 camera it has a few little creases that need ironing out in the shutter timing but it isn’t much and looks worse than it is. I think it is the sort of camera that appeals to a collector. I enjoyed the experience, something I probably will never get the chance to use again. So much polishing!
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