AGFA BILLY RECORD 8.8
The Billy Record! A 120 folder, I am really starting to enjoy folders even with all the possible problems they may bring. This little fella has an all black body with nice chrome deco trim, produced between 1933 & 1949. This one is post 1939 or the trim would have been nickel. I think it was most probably aimed at your average family as a grown up camera, kind of like todays budget end bridging cameras. Some shutter settings b – 25 – 50 – 100th, aperture 8.8 – 11 – 16 with guesses in between. Focusing has just 2 setting 2-5m & 5m to infinity, and that is your lot other than a crappy tiny glass prism you can see your own face in and flip up sports finder. A simple uncoated Anastigmat Igestar 105mm lens puts your image into 6x9 frame.
I got it home and gave it the usual check over and clean, the front lens screws off so you can give most surfaces a good clean. I popped my test light in and the bellows were good to go. I had to glue down the bottom plate with a spot of gorilla glue but other than that it was in great condition.
I loaded up an Ilford HP5 which was one of the nicest loads I have ever had to do and ran a single line of black tape around the door more for peace of mind. I think it is pretty light tight, I just do this with folders anyway! Sunday morning brought light drizzle and mist but I decided to head for the moors anyway. It got worse on the drive so I detoured to Shaugh Prior to shoot at the river. It was dull, really dull and I was struggling for any light so I risked some long exposures using calculated guesses and counting out loud. By frame 4 everything was soaked, it was getting worse so I beat a retreat. It rained then non-stop until Wednesday! A crack appeared in the weather and I was able to get off the last 4 frames on my workly wanders. The “head” is carved from a tree stump in central park and the Arches are actually a city historical reservoir retaining wall, double exposure, note the ghostly figures. I finally got to develop it on Thursday, scan Friday and was pleasantly surprised! Sharper than I had expected with good exposures.
Loading roll 2 a Kodak TMax 400 I missed the first frame. Into the bag and reload. Sunday morning back onto the moors – bloody freezing! Wind chill factor high so numb fingers and again not great light. I shot all 8 driving from spot to spot all at 1/25th covering the f stops. There is such depth of field it makes little difference but beyond 20 meters sharpness slowly degrades and I think f11 is it's sweet spot which makes sense with its box camera mentality. Results were OK. My first time with this stock and never really got on top of the exposure/development combo.
In short, this was a fun camera to shoot and gave surprisingly good results that I think would do really well on a sunny day. You could fire away using sunny 16 and get great pics. I pushed its limited boundaries and it stepped up admirably. Just a shame I only got 3 short mornings with it.
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