Week 9 – Kodak Vest Pocket Autograph
Week 9's camera came to me just prior to the Christmas holiday and I had time off booked, I had set myself a little project of personal fun for this period so hearing this Russell thought the Kodak Vest Pocket would tie in nicely. To be honest we had tried to run one in week 2 but the expired film we had was shot so we shelved it. Russell is a passionate folder collector and offered me several to choose from. I choose this one firstly for its dog eared appearance which would allow me to get busy with electrical tape without fear of damage and secondly its lens, this one I discovered after a search was the U.S design fitted with a speed 8 Rapid Rectilinear lens which sits proud of the front plate and screws off. I set about giving it a good clean and loaded the first film – a nice fresh 127 Rerapan 100 Russell had bought, now this is where my project comes in! Week 10 without giving it away will be 2 cameras exactly the same but one is mine, a gift from my son but requiring 127 film. Why a project? The Rerapan came in at £15!!!! For 8 frames!!! So, I was determined to attempt rolling 35mm into spare 127 spools and backing paper. There are many instructional sites on the web so won't bore you but I managed to roll a couple of HP5 successfully.
First chance to shoot was Boxing day, a family walk (roller skate, kids + pressies) on the parade on Plymouth hoe, bright low harsh sun meant shooting would hard with just 2 fixed shutter speeds 1/25th & 1/50th and 3 marked apertures 8/16/32, the aperture iris though could be seen opening so I was fairly sure I could estimate some others. I metered using my old 50s Ziess Ikon, a meter using a different scale (there were many before standardisation) this uses American Scheiner, I carry a table printed off the net to cross reference so never discount old meters especially if they are pretty! This one also meters 1 stop out so I just pre set film speed 1 stop slower and this is spot on for ME!
I shot through the Rerapan far too quickly, a fashioned hood held on with rubber bands with the yellow filter it holds I thought would help control the light, having been extensively used by soldiers in the Great War I shot a few of the monuments honouring them and even tried (stupidly) a few sunsets. Once developed it was clear… (a) I had overexposed! (b) The tiny tiny tiny prism viewer was too small for my bad eye sight and was not particularly straight, the former I think the main issue. (c) maximum respect for those soldiers who shot great images in terrible conditions! Bugger! The second roll was going to be sprockets and would make the frame much tighter! I loaded the home rolled HP5 and it loaded well, I was able to take advantage of the frame numbers of the backing paper and it advanced nicely through the whole roll. Annoyingly another bright day meant selected film was really too fast and I just never nailed the exposure and as I feared I struggled framing the sprockets, everything was one sided, to be fair it was my first time so I can only get better at it. A light leak was evident which didn't bother me, this is to be expected on a 100yr old camera and once found a bit of tape will cure it.
So, the images below are not the best. Over exposed and wonky. I didn't straighten and I left in the rough edges in the scans as I like them (I will go into the scanning next week), there is lots of “vintage” dust from the pumping of the bellows which is to be expected. The viewer was just too small for me but I had fun while proving if you have the time and patience (and eyesight) you can run one of these on 35mm and vital for next weeks camera. ……….hope both my readers had a good Christmas, hope have a good new year.