Week 33 – The Sirene 105 - possibly
Every little plate camera that arrives at the shop I have to touch and play with, I have since the Ernemann resisted! I buckled this week when Russell plonked the Serine 105? in front of me. Why do I question it, well it is marked up I.C.A. AKT GES Dresden. The model name is supposed to be on the handle but that is missing, other very similar models were, around the 1914-26 time, the Volta and the Lola but they had too many inconsistencies. The setup it has according to the ICA site I found puts it around 1920. A pull out bellows plate camera for 6.5x9 plates, it is the budget version with just 2 lens elements that screw in front and back. This by the way I read gives 3 options, normal or reverse them for macro and lastly just the front one screwed into the back for close portraits. The other budget point was it only ran f11 -12.5-18-25-36 with shutter speeds of B-25-50-100th. My opinion is the shutter is too fast for the apertures available but what do I know.
All I wanted from the week was to practice my previously poor sheet film work flow without busting my wallet. I decided to give the 1950s Ilford Ortho first crack as I could set it all up under safe lights. I left in the glass plates to support the film and all went well! So, next day after my work runs I grabbed 2 hrs just sat by a jetty carefully going through the motions and scribbling madly. I rated at 25asa which meant multiple exposures. It didn't go particularly well to be honest, I either missed a point or forgot something, e.g. the out of focus ring, I did everything to the letter! Except bloody focusing! I swore to correct that on the next set. I developed in DDX, they are OK with that aged look but don't really do what I wanted.
Set 2, I decided to cut down my favourite FP4, I replaced the glass with black card as I thought it was causing light problems behind the film and I cut card stays to hold down the film corners to stop jamming. This was all fiddly in full blackout but I did it. Saturday we had to pick up daughter 2 from Dartmoor so while waiting I set up a shot, did everything right but when pulling the dark slide the holder came too! First bolloxed. No more that day. Sunday I had to work, a friends christening and they agreed to a portrait. I got nervous fluffed the dark slide replacement and blew it, take 2 same shot, got it all but missed the focus. After I settled in a small on site garden and tried the close-up shot again, slide issues again! I was stressed now! I took a knee, had strong sweary words with myself and hit the last 2 with total commitment. I dev'd in DDX again in a standard tank and got as suspected 3 from 6. ALL worth it for the close-up shot.
The camera works. It works well when used correctly. I have however much to learn in this style of photography. It pulled me back a peg or two and rightly so. No doubt another chance will come and I will know more but for now you have little to view. Sorry!
Click below to see more photos