Week Twelve

January 23, 2017

Week 12 – The Ernemann Heag XV

There was never any intention to run this camera for the project. Russell just let me take it home to have a bit of a nosey, however the more I failed to find out about it the more it intrigued me. I found out a 4x6.5 was introduced in 1912. I knew there were many varied configurations thereafter. The 6.5x9 appears to run from 1914 to 1926 out of Dresden Germany. Ernemann-Werke AG post war merging with several companies becoming Zeiss Ikon, the later models then sporting Tessar and such lenses. This has an Anastigmat Ernar f6.8 105mm lens with only Ernemann markings so I assume an early model. Its a folder, with options of multipurpose backs, I only had the plate back with 3 holders, opening the black canvass folding back reveals a ground glass focusing viewer but I found it awful. There is an attachable roll back but this I didn't have the luxury of. 

In a bid to improve my exposures i had acquired the spot meter with the intention of exploring the zone system. Sheet film is still available in the size required but at one pound each. I foolhardily decided to cut pieces of 120 and run it as a 6x9... in diary style here, i will keep it short, is my journey of my week.

Sunday – Actually the night before I fashioned a jig and tried cutting 3 frames from FP4 in my dark bag and loaded my first ever holders! I set off in the morning to shoot 3 images at the river in Plymbridge Woods, it was dark and exposures were at 1 second on the minute reading plate. Home – develop appropriately – scan! Bad! Dark, sooo dark! Transpires the shutter had locked itself at 1/25th. I determined this by ear comparing to my Ikoflex. Consulting the oracle I had enough detail in the shadows to carry on and give it a go in aperture priority.

Monday – Having reloaded using a revised Jig to give much straighter cuts I set off on my general work wanders with the sole intention of just getting a reasonable starting point exposure wise. First attempt I tried to use the ground glass again setting the shutter to T but not good I would be opting for distance finder from now on, I promptly forgot to rest shutter and realised as I drew the cover plate, I shot anyway, reset and retook properly. The last one went well until I replaced the plate and the film popped its retainers, a risk from cutting roll film so I had to live with it! I had low expectations from the start, it was a 100 yr. old camera full of dust and probable light leaks! It was a journey…. I processed once more and the oracle was happy with shadow detail telling me to get out and practice and enjoy.

Tuesday – target was to shoot three frames with no mistakes! First frame went perfectly until a passer-by engaged me in chat and I forgot to fit my allowed for filter. I got the next two I thought – process – clearly a holder had leak issues but I had 3 sort of images, dusty inconsistent but there!

Thursday – I took Wednesday off to test the Rollei and gather knowledge from the oracle. I would rate film at 100 and give it my best! One just jammed the cover plate, one leaky holder and the camera itself was showing either a leak of flare but the results were better! I had one last chance!

Sunday – This morning! I set off to the moors with a single minded intention of shooting successfully. I took my time, made my notes and took every care! Once processed I was at first a little disappointed but actually they aren't that bad.

Thoughts – On reflection I am really happy. Its a 100 yr. old camera fed with makeshift film, get rid of the dodgy holder, fix the shutter and possibly source the roll back and it would be fun for project stuff. The lens isn't great but good enough, it is what it is. I had learned an enormous amount and had a week of great fun, only touching the very beginnings of the zone system had put me in a good place thanks to my oracles teachings and as I said before so much fun was had!

Click on the camera to more photos by Ashley

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