Week Twenty, Pearlette vest pocket camera

March 22, 2017

Week 20 – The Pearlette 1929/31

Week 20 eh! Time flies, this is a week with a difference too, I would be shooting everything in one day – Wednesday brought Expired Film Day! This is a day when many photographers around the world load film well past its sell by date to see what comes out of the other end, dust, scratches, colour shifts and grain are all encouraged and embraced as character!

I was to run 2 cameras. My own beauty, a 1936 Zeiss Ikoflex TLR and the Pearlette. I selected 3 films – a 35mm 1998 Truprint cheapo colour and a 2005 Ilford Delta 100 in 120 for the Pearlette with an OWRO 27n 1991 120 for little Ike.

The Pearlette – a vest pocket folder taking 127 film, it is so similar to the Kodak VP we shot in week something or other you can pretty much go with that. This second generation model from 1929-31 made by Konishirku in Japan, they later became Konica, has the better option lens, a Delta f6.8, a fold out frame doubling as a sports viewer with inset close up glass and clearer italics on a full length face plate which acts as a stand, this is all that really differs from the Kodak.

The film – We are back on the 127 trail, in the early hours of Wednesday morning I rolled a length of the very stiff and curly Truprint 35mm into a 127 backing paper. The OWRO was 120 so ready to pop straight into Ike as soon as I had finished the roll in her. I used the new improved jig to cut down the Delta with the cigar cutter and that went perfectly so we were ready to go. A quick clean and check of gear with no tape or bellows test on the Pearlette so what came out was what we got!

Shoot day – I would be shooting between work walks, Cash and Carry runs and any other time I got a chance. The weather was dry but grey and dreary. I had my light meter, a cable release and a tiny tripod designed for little digi cams. I cleared Ike of her resident film and loaded the 400 OWRO which I rated at 200 asa, the 35mm 200 colour sprockets went in the Pearlette which I rated at 50. This I rattled through fairly quickly and soon had the Delta 100 in which I ran at box speed. Things I thought were going well, having forgot my specs I found the cheap loupe I carry ideal for looking into the tiny prism viewer of the VP. Things slowed as ideas and energy waned. I got a couple of shots on a stop at Ham Woods of which we will pick up later. I had work that evening and was left with a single frame in each. These I shot playfully just before midnight taking long exposures of each camera still life style. Using the Ikoflex at f22 for 2mins 30 secs and the Pearlette at f32 for 15mins 17sec!!! Done!

Results – Not having the benefit I usually have of studying the last roll to make adjustments I wasn't surprised to see similar results. OK they aren't great! It took me a while to suss out why there was huge vignetting and varying focus issues with the Pearlette, it finally dawned the bellows were not fully extending meaning it didn't have the correct focal length, they were a bit stiff! No light leaks though which is good. There was a little film creep from the 35mm but thats the film being stiff and curly. I managed to shoot 7 shots of the OWRO roll on the leader so just 5 shots I will include just to keep my expired day in one place.

Conclusion – great day! Some fun images. The extension issue sorted with a lube! Now, 1 shot made it all worthwhile, the stream shot in the woods – f8 with 5second exposure… take a look! YES this camera CAN take good pics it just needs TLC

I hope you enjoy the images, they were never intended to be held up to perfection but I had hoped for a little better….but that ONE!

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