Week 2 – Ilford Advocate
I arrived at the shop to return the Rollei with my weeks work excited to see what he had planned for week 2.
"Here you go" he said, "This might make your @FP4Party interesting!" The said party being a photo challenge run every month by film community legend @EMULSIVEfilm. Now over 400 followers shoot Ilford FP4+ in week 1, process week 2, post week 3 and as a community choose the best in week 4. He handed me a rather nice tanned leather case that had that rubbed patina in all the right places, creamy off white stitching with the name ILFORD in raised embossed letters boldly on the front. I popped the popper and revealed an ivory enameled camera with a black and silver face with ADVOCATE neatly printed on it. Safe to say first impression was good! I slid it out of the case and the first thing that struck me was its' simplicity. No meter! No silly slot to hold scraps of film lid. No film counter window or any fancy bits. You get a smooth body, a viewing site on top in the middle of 2 silver knobs and the face – the face! Silver rimmed black rings x3. Outer for shutter speed (bulb to 200th) middle is rangefinder (guessometer) inner aperture....simple....beautiful
Now my experience of rangefinder is 1 roll less than my 8yr old – she has shot 1! I am not convinced by that roll either, still the blurb said it had exceptional depth of field rendering almost everything in focus! Yeah, right! Roll 1, Agfa Vista colour 200 (Poundland special) I decided to push this claimed DoF to the limit! I shot close, like under 3 feet, landscape and as many front to back leading lines as I could. Everything between f5.6 and 11 at 1/100th.
Into the fluid it went, if it was to be used for @FP4Party week they had to be good. It had shot 26 frames and I expected a couple of half frames but no! 26 full frames perfectly spaced, into the scanner and I was pleasantly buoyed by the thumb nails. Viewing the full frames left me a tad gobsmacked. The slightly rarer Wray lens this Mk 11 model (c1956) had been fitted with was pleasingly sharp and the DoF as promised was frankly impressive!
Roll 2. FP4+ (Yes I went for it) I shot around Plymouth Hoe and city on a film walk with student Annika Stuke, I let her take a few for fun. I made the most of the selection of push on filters neatly housed in the case lid and repeated the same leading lines etc. As before, long story short I again was not disappointed with the processed results. Quite impressive considering how little I had used this camera. I got 38 frames for my money btw!
In summary, this is a beautiful camera. It has weight yet sits comfortable for long periods around the neck. Looks and feels great to use and wear. The rangefinder system exceeded my expectations with a reasonable approximation of distance dialled in it produces images of great quality and sharpness for a camera designed to be an all rounder. The build quality is exceptional, every part beautifully made and doing exactly what it was designed for. It makes you want to slip on a tweed suit while meandering around some race meet or classic rally! My early misgivings gave way to pure delight in this gorgeous little package of fun, I am sad to see it go!
On to week 3!
Please click on the photo to see of what Ashley and the Ilford produced.