Everyone needs a project, right? After two 365 Day challenges and a less than successful monthly challenge this year, I’m trying a different sort of project for 2018. I’m going to shoot some film and I intend to use a different vintage film camera each month. I plan to blog about each camera and share my photos on our Nearly Lost Photography Group Facebook page -
For far too long now I‘ve been buying vintage film cameras with the intention of learning about them and trying them out. Most of these have been inexpensive eBay finds. There’s not a Leica among them so I’m not out thousands of dollars. Sadly, however, I haven’t followed through. These beautiful old gems have been sitting on shelves, forlorn if not completely forgotten. 2018 is their year.
The Kodak Pony 135 Model C is my January film camera project selection. It may not be the best choice since it focuses using a distance scale. Yes, that’s it. A distance scale with 11 markings from 2.5 feet to infinity. Whether or not my pictures are in focus depends entirely upon how well I can judge distance. Let’s just say that will be challenging.
The Pony also lacks an exposure meter. It’s a completely mechanical camera. The good news is you don’t need batteries; the bad news is you get no help. You can set the aperture and the shutter speed manually but to what? There’s no EVF, no histogram display and no little linear display with a midpoint indicating the “correct” exposure. The only help you get is a choice of Bright, Hazy or Cloudy which might give you half a chance at being correct. However those weather cues are calibrated for two specific types of Kodak film, Kodachrome and Extachrome, neither of which are manufactured today. So I either buy and learn to use a handheld light meter or just give the old Sunny 16 rule a try.
The Eastman Kodak Company manufactured this model from 1955 -1958. It originally sold for about $34.00 which would be in the neighborhood of $280.00 today. The Pony line was designed to be an inexpensive camera, but a step up from a box camera. Yes, it’s an oldie but, hey, so am I. I have it cleaned up and it’s ready to go. I hope you’ll wish me well and follow along to keep me accountable.
Happy New Year!