my trusty new companion
Since selling off the Hasselblad system and then realizing I had lots of 120 film that is rapidly going out of date, I panicked a bit then went to the display cabinet and found the old (1951 - hey, what does that make me?) Voigtländer Perkeo that I’d bought for $35 at a collectables/junk shop about twenty years ago. Just like a Hasselblad, it takes 12 exposures of 6cm X 6cm on 120 film.
I’ve used it sporadically over the years but this is the first time I’ve used it with colour transparency film (E100VS) and quite so systematically. I also decided I’d treat myself and accessorize it with a vintage rangefinder, as it doesn’t have any focus indication, just a scale on the lens barrel. I found one on ebay, and it was also $35 shipped from the UK.
Well, who needs a Hasselblad? This is a great little camera if you accept its limitations:
a) only scale focussing (cured by guessing distances well and/or investing in an accessory rangefinder)
b) no light meter (the free iPhone light meter app covers that). Of course there is a morbid attraction here in eschewing such modern contrivances as rangefinders and light meters and doing it old school, like they used to, and training oneself to simply know distances and light.
c) top shutter speed of 1/300 sec, a minimum aperture of f4.5 and a top aperture of f16 (100iso speed film is OK in summer)
d) it has a fixed, non-interchangeable lens - but it is a useful 75mm, therefore so what?
e) it sometimes leaks light (call it “character” and don’t worry about it)
Against all that, it has a lot going for it:
a) it is REALLY LIGHT!!!
b) it FOLDS down to next to nothing and fits in a pocket (folded, it is maybe a fraction smaller than a Leica M6)
c) it makes NO NOISE (NOT at all like a Hasselblad)
d) the 75mm lens is remarkably good - not quite up to a modern Zeiss for Hasselblad, but not so very far away either
e) it is well-designed, idiosyncratic, looks great, is a lot of fun, and you can have it with you all the time
f) it travels with me all (well most of) the time for a total outlay of $70 as opposed to the thousands that were tied up in the Hasselblad system which just became too heavy to carry and is consequently now history
g) it makes pictures like this - what’s not to like?