Craig Projecto Editor, Double Super-8, DS8, Film slitter, Kbapu 1x8c-2, Kbapu 2x8c-3, Keystone A12, Kodak Brownie 500, Kodak Senior Splicer 16mm, Morse G-3 developer, Sankyo sound 700, Specto model A, Super-8
Cine equipment always fascinated me. I started buying home cine cameras and projectors first. At some point I was buying cine & still cameras and gradually only still cameras. I am not a collector, I am a user and cine film is too expensive. I have kept three cine cameras, three projectors and some cine gadgets I am fond of.
The Kbapu 1x8c-2 is a metal clockwork SLR super-8 camera which takes super-8 cartridge. The lens is a zoom Meteor-8m-1 1.8/9-38. It has auto or manual exposure mode, TTL meter, backlight compensation, daylight or tungsten film filter, speeds of 9-12-18-24-32fps and single frame and the viewfinder can be short sight adjusted.
It takes 46mm filters and only uses two LR44 batteries for the lightmeter.
The Kbapu 2x8c-3 is a metal clockwork SLR double super-8 (DS8) camera which takes super-8 film on spools. The lens is a Meteor-8m 1.8/9-38. It has an uncoupled selenium light meter which still responds, speeds of 12-18-24-36fps and single frame, adjustable viewfinder and backwind capability for special effects. It also takes 46mm filters.
The DS8 film spool has 7.5m or 10m of film with super-8 perforations. It is called DS8 because it is 16mm wide and not in a cartridge but on… spool. The procedure is the same as in 8mm. You load the film through the path and the film gate to the take up spool and when the film ends, you flip the spools and re-feed. Thus you expose twice but on different sides occupying the whole 16mm width of the film. Then after development, the film is dried, slitted in half and joined. Of course you loose some from exposure to light were you flipped the spools. For the home enthusiast there is a lovely little slitter available…
The Keystone A12 is a clockwork 16mm camera which takes 100′ foot double perforated 16mm spools. It uses c-mount lenses in a turret mode, turning the turret also changes the viewfinder. It has the Wollensak 1inch f1.9 cine raptar as normal (there is a viewfinder option for a 17mm also) and the Taylor-Hobson Cooke Kinic Anastigmat 2inch f3.5 . The tele viewfinder has framelines for a 1, 2 and 3 inch lenses. Speeds are 10-16-24-64fps, 3 more intermediate speeds and single frame.
None of the three have audio capability… (there were super-8 models with a microphone, mostly Japanese, I had a Chinon, and if you had a sound super-8 cartridge you could record sound… and the camera’s moteur working. An 8mm camera with audio capability was build from Fairchild Corp.)
I find the old all metal cine cameras the most fascinating. The same goes for the projectors. My Sankyo sound 700 can project super-8 & single-8 film and can reproduce optical sound if it’s on film and also can do audio overdub! But the looks can’t compare with the metal Specto model A 16mm from the 40’s or the Kodak Brownie 500 8mm from the 60’s…
I really like the details on the Specto…
Ready (maybe)… and… some action!
June 2004 in Paros, a Greek island. I had the Kbapu 1x8c-2 with some fresh Kodachrome 40 Super-8 cartridges with me. Kodachrome 40 was still available and after exposure you had to sent it to Switzerland to be processed by Kodak. You only paid the postage, the process and return postage was included in the buying price. These were the last Kodachromes I shot. After some years the factory closed and Kodachrome was only processed in the United States until its final production days.
I used to digitize my cine films by projecting to a white screen and record with a digital camera. Then I would transfer to a PC for arhive or edit. I never managed the outcome on the computer to match what I was seeing on the screen. Nowadays with HD frame scanning I imagine the results will be better.
Kbapu 1x8c-2 / Kodachrome40 shot at 48fps (low resolution video extract) :
For those who do not know, Super-8 is being projected at 18fps, that is why the 48fps is slow motion. The motion effects on cine were mostly being made while shooting.
From time to time I would buy B&W Double Super-8 (DS8) expired cine film and experiment with the Kbapu 2x8c-3 (low resolution video extract) :
A lot of jerking movement, because of the close up lenses and the motor… still, these images would fit to an art instalation of some kind…
I had two Kodak TriX 16mm reversal given to me. I loaded one to a Krasnogorsk 3 16mm reflex camera. Sent it for process and upon receiving it I fed it to the Specto. Started the projector, opened the lamp and almost screamed… I was seeing what I had shot and there were also images upside down & reversed… the film was shot and never developed. And because it was not labeled as shot, it got forgotten and assumed fresh.
16mm cine film was at first double perforated. Later there was also single perforated in order to add a sound track or shoot Super 16mm. A not labeled as used double perforated cine film inside it’s can with the tape to seal it, can easily be mistaken as unused because you will feed it to the camera with no problem. A used single perforated film will be spooled to the take up spool in a way that you will notice it if you try to load it in a camera. Also most B&W cine films are reversal films, that means that the process ends up with a positive image on the actual film used. You project the film you shot. Colour cine films are negative and the processed film is printed to another negative to get a positive for projection. That means the lab did not messed up.
The second TriX was in the fridge along with some expired Svema DS8. The mystery whether or not the second 16mm was unused and the home process itch forced me (like I did not want to) to by a Morse G3 Developer Tank.
The Morse G3 can handle 8,16 and 35mm film. It has a window for reversal process and a drain for the chemicals… It’s method is to continually move the film from the one spool to the other with the tank full of the required solution.
Most b&w cine films are reversal. That means that in the development process you develop, bleach, expose to light (with a light bulb through the window of the Morse G3 tank), re-develop and fix. The result is a positive film ready for projection.
I don’t get along with bleach so I decided to skip the bleach part and end up with a negative. I would then invert the image on the PC. In theory correct… but in practise no, because the reversal cine film has a layer that will not dissolve without the bleach part and the final negative is very dense and light passes through with great difficulty. (low resolution video extract) :
(Recently I read of another method using Hydrogen Peroxide 3% and white vinegar for the bleach solution. Maybe in the future if I decide to get some expired cine film…)
The true enthusiast or the then home amateur would use a viewer and an editor to edit films, not a computer. That’s the complete experience!
There were a plethora of viewers/editors for 8mm, super-8mm, 16mm. The simple ones silent of course and usually came with an editor attached for simple editing.
The sprockets in the main film guide match the perforation and upon movement the guide interconnects with a prism inside and gives you the movement effect like watching the movie…(low resolution video extract) :
The Kodak senior splicer is all you need to edit your film… some will get furious to see what it takes to make a single edit… (low resolution video extract) :
A simple button push will not cut it. No, not in the film era.
The shallow depth of field on close ups is something I liked very much from the start. I imagine it was the basic reason I mostly used “normal” and small (and big) telephoto lenses (over the years, the 35mm view grew up on me and now I tend to prefer focal lenghts from normal to wide). A little reading about shallow depth of field brought up the will to dive deeper into medium and large format. I say ‘deeper’ because the Kodak box cameras I had, the Ensign ful vue and some other medium format cameras (except the Lubitel) could not give me the package I was after. I wanted ground glass focusing, lenses, backs. An excuse to look into and buy more cameras.
I had my eyes on a big tlr, an slr and a view camera. I swapped 6 cameras for a Mamiya C330, I lusted for a Hasselblad but bought a Salyut, got a Graflex Century Graphic and made a big box to use two cut film 8×10” holders and a 10” lens. The ladder nearly fell over from the weight…
I bought a “work” handbook titled: “Photographic Cameras and Accessories – comprising how to make cameras, dark slides, shutters and stands” by Paul N. Hasluck, written in 1901 and reprinted by Lindsay Publications Inc. In order to build a camera like the ones described in the book, you need to have the tools and be a qualified handyman and precise person. I don’t have the tools and even as a handyman I’m not that precise. So the DIY “proper” view camera did not even start. But the chapter on Ferrotype cameras gave me an idea: A simple matchbox like camera. Mount a lens to the bigger front box and a cut film holder to the smaller sliding back box.
Went to a local glass shop and had a frosted glass cut to mount on the back for ground glass focusing…
The lens was a Wollensak 10” f8 Tasope and I had 2 8×10” kodak wooden cut film holders that I had bought extremely cheap… (I figured it out when I sold them).
The price of 8×10” sheet film was (and still is), too high to waste (?) on a camera like this so I used photographic printing paper. You load the paper in the cut film holder, expose and develop in darkroom tanks like you would if you printed it using a darkroom enlarger. The negative you end up with, can be contact printed (as long as the paper is plain on the back side and not with brand logo) or scanned/digitally photographed and reversed to get a positive.
The Mamiya C330 is a beast. I still love it’s shape, the ability to change lenses and it is one of my favourite cameras to see. I had the normal 80mm and the 180mm telephoto lens. A great camera but if you want a tlr and just a normal lens, perhaps you are better with a smaller lighter camera. You can’t walk around for long with a Mamiya C330 on the shoulder. Depends on the shoulder of course…
The Graflex Century Graphic 2×3” is a folding view camera. Its lens was a Graflex Trioptar 103mm f4.5. A three element lens with nice rendering. Many consider the three element lenses junk. I disagree.
A lovely bakelite and metal construction, with some movements, very light for a 2×3” but a camera you can’t use without a tripod (unless it has a rangefinder). I only shot one roll of Ilford fp4+ with the Century Graphic, my 4 year old then nephew. I don’t post photos of children on the internet. The images came out great.
When you have the camera virus, you look at cameras and say: “I wish I had a Hasselblad or a Rolleiflex or a Leica… etc. But they are too expensive and I can’t afford to buy one.” You are right, the cost is high -not like it used to, thanks digital- but still is. The camera buying virus is the one playing the joke here, because when you add what you have spent on your small collection, you realize that actually, you could buy one. But you still don’t learn. And why learn? As Antonis (my companion on the photographic journey) so wisely said: “nobody escaped… eventually you will buy a Hassy or a Rolleiflex or a Leica, maybe one of each… That does not mean you will be a better photographer though…”
I did not get a Hasselblad back then. I got a Salyut. An early 60’s model that worked as it should.
Soon I found myself with the chimney finder, the nc2 prism, macro rings, the Mir-3 65mm f3.5, the Tair-33 300mm f4.5, the Vega-12V 90mm f2.8, the MC Telear 5V 250mm f5.6 and my first camera backpack to fit them all in. Then I lifted it up. I never left the house with it all.
The only extra lens I should have for the Salyut had to be the Mir-3. The normal and the wide angle was enough. Maybe then I would have kept it.
Before I parted with the Salyut, I had traded the Mamiya C330. It was one of my famous ‘how to lose money’ moves. I had open matters with large format (or so I thought) and I gave the C330 to get a Calumet CC400 4×5” monorail. I had issues dragging the Mamiya around and I got the Calumet… go figure…
I still laugh when I think about it. I made some exposures on the Calumet basically on photographic printing paper and one almost successful on Fomapan 100 sheet film.
I had some good time with it but it did not last long. It was not the Calumet’s fault. A very steady, built to outlast us camera with a USN sticker… I was too “young” for it and for developing 4×5” on an FFR tank…
All these years I usually try more than one camera before deciding if I want to go further with a format. Before I parted with the Calumet, I had bought another 4×5” of a more “portable” design. A Burke & James Press 4×5”. A nicely build camera with a rotating spring type back like the Calumet. A folding view 4×5” camera, capable if you care to get into it. Most prefer the Graflex Speed Graphic, or a Crown Graphic or an MPP in this price range (the Linhof and the others go up scale). For me, the Speed Graphic, though heavier, is more versatile because you can also use barrel lenses. But it was more expensive, the B&J was a bargain -if you live outside the US you have to take into account the shipping & import cost also.
As the Mamiya C330, the B&J also did not get the time it deserved, for different reasons. The two major drawbacks for me and 4×5” were the cost & developing of sheet film and the necessity of the tripod. The tripod is something I rarely use even now. As for developing, I wasn’t aware of the more easy ‘Taco’ method to try, I had no luck with the FFR developing tank and a Nikkor 4×5” tank was too expensive. I was even less experienced in developing, and for 4×5” to show its potential you have to be very very precise and give it the time and attention it needs both in shooting and in developing.
The Calumet CC400 and the Burke & James Press 4×5 were sold along with the lenses the FFR tank and rest 4×5 stuff. Needed to make room and build a cash amount for other cameras. The last to go, were some Fidelity 4×5” holders and a red dark cloth for the focusing aim on the ground glass. These were bought by Antonis, an experienced amateur photographer who became a good friend and companion to this ongoing photography journey.
The last 4×5” camera I bought -and gave to Antonis as a present- was a Graflex RB 4×5” . An slr 4×5”. I love the Graflex slr’s. That’s a future musing.
I wish 2019 to be a better year than the one we left behind.
So there I was with my father’s Yashica J as my only photo camera and I wanted more and a Single Lens Reflex was the first target. But I had a keen interest in cine cameras and projectors also (I still do, but…) and while on a trip to the US, I figured to add some formats to the super8 camera and projector I already had…
I bought a Cronica-8ET turret 8mm, a Kodak Brownie 500 8mm projector and I was given a Keystone A12 16mm camera with two old Kodak trix 16mm films (more on the cine films in the future) plus a gorgeous Craig projecto viewer with a Kodak Senior splicer for editing 16mm at home. A home moviola.
The Kodak Brownie 500 8mm projector is a basic model, but it has great looks, a huge torpido- shaped 500w lamp and costed next to nothing.
The Keystone A12 is a clockwork 16mm cine camera from the late ’40s. It is a C mount camera that takes 100ft (30m) film spools and the lenses on mine are a Wollensak 1inch f1.9 cine raptar and a 2inch f3.5 Taylor Hobson Cooke Kinic Anastigmat.
Speeds are low 10, normal 16, sound 24, three intermediate speeds of 32,40,48 and slow motion 64fps. It can also take single frames like almost every cine camera.
“… a very usefull and patented feature of the Keystone camera is the audible film register with which it is equipped. Each time about one and one-half feet of film becomes used a soft signal rings and reminds the operator to shoot the proper film footage for the scene. This eliminates the necessity of stoping the camera to see how much film has been used on the scene.” (Keystone manual)
The Craig Projecto Editor is a great object to own even if you don’t plan to edit.
The basic operation is moving the film from the left reel (feed) through the guides and the light gate towards the right reel (take up). The main guide has teeth to snap to the film perforation. While you turn the take up reel the film turns the main guide which inside is connected with a prism, thus the image on the ground glass has a projection-like motion.
If you want to make an edit you use the Kodak Senior splicer located in front of the viewer.
All you need is some film cement to join the film after you made a cut. In a future writing I may explain its operation with the appropriate pictures.
A “brutal” method -when a viewer & splicer are not available- is looking the film in the light and have a pair of scissors on the table… some old movies were edited that way…
That same period, a Sunday morning found me strolling in a flea market… the table I stopped at, was full of cameras but the amount of money in my pocket was enough only for a small section to explore… the Soviet section…
The groundglass image on the prism of an SLR is addictive (to this day) and I opted for a Zenit E. My first Single Lens Reflex camera.
The Zenit E is one of the most mass produced SLRs of all time. It has the common M42 lens mount and usually it is sold with the Helios 44-2 f:2 58mm lens. It has a selenium light meter and basic shutter speed options.
I had the urge to try many photographic routes and did not care much on the camera’s quirks and my limited knowledge on exposure and lens characteristics. I was free. I just took photos.
Most will say that a Soviet camera operates harsh, like a tank. Most will say that a Soviet camera is useless, mainly because of the poor quality control and bad design. At least many will agree that there are some Soviet lenses that are worth using.
I had a blast with the Zenit E. But the time came when traces of light managed to enter from the lightmeter window on top and some shutter mulfactions occured. It was time to let it go as I was not free anymore, I was hooked, more cameras were present now in the room, both cine and still. Years later, the E’s m42 mount went to a good friend who used it for his diy 6×9.
A Zenit I liked and should have used more, was the Zenit 3.
A m39 mount bottom loading slr camera with a Helios 44 58mm f2 with 13 iris blades.
I got some m39 macro rings for the Zenit 3 and experimented photographing new additions…
A Praktica LTL3 found its place next to the Zenit E, and got most of the action cause I had all these m42 lenses float around.
The Praktica LTL3, a m42 mount slr, had a vertical focal plane metal blade shutter with speeds from 1sec to 1/1000, a ttl cds meter powered from a px625 battery and was a joy to use.
Then came a period of mostly buying and selling, sometimes without using… the small collection consisted of :
still cameras… Zenit E, Zenit 3, Praktica LTL3, Polaroid automatic 100, Ihagee Exa, Asahi Pentax S1a, Ensign ful vue, Lubitel, Kodak Portrait Hawkeye, Kodak Browie 2c, Kodak duo 620, Ihagee ultrix simplex (gift), Yashica J (my father’s), Kodak Brownie Haykeye flash model (my grandmother’s), Argus C3
cine cameras… Kodak xl33, Cronica 8et, Kbapu 2, Minolta zoom 8, Agfa movexoom 3000, Chinon 60 smxl, Krasnogorsk 3, Wittnauer 400, Kodak cine model 8, Keystone A12, Kbapu 1x8c2
cine projectors… Sankyo sound 700, Kodak Brownie 500 and Specto model A.
When you get the itch and start scatching, you keep on going. Few months later I felt the need to clear up a notch and step up …
“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion”
It would be good to find out how we are seen by others. It might prevent a few mistakes and stop us from having a high opinion of ourselves.
The strange thing about the old Scots “tongue” or language is that it is acceptable to use it when reciting Burns’ poetry round about the end of January, but in general it is looked down on at any other time. The verb to give is restricted – to gie (pronounced “gee” with a hard g as in Greece). But if you ask someone to gie you a cup of tea it is now thought of as common and lazy speech. Similarly if we now use wad (as in bad) instead of would or talk about gifties when we mean gifts, that is frowned upon. The language has moved on, as any language will. Those words are still there but they seem coarse and the user will be seen as uneducated. It’s not “proper English”.
So strangely, we now have a “foolish notion” – a high opinion – of ourselves as a nation that should not use the form of the English language that developed in Scotland. An analogy might be Romanian where the language is said to be the closest to Latin. But no-one suggests that Romanian is coarse and they should speak “proper Latin”.
But I spoke of a potential character flaw in the last post. I promised to reveal it if it existed. It is perhaps bound up with foolish notions.
My Gundlach-Manhattan Criterion View (Greek kritērion ‘means of judging’, from kritēs (see critic).) that I mentioned was stripped, cleaned, had small splits in wood repaired, reassembled and repaired.
It took a long time; months. I researched, I discussed on Forum websites, I was sometimes taken to task by people with more experience who disagreed with my methods or disapproved of my aims. I found missing parts and was sometimes heavily overcharged for them – caveat emptor. I realised that there is not too much love out there in the Photographic community – not enough anyway. The Forums are full of people who are quick to criticise and slow to praise, help, encourage. I gained the impression that they are mostly men, elderly, from the “New World” and who bring with them the problems of old age. Impatience being the major fault and an idea that no-one does it like them. I saw them telling people – not me so this is not sour grapes – to leave the website for daring to say something or for putting an alternative point of view. It’s my way or the highway was the overall impression.
So I stopped using them. I said in my first post that a shared interest in Photography does not always mean a meeting of minds and that was prompted by my experience on Forum websites.
So my foolish notion of myself was as a repairer and collector of old film cameras. I have some credentials as a repairer. I have brought several cameras back to life. Sold as “for spares or repairs”, completely jammed, shutter not working. Bellows have holes/bellows are dust etc.
I have some credentials as a collector. Right now there are about 25 cameras in the house.
When I fix them, I get a great feeling of satisfaction and they are raised in my estimation. I have better feelings about my Contaflex – the very complicated shutter was a mess when I got it but it now works perfectly – than I do about another Contaflex that was sold to me as having an inoperative shutter but which worked perfectly when it arrived! I was actually disappointed that it needed no work! The same is true of my “English Leica” Corfield – needed no work but sold as spares/repairs. Disappointed.
So, with all this talk about love and satisfaction you might say “How is the Gundlach?”. “How is the beautiful Century Grand that you spent months on? You know, the one where you first discovered that those craftsmen that made it actually filed each tiny screw individually so that when the screws were all correctly tightened, the slots all faced in the same direction? The one where you cut up your old, much-prized leather jacket because the grain matched the grain on the leather that was still visible on the case, and re-covered it just so that it could look as it did when it was new?”
Maybe next post!
There was a period when the curiosity about the Sankyo Super 8 projector and Dad’s little Yashica J rangefinder camera barely existed… Childhood was over and the teenage period filled the day with sports, games, hangouts, music, the brutal reading and waking up early in the morning… and not a worry in our minds… (except love stories…)
My own first camera was a present from my Godfather. A Fujica MF. A fixed f8 lens, single speed camera with manual film advance and onboard flash which you could disable. This small light plastic camera snapped school memories, new house memories and basically got the itch rolling in a non rolling period.
(Fujica MF Agfa hdc100)
This is one of the most significant photos for me. It is in a period of the end of an era. I am on the train going up north, near the border, to my unit, going through my obligatory military duty. I love those still trees far away, the window reflection and the movement.
(Fujica MF Orwocolour qrs100)
(Fujica MF Orwocolour qrs100)
(Fujica MF Orwocolour qrs100)
The end of that period marked the start of a new era. Studies, work and the full entry in the production period. About that time the little Fujica MF gave up.
The old Yaschica J returned from the closet, demanded a place in the room and brought together the Sankyo Super 8 projector and the Chinon 60 SMXL Super 8 camera.
This created a will to explore both cine and photography equipment. The following years saw me strolling in flea markets, in used camera stores and the net, for cine & photography goodies. See it, buy it, find info on it, accessorise it, use it.
The first was a Russian SLR.
“The picture made by the camera is a more or less faithfull representation of what a single eye might have seen, and from the patches of light and shade in the positive photographic print the eye and the mind working together can arrive at a reasonably accurate interpretation of the form and nature of the objects portrayed.”
Ilford manual of photography, Chapter I, The mechanism of image formation
“Well, it would be nice if it went to Greece…” Gordon replied to my query. That led to conversations on cameras, our countries, people, the world. Also led to this series of musings that will be hosted here. Gordon Christie, a Scotsman. Nasos Papathanasiou, a Greek. Both on a camera bug.
The same object will have a different appeal photographed in Scotland and in Greece due to diverse light conditions. The blue sky of Greece Gordon wishes for, is a beautifull sight. However the sun is strong and direct, this translates to harsch shadows and colours. Scotland on the other hand, may have way less sunny days but the sun is almost always in angle. This makes up for friendlier shadows and saturated colours- a remark from Antonis, a good friend, a good photographer and photowalk companion.
You win some, you lose some…
But, enough with the light. The light was not “the trigger”.
As I was growing up, a distinctive sound was bringing a sense of joy and triggered my curiosity. A Sankyo sound 700 super/single8 projector was sending light through celluloid, forming moving images of my childhood on a Perfecta screen. I still have them, as I also have my father’s small metal rangefinder camera, his Yashica J.
I believe most of the scratches on the Yashica’s front element were made by me, wiping it, a common mistake. Eventually I grew up, and the triggered bug came to life.