Old glass, part two

The weather here isn’t co-operating much with anything, including photography. By the time there was any sunlight to shoot with today it was late afternoon. There was also an inch of snow on the ground. Despite these setbacks I was eager to try out using the Canon with another old camera for its lens. In this case a Kodak Rainbow Hawk-Eye from the early 1930s. This being a folding type camera removes the focusing limitations of having the ‘film plane’ in the wrong place.


The results show promise, but were not without problems. For one thing hand-holding two cameras at once is more than a little awkward. You run out of fingers to make adjustments with, and there’s some difficulty with actually getting your eye on the viewfinder. I tried using a tripod to help, but its assistance was minimal. In the fleeting light I took four shots, three of which I had to ‘ramp up’ because a fairly minimal change in scene illumination resulted in a drastic difference in actual light on the sensor.

Exposure was ISO 200, 1/60, US Stop 4 (that’s what the Kodak is equipped with). You will note sharpness is not great, partly because it is impossible to clean the front of the lens on the Hawk-Eye. Partly because there are some issues with getting focus sharp even with the bellows (which don’t slide all that smoothly on the track). Also, post-processing is necessary as the lens is not colour-corrected in anyway (1933 production). The same goes for the Brownie shots I did before.

It’s an amusing experiment, but not really a practical way to take even artistic shots. There is risk to both cameras from their being “used open”, and you can see on the dog shot I still haven’t cleaned the sensor from the last experiment; I expect to do one more series before doing that.

On the other hand it does leave open the possibilities of adapting quite non-standard lenses for artistic purposes. It also reminds me of the silliness of people purposefully spending money on ‘soft’ lenses when the effect is so easy to achieve. You can take the sharpest lens in the world and ‘soften’ it, but you can’t make a bad lens produce sharp images.

Of course now I’m on the lookout for more things to adapt, such as a damage old camera that could be made into a more permanent “accessory” to the Canon. The next experiment, however, will be with another folder; the Kodak Petite (another colour art deco camera).

The original Kodak Brownie from 1900 used for the first series


2 thoughts on “Old glass, part two

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