Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Point of Testing Cameras

Canoes in Cambridge. Photograph by Tim Irving
Test, taken with a FED 3 and Industar 50mm lens - Tim Irving
With Christmas sales approaching, I've been testing and servicing cameras in preparation for a rush (crosses fingers). All the vintage cameras I sell are given a routine inspection. Most pass my tests, but the odd few require a light clean and lubrication of the shutters and focusing mechanisms, I like my cameras to be smooth operators. Viewfinders and mirrors are also cleaned when they are misty and dusty. On cameras from the 70's onwards, I usually replace the foam light seals around the door if they've turned sticky.

When I'm happy that the cameras are working correctly, and if I haven't already tested that model of camera, I go out and test them with film, usually three or four exposures using cassettes I load myself. Medium format cameras have the benefit of twelve test photos which means the film can be in the camera for a few days. Then I develop the film and scan negatives.

Unlike the tests you read in photo magazines or on photo web sites, which are incredibly comprehensive and detailed, running to several pages of data, my tests fulfil one simple purpose, that the camera can make a photograph. However, in conducting my test, I try very hard to make it a pleasing photograph.

The reason I'm telling you this is becasue of the emails I get asking me to take more photos taken with a camera. It's true! I received an email yesterday, the person said they were interested in a particular ($75) camera, but would like to see a few more photos taken with it. I haven't replied yet.


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