I thought that I’d probably seen every kind of developing tank film damage that one can witness, but little did I know. I just stumbled upon a new kind of film damage, that I’m sure was caused by me, let me explain.
Somehow, mysteriously I acquired another new, old camera. I keep telling myself I’m not a collector, I guess the only idea that can validate that thought is that maybe my collection is too small to be a real collection. Hmmm, I’ll just go with that for now.
In any case, a beautiful little Altissa D, 6×6 box camera arrived the other day, at least I think it’s an Altissa D, there’s not much info out there and some sources directly contradict other sources. But I do suspect that it’s a D from the early 50s.
I think it’s an interesting little camera, as you can see, the viewfinder is huge. It’s also correspondingly bright. There is only one speed plus bulb and one aperture, or so I thought until this minute. Simple. The lens is unusual in that it’s not a simple meniscus lens like so many box cameras, but actually a doublet. One element is in front of the shutter and one element is behind it!
As you can imagine once I unpacked this little gem, I had to load it up and shoot it. The slowest roll of 120 film I had on hand was a roll of Lomography Potsdam Kino 100, which seemed a little fast for a camera with a shutter speed of 1/25 and aperture that I guessed to be about f/8. Update: When looking at the photo above, I just noticed the little tab directly above the lens and wondered what it might be, an aperture setting? Sure enough, when you pull up the tab, there’s another smaller aperture opening (f/11 or f/16 I’m guessing), so shooting 100 speed film shouldn’t be a problem at all. Doh! of course the main aperture is f/8 it says so right on the lens, which I also just realized. How do I manage to do anything with my remarkable observational skills?
Luckily, it was a hazy (smokey actually) day, seemingly with about a stop less available light than normal. Remember, at that time I didn’t realize there was a smaller aperture setting available.
I decided to pull the film a 1/2 stop just to insure it wasn’t overdeveloped as well as overexposed. Cinestill recommends constant agitation when pulling film at the 78° temperature that our house currently is, so I hit on the bright idea of keeping the Dotline tank in constant motion by rolling it back and forth on the table.
As you can see, that didn’t work out so well. Next time, of course, I’ll go back to agitation by inversion, which seems to work well with the Dotline tank and Paterson 120 spool I’m using.
Here they are in all their damaged glory, at least I know the camera works. On reinspecting these, I wonder if some of the film damage is scratches from the film rollers? I guess I’ll find out soon enough. Next time I’ll try out both some ISO 50 and ISO 25 film with it.