Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Agfa Billy Record

One of the cameras I find most endearing is my 1930s-era Agfa Billy Record.

It's a 6x9cm folding camera with leather bellows. Some really nice photos of a Billy Record that appears to be in better condition than mine can be found at 3106 photography.

In Memorium of 9/11 :: September 11, 2008 :: Gardendale, Alabama
There are several variations of the camera. Mine has a JGestar 105mm f/7.7 Anastigmat lens. There are four shutter speeds: 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, and B; and three aperture choices: 7.7, 11, and 16. I almost always meter the light by eye and estimate the appropriate combo of shutter speed-aperture with this little charmer.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens :: May 2008 :: Dallas, Texas
When I first purchased the camera, the lens was somewhat hazy, which led to the glow that can be seen on the photos above. But I thought that I could fix it. I was wrong. After disassembling the three-element lens, cleaning the components, and re-assembling the pieces, I now have a camera that is haze-free but delivers photos that offer some interesting and inconsistent distortion (see below).

Horton Mill Bridge :: Blount County, Alabama
Yet with all of its idiosyncrasies, it's a camera that I go out of my way to reach for. I think particular photographs are ideal for it. Both the covered bridge above and the Billy Record have weathered the test of time, and one seems the perfect subject for the other.

The Riverwalk :: San Antonio, Texas

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