Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Great Wall

My Great Wall of Camera

The camera, not the wall in China. I purchased this camera in July via ebay from a seller in China for about $140. After seeing some of Andrew Moxom's superb images at Photostock this year, I realized that I had to find one. There are not too many "crappy" cameras that have the features of the Great Wall (hereafter referred to as the GW) DF-2. Shutter speeds B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/200; helical focusing 90mm lens with f3.5 - f22 apertures. Single-lens reflex viewing with a "waist-level" finder. The camera is largely based upon the German-made KW Pilot Super camera of the late 1930s. I did not have a manual, but Moominsean's blog was very helpful, and he has already discussed the history and use of the camera, so I won't bother repeating it here.

So, with some excitement, my first time out with the camera was the steam train festival in Owosso, MI. I figured that I might get a few good images there, and I shot some expired Techpan (ISO 25) and some old Verichrome Pan. Old film, old trains, wacky camera. A good combination.
waiting for the train
This woman was dressed in a vintage outfit, and damn I got her perfectly with the waist-level viewfinder. The out-of-focus areas are really dreamy.

This isn't the equivalent of a Hasselblad, a Kowa 6 or any other MF SLR. It's in its own class. Elegant crappiness. I really like the fact that the lens has a 52mm filter thread so that I can add close-up lenses..and with the SLR viewing, no parallax problem!
Castor Bean plant at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

I look forward to doing a lot more shooting with this fun camera.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

I love this camera. i paid $35 for mine from some Chinese guy on ebay. I inquired about it and he actually went out to look for it. I don't think he knew the current selling price for it. It has a bit of a light leak but I finally figured out where it's coming from - it's coming from the bottom left of the camera as the door doesn't shut all the way. But a quick fix with gaffers tape took care of it. Great camera.