my latest object of lust


Umm… I made some crazy vow not to buy any more cameras until I got a job, didn’t I? I completely forgot about that whilst I was caught up in a vintage camera frenzy. Okay, that starts NOW. (I did have an interview this week, maybe that counts? Anyone? Bueller??)

This boxy beauty was made by the Imperial Camera Company, and the Savoy model was commonly used as a free give-away in the 1960s, most notably to anyone who bought a Mercury Comet.

I swear I was not even looking for another camera, I was just poking around Camerapedia when I found the entry for this camera. Clearly, not a good idea, that site triggers Pavlovian reactions in me. They came in a variety of colors, but my soul craves the mint green. It shoots 620, although I have now amassed a few spare 620 spools and as soon as the changing bag I ordered from Adorama gets here, I can start re-winding 120 film onto them.

There are still a lot of these cameras floating around the internets. Often they can be found in quite good condition; because they were usually a freebie, often they were never even used. I lurked around eBay for most of this week, watching a couple of auctions, when I found one guy selling one for $60. Now, that is way overpriced, but I sent him a message, we haggled a bit, and I got him down to $40, which also covers shipping. Truthfully, that is still overpaying — my complete Brownie Hawkeye flash camera kit was that much. But it’s overpaying I can live with. Plus, the guy assures me it’s in cherry condition (and he has tons of positive feedback, so I’m trusting him until proven otherwise), and he even has the original box, so it was almost certainly never used. Auctions make me too anxious, anyway. I always feel like breaking something if I don’t win. He’s shipping it Monday and he’s only over in Alabama, so I should get it next week. Eeeee!

So now I have a box camera from the 1940s (Kodak Duaflex), 1950s (Brownie Hawkeye), and 1960s (Imperial Savoy). I think I can truthfully say I collect vintage medium format cameras now. And by the way, yes: I think this camera shoots gorgeous photos. There’s a Savoy Mark II that shoots 120, I may think about getting that somewhere down the line. Maybe in a different color, maybe the same. It doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as its predecessor, though.

In other photography news, Dwayne’s Photos was not able to develop the old roll of 620 that was in the Brownie Hawkeye when I bought it. Color film that old uses the C-22 process, which almost no labs do anymore. But they did refer me to Film Rescue, which specializes in obsolete film processing. It’ll probably be costly, so I’m not going to be doing it too soon.

Who knows, maybe it’s more fun if I never get it developed. I read somewhere that JJ Abrams has a huge box that he bought at an estate sale or something, it was all sealed up and had a giant ? drawn on the side. He’s never opened it.

Dwayne’s did develop the old roll that I shot, because it was B&W, and that film process has hardly changed in a hundred years. It wasn’t that great, to be honest. Really old color film results in weird color shifts; but in B&W it just gives you low contrast and bad exposures. A couple of them are worth keeping though, and at least I know the camera works. And they sent the spool back like I asked.

I bought some Kodak Ektar that I want to shoot in it. I did some research, and those single f-stop box cameras were made for low speed film, 100 or 160, so underexposure shouldn’t be a problem.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. victoria evans
    May 23, 2010 @ 14:02:28

    Am totally jealous! that’s an awesome looking camera. Stuff the job…who cares…keep on buying cameras! that’s what life’s about 🙂 well, I do hope though you get success from your interview.

  2. pinstripebindi
    May 23, 2010 @ 14:07:38

    Well, I did get approved for an extension on my unemployment insurance this week. I might even use that as an excuse to FINALLY get a scanner.

  3. victoria evans
    May 23, 2010 @ 21:31:50

    totally! get the scanner. BTW: I checked out Camerapedia – question: is it only for people in the States? I clicked on Shopping but got a Forbidden message. Have I got the right site?

  4. pinstripebindi
    May 23, 2010 @ 22:07:27

    No no, not .com, .org. .org is basically the Wikipedia of cameras. .com is something else that I’m not entirely sure is legit.

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