Camera: ca. 1928 Kodak Autographic 3A Camera with f/7.7 Bausch & Lomb Rapid Rectillinear Lens.
Film: Fuji Velvia 100F
Locale: Frederick County, MD.
The thought of what could be done with huge 120 exposures as panoramic scenes taken in a 122 camera was sooo appealing, and I'd gotten a few promising results from some of my first rolls in the Autographic 3A, only to be disappointed in a follow up roll. I tried to take a few lessons learned from these experiments and feed the massive camera two more rolls of film to see if I could find something encouraging and useful among the exposures.
All photos were taken at 1/100, with real apertures set between f/22 and f/32. These "settings" however are not accurate for the light levels in the scenes, but are an adjustment due to the tendency of previous attempts to shoot at normal settings on this camera that came out looking overexposed. I tend to suspect a slow shutter or an odd aperture iris that causes these overexposures, so I tried to properly compensate.
1 - Feagaville, MD - Off the bat, the exposure compensation has worked wonders for the exposure. The result is one with vibrant colors and very natural looking contrast and toning. The only problem is that the scene, focused at infinity, fails to really render fully focused. Not sure if this is an issue with the film plane or the focus of the camera.
2 - Feagaville, MD - More challenging lighting than the first, but an equally impressive result exposure wise. I tend to think that the focus works just a bit better here, though this is still far from perfect.
3 - Urbana, MD - Now I am actually overcompensating for exposure. The area in shadow at left is almost lost in darkness. The focus is pretty bad, and speaking of overcompensating, the horizon is askew.
4 - Urbana, MD - One of the few shots in which I tried to focus on a nearer object rather than simply infinity. The results show some marked improvement, as can be seen in the numbers in the mailbox in the enlargement below. Now I start to wonder if a focus calibration test is in order for the old Autographic.
5 - Bolivar, MD - Rambling the countryside, I was particularly struck by this view as I started the second roll. My horizon alignment was pretty bad however, and the film was a bit close in to the processing end, leading to some unexpected extras on the left hand side of the frame. I'd actually wanted a bit more of the wood staked fence to be evident in this shot.
6 - Jefferson, MD - Working further through the second roll, I'm encouraged by what comes out. The result is a bit shy of perfect, but is definitely a world better than the shots taken in the Film Fun Folio #9 with this camera.
7 - Jefferson, MD - Driving north on Holter Road towards Middletown on a clear day, one is greeted with all sorts of breathtaking views. This one was worth stopping to record, with the South Mountains in the distance. However, I had a tough time using the awkward brilliant finder and got the horizon all messed up. Fortunately in post-processing, I was able to remedy this with some rotation, and created the improved image below in a 3:1 ratio. I can so see a panoramic print of this one being made.
8 - Jefferson, MD - I could not resist trying to capture this curving road, and even set the focusing distance to align with the marker in foreground rather than infinity. Overall, it worked, and so does the image. Glad I took the time to line up the capture.
9 - Lewistown, MD - On the last image at my disposal, I elected to try to "over-compensate" even more for this camera's tendency to overexpose, and turned it down an entire f/stop from what I'd been doing. The result literally blew me away when I looked at the raw transparency. The color was absolutely incredible and the scan only begins to convey that. Focus is OK but not amazing, but this scene of the covered bridge works pretty well. Only wish I hadn't gone out on recycling day. That blue bin really detracts to me.
Overall thoughts: The whole premise of the 6x14 using 120 film in this ancient machine is actually far more within reason now after seeing the results of these two rolls. Focus remains something of an issue, so I will have to do a little bit of testing with a ground glass to see if I can get a slightly better image result. Still I am quite pleased.
It may be a little bit before I try the 120 film in the 3A again, as I have not one but two interesting experiments to continue my tinkering with this type of camera, both of which will be shared in the weeks to come.