Film Fun Folio #23 - Balda HaPo 10 and (LONG!) Expired Verichrome Pan

Periodically, I'll be posting scans of some complete rolls of film on here, showing both the good and the bad, and giving some basic information as well a little write up of the shoot as well as the reasons why I selected each camera and film.  Enjoy the trip! 

Feature #23:
Camera: ca. 1938 Balda Hapo 10 with 105mm Steinheil Munchen f/3.8 lens.
Film: Kodak Verichrome Pan (Expired 1962)
Locale: Central Maryland and Washington DC.

It's always the ones you have the highest hopes for that let you down.  When I pulled the trigger on the Hapo 10, enamored with its looks, I hoped this would be a great addition to my 6x9 cameras.  I ultimately was underwhelmed after three rolls of film through this camera failed to really give much in the way of good results.

However, after experiments using old Verichrome Pan gave me surprisingly good, if somewhat vintage looking results, I thought it might be time to give the old Hapo one more try.  It's slow performing shutter seemed a good fit for a long expired film that needed over exposure.  I hoped I could get at least a suitable result or two from this old camera that had been sitting for nearly a year, or at least I could play on the seeming flaws of the Hapo and create a roll of very distressed shots done just for fun.  

The first two shots were immediately blown, to no fault of the Hapo.  When I loaded up the film, I should have done an initial re-taping of this 50 year old film to its backing paper in the dark prior to loading. Sure enough the tightly curled film separated from the backing and as a result, I lost the first exposures.  I could only hope the remaining six chances were enough to get something good from this pretty, but pretty disappointing camera.  Note: Keep in mind the "settings" here are what was on the camera, but this camera is known to have a slow shutter, so they are likely to be about half as fast as what is indicated for these images.  

3 - Monrovia, MD - f/4.5, 1/100 -  Interestingly, what would pretty much turn out to be the most disappointing shot on the roll would also serve as the most informative,  I should have really backed further up to get this ramshackle old house along the road, for a better result, but looking at the image, something is apparent: the area between B and C above is fairly sharp, while the areas outside of this tend to be blurred.  I had never noticed this tendency before on previous rolls, and by sheer coincidence, the rest of the roll would tend to have its subjects in this area of the frame.  

4 - Frederick, MD - f/5.6, 1/100 - By the time I am really giving this camera something of a fair go at making some worthy shots, it has only 5 tries left, and interestingly enough, it starts to make some inroads into doing just that.  While not perfect, this image of the Best Farm on the Monocacy National Battlefield shows a pretty good bit of promise.  Notice how the areas of better sharpness align with the image above.

5 - Frederick, MD -  f/5.6, 1/100 - And then, the nearly forsaken Hapo takes a surprisingly good photo on the 55 year old film.  Sharpness, tonality, and contrast are all amazingly good given the circumstances. 

6 - Washington, DC, f/11, 1/100 - Taking the Hapo on the lunch time walk, the results continued to be particularly pleasing.  A view down a colonnade in front of Union Station again shows very good sharpness and tonality. 

7 - Washington, DC, f/11, 1/100 - Statuary in front of the station on this bright sunny day also rendered quite well with the Verichrome Pan doing a great job with the grain in the blue sky.  Note the softness at the top of the frame, seemingly more an outcome of lens sharpness than a true depth of field occurrence. 

8 - Washington, DC, f/8, 1/200 - I opened it up for the last shot on the roll, and focused to a closer subject, and the result is really something nice!  Exceptional tonality and sharpness were rendered in this scene as well as some great shallowness to the depth of field. 

Thoughts: Ok, so what just happened here? My expectations of oddly distressed and indistinct images on this half-century old film were never met, and that's actually just fine. There were times as I worked through this roll that I fully expected it would be a waste of both time and money, but such was not the case at all.  I'm not entirely sure what to say or how to to really predict this camera's performance on future rolls given this odd experiment and its good results.  Gone are the vignetting issues that I'd previously seen on the Hapo, and in its place are some surprisingly detailed and well exposed images. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I can't help but be pleased and encouraged by the results of this "last chance" roll of film!