So I found a camera on craigslist with a brand that I wasn’t familiar with – Allenflex. It looked like any other typical late 50s medium format TLR. So I decided to make the buy.
The specs are pretty standard:
- 80mm prime lens
- Shutter speeds of B – 1/300 so it needs slower film.
- Takes 120 medium format film
- Top down viewfinder, just like my Yashica Mat.
I wasn’t able to find much online about it. Literally the only google result lead me to the NewsPaper archives from Salt Lake City with the following ad from November, 1957. You can see the camera in the bottom right hand corner
After emailing the people at Allen’s Camera, who are still functioning as a family business in Utah, they were able to confirm to me that it was one of theirs and one of about 50 that were ordered with the Allenflex branding.
That being said, it’s a rare camera and it isn’t. After I did some more research, I discovered that it was made by Tougodo Optical in Japan, who produced a great deal of made to order custom branding items for individual companies looking to have custom products. There are a lot of other Tougodo cameras produced that look exactly like my Allenflex – with the right serial numbers to boot, just with a different branding like Lionflex or Metascoflex. So there are a lot of cameras that are essentially the same camera – but not many called Allenflex. How it ended up in Quebec from Utah I have no idea.
Here’s what it looks like, aside from some cracked leather on one side it’s in fantastic shape. And I got to use my new light tent, which looks pretty good (and will look better when I get some proper lights for it).
With all the craziness in my life lately, I haven’t been able to take out my Mamiya 645 into the field and actually play with it. So I used the local fireworks event to give it the old college try. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and it’s a bitch trying to just guess your way through things and shoot without a light meter. But when I pulled this film off the roll this morning I wasn’t exactly upset with the result. They’re mostly shot with an 80mm Mamiya 1.9 lens, but a few are with the 150mm Mamiya 3.5. 400 speed Arista film and Ilford developer.
So here’s 10 frames, none of which are fireworks, but just some general shots of the scene.
Here’s a shot of my fiance at Gus’ Coney Island. Shot at 1/125, f1.9. The focal range with this lens wide open is incredible, one eye is in focus and another isn’t. I wanted to shoot this at f 2.8 but I wanted to keep the shutter speed at or greater than 1/125 while handholding the camera.
For this shot I put the camera on the table and pointed it at the bar. I thought 1/60 would be enough to get something and not have any blurriness hell something should be in focus here. Still wide open at 1.9. I should have flipped the mirror up before I fire the shot.
This shot was taken on the Dickinson bridge facing south. Probably around 7:15 so the lawn wasn’t totally packed yet. 1/500 sec at f 16.
The crowd watching one of the smaller stages. I overestimated the power of the sun here and shot it at 1/500 sec at f /11. A bit underexposed.
Here’s main street. Showing the municipal buildings, carnival rides, and random people. f 16 and 1/500 sec.
Here’s some people chillin on the grass. 1/500 f 16
At this point we were down on the grass by where the last shot was. Here I tried to see how well the 150mm lens would work, aimed at the Macomb County Sheriffs. F16 1/250
Kayte took this one of the stage across the river. F 16 1/250 again.
Girls lying on the grass in front of us, kids and whatnot interacting about. F 5.6 1/250 sec…I think.
Street folk on my way to drop this thing back off. f 8 1/250 sec.
I’m looking forward to shooting more soon, so stay tuned.