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Cameras, Reviews

Nagel Vollenda No. 70/0

It’s been a while since I’ve had any film developed, but here are some shots from my Nagel Vollenda No. 70/0. Information on this camera is scarce, but I did find this.

nagel vollendaThe camera is 80+ years old so it’s a miracle it takes photos at all. What’s shocking is that it works quite well. I’ve had digital cameras break after 2 or 3 years, but this guy is still kicking after more than 80. Using the camera is a challenge without a tripod and a tape measure. The “viewfinder” is a metal rectangle with a smaller rectangle in front of it. Zone focusing is the name of the game here, which is German for “all of your pictures will be out of focus.” Depth of field is pretty shallow even at f/11 when using 120 film, so focusing closer than infinity is tough. I’m also uniquely terrible at estimating distance, and I’m sure others could do better.

The design and build of the camera is beautiful in a way that digital products can never match. While lacking in the solid-as-a-brick build quality of 60’s and 70’s SLR’s, the engineering is precise and much more visible than more modern cameras. There are only four choices for shutter speed, but the aperture adjustment is continuous between f/4.5 and f/32.

By any modern metric, this camera is terrible. However, using it will help put modern cameras in perspective. After using a camera like this, you can’t help but laugh when someone reviews a modern camera and complains about slow autofocus or a bit of noise at ISO6400 or the “soft” results from slow kit zooms. A camera like this can put you in touch with the past and teach you new ways to think about photography.

cannon beach

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