When you are searching for a camera that is dirt cheap and don't mind some experimenting, this is a great camera to have!
First of all, this camera uses rapid film, which is discontinued, but don’t fret! The actual film is the same as 135 film, so you can easily use that, but I will explain that later on. First the history of this camera and some specifications.
This camera was made in from 1965 until 1969 and was a little more luxurious than the general public camera, for example it had auto-exposure, a built-in light meter, zone focusing and a hot shoe for flash sync. Most cameras at that time didn’t have those features.
Shutter and Light Meter:
The shutter speed of the camera is either 1/30 or 1/70, when you set the camera to auto-exposure there is a little red dot visible in the viewfinder, when you press the shutter halfway down the dot becomes green if there is enough light. The light meters of these cameras don’t seem to exhaust fast, I have two of these cameras and the light meters both work perfectly.
This camera takes square shots instead of the more usual rectangular 35mm photos, and can take 16 photos on an original rapid film roll. This does not apply to re-spooled cartridges.
Things you’ll need:
- Rapid Cartridge
- Fresh 35mm roll
- Pair of Scissors
Take everything to a darkroom, or at least under a tick blanket. Pull all of the film out of the 35mm canister until you are on the end. Now snip off the last part of film, don’t throw away the 35mm canister, you’ll need it later. Take your rapid cartridge and push the 35mm into it, when you feel the leader of the film, stop! You can now turn on the lights. If you want you can snip off the leader as well, as this isn’t necessary for rapid cameras. You can now load the film inside the feeding cartridge or just feed it inside the camera if you don’t have two rapid cartridges.
Shooting is done as usual, except for one thing; because re-spooled cartridges have much more film in them than original ones, you’ll run out pictures on the film counter while there is still film left. When it happens put the camera under your coat and carefully open the back so the counter resets (you’ll hear a load click) and close it again.
When you have two rapid cartridges, be careful that you don’t wind the film into the loading cartridge, as you will need the cartridges again. Instead, go to a darkroom and take the 35mm canister we used before. Now pull out the film out of the rapid cartridge and tape it onto the little piece of film left in the 35mm canister. Now wind back all the film inside the canister and deliver it at your local film processing store. If you develop your film yourself you can skip this step and just process your film out of the rapid cartridge, but usually shops either don’t know what to do with rapid cartridges, charge more for processing them or break open the cartridge to get to the film.
The Isomat-Rapid is a very interesting camera, that can take some beautiful pictures as well, as long as you are not afraid to experiment with your film. When you come across this camera, buy it, you won’t regret!