This is a review of the camera used for week 3 of the "30 Weeks, 30 Cams" series. The camera a, Revueflex-B, is nothing but a Zenit-B sold by a German department store chain under another name. Read on how I got this SLR camera produced in Russia and how it handles.
It so happened that I bought this camera on eBay and the seller of the camera lives about 400 km away but close to a city I had to travel because of a 90th anniversary. So, I suggested to get the camera directly from the seller at his home and he accepted.
The evening before leaving Berlin, he wrote me a message that he had to leave for the weekend unexpectedly, and that he’ll leave the camera in a packet under a bucket alongside the door of his home. I suggested to throw the money I had to pay — €14 — into the mailbox. Somehow strange but it wasn’t a detour on my way to the anniversary and if there wasn’t a camera, I wouldn’t drop the money.
When I stopped in front of the house, one of his sons was repairing his motorbike outside and he gave me the camera, telling me I really got it for a good price. As I was already in a hurry I didn´t even open the packet — the home and the communication was very trusty.
After the 90th anniversary festivity I was invited to have dinner at the home of relatives and that’s where I opened the box to have look. It seemed that the camera worked and is in pretty good condition. My first impression was pretty good and compared to the Ilford Sportsman 300S from week one, this camera felt like the new heavyweight champion, weighing 680 grams. It was already dark outside so I didn’t load it immediately with a roll and shoot.
The next morning my girlfriend and me left to visit a friend of hers. She drove as she knew the route and I tried to load the camera with a roll in the car. That wasn’t really easy because I didn’t have a closer look in which direction the spool was turning, and actually it was different from what I knew. I loaded it and shot but it felt wrong, so I opened again and was right to do so. But I was really not concentrated and wondering what was wrong but finally noticed the direction and how it has to be loaded.
When we arrived, the friend had to leave for a few minutes and I used the time to take the first shots. Behind the garden of the house there where rail tracks only used on weekends by historical trains so I walked along the tracks and took the first shots. The hard mechanism of the camera felt like everything is fine and working. I didn’t use a lightmeter but just went with settings like I thought it would be fine.
On our way home to where we stayed I asked my girlfriend to stop the car at a busstop to take pictures of the booth that looked like being from the 70s. My girlfriend told me that there are many of these alongside the road and that it isn’t special though but I thought it is and it was an opportunity to play with the settings because of the evening sun.
Later that evening I went out to take some nightshots down the streets of the city with the camera but this was a pretty quick one as I had to return after only 100m walk. The baby I had with me in the baby carrier started to scream. But, I managed to take two shots.
The next day I strolled around the city to get me more cameras — the story will be told soon — and I took a few more shots. The day after we were about to leave, but I went to a memorial nearby with a view over the Teutoburger Wald and took some more shots there. I used the lightmeter of my Canon to make the settings as the sun was pretty strong that day. The settings and exposure time seem to work well because I made some shots with my Canon using the same setting to compare. I took the last shots of this roll back in Berlin.
The conclusion: The handling of the camera is pretty easy/simple. After having it loaded with a roll, there was nothing that could have gone wrong besides wrong estimating the exposure time. The camera is really pretty heavy and therefore, it’s not a camera you might take with you every day. The camera has a Pancake Industar 3,5/50 lens. The speeds are B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500.
There is only one more negative to say about this camera besides being very heavy: The bag it came with is made of very non-elastic leather. When you always want your camera ready to shoot and open the bag quickly, the top scratches over the release and you’ll get a picture of nothing. It happened three times to me but I recently shot a new roll with it and it didn’t happen again because I carefully opened the back. Well, it isn’t very important but it’s just a bad thing when you need your camera quickly and you’re used to always keeping it ready to shoot and follow Rule #7: Be fast.
Thanks for reading,