Get Canned Flex!

On the 16th of June 2010, I got myself a Gakkenflex DIY twin-lens reflex camera! (Hand model is Lydia Kwan.)

It comes with a Japanese magazine, Otona no Kagaku, which includes a DIY kit in each issue. Very cool idea, and this particular issue number #25 is a hit, with many reprints!

Ironically, this is the back of the magazine.

This is what it looks like, unassembled.

The shutter mechanism. Fixed at F11, 1/150th of a second, unfortunately, limiting it to bright light even with ASA400 film. In theory, I could remove the aperture plastic, but it also holds the lens in place – so even if I did take it out, I’d have to find something else to hold it in alignment, or else my pictures would be out of focus.

Here it is with some other buddies who didn’t last the SLR revolution. Top left is the Blackbird Fly, a TLR where the top viewfinder does not show focus, but shows everything in focus – so it does not give you that amazing TLR experience, focusing on a viewfinder from above and having a most 3D viewfinder.

Technically, the Hasselblad 501CM here is a Single Lens Reflex since it does have a medium format-sized mirror…

There is also the Polaroid Land Camera to the left, with a very cool rangefinder mechanism, and a Leica M6 and M3 somewhere in the picture. At the bottom is the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, which I will blog about sometime later.

Thanks to Azrul of 807studio for your hospitality and having a few cameras to pose with!

This is what it looks like from above. You can’t really see much focusing going on unless it’s at close range. The viewing lens is brighter than the image-taking lens, though, and it thus does not represent depth of field exactly.

There is a sports finder, which I have not managed to teach anyone how to use.

And now, on to my first roll, with Kodak Gold ASA 400!

My first shot. Metered with my A900, I had to do a little trick where I flip the shutter down, pull it slowly up, and it goes into Bulb mode. The exposure here was 20 seconds, I think.

Azrul and I then went to the demolition of the Pudu Jail wall. With streetlights, I could get 5 second exposures.

The machines eat into the wall.

Here’s a hotlamp going as close as it can go through a softbox. F11 1/150s at ASA 400 is hard to satisfy! That would be almost three stops below Sunny F16.

The lens has decent central clarity, and rapidly diffuses into softness, and some sort of shakiness I can’t put my finger on.

The last shot I took with it, 14 frames into the roll of 36. The remaining 22 were black blanks! I had no idea why this was so, unless the shutter had malfunctioned.

Sadly, I would only know when I finish the roll of Fujifilm Superia ASA 400 currently in the camera – then I could open it up to inspect it again.

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