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Thursday, August 04, 2016

Vredeborch Felica

I found this spiffy little Felica recently on ebay.  The camera has some things in common with my all-time favorite box camera, the Ansco Panda.  The Felica is only a little less compact than the tiny Panda, and it also has a 60mm focal length meniscus lens, which produces a wide-angle view compared to most 6x6 format cameras.  Additionally, the Felica has a full focusing lens, shutter speed choices of 1/25, 1/50 and B as well as "cloud" and "sun" settings which are equal to f8 and f16.  A lever on the shutter housing can toggle in a yellow filter behind the lens.  The eye-level finder on the Felica is a little easier to use in bright sun than the waist-level type found on many box cameras including the Panda.  Another nice feature is that the camera can use standard 120 roll film, which makes film loading quite a bit more  convenient than the 620 Kodaks from the same era.  The company made several variations of the design including one which puts sixteen 6x4.5 images on a 120 roll.  As it says on the face plate, the Felica was made in West Germany, probably in about 1957.

Some shots from the first roll:






14 comments:

Jim Grey said...

What an unusual find -- and what wonderful results.

Mike said...

I think it is a little unusual to find a Felica in the U.S. market, and I was surprised to be the only bidder. I'd like to try it with some Tri-X on the next round. It seems like the yellow filter should be helpful in that regard.

JR Smith said...

Looking at these shots on your Flickr feed, I would never have guessed they were produced by this camera! Well done!!

Angela said...

Gorgeous camera - how could you resist when you saw it for sale? Beautiful photos too. Still impressed at the image quality you get from these lovely old cameras.

Mike said...

It was a bit more than I usually pay for a box camera at $15. Still quite a bargain, though. I think it is one of the nicest camera designs I've come across.
That little portrait you have posted as an ID is super. I'm assuming it is from one of your fine old folders.

Angela said...

Unfortunately the portrait is not from one of my folders but my Canon G16.
I've recently bought a Brownie SIX-20 Model D for £3 - I couldn't resist at that price whether it works or not.

Mike said...

Regardless of the camera, the portrait definitely has the classic look, which I'd guess is informed by your old camera experience. Not much goes wrong with those old Brownies, so there's a good chance it will make pictures if you are so inclined. I have a yard sale Brownie Flash Six-20 loaded with film now. Re-rolling the film onto 620 reels is a little inconvenient, but actually takes little time to accomplish once you've practiced it a few times. It is possible to just trim down the ends of the 120 plastic reels with a nail clipper to fit, but re-rolled film usually goes through more smoothly.

Angela said...

Thanks Mike. So I assume you roll the 120 film onto a 620 spool and then once on that spool you roll it onto another 620 spool so it's the right way around as it were? Have you figured out how many turns it needs after each shot and how many pictures per film do you get?

There was one spool in the camera so I just need to buy a second one - might give it a go. It seems in OK condition, just needs a good clean. I've also recently bought another typewriter (when I promised myself I wouldn't) but I couldn't resist a 1950's Remington Rand Portable. So plenty new old toys to play with :-)

Mike said...

Right. Roll the film from the 120 spool to 620, and then back again to another 620 spool so you are at the start of the roll again. No need to guess on advancing the film. You can use the numbering on the film; 620 is the same as 120 except for the slight size difference in the spools.

(Sorry you had to post your message several times. After seven days any posts have to be reviewed before they are displayed. That keeps the spam down.)

Angela said...

Thanks Mike. So you don't need to cover the little red film window to avoid light leaks?

Mike said...

On any of my medium format cameras with a red window, I always keep the window covered with a bit of black tape except for briefly lifting it when I advance the film. With a square-format 6x6 camera the window is in the middle of the film backing and there is probably minimal danger of light leaks. With the 6x9 format cameras, the window is close to the edge of the film and there is a greater danger of light sneaking around the edges with the window uncovered. My No.1 Kodak, for instance, was built to use 120 film, but I found I had to cover half the rad window to lessen the chance of stray light reaching the film. Part of the issue is the fact that film emulsions in the early days were much less sensitive to light than that of modern films.

Angela said...

Good advice once again Mike, thanks. Have you got any photos you've taken with this model on Flickr or anywhere?

Mike said...

I posted one picture on Flickr from the Felica loaded with 35mm color. The camera performed well, but scanning the negs to include the sprocket holes presented some problems. If I get ambitious, I'll do a post about using 35mm in this 120 camera.

Angela said...

Found it on Flickr Mike. Great photo, really like the sprocket effect.