Monday, November 07, 2011

El Día De Los Muertos

The yearly Marigold Parade in Albuquerque's South Valley celebrates the Day of the Dead.

It was a nice excuse to try out my newly-acquired Ansco Panda, a diminutive plastic wonder that produces 6x6cm images on 620 rollfilm.

The Panda is constructed with a wrap-around-style film frame which reduces the dimensions of the box camera to the smallest possible size. A curved film plane helps image sharpness, and a short 50-60mm focal length means you can get everything in sharp focus from six feet to infinity.

Below are all the cameras in my collection that require the use of 620 roll film. The Vigilant on the left and the Monitor on the right yield 6x9cm negatives, while all the rest including the Panda produce 6x6cm squares. While each of these cameras is capable of producing excellent images, the most surprisingly good is the ultra-simple Panda, which is hardly larger than a Baby Brownie.

The 620 format has been extinct since the mid-'90s, but it is possible to use 120 film in the 620 cameras if you trim down the rims of the 120 spools or re-roll the 120 film onto the old metal 620 spools. On my vintage cameras web site you will find a page on trimming 120 spools and another on my blog illustrating re-spooling 120 to 620 reels.


Jim Grey said...

The first photo looks like a still from a 1940s B movie. Nice.

Mike said...

I was thinking along similar lines. Albuquerque's South Valley is really an interesting place; kind of "Juarez-North".

robert said...

Great photos , They have a digital look due to the "grainless" appearance. What's the secret for that?

Mike said...

TMAX 100 is very fine grained and the negs are 2.25 x 2.25 in. The film also seems to work well in combination with Rodinal developer, though the grain would probably be even less noticeable with TMAX or HC-110 processing.