Tuesday, July 6, 2010

under consideration: sabre "620"

I feel like I waited forever to test this camera. I don't recall exactly when or why I bought it. Likely, I saw that someone else on Flickr had it and found it for a good price. I do remember this is one I bought online. Having only recently learned to successfully respool 120 film onto 620 spools, buying a 620 camera had been, for me, something of a gamble. This was especially the case if the camera was not the sort that could be used for ttv [through the viewfinder] photos. Case in point--the ansco rediflex. When I bought this I knew it wouldn't accept 120 film. Turns out it wouldn't accept 35mm either. But I liked the way it looked and knew that others were doing really great ttv work with it. . .though ttv has never been something I've done at all well. Long story short, I am really glad I bought the rediflex since, having learned to respool the film, it has turned out to be one of my favorite, go-to 120 film cameras.

It doesn't look as though I'll be saying the same thing about the sabre "620." A bit of background: According to Camerapedia, the sabre "620" "was manufactured from c1956-72 by Shaw-Harrison and was available in several colors."

Anyhoot. There are very few cameras about which after doing the test roll I will say, "all right. that's good. that's enough. no more." But this was one of them. If I had a place to put retired cameras (i.e., cameras that I'll likely never use again but don't want to sell or give away), I would have put it there last week. The camera is cute, that's for sure. And I was pleased to see that the shutter fired properly and whatnot. Problem is, there's nothing the camera does that another cheap, plastic box-cam can't do and (imho) do much better.

For this test roll, I used 400 speed artista edu ultra (perhaps too high of a film speed for the camera) and developed the roll in solution B of Kodak HC-110. Despite having that puppy taped, the light leaks were fairly pronounced with this camera. That is especially apparent in the last image below--an image of the Thomas Viaduct in Patapsco Valley State Park. The camera clearly does a better job producing sharpness (or at least areas of sharpness) at closer distances--say 4-5 feet. Again, my feeling is that the camera produces images that are, to my mind, like "eeaah." whatever. And I was really hoping for something special, interesting or unique. At the very least, I was hoping for results that were closer to those I'd get with the Diana or maybe Holga. Especially after seeing this image on Flickr. I was really hoping for results like that. Ah well. I guess they can't all make my top 5 picks!

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