A Camera with Character


I bid on this Canon F-1 on ebay, it was cheap, and I was expecting to be outbid because Canon F-1s are popular cameras on ebay. I forgot about it until I got an email that I won the bid seven days later. The camera looks rough with a lot of brassing, a few dents and a few dings, but it works great and the light meter is right on accurate. It has a motor drive, which is really cool — “chunka, chunka, chunka…” at five frames per second when I hold down the shutter release. Interestingly enough, the F-1 will not trip my studio flashes or modern flashes, but it has no trouble tripping my old Metz CT-60 flashes. I included four photos that are scans of negatives taken with the F-1.

I was downright domestic and quite handy all weekend. I made a double batch of pork roast with potatoes, carrots and celery to get some food stocked up in the freezer. I had a stark reminder about how busy we’ve been when I opened the door to discover I had more film than food in in the freezer — it was definitely time to do some cooking.

I also finished organizing the catio, and got the rest of the stuff out of the armory, and started preparing to build a darkroom. I ordered a walk-thru cylindrical revolving darkroom door, which should arrive in a couple of weeks, and started drawing lines on the carpet to mark out where the walls and cylindrical door will go.

The nature of remodeling projects is that I always have to deal with deferred maintenance as part of each remodeling project, so I repaired the roof on the armory, and then put re-purposed corrugated steel on the exterior, south-facing wall to cover up the deteriorating exterior wall board that’s been blasted by the sun for the past 24 years. I also covered up the window in the south wall, since I don’t need a window in the darkroom. The re-purposed corrugated steel gives the south wall of the armory a colorful, ghetto-like look between the white and silver pieces, and the rusty spots.

Attempt at studio flash with F-1. The camera would not trip the flash, but the results were interesting. Kodak MAX 400 film that expired in 2004.


Sandias with Jetis and Rio Grande in the foreground. Fuji 200 print film


Rosencrantz through the screen. Kodak MAX 400 print film that expired in 2004


Tullips Kodak MAX 400 print film that expired in 2004






Double batch of Pork Roast with potatoes, carrots and celery.


More film in the freezer than food. In truth, there is more green chile by volume than film, but that’s about it.


Started drawing out on the floor where the walls and walk thru-cylindrical revolving darkroom door will go.


I put up re-purposed corrugated steel on the outside of where the darkroom will be, covering up a window in the process. I got out the level just because that’s what one does when remodeling, but as most everything in NM the building is “not even!”



16 thoughts on “A Camera with Character

  1. This looks like fun for you!!!
    I found some old film that expired in 2004 also. I have a roll in my old Nikon but I haven’t had time to try it. Maybe a little later in May…

    • Thanks, Susan. It’s interesting using manual focus lenses. You can focus and move without the camera refocusing, and infinity is truly infinity. I also noticed the 35mm negatives have a much broader range for dealing with the contrast between bright clouds and shadows than most digital cameras.

  2. You really had a busy weekend — wish we could accomplish that much — enjoy your youth.

  3. The camera looks great! I’m afraid that I only have a phone on my camera, and that’s not particularly high spec. The photos are great too. The one of Rosencrantz put me in mind of the grid patterns on Guildenstern; almost reverse twins.

    • Thanks, Julia. Phone cameras can be very good these days. I often use mine when I don’t have another camera on me. I like your “reverse twins” observation. Rosencratz and Guidenstern are bothers. Guildenstern has always been much heavier than Rosencrantz, but with his hyperthyroid, Guildenstern is down to the same weight as Roszencrantz so we’ve been mistaking one for the other lately — sounds like the characters in Shakespeare.

    • Thanks! Yes you are seeing very pronounced grain in the film in the photo of the glassware — without the flash, the photo is under exposed. There is also perceptible grain in the photo of the tulips. The screen seems to blend with the graininess of the photo of Rosencrantz.

    • There was a time that boxes of 120, 4X5 and 8X10 film filled the freezer. Those boxes of film had been in the refrigerator at the office since 2003 when we started using digital cameras and stopped using film.

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