02 January 2011

Project "Great Wall DF-4" (1/2)

bought this camera yesterday, needs a little work but otherwise it's in working condition.

As you can probably tell from the name, it's made in China and came in a few variants. This one is a DF-4, and it has a flash shoe with a PC-sync contact (can't test whether it works as I don't have a sync cable), a self timer (working), cable release socket (working). This is a 120mm medium format SLR built in the 1980's.

it comes with a 90mm lens, with focusing from 1 meter to infinity. The aperture ring on the lens ranges from 3.5f to 22f.

the shutter speeds available are 1/200s, 1/125s, 1/60s, 1/30s and bulb.

cosmetically, the lens has a dent on the edge but otherwise is in good condition, definitely needs a little cleaning but I can't see any fungus or mold inside. The viewfinder is a little dusty with specks all around but does not obstruct or impair vision.

the flash shoe is also bent inwards as you can see from the picture, and i can't fit a flash into it now. hopefully i will be able to bend it back into position.

here's a closeup of how the viewing port looks like

since it is a SLR, what you're seeing through the viewfinder is the exact image through the lens. this means that the depth of field and overall brightness of the image in the viewfinder changes as well when you change the aperture (live preview).

the viewfinder comes with a flip up magnifier and would be very useful to get the precise focus. it is very clear and sharp but the pictured example doesn't do it justice as i couldn't get a proper focus.

there is a exposure chart just behind the viewfinder but it is in chinese. i never figured out how to use one even when it is in english, but it is nice to have one anyway.

the camera comes with a 4.5cm x 6cm frame which would fit 16 shots on a 120mm roll of film. there were other frames built for this camera that would fit other sizes like 6cm x 6cm or even for 35mm films but are rare and hard to find.

the shutter speed selector is also the winding knob for cocking the shutter. after the film is wound to the next frame, the shutter speed knob needs to be cranked anti-clockwise to wind the shutter into position and you're ready to shoot.

the knob above the shutter speed selector is actually a catch to prevent (or enable) double exposures. By default, after taking a picture, the shutter speed knob cannot be wound again until the film is advanced by one frame. but by pushing this knob upwards, the shutter can now be wound again and a double exposure can be taken.

this is very useful as it stops you from unintentionally taking a double exposure, while giving you the option do make one if you choose to.

so anyway, time to get to work!

(link to page 2/2)

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