Bigger Better Things

Even in a time of uncertainty and the gloom of winter, you can see beauty.

Cockpit of an abandoned and stripped C45 Expediter. I believe this one was in Navy colors.
Kiev 88CM/Biometar 80mm

Since changing the way I scan photos, I’ve gone back through over a decade or so of negatives. Some even older. It is making me want to move on to bigger negatives, and better things to shoot. There are more changes I will invest in, and I’m not abandoning what Craig Pindell calls “miniature film” but I think I’m looking at the path forward. The reason I’m not abandoning 35mm is I just bought a new body and am excited about the new Vision 3 stocks and dev kit from QWD. I’m picking up some cameras I had put down and taking them out.

It seems odd to be talking about a path forward. I don’t remember a time that was as uncertain as the one we are living through now. It turns out my school years desire to live through a time that was historically significant was wrong. I’d rather be living through a nice stable peaceful time where nothing was happening.

I visit this little tree on top of Green Mountain of a now and then, but haven’t been lately. Little dude has lived though fire, wind and weather.
Kodak Medalist

So I’m choosing to be hopeful and continue planning. Banking on a future that includes me doing what I love with people I love, and being happy.

So watch this space for bigger negatives, more thoughtful photography, and time spent sleeping in the back of a 4runner.

Here’s to a future filled with better days.



  1. November 1, 2020

    I’ve been thinking about getting into 120. I started looking for a camera last month and got discouraged. If you don’t want to spend a lot, you are either limited to the Holgas and Dianas of the world, or untested machines with bellows. I didn’t feel like spending $50 or so on some basic machine that may/may not work, so instead I spent that $50 on a Minolta SRT-101 and have been happy with that decision.

    It would be easy if I just got a Holga, but I’ve been getting more into the “making nice pictures with film” angle vs the Lomo vibe. Maybe I will just get one, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find a nice 120 somewhere too. I’ll wait and see.

    • Andrew
      November 1, 2020

      I’ve never used a Minolta, but I’ve heard good things about them. And while I don’t think the Lomo vibe is a bad thing, there is merit in mastering the craft and making better images. You can sometimes catch things on the cheap with luck. One angle is to look for a camera that takes 620 film. It’s the same as 120 but on a different spool, some cameras will require you to respool, some won’t, and you can also just buy film on a 620 spool. There are a ton of pseudo-TLR cameras for anywhere from $30 up, and some are pretty capable machines. Good luck!

      • November 1, 2020

        I don’t think the Lomo thing is bad, either. Heck, when I started down this “rediscovering film” adventure this year, I was expecting my first camera to be crap so I was ready to embrace it. Then my Minolta Hi-Matic 7s turned out to be decent, and I’m more into figuring out how to make a “good” photo then lucking on an appropriately artsy photo via Lomography. I’m sure at some point I’ll get a Lomo-esque machine, but for now I’m aiming for quality.

        Thanks for the advice on 120. I’ll get one at some point, but I’m trying to push off any more camera purchases until the new year. I’ve got enough cameras to play with right now, and I’d rather get to know what I already got rather than pine away for something else. In fact, I’m waiting for a new-to-me camera to come back from the shop so I can start using it!

  2. March 25, 2021

    If you don’t need marque status, consider an Ikoflex TLR. Exposes 120 film with a Tessar lens. Doesn’t say “Rolleiflex” on the front and so the cost is a small fraction for equivalent pictures. I’ve sensed that any defect in reputation is because the anti-double-exposure lockout can be confusing to the non-mechanically sympathetic and so the impatient believe their functional instrument is broken. It’s a relatively simple machine, and repairing/servicing this camera requires nothing more than thoughtful disassembly/cleaning/reassembly using good tools and a dollop of care. Diagrams and service/repair instrunxions for the shutter – the most complicated part – are freely available on the interweb.

    • March 25, 2021

      I’m guessing this comment was directed at me. So, thank you, Retrocrank for that advice. But I just did a quick search on eBay and prices for the Ikoflex are still too rich for my current tastes. There’s nothing under $100 that isn’t parts/not working or in pretty meh condition. I know that it may be too much to ask for, but I just want to find a decent 120 camera at that price or below. That doesn’t seem to be the case, whereas I can find scads of decent 60s-80s 35mm SLRs for $50 or so.

      Since I originally posted my comment almost six months ago, I have gotten a couple 120 cameras. I have a Dacora Digna that I got for dirt cheap. It’s a basic-basic viewfinder camera (think Agfa Isola) and when it works I’ve gotten some decent shots. The key though is “when it works”. I’ve also picked up a cheap Agfa Isolette folder. The bellows are in good shape and I’ve managed to coax good shots out of it when I’m going for the faster shutter speed and smaller apertures. The results when I use a low shutter speed are not great. I haven’t played around with a tripod yet, but may try that for the 1/25 shots.

      In any case, I’m still trying to get a nice 120 camera. I haven’t really figured out what that will look like, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *