Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ilford Super Sporti

The camera I've "won" on eBay is actually an Ilford Super Sporti. The good news is that it has an extra setting for dull weather. The bad news is that it has a modification to prevent double exposures.

The photo in the corner there is the one that went with the eBay listing. (It makes you think that cameras are often sold on eBay by car-boot sale wallahs rather than photographers. Fair play to them. I nearly chose that as a profession myself, once, and wouldn't rule it out in the future).

Boiling down the information found on photomemorabilia about the Super Sporti, it has three settings. "Sunny" is f11, and photomemorabilia speculates a shutter speed of 1/50, (though that seems very slow to me). "Light cloud" is f9 at the same shutter speed. And "dull" (and flash) is also f9 but at a slower shutter speed, (the author of the photomemorabilia page on the Sporti speculated 1/25.

Those shutter speeds seem awfy slow to me. The instruction book recommends Ilford Selchrome Pan 120 for summer use, and HP3 for winter. I can't find information about Selchrome, but HP3 was 400 ASA. (Incidentally, some lovely old photos on HP3 here). I think we can guess that Selchrome was 100 iso.

So those shutter speeds. If you were using 100iso film, on a sunny day, at f11, you'd probably want to be on 1/100, wouldn't you? And on the dull and flash setting, f9, you'd use 1/50? Or perhaps even faster: 1/250 and 1/125 respectively? Any slower (and bearing in mind this was marketed as a snapshot camera, so it would be used by rank amateurs) and you'd get camera-shake.

I've also bid on what I assume is a non-Super Sporti, which is said to have a shutter problem, and is going for pennies as a result. I imagine I can repair the shutter, it's said, and appears, to be a very simple mechanism. I can use that for deliberate double-x. (It's difficult to tell from the photo on eBay, but it does look to be in mint condition, - that's it on the left there - which might be explained by the dodgy shutter: British people hate to complain and hate to throw things out).

Which brings me to another plan for the long winter nights of SW Scotland: to get a set of micro tools and do some DIY camera cleaning and repair. It'll be a right laugh. And it's the sort of thing a man should do as he approaches middle-age, rediscovers family life, and begins to find the pub or club surprisingly unattractive. Or something.