Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I found out the limitations of my Epson 2580 scanner today when I tried to scan a medium format negative for the first time and found out I couldn't! I've had this scanner for a couple years and mostly just scan an occasional Polaroid or snapshot, but when I bought it I originally intended to be able to scan 35mm slides and medium format negs too. My previous scanner was able to scan medium format and I kept that size holder when I got rid of the scanner so I could use it on this 2580. I recall asking an Epson rep if I could use this holder and she told me yes. Well two years too late, I've found out it actually doesn't work! I really don't shoot much medium format so the need to scan it hasn't come up. Here's some medium format test shots I took at the Getty Center using my Uncle Fritz' old Rolleicord, a camera I inherited and cherish.

If it wasn't such a pain in the ass to get medium format developed (and pricey too!) then I'd actually drag out the Rolleicord and shoot with it. Of all the cameras I've ever used in my life, the best tactile experience I've ever had with a camera has to be the Rolleicord. First of all, no modern day digital camera with a huge screen has ANYTHING on the large viewing screen of the Rolleicord - it's just magical to look through. Cocking the shutter, rotating the focus knob, turning another knob to advance the film - it's a serene experience. Forget taking pictures with the Rolleicord, fondling it is half the fun! But the best sounding camera I have is the Contax 137MD. When it was released in 1980, it was famous for being the smallest motor-driven SLR on the market. - and boy does the whir of that motor sound good!

So I spent part of today trying to figure out if I should replace my scanner with a different model that can scan medium format. I haven't made up my mind yet, but luckily the negative that started this whole journey today (a photo of my Aunt Lisa and Grandmother Helen standing in front of the clock tower at Farmers Market back in the 1950's) - well I actually had a small printed copy that I was able to scan. So tada, here it is:
My Aunt Lisa was one of my favorite people in the entire world (truly a second Mom to me) and Farmer's Market has always been one of my favorite places to go to in L.A. So this photo represents two of my great loves. And I'm guessing the photo was probably taken by Uncle Fritz using his trusty Rolleicord.

Note: b/w photos of the Rolleicord taken with a Contax 137MD/Carl Zeiss 50/f1.7 lens.

Post Note: After a little online research that brought me to the Rollei Club I found out my Uncle's Rolleicord is a Rolleicord Va model manufactured between April 1957 and February 1958. 23,000 pieces were produced. Here are the specs:

Taking Lens:
Xenar 3,5/75mm, Schneider, Bayonet 1
Finder lens: Schneider Heidosmat 3,2/75mm, Bayonet 1.
Non interchangeable focusing screen. Parallax control.
Synchro Compur MXV, 1 - 1/500 sec., B, X-sync.
Film: 120 for 12 exp. 6x6. Model 2 came with interchangeable counter for 12 or 24 exposures (optional).
Film Transportation: winding lever with auto stop on first exposure, exposure counter for exposures 1-12.
Dimensions: 10.0x9.9x14.2cm.
Weight: 875 grams.

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