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Thursday, June 22

Some Rank photos

A while back I wrote about a wee Rank rangefinder that I picked up for sweeties in a charity shop. It's a nicely made camera and functions well enough so I thought I'd put a roll of Tmax 400 in it and snap away at nothing in particular.

I used it as a walkies camera rather than a walkabout camera. In other words, I took it with me when we were out with the dogs. Our mutts are a bit excitable and we usually have to find somewhere quiet and without other dogs if we're to have a hassle-free walk. When they see another dog, they make such a racket that it would waken the dead - something that was of no little concern to me when we used to walk them in the local cemetery.

For a time, we were going to a nearby industrial estate, not exactly the most glamorous of locations but at least free from distractions. So the Rank would accompany us on our journey round old warehouses, empty offices and tired-looking industrial units.

It wasn't too successful from the photography point of view as I'd take, on average, just one photograph per walk. There's no problem with that other than that it takes forever to finish the bloody film! So with the frame counter on the Rank sitting at 22 for far too long, I removed the film, swapped it over to my Contax 137 MD and got snapping in the countryside.

So about four months or more after I started using the Rank, I have some pics from it to share. Two things became quickly apparent when I started scanning the negatives. The lens is nice and sharp, particularly in the centre, but has more than its fair share of barrel distortion. Too much distortion, in fact, to make it anything other than a casual snapshot camera for me.

It also has either an intermittent shutter fault or is prone to flare from strong side lighting which you can see on a couple of the pics posted here. It's most evident on the bottom pic where the bright band slashing across the door isn't from the sun but from the fault. You can also see it in the second and third pics. All were taken in side lighting which makes me a little suspicious.

Surprisingly, the built-in CDS meter, which couples to an EV scale, is accurate so I ended up with some nice exposures. The subject matter was limited to whatever happened to catch my eye and it's nothing special. Still, for a camera that cost no more than a few pounds, it was an interesting wee diversion from "serious" photography and "serious" cameras.


Herman Sheephouse said...

But you know what, the lens has character - they're really decent shots Bruce and I quite like the 'slash'. It looks pretty damn sharp too and coupled with the TMX you've got some photographs that wouldn't let down something far, far more expensive.
A nice find - my ancient Agfa Silette, has a similar sort of lens -they're great fun these old rangefinders, and, as you found, as cheap as chips.
Where's the industrial estate?

Bruce Robbins said...

It's Dunsinane, Phil. The one opposite B&Q in Kings Cross Road. You'd enjoy having a wee nosey around there. It's nice and quiet most of the time - even for 5x4 work. I've been given another rangefinder, a Minolta A5, which feels more robust than the Rank. I think I'll use it as another walkies camera for some fun.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Gotcha - know exactly the place!

John Carter said...

I so like the last photo. I have a few of these type of cameras and like you don't use them because I'm afraid something will go wrong.