May 2, 2011

Gandolfi Variant 4x5 inches / Level III - Photo Gear (12)


If I would shoot this self-portrait today, my face would be rather sad...

I am sad!

Checking up the web about the Gandolfi Variant, I came to understand that Gandolfi Cameras seems to have ceased production.

Bear in mind that the company was founded in 1885!
Sad news for the Large Format Photography world.

Not long ago, I still could order some lens panels and an adapter from Mr. Edward Hill. Lets hope that somebody out there decides to keep the flame alive.

Even in the United Kingdom tradition is no longer what it used to be...

Super Angulon 75mm + wide-angle Bellows + Horseman 6x12 roll film holder
(equivalent, in 4x5 inches, to 24mm in 35mm Photography)

Without focusing screen and with the 6x12 Horseman holder installed

Apo-Symmar 150mm + Linhof Rapid Rollex 6x7
(equivalent, in 4x5 inches, to 45mm in 35mm Photography)

Without bellows and without universal back + Apo-Symmar 150mm (zero position)

The Variant closed (with Apo-Symmar 150mm inside)

Symmar-S 210mm
(equivalent, in 4x5 inches, to 65mm in 35mm Photography)

Maybe you shouldn't try to photograph with such extreme movements: they only demonstrate the flexibility of the design.
Actually, you mostly just need minor adjustments for picture taking.

Schneider G-Claron 305mm
(equivalent, in 4x5 inches, to about 95mm in 35mm Photography)

Rodenstock Apo-Ronar 480mm
(equivalent, in 4x5 inches, to 145mm in 35mm Photography)

The Variant is (was...) made in various types (levels) and finishes.

Mine is made out of MDF (medium-density fibreboard, a resin bonded fibre with selected hardwood reinforcement), and offers, being a Level III, the most adjustments / movements that one can wish for this type of camera.
Obviously, it is the heaviest of the three possible Variant levels to choose from.

It is (was...) possible to convert and upgrade the different models and formats, all the way up to 8x10 inches.

Some people regard with a certain disdain the MDF version, prefering the looks of the walnut finish. As a "working horse", I think that the MDF material is very satisfactory: sturdy and stable, it surely is strong enough for the adventures one encounters on the road.
The black color is discreet and doesn't call the public attention (if that is possible to say about such a camera on a tripod...).

The Gandolfi Variant is without doubt a rather versatile piece of gear. It allows nearly the same adjustments, as the best studio monorail cameras (maybe I could use sometimes a little more rise capability, and I could wish a somewhat longer bellows to cope with even longer focal lengths, but that's about all!).

Let's hope to see someday these very fine cameras back in production...

I really dig them!

Yes, I will say it loud: Gandolfi forever!


May 1, 2011

The Paris Sessions - March 1977 (The Minolta Years)


In a way I still seem to believe on those words...

All my life I have felt like a kind of "cosmic clochard": I am nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

I am home wherever I feel at home!

What do I have to say about these images?

I took them 34 years ago, how could I remember?

From my notations, I used a Minolta 303b for the snaps (my first serious camera, a true revelation after my Olympus Trip 35...).

I fed the apparatus with either Ilford HP5 or Kodak Tri-X, developed in Tetenal Emofin and in Kodak Perceptol 1+1, respectively.

From looking at the photographs, I would say that I have used my Minolta Rokkor 21mm, and most probably, also the Minolta Rokkor 80-200mm.

The rest are very vague memories.

The passion for Photography still remains...

Me at the end of the film, looking like a "Spiegelei".

I was so young and hopeful back then, I still had such a long road ahead...

Technical data:
Camera - Minolta SRT-303b
Lenses - Minolta Rokkor
Films - Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X
Developers - Tetenal Emofin + Kodak Perceptol 1+1
Location - Paris, France
Date - March 1977
Scanner - Epson Perfection 4990 Photo