Assessing and fixing up my Cirkut #10

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by frobozz, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Serial number on Speed Graphics was under the top of the camera. Graflex corp. used this position on their cameras that had a bed.
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    frobozz

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    That's exactly where the number I found is...
     
  3. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    I have come to the conclusion that your camera does not exist. It is a solid optical illusion that you have. :D

    The number book is full of mistakes but none large enough to cover the number variance. The most likely is that it was mis stamped in production and not corrected. There are a block of #10 Studio Cameras that do contain the "519" next to a block of #10 Circuits in mid year 1925 so it is possible the Circuit was stamped by an employee thinking it was a Studio part.

    I have encountered other cameras where the embossed number resembled another number more than the actual number it was. A slight uneven pressure can make a 6 look like a 5, an 8 look like a 6 or a 3, a 7 look like a 1.
     
  4. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    I can't help with serial #'s but I ended up with info sheets that state #10 cirkuts labeled folmer graflex were built between 1926-1941, but the lens you have indicate it was likely built between 1926-1929, as the standard lens changed in 1929, as you mentioned earlier. Bill McBride, a long time member of IAPP did a written history of the cirkut cameras, divided into three articles, one on the #10, one on the #5, #6, and #16, and one on the outfit cameras. According to Bill McBride, the #67 was the # for the person who built the camera. I've heard the F&S/ graflex book had errors in it so it may be hard for shutterfinger to find an exact entry.
     
  5. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    The first 6 pages of the ledger are missing on the scanned copies a few of us have and date inclusion did not start until 1923 which is on page 21 of the ledger. It is assumed that the ledger was started when F&S and Century were merged by EKC. Cameras were built according to demand. Popular cameras of an era may have 2 entries for the same camera next to each other with 2+ years between entries for the low sellers. The first listing for a #10 Circuit is on page 10 of the ledger and have 5 digit serial numbers. From 1930 on the listings are for 1 camera 10 to 18 months apart. There are no listings for the other versions of Circuit cameras listed in this ledger so they may have been built by another company for EKC/F&S/Century. Although there are no exact dates it is speculated that page 10 of the ledger is around 1911-1913. All listings for #10 Circuit Cameras last 3 digits are between 000 and 400 or between 800 and the next 100. No entries exists with the last 3 digits in the 400 to 800 range. Does Mr. McBride list his reference material? The copy of the book I have was given to my supplier by the 40 year administrator that kept them on the day the business closed.
    I'm not claiming to be an absolute expert, just knowledgeable.

    The errors I noticed is a listing for 3 cameras but the serial number range is two consecutive numbers. The listings before and after are correct for the quantity of cameras listed in the job. There is a listing for #8 Circuit Accessories that is lined out, apparently someone picked up the wrong book.

    Being it is an interchangeable lens camera the lens type cannot be depended on to date the camera as anyone in previous ownership could have installed a period correct lens on it.
    This Gundlach catalog lists it, http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/korona_2.html . The #32 Gundlach catalog shows up here, http://piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogsgundman.htm , as being from 1932 so that lens had a long production run. Now if one has the original sales receipt with the camera and lens serial number written on it by the camera retailer selling it then it cannot be disputed. Some cameras F&S made were found in attics with the original box, instructions, and sales receipt that predated the ledger and the persons in possession of that info dated a few early cameras to a 2 to 3 year range on Graflex.org but one will have to dig to find them.


    Welcome to the world of F&S/Graflex where the only consistency is the inconsistency. :blink:
     
  6. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Shutterfinger- No doubt you have a much better sense of the F&S history than I do. My main interest has been cirkuts, though I've gotten interested in graflex slrs as well. I do know Bill McBride has seen the ledgers at some point. I don't know his sources but he was very though in his research. He worked with Jim Johnson, who was a big cirkut collector. One thing I learned is that there were quite a few oddball cirkuts or custom lenses put on different cameras. Duncan's camera does have what looks like original lens gear scales for a t-r 1018-24, which was a stock lens, though it could have still been added as a custom choice after 1929, when the stock lens changed to a wollensak 10/15.5/20. There were other one of cirkuts made though, like a #10 cirkut outfit using a 8x10 rb cycle graphic, some 6 outfits made with pony premos. While my main interest is shooting with these cameras ( my 8 outfit is my favorite camera to use) , I do enjoy hearing more about the history, and appreciate your posts about the ledger
     
  7. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Jamie - In your post #29 when you mention Bill McBride's Cirkut history articles, you refer to one on the Cirkut Outfits. Have you actually seen this and if so, where was it published? I know the other two articles were originally published in the IAPP newsletter and reprinted in the Graflex Historical Quarterly (http://www.graflex.org/GHQ/ Third and Fourth Quarters of 2009). I used to see Bill once a year at the Puget Sound Washington swap meet. I would always ask him when he was going to do the third article on the Outfits. As of the last time I saw him (over ten years ago; maybe much longer than that) he hadn't written it yet. If he did write it before he passed on, I would love to know about it and see a copy. Bill was such a wonderful guy and the two of his articles I have seen are invaluable information on Cirkuts.

    I have a copy of the Cirkut list Bill and Jim Johnson put together listing camera they actually owned or information supplied by Cirkut owners they knew. When Bill gave me a copy he asked me not to put it up on the internet or anything. Even though Bill is gone, without permission from Jim Johnson, I wouldn't want to post the list. Looking at the list it appears they used the serial number list shutterfinger refers to in assigning dates. For the Folmer Graflex Corporation #10s, they show 1926 - 149xxx, 1928 - 162xxx (two listings) and 166xxx (one listing), 1929 - 169xxx, 1931 - 175xxx, 1939 - 247xxx. I don't know if this correlates exactly with the ledger serial numbers, but that is what Bill and Jim's list shows.

    Duncan's Turner-Reich lens serial number is 203117. Bill's list shows a 1929 #10 with a T-R lens serial number 203131. Of course either camera could have had the lens swapped at some time. Duncan, I think you need to have your #10 body serial number X-rayed or something to try to find the missing digits. :laugh:

    Len
     
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    frobozz

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    Ha, maybe the Shroud of Turin folks could work on my serial number next ;-)

    I really couldn't be more certain that the last 3 digits are 519. There is just no mistaking those shapes. So, as was pointed out, my camera therefore does not exist. Dang, I was so happy to finally have a camera and now it's gone again!

    If there was an ink stamped number, I see no trace of it at all now.

    Duncan
     
  9. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Len
    I met Bill a few times at IAPP meets, which is when he shared the articles. I thought I saw or had the article but might be wrong. I'll have to look through my stuff, and if it turns up I'll let you know. He asked not to post the info online as well. Did Bill pass away?Jim Johnson had SRS and became Julie, but later passed away from cancer. Being interested in Al vista swing lens cameras, I also got a article on the history of al vista cameras and the multiscope film company. Bill was a thorough researcher.
     
  10. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Jamie - If you find out anything about a history of the #6 and #8 Outfits that Bill may have done, please let me know. I suppose it is possible he wrote it but it was never published. He may have given copies to various people. Ron Klein may know one way or the other. I believe he knew Bill a lot better than I did. I was told that Bill passed away several years ago, but now I have no idea where I heard or read that. Maybe I'm mistaken. Again, if Ron K. sees this thread, he will no doubt know.

    Duncan - Looking on Bill's list I see a 1928 #10 serial number that ends with 527, so your last three numbers being 519 seems very possible. There are four #10s shown for 1929 and all have last three numbers in the 400s. Whether the '29 production may have gotten into 500s last numbers I don't know. There are only eleven Folmer-Graflex #10s on the list so it is difficult to see any patterns.

    Len
     
  11. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Sounds like there was a book for the Circuits other than the #10 and some #10 got listed in it.
     
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    frobozz

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    Some more serial numbers, for those collecting such data...

    I visited Brad LaPayne down in Champaign, IL over the weekend and saw his 4 Cirkut #10s. I bought his "parts camera" which has serial number 92133 and is a governor model. It was actually more complete and functional than he remembered (so I had to pay more for it than I was hoping :-( ) and therefore I probably won't literally disassemble it for parts... but it came without gear head, gears, legs, etc. so it's not currently in the state of being a complete example.

    His main camera, which saw a LOT of use at his hand, is a former governor model which has been modified with an electric motor. Some of you out there are probably familiar with this modification, as it seemed to be a well-established product (he has two cameras with it.) It has serial number 79730.

    Both of those had very clearly stamped numbers, making me wonder why my original camera got such short shrift!

    His backup electric camera had the exact same motor modification as the one above, but had also been refinished to better than factory condition - absolutely everything was brightly chromed, highly polished, and cosmetically flawless. There was no serial number whatsoever in the usual spot. But the non-leather-covered parts of the camera body were mirror-smooth, painted with a highly glossy black - basically this is what a Cirkut would look like if it were a show car. So either the number got filled as part of the smoothing and glossing of everything, or the camera body was rebuilt with all new wood. I currently have the back from that camera in my possession, to try to help Brad by getting the electronics going again, so I'll get some pictures of that at some point for another thread I'll start on electrified Cirkuts. The gear head for this one was also in pristine condition, and had the ball bearing roller modification done to it (in place of the little brass wheels.)

    His last Cirkut was a governor model that looked similar to that last one - everything was much glossier and shinier than you'd expect for a 100 year old camera - but my impression was that it was more in keeping with the original materials and finishes. It was more of a museum-quality original than a glitzy souped up show piece. Unfortunately I didn't get the number off of that one; by the time we were looking at numbers we were no longer in the building where that camera was. I'll see if I can get Brad to look for it at some point. This one had the complete set of legs and gears and gearhead in the original long flat case, and it also had the original camera carrying case!

    Brad is completely out of the film photography business (while still very much in the panoramic photography business) so I suspect he'll eventually sell off all of these. I warned him about the fading market for cameras due to how hard it is to get film, but agreed with him that a couple of these are so cosmetically stunning that he might even get a bunch of money from someone wanting them as museum pieces or shelf queens. I think he'll probably put them on ebay and see what kinds of offers he can get.

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    He found the number - 79750 - that's just 20 later than his main camera, meaning it was probably made in the same batch... and then ended up in the same place again some 80-90 years later. What are the odds??

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    OK, took some pictures of my "parts camera" (which is actually mostly functioning).

    Things of note:

    -- Serial number 92133 - made in 1917?
    -- There is no block of wood to keep you from putting the back on when the ground glass is flipped out (and never has been) - a later addition to the design?
    -- There is a definite user-hack addition of some brass shim stock to form the slit in back. Measures to be about .20" instead of the usual .25". No idea why someone would do that (unless they only had really fast film?)
    -- The little lever to change the film size adjuster looks a lot more like a lever on this camera!
    -- I believe the back and the camera did not start life together - too many little things that are "off" between them.
    -- Focus scales and upright stop have been removed; never had a little two-way level like my other one - a later addition to the design?
    -- Has the mod to make the film takeup spool knob more robust.
    -- Tripod screw hole is stripped out and won't catch bolt from gear head :-(
    -- Came without lens, gear head, legs, pinion gears, winding key... it's just the bare camera and back.

    Here is the link, which I'll update as I add more pictures:

    http://cirkutcamera.com/cirkut_10/my2ndcamera.html

    Here are the pictures, spread over 2 posts:

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    Duncan
     
  16. OP
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    frobozz

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    The rest of the pictures:

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  17. OP
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    frobozz

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    OK, I figured out that my tripod socket on the second camera isn't stripped out - it's just the next size up from the one on my first camera! I ended up with a second tripod head (no legs yet), which has the same screw size as the other tripod head and the first camera. Did they change sizes through the years? That has to be confusing! Oddly, the older one is the bigger size. I know they make 1/4" bushings for 3/8" tripod sockets, to allow them to be used with 1/4" screw tripods... but these two are so close, I'm not sure you could even make a bushing to do that. I guess the first step is to figure out the two sizes. The small one is the same as a 1/4" tripod screw, but the big one is smaller than a 3/8" tripod screw, so maybe 5/16"?

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    I have all the stuff required to install a 1/4"-20 HeliCoil down a blind hole. The HeliCoil requires a tapped hole even larger than the existing tripod socket. Man, if a HeliCoil doesn't fit in there, no way anyone could make an adapter bushing! Do I drill out and tap the existing tripod socket for the 1/4"-20 HeliCoil, forever committing it to that change? Or do I cobble together an ugly but effective bolt that fit that tripod socket and gets swapped into the tripod head to replace the existing 1/4"-20 one? Decisions, decisions...

    Duncan
     
  19. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    1/4" and 3/8" are the most common sizes used for tripod mounting, but a few cameras did use 5/16". Survey tripods & equipment use a 5/8", so that is another one to watch out for if you ever think about getting a surveyor's tripod.

    Rather than messing with helicoils, I'd suggest getting a 5/16" bolt from a hardware store and adapting a mounting plate to suit (assuming you use a Q/R head). If you are set on drilling & tapping the hole, it would make sense to go a 3/8" thread as long as there is enough meat on the bush - That way you have the option of bushing down to 1/4" or using a 3/8" tripod screw.
     
  20. OP
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    frobozz

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    It's hard to tell how much more metal there is surrounding the hole - it's all under leather that I'd prefer not to try to peel back. There is only one thing this camera will ever be mounted to - a Cirkut geared tripod head - so there's no real need to make it more flexible with a 3/8" hole. Both the heads I have are currently fitted with a 1/4-20 thumbscrew, so using a HeliCoil to get it to that would work. Somewhere out there, there must be heads with the larger screw, so I'm wondering if there's any reason to preserve its ability to work with those (i.e. by cobbling up my own new thumbscrew for the existing gear head.)

    I found a 5/16-18 bolt laying around and tried it... and it's also too big! All the Whitworth charts I can find go from 1/4-20 to 5/16-18 just like the common US bolts do, so I'm a little stumped! Did they really put something weird like 9/32-some-coarse-thread into these cameras? Why??

    Drilling/tapping/HeliCoil-ing it to 1/4-20 would be very easy and straightforward; I'm just hesitant to so quickly irrevocably modify a 100-year-old camera out of ignorance of some better approach.

    Duncan
     
  21. OP
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    frobozz

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    Checked with Brad, and his other cameras from this same era all have 1-4"-20 tripod sockets. So somehow this one got modified or something at some point. SO, with no irrevocable photo equipment history to be lost, I tapped it out, put in a HeliCoil, and now it's all set! Sure is a lot easier to tap brass than the steel I usually deal with when doing HeliCoils ;-)

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    I picked up a "body only" Cirkut #10, so adding its details here for the historical record. Serial number (very clearly stamped!!) is 166530 which would seem to date it as a 1928. It's got the original focus plates for 10, 18, and 24" focal lengths. ID plates say it's made by Folmer Graflex Corporation. It's in just spectacular cosmetic condition and basic functional condition though I haven't had time to test the spring motor yet. It came with no lens or even lens board. Just the camera body and motor/film back. I suspect when I get back to all this properly (after having been through some pretty heavy duty life-gets-in-the way stuff), this is the camera I'll start with...though putting that new spring in the other motor might make that one a better performer.

    Duncan
     
  23. OP
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    frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    Clearly I have a case of CAS (Cirkut Acquisition Syndrome), as I have picked up another camera-and-film-back-only Cirkut #10. This one has serial number 130104 which would seem to put it around 1922/23 going by the list of known cameras that someone compiled (but perhaps shutterfinger, if he's still listening, can find it more precisely in his ledgers.) Plates says "Folmer & Schwing Division Eastman Kodak Co." and it's in pretty darn good shape overall. Focusing scale plates for 10 and 18 on one side, evidence of missing plate on other side. Gears stated are 66/65/64 for the 10" and 44/43/42 for the 18". There are various numbers painted and stenciled on the leather so clearly a commercially used camera. The main bellows is very flexible, while the focusing bellows felt like it had never been extended since the camera was made, so I guess they did it by measurement!

    Duncan
     
  24. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    I am a recovering enlarger hoarder. I've been able to wean myself from enlargers. There is nothing cooler than a 10" Cirkut contact print. Nothing.
    Good luck with your struggle:unsure:
    Mike
     
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    frobozz

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    I decided to finally have a look at all these nice looking camera bodies I've been buying. Sure enough, motor problems abounded. So it seemed like a good weekend to get my hands greasy, and I learned a lot of things along the way:

    -- I've been trying all these space-age lubes so the motors would run when cold...but with those, they don't run right when warm! This is 1900's technology, it appears what it requires is GREASE. Something slick that will stay put. I pulled out a similarly-low-tech grease I have called Phonolube (for turntables) which actually does claim to stay the same viscosity over a wide temperature range, and that perked these motors right up! Even 3-in-one oil was too thin, it's got to be something that sticks and slicks. On a couple of the motors I didn't even bother stripping them down, I just put a dab on all the little axles poking through the bottom plate, then smooshed it in with my finger...then smooshed it in some more while the motor was running...then wiped the excess off the plate. The motor starts running up to speed but there will likely still be a HOWLLLL at top speed. In all cases that was fixed by smooshing the Phonolube in around the TOP spindle/plate interface of the second gear in the train (the one right next to the governor.) Its spindle pokes through right next to the governor frame mounted to the top plate, which you can easily reach from inside the camera box once you remove the governor cover. No more howl. Full speed ahead! (Howl would definitely translate into banding too, so one fewer of the myriad of causes for that now.)

    -- A note about "full speed" - all 3 of the motors I played with this weekend run almost perfectly identically slow. About 1/9.5-1/10 when set to 1/12, and about 1/1.5-1/1.75 when set to 1/2. But that is only when assembled with the governor speed control in place. When allowed to run free, with the governor unconstrained, they'll run up to about 1/13.5. So the problem is the governor stop leather thingy effectively sitting a bit too low, but there isn't that kind of fine adjustment on the gear for the governor pawl, so it must be a change in the shape or texture of the leather thingy over time. I suspect I could either replace it, or file it down a bit or something to pull all these things up to the right speed, but you have to pull the entire motor out to re-insert that pawl (I tried for an hour to do it inside the camera, it's just not possible in that confined space) and I was tired of having my hands greasy, so an experiment for some other day (or month, or year, or person!)

    -- When pulling the motor, you don't have to pull the set screw at the top of the spring housing that connects it to the rod inside the takeup reel. That's very tricky to get back in again through the slot in the takeup reel. Instead, just pull the knobs off the top and pull the motor complete with foot long skinny shaft sticking up from the spring housing! Then you can remove and reinsert that fiddly setscrew easily. Just be careful not to break the shaft off or bend it while removing it or reinserting it because you could put a lot of leverage on that skinny shaft if you're not careful. I had one shaft that, despite being in a camera that looked nice and clean, had a LOT of surface rust on the middle portion of the shaft that is hidden inside the takeup reel, preventing it from sliding through the bushings. So I had to take it off the spring to get the motor out, then work it in and out with careful application of oil along the way, using the in and out motions with the oil to slowly carve off the surface rust - then once it was out I could clean it up properly.

    No, I still can't shoot proper tests with these. My 220 adapter was causing too many problems, and I'm still working on the darkroom which will allow me to handle full sized film. And yes I should go work on that instead of fiddling with these, but I was getting tired of them just sitting there uninvestigated. I'm starting to install the heater in the garage this weekend, now that I have the permit and all the parts. THEN I can legally install plumbing in the garage. THEN I can build the darkroom. It's a process.

    Duncan
     
  26. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    Hi Duncan, Sorry I've been out of touch on this so long. I saw your old mention of the odd size socket. My machinist friend was baffled by that too when I first started. He made a "look down" wedge for me (not the Lipari one you got) and I think custom made the threads to fit well. It doesn't have to fit well on a stock setup since it is really just a positioner and you could run without the screw if you had the camera in the right spot, and a 1/4-20 would screw into mine loosely.You do need it to secure better on a wedge, and it is the lower screw to the gear head that needs to be loose then.

    The positive engagement clutches are a nice modification. Paskin and Lipari both did those. A friend has a #10 I used to own that has a custom made replacement with really large teeth; I wish he hadn't talked me out of that.

    I wish you could get out for a visit to W.Va. sometime and we could run some film through your cameras, or mine. Also, I think I mentioned in an email that I found a stripped #6 outfit back. And have a really fine #6 camera that needs a home. I also found a #10 front I was stripping down to make a bag bellows front.

    I'm glad to see your still having fun with it. We're still shooting a few jobs a year with our #10 Paskin on color neg, but don't darkroom print the color any more. And I still shoot my windup camera since I'm used to it. I actually prefer a good working spring wound motor.
     
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