This is a repost of a project I undertook last year. The camera spliced with my Pentax K10D is an AGFA Ansco Ready Set Pronto No. 1 camera issued to my grandfather during World War II for his service duties in Germany. He gave the camera to me after I showed an interest in photography when I was in art school when phones were still attached to the wall. I had hoped to find film for it, but it sat for a very long time. It’s still is in excellent shape. I created an adapter for this connection that needed no modification to either camera. The two photos shown were created using the setup. I was glad I finally got it taking photos again, it was worth the wait.
I have been working on this project for a couple weekends now, but I thought I’d document it properly with better photos. I have spliced together an antique camera and my Pentax k10d before, but this time it’s more personal. The camera spliced with my Pentax now is an AGFA Ansco Ready Set Pronto No. 1 camera issued to my grandfather during World War II. When I was young he related to me the story of how it came with a small can of paint and orders to paint the body of the camera green when he was in an open bottom tent in the pouring rain at bootcamp in the south (Kentucky maybe?).
I would guess the last time this camera took photos was Berlin, 1945. (some of the original photos from Berlin are found in an early entry).
I mated it to my Pentax DSLR.
This works because a lens is a projector, which is projecting the image of what you see through the viewfinder onto the film, or in this case a digital CMOS. The Agfa’s bellows rides on a track and the design allows the lens housing to move along the track at any time. This is key since this is a single element lens (only one piece of glass). The track however gives some freedom when being used with a DSLR. You can slide the lens housing increasingly out for macro-zoom effect, and increasingly closer to the CMOS for infinity focus until 120, infinity is reached. Not all antique bellows cameras allow this slide, as they’re often designed to automatically lock.
I only use the timed mode in the agfa, which keeps the shutter open until you hit the shutter lever again. This allows the Pentax to use manual mode to set the shutter speed. I then use Pentax’s shutter and ISO to control the exposure with an assumption of f6.
Looking back on 2011, this was my favorite project. I combined a 1917 Kodak with a Pentax k10d. I learned quite a bit about lenses from doing this. Knowing why a lens does something suddenly became more important than what any particular lens can or can’t do. This project taught me about all my modern lenses.
The 1917 kodak works in this case because the lens is on a track, and the focus distance is tied to the focal length. A long focal length means a very close focus distance.