Mar 222014

This camera, a Century Graphic, is quite literally “old school” for me — the same model I used when I started learning “serious” photography back at Lindsay (California) High School in early 1966.

Century Graphic Camera

Century Graphic Camera

It takes 120 roll film and depending on the film holder you use, will produce either a 6 x 7 cm (2 1/4″ x 2 3/4″) image (10 per roll) or a 6 x 9 cm (2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″) image (8 per roll).  This particular lens is a Schneider 80 mm f/2.8.  I also have a Schneider 100 mm f/3.5.

Everything about this camera is manual.  Focus is with the rangefinder on the side, through the ground glass on the back, or by estimated distance.  Shutter speed and aperture are set manually.  If you use the ground glass you can frame the shot accurately — otherwise you do the best you can with the viewfinder.  Not very fast — but I did manage to shoot high school football and basketball with one of these.

I’ve seen Century Graphics at used camera shows over the years.  If I picked one up I was always surprised at how much of the “muscle memory” I still had — learned when I was a freshman.  And so a few months ago I saw one for sale online (as it turns out, from a guy who really had a difficult time getting his act together*) and decided to buy it.  This particular camera is a little older than the one I used in school — it has a red bellows and a gray body while my school’s camera had the later black bellows and body.

These days you have to send 120 off to get it processed…And I’m not yet certain how I’ll scan the negatives.

[* Over a period two weeks after I sent him the funds via PayPal, he couldn’t seem to find a box to ship it in, even though the camera had been listed for over a year.  I finally ended up droving down to Raleigh, NC to pick it up and to put this sale out of its misery.]

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