Vintage Cameras and a Fondness for Film: The B&H Photography Podcast11/03/2022
Vintage cameras and analog film have grown to be unprecedented media darlings within our crowded digital landscape. With a superstar status fueled by insatiable demand amid a limited supply, we investigate both the beauty and quirks of these trending tools in this week's podcast. Joining us in conversation are photographer/vintage camera buff Bill Bain, and expert camera technician/repair wizard Shlomo Weinberger from B&H Photo's Used Department. Whether you cut your teeth on old school tech or you're an analog adopter in the digital age, there's a topic of interest here for everyone, plus plenty of DIY tips to be had, including our favorite—liquid electrical tape! How many of you dedicated camera buffs knew about that?
Guests: Bill Bain and Shlomo Weinberger
Above photograph © Jill Waterman, all other photos © Bill Bain
- 2:47: Bill Bain's tips when shopping for a vintage camera
- 3:30: Inspect the lens for mildew or mold and actuate the shutter
- 4:45: Making use of vintage lens fungus for creative portraits
- 6:53: Bain's preferred vintage camera formats: folding bellows and box cameras
- 8:05: Bain's new vintage camera—60-year-old Mamiya C330 twin lens reflex
- 9:08: How many cameras are in Bill Bain's collection?
- 10:19: Black-and-white or color film, and various emulsions
- 12:28: Discontinued film formats and a nod to 2016 podcast feature “Dick Haviland: Last of the Classic Film Re-Spoolers”
- 13:57: Bain's DIY modification for unavailable film stocks: plastic wall anchors!
- 15:34: Different film sizes and determining if a camera will accept a currently available stock
- 17:42: 120 format film—the most easily adaptable film format
- 18:18: The difference between 120- and 220-format film
- 19:12: 127 film and smaller formats
- 20:20: DIY tip—Use a cigar cutter to trim readily available films to fit smaller formats
- 22:54: Vintage cameras with interchangeable lenses vs fixed-lens cameras
- 23:14: The Petzval lens—19th-century classic and Lomography's 2015 redesign and release
- 24:00: Bill Bain's favorite vintage camera—his mother's Kodak Jiffy 620
- 25:02: The poor man's Leica—the Argus C3
- 26:42: Read the manual. Plus, finding user manuals for vintage cameras online
- 28:38: Making minor repairs, and when to pass vintage camera repair off to a skilled technician
- 29:16: DIY camera repair discovery—Liquid Electrical Tape!
- 32:06: Episode break
- 34:00: Shlomo Weinberger's advice when shopping for a vintage camera
- 34:34: Evaluating lens scratches—front vs. rear element, edges vs. center of glass
- 35:05: The most popular vintage cameras in B&H's Used Department
- 36:50: The most common vintage camera problem/repair—stuck aperture blades
- 38:11: Weinberger's most respected vintage cameras—Leica M3, Hasselblad system, Rolleiflex
- 35:32: Leica M3 has the best rangefinder—you can shoot with both eyes open
- 41:44: Weinberger's weekly workload of vintage cameras and lenses
- 42:28: Repair quirks to an original Nikon F
- 43:02: What to look for when repairing a twin lens Rollieflex
- 44:26: Flash photography with vintage cameras that synchronize at all shutter speeds
- 44:58: Pro tip for evaluating a twin lens camera—ensure all four sides of the lens board focus straight
- 46:34: Process for overhauling a vintage camera shutter
- 48:48: B&H Photo's Used Department museum display
- 50:32: Geoffrey Berliner's Petzval lens collection from the Penumbra Foundation
- 51:15: Lubrication of vintage cameras—don't try it yourself!
- 52:44: Things to know before contacting B&H with a vintage camera inquiry
- 55:45: How to find Bill Bain online and in social media
Bill Bain has loved photography since his teenage years, when all his earnings went toward buying gear and paying for film and development. During a long career as an engineer, photography was a constant thread—particularly documenting his family and their extensive travels. Now living a post-corporate life in the Canadian Rockies, Bain devotes much of his time to photography. In addition to being fully immersed in digital imaging, he continues to make good use of his extensive collection of vintage cameras, many dating back to the early 1900s. Bain's analog and digital fine-art images have been featured in Black & White magazine, and his photos of Olympic-style wrestlers have been published internationally.
Shlomo Weinberger is a gifted technician who developed a specialty in repairing vintage cameras and lenses over nearly 25 years at B&H Photo. After learning his trade from an old-world technician steeped in the analog age, Weinberger currently operates a special repair shop within B&H Photo's Used Department, where he patiently inspects, calibrates, lubricates, and otherwise assesses the condition of the cameras and lenses that pass through his hands before they are offered to customers.
Bill Bain: Website | Instagram
B&H Photo: Used Department | Vintage Film Equipment
Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
The Argus C3 reminds me of Tony Vaccaro who was a soldier in the Second World War, an amazing photojournalist and was developing his roles of film on moon light on the battlefield, in the trenches while Robert Capa had a Leica and was shooting in Hollywood.
Hi Vasilescu, thanks so much for mentioning Tony Vaccaro. Amazing photographer and a wonderful person to boot!!! And in a lovely touch of synchronicity, he's about to celebrate his 100 birthday tomorrow (December 20). For anyone curious to learn more about Tony and his work, the Monroe Gallery has organized pop up exhibits in New York and Santa Fe to celebrate his centennial. So, Happy Centennial, Tony Vaccaro and thanks again, Vasilescu, for writing in and for listening to the podcast!