Sunday, 5 June 2011

Foth Derby - Part two

Foth Derby II
Having repaired the cloth shutter to my Foth Derby, I ran a roll of Efke R100 film through it. The aspect of shooting with this camera which needs most attention to those unfamiliar with it is cocking the shutter.

Unlike more modern cameras, where the shutter is 'cocked' as a consequence of winding on the film, and so appears a seamless operation not noticed by the user, most cameras the age of the Foth Derby require the shutter to be cocked manually (the exception being rotary shutters typically found on box cameras). With leaf shutters, this is done by turning a lever on the side of the lens, a simple operation. On a focal plane shutter, cocking it involves turning a knob to wind the shutter curtains past the film gate, where they travel back at speed with a gap between them to expose the film when the shutter release is pressed.

Foth Derby shutter unit showing the pin and corresponding holes for selecting different shutter speeds.
On the Foth Derby, the knob has to be turned through three quarters before it catches. Turning this has to be done in one swift decisive movement, which takes a little practice; the springs tensioning the shutter are quite strong, and if the shutter knob slips before it's wound all the way until it catches, the shutter curtains slip backwards- potentially with a gap between them, accidentally exposing the film. On my camera, someone had cut away crudely the leather from under the shutter knob, done, I imagine, to make it easier to turn. In my restoration of the camera I painted the bare metal black to make this less obvious. My technique for cocking the shutter is to turn the camera one way while turning the knob the other. It's interasting to note that the last incarnation of the Foth Derby, the Gallus Derby-Lux had a shutter knob that stands rather more proud from the camera's top plate, making it a similar size to the winding knob.

Middlesex Hospital Chapel, Efke R100, developed in Rodinal 1:25
Site of Railway Buildings, Hackney, Efke R100, developed in Rodinal 1:25