Sunday, 24 February 2019

#FP4Party February 2019

With February being announced as 2019's second #FP4Party, after shooting with the Cameo in January, it felt logical that I should use my other quarterplate-sized folding camera - the Ensign Folding Klito de Luxe No.9. Last month, I had set myself the task of simply photographing with two sheets of forty-year old Ilford FP4 each day during the 'shoot week', and so I did the same for February. The Ensign Folding Klito is a superior camera when compared to the Cameo; the most immediate difference in use is the rack and pinion focus on the Klito, rather easier to finely adjust against the Cameo's spring clamp. The Klito has its original ground glass focus screen with a hood; using the Klito with faster lenses than the Cameo also made accurate focus easier to achieve. Like the Cameo, it has front rise and cross movements, the rise controlled by beautiful circular gearing around the lens and shutter assembly.  Finally, the Ensign Folding Klito also has double extension bellows, allowing for close focus, without the need for a close-up lens attachment, as I used with the Cameo.

Over the first three days of the shoot week, I used the Klito with a 12cm Ica Dominar lens; the original lens is a No.2 Aldis Plano Anastigmat; I had replaced this with the Dominar lens while using the Klito to take night photographs on glass plates, being f4.5 against the f6.8 Plano: having a faster lens makes for a brighter image on the ground glass when composing and focussing, especially advantageous when working at night. However, wanting to use the Klito with this original lens, I reinstated the Aldis Plano, and shot with this for the remainder of the week. The Aldis Plano is a classic triplet design; while cleaning the thread on its retaining ring, I removed the rear element - and realised that it, a positive meniscus, formed an image on its own. The results (Thursday's image, with a diagram of the Plano shot for Friday) are very much as one would expect from a meniscus lens - it would appear that the front elements, a doublet, correct all the classic distortions present in the meniscus; the rear element on its own provides a wider angle - which I hadn't expected.

All the shots on this post were taken with a tripod. As in January, low light was a factor, but as much as the weather, being otherwise busy meant that a number of the shots were taken at home in the evening. Tuesday's photograph was taken on Fulbourne Road in Walthamstow, North London - the site of Houghton's factory - where the Ensign Folding Klito de Luxe No.9 was almost certainly made, a little over a century ago.

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