5 Frames… With ILFORD SFX 200 (EI 200 / 120 format / Agfa Record III) – by Graham rogers

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In April, I wrote a comparison of three bellows cameras from the 1950s I had bought on eBay: Agfa Record III, Voigtländer Perkeo, and Agfa Isolette.  The latter was quite cheap and still had a respectable performance. I was undecided then, which of the other two was my favorite. The Voigtländer produced 6×6 photos, but would still fit in the pocket. The Agfa Record III was larger, although slid easily into a bag and produced 6×9 photographs: a new format for me. The more I used it, the more I loved it.

The process for taking photographs with the Agfa (and other bellows cameras of that era) requires the shutter to be cocked after settings are made. I have forgotten this more than once. The aperture is limiting in low light conditions (f/4.5) although at the upper end (f/32) the good light usually available here in Thailand, give me some flexibility, depending on film used.

As I sometimes miss steps in the process for taking a picture, and the 6×9 format only has 8 frames per roll, I occasionally end up with one or two blank frames. My chances of 5 Frames are low, although a roll of ILFORD SFX 200 has given me something worth considering from a walk along one of the local canals.

I live in Western Bangkok (Thonburi) which is nothing like the Bangkok of the guide books.  With friendly locals, dragon dancers in the streets once or twice a month, and some quaint architecture there is much to photograph. In addition, there is an old railway and several interesting markets. 

The images here were taken midweek but the Phasicharoen canal area is rarely crowded nowadays which suits me. Although it was important for goods transport at one time, other nearby canals which I also visit have much tourist traffic these days. The images were not filtered with an R72 IR filter and have been lightly edited (crop, straighten, light adjustment, sharpen) with a couple in the darker areas needing a little more care to bring out the content.

~ Graham

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