Laura and I were browsing through an antique shop in Asbury Park last weekend when I found a new toy camera, an Agfa Clack. The Clack was made in Germany between 1954 and 1965, and it's a sturdy little beast. Typical German engineering means that even this cheap and cheerful little toy feels solid, much more so than my Diana and Holga. The Clack introduces a fourth photo size to my medium format repertoire. The Holga has a choice between shooting a square 6cm × 6cm and a rectangular 6cm × 4.5cm (most people pick the 6 × 6). The Diana shoots an oddball 4cm × 4cm, something that drives the guys at the one hour photo around the corner nuts. The Clack shoots 6cm × 9cm, which is the same aspect ratio as 35mm film (which shoots 24mm × 36mm), but with more than six times the area of a 35mm negative. The larger negative means that I get only eight photos per roll, as opposed to the 12 I get on the 6 × 6 Holga or the 16 I get with the Diana or the 6 × 4.5 Holga. The Clack was made in an era of slower film, too, so it has a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/35 second, compared to the roughly 1/100 second of both the Diana and the Holga. What that means is that I can/must use slower film in the Clack. The Diana and Holga can use 100 ASA film in bright daylight, but 400 ASA is more their stock in trade, and 3200 ASA film can still be too slow for indoor shots with no flash. The Clack, on the other hand, would horribly overexpose 400 ASA film under daylight, but does a reasonable job inside with no flash using 3200 ASA film.
I took the Clack out at lunch time yesterday and drove to Twin Lights lighthouse in Highlands to test how it would work in bright sunshine. I had just gotten a roll of Ilford Pan-F, which is rated at 50 ASA, something that would never work in the Diana or Holga, or at least not very well. In the Clack, it's a gem. There's almost no grain on this film, unlike the 400 ASA HP5+ I've been using in the Diana.
I shot seven photos at Twin Lights, and on the way home drove past something I've been trying to get a decent photograph of for months, a sign outside a church in Leonardo. I think I've finally got a photo of this that I'm happy with.
Click on the photo to see it larger so you can read the sign.
I've been having a lot of fun with my toy cameras lately. You can see more of the results over on Flickr where I've been posting them rather than posting them here.