Camera Speed Dating – Montanus Rocca Autoflex Model S

Those that know Meghan and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition “problem”. Really all it is, is a desire to try all of the cameras!!!

We have started collecting many vintage cameras now over the past few years, but in an effort to not let our collection get out of hand we decided to only collect cameras that work and can actually be used.

However, not all are winners and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection. Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with….The Montanus Rocca Automatic Model S 120 camera.

A few quick facts about the Montanus Rocca…made in West Germany in the 50’s the Rocca has quite the lens, f2.9 at its most open and its fastest shutter speed is 1/300. It has a unique slider along the lens for focus.

I was extremely excited to get this camera because of its unique look! It looked like no other TLR I owned. The Rocca was in excellent condition, very clean and everything moved smoothly, the slow shutter speeds even worked! I was feeling optimistic and took it for a walk on one of the only non-rainy days we had in January. When compared to my Rolleicord the Rocca was quite a bit heavier to hang around my neck, also because its shutter cocking mechanism and advance lever aren’t linked I needed to wind the lever then look through a ruby window on its bottom to advance the frames, which I felt was an annoying motion to carry out with it hanging around my neck. With all my winter garb and clumsiness I got tangled up more than once. Anyhow, I finished my roll, got it processed only to find it actually wasn’t working well at all! Even though it seemed to focus in the ground glass the images were actually totally out of focus when anything was more than a foot away. As you can see from the first photo it looks as though I forgot to focus at all! In the second photo I was focusing on Maki (or so I thought, according to the ground glass), who was sitting on the couch approx three feet away, however the camera focused perfectly on the blanket about a foot away…. not ideal.

 

 

I got the gentleman who does some of our repairs to look at it and he gave fixing it a try then told me to give it a test.  I took it along to the Hot Chocolate festival and it did indeed focus but not quite perfectly….apparently this camera is a tad insubordinate.

 

 

I took the Rocca out for a third test before I started work at 8:30, I realized afterward I did not plan well. It was sunny that morning but still very wintry and dark. Also the expired Lomography 800 film I was using was WAY more expired than I had thought. So where there was enough light the photos do appear sharp, tho the majority I feel are blurry from camera shake or un-sharp from the terrible state the roll of film was in. It appears to function well now though, and I will take it out again once summer happens IF it ever does.

 

-Nicole

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