Friday, March 1, 2013

Kalimar A In Depth Look

In the early 50's, Tasei Koki Corporation released this funky little 35mm Viewfinder camera known as the Kalimar A.  Under multiple badges, like the Welmy M2, and the Westomat 35.
Using a triplet 45mm ƒ/3.5 lens, single coated, and called a Terionon lens.

The focusing system is done by scale and guess focusing.  For those that aren't familiar with Scale Focusing, it is a great system that will teach you how depth of field works in  conjunction with focus and aperture.  I would highly recommend beginning photographers to get their hands on a camera similar to this to learn how to understand the relationship to the lens ƒ/stop and getting more, or less, depth into their photographs. Scale focusing is a very good way to learning some simple basics in photography, whether digital, or on film.
The weakest point of the lens on this camera is that it vignettes a fair bit.  But in truth, I more feel that it's a charm of this little camera more than anything else.  I don't mind the vignette at all, and find it really gives the photos a different dynamic.  Of course, it could, per chance, just be my particular model.
The shutter is a very simple 4-speed shutter, ranging from (using the old school of shutter speeds) 1/25s, 1/50s, 1/100s, and 1/200s + Bulb.  It uses a 5-bladed shutter which is X-synced at all speeds, and yes, the Sync does work with an electronic flash, as I have done. I have also used flash bulbs at 1/25s.  The shutter release is threaded for a cable release for BULB exposures.  There is no self timer on this camera, so use of a long cable release, or an accessory self-timer will be required.
The cold-shoe allows the attachment of a flash, or accessory shoe rangefinder.
The frame counter is a simple dial type that clicks down frame by frame telling you how many frames you have left.

I have used this camera with B&W, C-41, and E6 films with excellent results.  In fact, I honestly don't think there is any film type you couldn't use in this camera, including Kodachrome.  Err, of course, that would mean you could get it properly processed still, but of course, you can't.
It is a great camera to use, is compact, light weight, and is a great treat to use.

If you happen to come across one of these cameras, pick it up.  You won't be sorry, and it'll make a very lovely addition to your collection, even if you happen to just keep it on the shelf.

A quick gallery on photos taken on the Kalimar A;

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

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