Taking pictures Mum’s Agfa Silette with a Roll of Kodak Gold 200 – By Stuart Watchorn

1964. My mother and father had simply bought their service station / taxi / towtruck / mechanical restore enterprise. They determined to take a 12 month sabbatical and pop had purchased a caravan shell and was busy becoming it out for a visit to the “mainland”, that huge island north of Tasmania.

In anticipation of all of the wondrous sights we’d see, Dad had purchased mum an Agfa Silette for her birthday fitted with the Coloration Apotar 45mm f2.8 lens and Pronto shutter. He even had mum’s initials embossed in gold on the leather-based case. It was a really fashionable and effectively made digital camera however sadly mum by no means actually bought an opportunity to make use of it. I’m reminded of the previous TV commercial the place the husband buys the spouse an influence drill for Christmas. Mum was adept at utilizing her field brownie however took one have a look at the knobs and dials on the Agfa and handed it again to dad.

Properly performed Dad !

Almost 60 years later

It was most likely a superb transfer as a result of dad had an innate understanding of all issues mechanical and took to pictures like a duck to water. I keep in mind him having an publicity meter at one stage but it surely was not often used. He most well-liked to make use of “sunny 16” and focussed by estimating the space. Every time a roll of Kodachrome was mailed off for processing the entire household would wait in anticipation for its return. After a couple of sneaky peeks in the handheld slide viewer we’d calm down after dinner to see the photographs projected onto the lounge room wall. This is able to typically flip right into a marathon session as we’d insist on seeing among the older slides and cack ourselves laughing on the photos and recollections of our youthful selves.

Beach scene, Coloundra

After the mainland journey the Agfa was used primarily on household holidays and bbq’s till my brother and I obtained Kodak instamatic cameras one Xmas and steadily took over the photographic duties. But it surely was print movie and the color and influence of life dimension photos on the wall had been misplaced.

The Agfa was put away in a cabinet to gather mud bunnies.

Sue at hotel

Shifting on a couple of years issues had modified. I used to be near turning into an adolescent, life was difficult and our household had been by a couple of powerful instances. Often I went to that cabinet and performed with the Agfa and have become extra intrigued with it. I keep in mind retaining it in my room and i’d lie in mattress and fake to wind on a movie with that silky clean ratcheting advance lever after which press the virtually silent shutter launch. “snick“. I will need to have achieved it hundreds of instances and it turned my catharsis.

Happy Family

I beloved that digital camera however I nonetheless didn’t know what all of the knobs and dials had been for. As typical, as an alternative of asking I needed to work it out for myself. I went to the native library and took out some books on pictures and learnt about apertures, shutter pace and movie ASA. After I thought I knew what I used to be doing, I purchased some print movie to take photographs of my second love in life – bikes. I learnt easy methods to take photos of bikes at pace by panning, take arty nonetheless pictures through the use of depth of subject and take snapshots of my mates at events getting drunk. I additionally learnt {that a} 45mm lens and a most 1/250 sec shutter pace weren’t going to chop it for motion pictures so I began eyeing off SLR cameras with these huge ass telephoto lenses. I ultimately settled for a Pentax MV1 with a 50mm f2 and a cheapo Hanimex 80-200 zoom. This combo lasted for a few years, took some nice pictures and left me with a comfortable spot for Pentax cameras and lenses.

The Agfa went again into the cabinet with the mud bunnies.


The following 40 odd years glided by and the digital camera was nonetheless saved in a field or cabinet someplace. Nobody gave it a lot thought aside from when a nephew wanted a digital camera for a college challenge and it was dragged out of retirement for one roll of movie after which shoved again into its field.

Years handed and I discovered myself looking by an public sale website after I noticed the very same digital camera which was uncommon as a result of the Silette got here in so many various guises. I purchased it for $20 pondering that it could be good for spare components in the future. Properly that day got here 12 months in the past after I had a hip substitute and was off work for 3 months. I bought the 2 cameras out and located one seemed nice however the shutter and movie advance had been jammed and the opposite was scratched up and battered however labored completely. Are you pondering what I used to be pondering ?
Bingo ! Make one good digital camera out of two previous beaters.


Brothers playing around like children once more

I set to work probably not realizing what I used to be doing. I eliminated the highest plate off the non working digital camera and located a truck load of sand in amongst the gears and comes. Properly, to make an extended story quick I used to be capable of rebuild a working digital camera and it seemed and felt fantastic. The movie advance lever and shutter launch labored and sounded precisely how I remembered them and gave me the identical feeling of contentment as they did 50 years in the past.

Steve looking out to sea

I’m now residing on the large island north of Tasmania within the State of Queensland. My brother and his spouse got here as much as go to a couple of months in the past and I made a decision to attempt to recreate among the vacation  seaside pictures that my father was so good at capturing. I used to be actually happy with the consequence and really feel that I’ve achieved justice to the little Agfa that gave us so many nice recollections.


P.S. The little Agfa is now packed away in its field once more accumulating mud bunnies as a result of I’ve a brand new love – a Nikon FE and 50mm 1.4

Yow will discover extra of my movie and digital work at[email protected]

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