A trip to the Wolverhampton camera fair is invariably likely to end in a few purchases, planned or otherwise. Sometimes it seems that going to the fair without a shopping list leads to worse excesses than when I plan my extravagances beforehand. Last weekend was no exception. There was absolutely nothing I needed to look out for, and so I went along with an open mind and a (unwisely) restocked wallet.
Faced with a dazzling display of photographic paraphernalia, my receptive mind reached down into its subconsciously creative recesses in a determined effort to justify one purchase or another. This time I homed in on a Clack.
A what? I hear you say? An Agfa Clack. But why? I think what appealed to me is the sheer simplicity of this camera.
The Clack is neither collectable (as defined by its price!) nor particularly rare. They were produced in serious quantities in the period 1954 to 1965 by Agfa Camera-Werk AG in Munich. Initially made with a metal body, and later a plastic one (mine is plastic), the Clack is essentially a smallish black box designed to hold 120 roll film.
You can choose one of 2 apertures to suit the prevailing weather conditions. I believe these are f/11 and f/12.5. Bokeh should be perfectly shaped, as the aperture disks are just circles in a plastic component which moves into position for each selection. Mine also has the close up filter, for subjects between 3m and 10m away. The shutter offers bulb or ‘M’, which I understand to be 1/30 second. So, the only real control you have over the exposure is in choice of the ISO rating of your film. I can see I shall be spending the summer checking my light meter, in my efforts to seek out conditions that suit my new camera!
The most exciting aspect of the Clack is of course the focussing mechanism. Err, there isn’t one.
I have plans for my Clack (watch this space!) but I can’t resist putting a roll of film through it first. How much simpler can it get?