As regular readers (and Twitter followers) will know I have a small addiction to buying cameras basically because I love cameras, cameras are brilliant…so there it is.
My most recent acquisition is actually incredibly exciting as its another foray into large format pinhole (I already own an 8×10 pinhole from the very wonderful Wheehamx). To sum this rambling up I got myself a RealitySoSubtle 5×4 (or 4×5 for those of a trans-atlantic persuasion) camera, and these are my first impressions.
The RealitySoSubtle 5×4 is made by the very wonderful James Guerin, who as well as making incredible cameras is a wonderful photographer. As you can see from his website, the camera is beautifully constructed from oak. There are a number of user friendly features such as the engravings for field of view, the spirit levels and the tripod mounts allowing for portrait and landscape shooting.
My favourite feature though is the multiple pinholes, allowing for interesting perspective effects and, potentially, for multiple exposures without moving the camera. The shutters are easy enough to use, although coming from cameras with cable releases I needed to adapt my technique a little. I found the best way to open the shutter whilst controlling camera shake was to use a darkslide (from the film holder, luckily enough) to open the shutter, then removing and replacing the darkslide over the pinhole for the exposure time…if that makes any sense.
Loading filmholders was a breeze, and I found you don’t need to completely remove the back to load, which is useful as I didn’t run the risk of losing my nuts, which would’ve been a pain on Cromer pier. Which brings me on to these sample shots. These were all made on or around Cromer pier, North Norfolk, on Tri-X 320 film. The exception is the corn, which was made on the drive home. I don’t currently have darkroom access so processing was done by Ilford Lab and I then scanned, softly cursing all the while (scanning sucks).
I metered all of these shots with my Lumu, and I’m happy to say that I’m now getting really comfortable with this meter and its pretty much all I use, any underexposure in these shots is due to the fact that I miscalculated reciprocity.
Overall, if you’re in the market for a beautifully made 5×4 pinhole camera then you really should get in touch with James.