My mom hails from upstate New York — Rochester to be exact. With Eastman Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, it is not surprising that my grandfather once worked for the photography company. My mom still owns several of his cameras, but recently gifted me his Signet 40 and Brownie Super 27. I posted a photo of the Signet 40 about a year ago, and a few people encouraged me to grab some 35mm film and give it a go. Well, it took me 11 months, but I finally did it!
First, I had to clean the camera. It had a bunch of dirt and grime on the lens and viewfinder. Once that was done, I went to Roberts Camera to grab some 35mm film. It was a bit surprising to find how expensive film is now, although I’m sure it’s driven by the drop off in film photography. Roberts has a great selection and so I grabbed a 400 ISO roll.
Next, I was lucky to find the original manual for the Signet 40, which walked me through loading the film and actually taking photos. I also found a great YouTube video in Japanese that walked through loading the camera and taking photos. Considering I was a little skeptical I was winding the film correctly, I was relieved to find the video. I was ready to go!
Over the course of a week, I used the Signet 40 to capture architecture spots around Indianapolis. I really had no idea what to expect when I had the film processed. The camera was 60 years old and we had little knowledge of its prior condition. I took the photos to be developed and had to wait a long, long week to get the photos back.
Unfortunately, some of the photos did not turn out the best. I think I need to do a better job cleaning the camera. I need to do a better job learning the right settings when I take a photo with the camera – aperture, distance, and shutter speed. Since the Signet 40 is essential a manual camera, you have to really know your stuff! I’m trying to better educate myself on these subjects through watching other YouTube videos and reading articles. Also, since the camera is a fixed distance (i.e. no zoom), sometimes I just was a little too close and cropped out part of the subject.
Here’s a sample of the results.
I hope to grab another roll of film soon and give it another try.