Monday, February 27, 2012
Cortland CX-7 and Lost Portrait
The Cortland CX-7 is one of the many cheap plastic cameras made in the 80's and often given away as a premium. Today they inhabit thrift shops and garage sales. Probably you should never have to pay more that a dollar for a camera of this type. Notice that the Cortland CX-7 has a Cortland Optical Lens rather than the Color Optical Lens. It also appears to be one of the cameras that has some lead in it for some added weight. I suppose it was hoped that extra weight would make the CX-7 seem like a more serious camera.
Now most cameras of this sort are not going to take pictures with much technical quality. The main hope here is to find one that has interesting flaws. This particular CX-7 has more than a few flaws. The first is that the film advances in an unpredictable way. Sometimes it only takes half a frame at at time.
On occasion you will get results like this. This feature would be more useful if it were more predictable. However if you want predictable results the Cortland CX-7 is a poor choice.
The CX-7 also will vignette most of the time. The effect happens most frequently at what are supposed to be the smaller aperture settings. This is most likely because the aperture starts as a round circle at f/5.6 and becomes a small slit at f/16 instead of a smaller circle.
I also have light leaks in this camera. And instead of just softness at the edges of the image, the Cortland CX-7 tends to be soft all-over. I do believe that the Cortland CX-7 may be the most lo-fi of all the toy 35mm cameras that I have tried so far. There are a few more images in my Cortland CX-7 Gallery.
I saw this portrait in an antique shop in Tuscola IL.
I think this portrait is interesting because of the white tie. From what I understand of such things that is extreme formal wear. What exactly it means in the context of this portrait I don't know. What does seem clear is that when the portrait was made that this person probably had some standing in he community, and was important to his family or to some group. I would guess when this was made no one involved envisioned that it would end up hanging on pegboard in an antique shop. Although this isn't a photograph it does to me fall into a similar category as lost film An image made of someone who probably once was special to someone which has been discarded, lost, or forgotten.