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Recomar '18'

Recomar 18

Style, film format Folding plate taking special pre-loaded film packs (or find a roll-film adapter)

Lens, shutter Uncoated 10.5cm f/4.5 Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar, Compur

Photo quality Very good

Ergonomics Use with a tripod and take your time. You don't have a choice.

This is one of the designs of Dr. August Nagel. It's a plate-film camera that arrived in the late 1930s, just as plate cameras were falling out of favor with photographers.

There also was a larger Recomar '33' produced by Nagel Camerawerks.

This is how photography used to be: a folding camera with bellows that extended way out there. You opened the aperture to its widest setting, put the shutter on "T" to focus the inverted image on the ground glass shaded by a short leather hood. When it was in focus, you closed the shutter, removed the ground glass and replaced it with the film back. Then you set the aperture and shutter speed, cocked the shutter and released it.

Sports photography? Sure, as long as the sport was chess.

I bought this camera from Nova Scotia, Canada, and it came with an unopened pack of film, several film holders and a nice velvet-lined case. Overall, the camera was very clean and didn't take too much to get it ready for action.

I bought a roll-film adapter, and it has allowed me to take some very nice 6x9 photos with its uncoated Schneider-Kreuznach lens. However, it's not the most convenient camera, so it doesn't see a great deal of use.