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Ihagee Parvola, type 1350, 127 collapsible roll film viewfinder camera, results
Hursley Chimneys

Firstly, my thanks to Mr. L. Morris who donated two rolls of 127 200ASA film in December 2017, which were used to test the Parvola after it was rebuilt. See Project 7.

From the outset I liked the Parvola. The helical barrel arrangement allows the camera to be brought into use very rapidly and with no lensboard to get in the way, it's easy to set the aperture and shutter speeds. When winding out the lens barrel, it will lock at the infinity position -a release being provided for closer focussing.

This image was taken in the Village of Hursley, in Hampshire. A number of the houses have fabulously ornate chimneys. This wooden framed building, looks to date from the 1500s, has a fine set of Tudor era brick chimneys, all slightly different. As each chimney would have required several different brick moulds, the original owner must have been quite well off.

The camera has recorded all the fine detail required, including the intrusive telephone cables against the dark trees in the background. The image was exposed hand held at 100th and f/11.

Steam Gear

Focussing the Parvola is made using either a measure or, more likely, your best guess of distance and setting it against the scale. With practice it's possible to get quite adept. Here I have set the distance at 1.5 metres and made my best guess. To add to the challenge the shutter speed was 1/50th with an aperture of f/4 as it was pretty dark in amongst all these grubby steam pipes. It's come out as envisaged, reasonable detail held into the shadows and a fair amount of modelling elsewhere.

Framing is a little vague with these pop viewfinders, I expected the negative to gather in a little more than the viewfinder suggested, but that wasn't the case.

Place House, Titchfield. Hampshire

The source of the mysterious lighter band towards the left is a mystery, clearly a bit of light has found its way onto the film at some point, but this was the only negative to exhibit this, so I am unsure as to the cause. The Parvola proved to be very light tight in fact. Given the condition on arrival I would not have been surprised if there were a few leaks, but it seems to be fine.

This is Titchfield Abbey. I am almost embarrassed at how many times this place pops up in the galleries. Being timeless, local and free to get in - does make it a bit of a magnet. Originally there was an Abbey here, but that went the way of many during King Henry VIIIs dissolution of the monasteries, Titchfield succumbing in 1537. The ruins were subsequently incorporated into this fine Tudor building, called Place House by 1540. It remained in use as a house, until deliberately converted into a romantic ruin in 1781.

Rochester Castle A less frequently visited site is Rochester Castle, on the Medway River. A well preserved example of Norman architecture. The scene has changed little since the 30s when the Parvola was made, so seemed a good subject. A little patience being required waiting for a gap in the traffic and many 21st century tourists. Not much to say photographically, the Parvola has done exactly what was asked of it. Being 4.5 x 6cm, the Parvola 1350 will only give you eight pictures per roll. This wasn't unusual back in the 1930s when this camera was competing with many 120 roll film cameras producing eight images 6 x 9cm. The Parvola produced better than average results on a smaller and cheaper film, from a camera that was significantly more compact.
St Mary's Church Bells, Ashley Just an attempt at something a shade more visually dynamic. This would have benefitted from a yellow filter, to pull out the clouds a bit more, but this is the result of using the camera in standard fit. All the images on this page were made during cycling outings, where there is a reluctance to carry a large weighty camera about and is a fair representation of how it would have been used back in the 1930s. This is the open bell tower at St. Mary's Church, Ashley in Hampshire.
Bishop's Waltham Ruins

Finally back on the ruins theme, I made some images around Bishop's Waltham Abbey ruins, but didn't like any of them. Nothing wrong with the camera, it performed exactly as the mediocre photographer behind it asked. But compositionally they were just weak and boring. I took this one and hand tinted it, just to be different.

The Parvola performs well, it produced 16 printable images from the two films, I only chose to show a few here. Generally I don't "bracket" the exposures - that is make an adjustment either side of the expected exposure. In keeping with the era, I judge all exposures visually - as that is how the camera was most likely to have been used when new.


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