Vintage and Classic Cameras
Universal, Mercury II. Photograph gallery.

After a while, using the Mercury II is a pleasant experience. The viewfinder is rather pokey and doesn't gather in a lot of light, it has parallax guides within the window - but these tend to be a little vague as they appear out of focus. It seems to lend itself to portrait format pictures since this is the natural orientation of the camera, being half frame the picture is portrait when the camera is level on its base. The Mercury has an extremely smooth shutter, you can feel the blades accelerate gently. They stop with a bit of a "thwack" which results in a little movement of the camera, but this is not a problem as they have already swept past the film aperture.

Universal, Mercury2. Sample image

Bartering in Bangkok floating market. Now I thought bartering for old cameras taught me something about the art...forget it, a day in the company of this lady only served to prove how little I knew!!

If you ever try to sell her anything and manage to get half what you got off lightly!

It might have been nice to get the stall holder's face in the shot too, but since I was already out on the bow, getting further back and risking a swim in the Chao Praya River was a distinct, and unpalatable, possibility.

Bartering in Bangkok floating market

Wales 2001

The Mercury II is a handy camera to have around, returning 65 pictures per roll makes it pretty economical in use. Unfortunately finding processing labs that will print half frame is getting increasingly awkward. The options are to take colour neg, and pay for only processing the film. You can then scan in the neg, as in the above examples, or print in colour (if you have that capability) - or just use black and white, as here. Another option is to use colour reversal film, ask for he film to be supplied as a strip and then mount the slides yourself. Either way, the Mercury is still worth the effort.
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