A month or so ago, my dad reached out to sell me some cameras: an Olympus Infinity 210, a plastic-fantastic panoramic-crop thing, a Minolta Freedom Vista panoramic-crop camera, and a Wardflex twin lens camera.
I didn’t need any more cameras, but at the same time, I can’t resist a decent deal on some cameras I haven’t shot before, so…
I’ll give a more thorough review of the Wardflex later, maybe, but it’s a fairly basic tlr: manual wind (with a window on the back), dim finder, max 1/200th shutter, f/3.5 taking lens. It was made by Beauty for Montgomery Ward, and reports vary on whether it’s a rebranded Beautyflex T or some sort of Wards-only mishmash model. And contra some strange, dark corners of the internets, the Wardflex has absolutely no relationship to Ward Cleaver or Leave it to Beaver.
It’s a bit smaller than my Yashica Mat-124, and not nearly as well made, or not as well-cared for, anyway.
For some reason, I decided to feed it a roll of Lomochrome Metropolis for its first outing. The winding went wonky and it rolled the film up the side of the spool, leading to some slight light leaks… I usually have issues with Lomography 120 films due to their very thick backing paper, but I’ve never seen anything like the miswinding I enjoyed from the Wardflex. Honestly, though, I don’t know if it was poor loading or something in the Wardflex.
I shot it alongside the Holga during Holga Week, and noticed early on that something was up with the finder. The plane of focus was tilted front to back and left to right. I can’t explain it any better than that, but I couldn’t trust the finder at all. (Once I finished the roll, I took the top off and found that the mirror is held in place by a three-pronged springy clip thing, and the mirror had popped out of the top left prong.) Not to worry: the focus wheel has hyperfocal distance markings on it, and that worked just fine.
So what does any of that have to do with FilmLab? Well, scans of this roll were in the second folder of images that I fed to FilmLab, and as I went through them, my exuberance quickly faded.
Why? Well, check these. (My usual process produced results on the left; FilmLab is on the right.)
Now. Straight up, I’ve never been confident in my Metropolis color conversion, and never less confident than with this roll from the Wardflex.
But I know that the shadows don’t go straight to black; I know there’s detail in the greens, even with the modified red layer.
So what’s happening here? Honestly, I have no idea, but I thought maybe my scans were to blame… So next up, let’s have a look at how FilmLab handles under- and over-exposed scans. (I’m getting closer to the end now… but not yet. So keep staying tuned… not too much longer.)