Adox Golf

The Adox Golf is a folding camera from the 1950s whose bellows design makes it look like a much older camera.

Actually pretty simple

The Adox Golf is a viewfinder medium format camera remarkable for its folding bellows design, making it compact and portable when folded, but a talking point when unfolded. As well as the bellows being a noticeable design feature reminiscent of very early cameras, having the lens assembly fold inside the case keeps it clean and shiny.

The usual controls

Adox Golf
Camera: £5.00
Postage: £7.00
Lens: included
Total: £12.00
Full specs

Film is wound on simply enough, with a handy double-exposure prevention feature which stops you pressing the shutter again until you have wound the film on. The shutter needs cocking before firing. Focus is done by estimating the distance and setting the dial. To set the aperture and shutter speed you need to use a light meter.

It is of an era where film speeds were not especially fast, so 1/200th of a second is the fastest shutter speed and 1/25th the slowest. As is common it also has a bulb mode which lets you hold the shutter open as long as you want, and it has the attachments for a shutter cable release, a cold shoe flash with cable and a tripod.

Too fast

I made the mistake of using a rather mismatched film – the very fast Ilford Delta 3200, which is film that didn’t exist when this camera was manufactured. As a result I had trouble taking any shots on bright sunny days and even on murky ones I had to close the aperture down considerably even using the fastest shutter speed.

While that combination works well for depth of field (meaning focus didn’t have to be super-accurate) and stability (meaning I didn’t have to hold the camera super-still) it didn’t do wonders for the contrast.

The pictures

Ilford Delta 3200
Cost: £6.99
Postage: £0
ISO: 3200
Format/Type: 120/BW Negative
Exposures: 12
Processing: £2.65
Full Total: £9.64
Cost per shot: £0.80
My Rating: 6

With a fast film you’re always going to get a lot of grain, but with a camera taking low contrast shots as well.. it’s a challenge to modify it afterwards without losing a lot of image clarity. In addition it looks as though the camera was leaking a bit of light. I don’t know if it was a byproduct of using such fast film, or if there’s light getting in through either a gap in the back door or a hole in the bellows.

The focus seemed generally good, but results were a bit mixed, some images coming out really badly for no obvious reason – perhaps partly owing to light leaks, partly the film speed and partly the operation of the camera.

All the medium formats

As a result I have a bunch of images from four different medium format cameras which have character but which aren’t particularly detailed. That is a shame because to me the whole point of using such a big strip of film is to get lots of lovely detail on there.

I think I have to accept that for the time being, medium format landscape photography is out of my price range. However some portrait photography or bright, bold close-up to medium distance scene photography is still an option.

The two plastic lens cameras the Diana and the Holga performed beyond expectations but failed to produce a clear image right across the frame, while the two glass lens cameras the Lubitel and Golf worked better but would be even further improved by playing to their strengths.

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