A couple months ago, a friend of ours booked my wife and I to photograph her wedding in Terrell, Texas.  She mentioned that it was going to be a small ceremony on May 26th, at a friend of a friend’s house, who happened to also own a few classic cars.    I’ve known Amy for a while and I was happy to hear that she wanted to use us for the wedding.   When I met up with her to talk things over, she mentioned that she loved our photography and was looking to have a classic, vintage look for her wedding photos.  She also told me that she had been holding onto her great-grandmother’s camera and was trying to find the right home for it.  It seemed fate was potentially going to have a hand in the outcome of these images …

Within a week or so, she contacted me and I swung up the road to pick up the camera.  I had no idea what to expect, but was intrigued when she handed me a Pho-Tak Traveler 120 box camera.    When I got back into the car, I examined the camera and knew that the  “120” was probably an indication of what film it used.  I opened it up and found a metal Kodak spool which was indeed for that size film.   120 is still made … how cool would it be to shoot some of her wedding photographs on her great-grandmothers’s camera?  VERY COOL.   I called her up and she was thrilled with the idea.

Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 Box Camera
Pho-Tak Traveler 120 Box Camera

I took it over to my friend’s camera shop to clean it up and to determine what the shutter speed & aperture might be.   This is a point-and-shoot camera in the most literal sense.   It has one shutter speed & aperture, using a singlet lens, that produces a 6x9cm negative.  We thought that it was probably sitting at about a 20th-30th of a second and possibly f/5.6.   I tried a roll of Ilford 3200 indoors and it was extremely underexposed (3-4 stops).   It’s not f/5.6.   I talked it over with another friend and he mentioned, that since this camera was made in the 1950’s, it was probably meant to use ASA 100 speed film or slower.   I had a ‘duh moment’.  Having a shutter speed of only about 1/30th, using the sunny-16 rule, I figured it was probably sitting at about f/32.   I tested out a roll of Fuji Acros 100 developed in Rodinal and had decent results.  From the test roll I noticed a couple of things;  it focuses about 5-10 feet away & you really have to make sure the camera is stable when exposing.  The best way to trip this shutter is to slowly put consistent pressure on the shutter release until it clicks.  The rollers in the camera did scratch the crap out of the negative but what are you gonna do?  It’s an old box camera.   The aged look it produced was perfect!

Test shot - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Fuji Acros 100 - Rodinal
Test shot – Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 – Fuji Acros 100 – Rodinal

I packed a variety of film cameras to use on the day of the wedding; a Leica M2 (15mm + 50mm), a Polaroid SX-70, a Polaroid 100 Land Camera & the Pho-Tak Traveler 120.   I figured with Amy’s request for vintage, classic images & the automobiles, bringing cameras relevant to the era would be a good idea.   For film, I packed some Tri-X, Ektar 100, Impossible Project PX-70 COOL & some Fuji FP-100C.  My wife was armed with our trusty Nikon D700, F100 and a Nikon FE.  Our bases were covered …

I like having a plethora of cameras to choose from at our photo shoots.     The beauty of having a variety of film cameras at your disposal, is that each camera is different and produces unique results.   Forget trying to edit a digital image to match the results you get with film.  1) It can’t be replicated  2 ) it’s boooooooring and SO overdone.  If you’re trying to emulate film it’s just a whole lot easier to shoot film.   It takes less time in the long run to get really cool, unique, vintage images.

Anyhow, off the bat, the place looked to be really cool.  The owner had pulled out a few of his classic cars and they were parked on the lot by the garage.   We scouted out some locations around the area that would be good to shoot at during the wedding.  I met up with the groom, Adam, and I pulled him aside to snap a pic of him on some of the Impossible Project PX-70 COOL I brought with me.

- Adam aka The Groom - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -
Adam aka The Groom – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

After a little bit I went over to where Amy was getting ready.   I brought Hannah, the flower girl, outside for a snapshot on the front porch with the SX-70 and then one with the Pho-Tak box camera.

- "Hannah Rae" aka the Flower Girl - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Hannah Rae aka the Flower Girl – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Hannah Rae - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X
Hannah Rae – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X **side note** I had tested the Pho-Tak box camera in the middle of the day with 100 speed film.    I decided to load it up with Kodak Tri-X 400 and would pull the development to 200ASA.       I wanted the option of either developing at 200 or 400 if needed.

At this point, Amy was almost ready and we grabbed a few photos before the ceremony …

- The Bride - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -
The Bride – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
Texas Wedding - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL
The Kicks – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The ceremony was short & sweet! I did have enough time to knock out some pics on the M2, the FE, the Pho-Tak, the SX-70 and a few on the Polaroid 100.

Texas Wedding - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X -
Texas Wedding – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X –
- Texas Wedding - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -
– Texas Wedding – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL –
Texas Wedding - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100
Texas Wedding – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100
FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera
FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera
Texas Wedding - Polaroid 100 Land Camera - Fuji FP-100C
Texas Wedding – Polaroid 100 Land Camera – Fuji FP-100C
Bleached Fuji FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera
Bleached Fuji FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera
Bleached Fuji FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera
Bleached Fuji FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera
The Bride & Groom - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X
The Bride & Groom – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X
- The Married Couple - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -
– The Married Couple – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL –

All in all, I’m pleased with the images from the Pho-Tak Traveler box camera.   Granted it uses a singlet lens and it’s not uber-sharp but who cares?  It has that insta-vintage look without all the editing fuss.  Also, it goes without saying, BUT the Impossible PX-70 COOL yielded some really neat analog results as well.  I’ll definitely keep this stuff stocked for my future gigs and personal shoots.   Their film deserves to be shot .. a lot.

-Justin

Interested in booking us for your wedding?  Contact us at info@goodephotography.biz 

www.goodephotography.biz

29 Comments

  1. Gail Wallace

    Love the pictures Justin, great feel to them, you have a wonderul eye for photography & so does Synthia. Hannah’s pics were wonderful.

    Gail

  2. Valerie Miller

    Justin thank you and your wife for all of the most beautiful pictures I have seen!!!!! If I ever need pictures you all will be the ones!!!!!!! again THANKS!!!!

  3. Justin Goode Author

    Aww thank you! You are so welcome! If you’d like to check back later this week, I’ll be putting up a link at the bottom of the blog post to a larger preview gallery. I should have most of the film back from the lab today/tomorrow.

  4. Hariel Ribeiro

    My mother gave me the same model as your Pho-Tak, it was from my grandfather and now it’s mine =D
    I wish I could take some pictures with it, what should I do? I don’t have friends that own a camera shop haha
    I have also a Kodak Tira Teima Instamatic, from the 80’s. I love old stuff!

    Btw, great photos! (also sorry for my poor english)

    Hariel, 17, Brazil.

  5. Justin Goode Author

    Hariel,

    As long as the shutter works, it will work for you! If you need to clean the lens, remove the back of the Pho-Tak (pull up on the film winder to unluck), and unscrew the four screws that are on the front of the camera. From there, slide the lever on right hand side of the camera to it goes to it’s ‘bulb’ function. Press the shutter and you’ll see the back side of the lens. Use q-tips and alcohol and GENTLY, in a circular motion, clean any residue, dirt or grime off the lens element. When it’s sufficiently clean, put it all back together and you’re all set.

    Order some B&W or color 120 film from the internet, and put it inside. You’ll need two 120 spools for the film. The film will come on a spool and hopefully there was one inside your camera.

    Basically the best time (and only time unless you use the bulb function) that you can use this camera, is on really bright sunny, or partly cloudy days. Of course it’s dependent on what film you use and if you push/pull, but there are definite limitations to the camera. It’s quite literally a point-and-shoot camera.

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

    Thanks for the compliment BTW 😉

    -Justin

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