So the Razzle has arrived. Here's my ongoing report, as unbiased as possible albeit highly subjective.
My absolute first impression the other day was Wow! This thing is HUGE!.
I've never experienced a Land camera before so I was shocked by the size of the thing, let alone the weight. So I guess straight away I was a little apprehensive; a big heavy camera on my skinny wrists!
I didn't have long to play around the other day, and I was fairly tired and distracted during the test shot (on the Getting Excited thread). Tonight I've been playing around without a film holder present to get a feel for the camera, maybe build up a technique of how to swing this bad boy around.
Looking over the camera it's a bit odd. It's a rangefinder camera, but it's also a 4x5. I'm used to Speed Graphics, folding field cameras, even monorails, so this is a bit of everything it seems!
The black leather and paint is appealing. Clean edges, a few scuffs on the leather and metal but it adds character. I love my hand-me-down cameras, so this has the marks from other's hands.
Face on we have the flash socket adapter, centre (vertical shot) tripod socket, the Razzle/Polaroid logo, open button, cable release mount, side strap/handle, and on the bottom the (horizontal shot) tripod socket.
That bottom socket has a machined metal cylinder to bring the socket clear of the Razzlok back.
So then we have the Razzlok back, metal and wood I believe. Absolutely secure. The back has its spring-tension to hold the GG or film holders in place. Tension can be adjusted.
It's kinda unsightly but totally functional. Every manufacturer has a different idea or patent for a spring back and this one works fine. Well, better than fine - included were two small metal bars than can allow film holders to be placed on.
The shape and bumps, curves, corners... they're growing on me. It's a little different in real life than in a picture, and by my constant handling and fiddling with the camera, I take it as a positive indication I quite like this machine
The rangefinder patch isn't as bright as say, a Leica, but maybe I'm spoilt with that tiny 35mm camera viewfinder. The patch is easily visible even indoors on darker objects. The nature of the beast is of course to focus on something with contrast.
Worst to worst, a (blasphemy altert) dot of black pen or paint over the centre of the viewing window can increase the visibility of the RF triangle. In my case this isn't necessary, but it has worked on older rangefinders I've owned with poor RF patches.
The front opens smoothly with a push of the lower button, nicely integrated into the design of the front. I find moving the lens to lock in position a tiny bit of hassle. I quite like the old folding cameras that spring out and do the work for you. I'm a lazy bugger
So with the front standard in position I attach the cable release to the shutter and place my left hand through the side strap/handle as far as I can push it. I hold my thumb on the cable release, fingers curled and clenched onto the inside front cavity.
It's a little awkward unless the hand is perfectly placed. Easier still without the strap but I don't trust myself to hold the camera without it!! I have also tried with my thumb on the back of the camera, and my index finger out from the strap, resting on the cable release. I'm not sure what's more comfy.
I might possibly get some textile to put over the metal on the strap for convenience and comfort.
My right hand lays flat on the now open and locked side/front panel. My thumb or index finger can move the focusing wheel. A little bit of practice, going through the motions, and everything feels good.
That first test shot I'd checked everything with the GG, so this time around I'm trying to get the full Polaroid/RF/Razzle effect.
With my right hand bearing some of the weight, my left wrist feels a bit better. I can use a thumb or finger to rotate the focus wheel.
It's easier to have all the shutter speeds and apertures sorted before composing, then simply press the shutter. I can't see myself wanting to lift the camera, look at the lens and play around when I should be focusing on the subject.
I'm practicing focus then pressing the shutter, then cocking the shutter ready for the next shot....just like wind-on with a small-format (or graphic?).
I've loaded eight 4x5 film holders ready for the weeks ahead, I hope to shoot at least a couple shots tomorrow to test the Razzle out in the field.
The Razzle is something totally new to me, so I'm typing as I'm learning and discovering. I hope this thread and my thoughts will help provide some insight.