Victor Wiebe

The Agfa B2 Cadet

The Agfa B2 Cadet is a simple box type camera. Like other box cameras of the time (the early 1900’s), the Cadet has two viewfinders – one on the top for portrait photos and one on the side for landscape photos – and a very simple shutter release with a miniscus lens.

A miniscus lens is, for all intents and purposes, a simple curved piece of glass used to help focus the light.

According to the base shutter speed of the shutter release is 1/60. The camera fits 120 film (or Agfa B2 type film) which is still today the standard “medium format” film.

There is really nothing fancy about this camera at all; in fact, it perfectly fits the term “toy camera” in that it is used primarily by hobbyists for fun. Like me.

I happened to have come across some expired 120 film and felt it would be a good opportunity to test out the camera to see what it might be able to do. I took it to a county fair. Of the roll of 8 photos only four really turned out.

Now, the film had expired several decades ago. Seriously. Decades ago. Frankly, I’m thrilled that it still works. That notwithstanding, the chemicals on the film are not as responsive to light as if they’d be when they were fresh, so I didn’t feel entirely out of sorts in touching the pictures up to give them a little more of an edge. I used Luminar 4 and a Green Tint filter to give them something of a 1960’s technicolor look. Is this how they would have looked had they been taken decades ago? Really, it’s impossible to tell but, at the end of the day, photography is as much an art as it is a science, and like any art, the end goal is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. I am pleased with these results.

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