Topic – TLR Atlantic Royal

Now a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) has never crossed my photographic path before. Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords are famous but the Atlantic is not. Read on and you will find why…

AlanticRoyal 1

Behold the Atlantic Royal! 

The camera was given to me while I was getting some other optical paraphernalia. And it was in a non-working state and quite ugly. An evening was spent taking it apart and cleaning everything from the inside and out. There were also a missing part which was a show-stopper but a M5 screw helped in that case. The tricky detail was the chimney. It would not fold and close, but that was eventually also whacked back into shape!

The Atlantic Royal appears to be of 1956–1960 vintage and of course it has no light meter. I have more and more come to like the benefit of a light meter of some sort. There is a meter in the iPhone but it is a hassle not having about three to four arms and accompanying hands running the entire setup.

A common Prontor-SVS shutter is used and it was an easy task to get the slower speeds to run nicely. The Pluscanar (canard?) Anastigmat lens is of unheard pedigree and was, if I read the internet the right way, just one labelling of a common/obscure (choose one:) lens for the masses at the time. Looking at the lens there is no colour shift of any kind so if there is a coating it does not do much.

As I have never handled a TLR before I had no real anticipations on the handling. Overall it “works”. There is a knurled focus adjustment knob on the right side and a shutter lever on the left. The shutter has to be cocked manually. There is no double exposure prevention mechanism (ask me – I know!). It is a bit bulky and “blockish” but the Mamiya 645 is more so… So, yeah, handling is ok. Well, apart from film load-unload! Getting the unexposed roll in position was unusually cumbersome but that could be my clumsiness. Getting the f**ing roll out of the beast was however close to impossible! The fit was so snug I had to use a thin knife, after many other utensils were tried and thrown away in anger, to pry the film up. Even back in 1956 this must have been a failure!

AlanticRoyal 4The film spool fits very snugly into this camera. Don’t try to get it out without a proper tool!

A rather cunning piece of invention is however the “secret” extra film compartment:

AlanticRoyal 3Just enough space for one extra roll of film. I quite liked the idea as the 120-spools are clumsy in the jean’s pockets.

AlanticRoyal 2There is something special about chimneys! I always feel somewhat mesmerized looking down on the large projected picture. It is like being in another world! I first found this fascination on the Mamiya 645 with its huge and bright finder. The Atlantic is nowhere as clear but still tickles me! On the left is a foldable enlarging lens for more precise focus adjustment. 

So how does it fare result wise? The pics below tell that story:

AlanticRoyal 7In bright and ordinary light there is an image! Square and fine. At f/8-f/16 (as all these are) it does turn out quite soft. Not always a bad thing and it has an oldie touch to it. Light leaks are not the camera’s fault.

AlanticRoyal 6An apple tree. Still nothing particulary special but with enough detail, and the uncoated lens does an ok picture in colour. Special pardons for the leafs in the upper left. They cannot possibly have been there in the finder can they?

AlanticRoyal 5The over exposure is inadvertent.The picture is so-so, the yellow sun flower was much more poignant in real life. My home developing does not do it better either. Getting used to the unsharpiness yet?

AlanticRoyal 3 (1)As before, in good light, the camera produces images of acceptable quality.

AlanticRoyal 2 (1)But whooooa!?? A little sun directly into the lens and this happens? The film was a lomography c-41 but I was not expecting this anyway. Exposing for the shadows would have created even more havoc…

AlanticRoyal 1 (1)Of the roll’s 12 pictures this turned out “most decent” (whatever that means?). Sharpness is below par but exposure is ok. (yeay?)

The apparent light leaks in the film are an effect of the prying-to-get-the-film-out-the-bastard procedure. Yes, it really was that hard.

Would I use it again? Ehhhh…. Not in a while!

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