Old Photo Look, Old Camera?

Argoflex Camera

have a collection of old cameras, and for years have thought about trying to combine an old camera with an iphone. I know, why not just try one of the thousands of vintage filters that replicate the look? I have, and they don’t really deliver. They are developers versions of a look, and thats like those plastic fences. Or Las Vegas. Yes it’s there, but a copy of the there.

Photo in raw file, not cropped or cleaned up

Original iphone photo with instagram filter and cropped

With a vintage photo app on my iphone

Which isn’t really the real there. You see it on all those crappy repro signs that have been fake aged. Which to me is like the worst of the worst, since it’s truly fake on purpose. It’s a lie. Pure and simple. A facade. Honesty has a feel, and touch, and there is nothing more pure that timeless truth. And very very hard to achieve, which of course makes it special, and in the end, that is what you want. Okay, I wandered off the topic here, and if you are still reading this, I am talking about old photos and old cameras.

Looking through the viewfinder

The lense and the way these old cameras worked is hy so many old photos are so bad, or good, it’s a fine line for sure.

Raw photo on iphone 12 pro

So here is what I tried. I took a photo through the viewfinder and then tried to process it. It’s interesting to see how it might work, and the next step is to take the camera apart and try the lense taped onto the iphone.

The color version.


But there is something cool about the way the photos were taken, and how to frame them. Since they appear backwards in the viewfinder, and in color and the photos would be in BW. And don’t even start on the crap inside the camera that makes a mess of any shot.


13 replies
  1. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    A universal thing that wrecks all shots; your finger in the frame. At least with the iPhone, the results are immediately seen whereas back in the day, you had to wait until the developed pictures came back from processing. Like you could go back on vacation 2 weeks later to retake the shot that was otherwise perfect. If you had to keep that picture, your finger was always identified as a moment of shame, FOR ETERNITY.

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Well you’re definitely putting a lot of thought into how to take the perfect bad picture. Must be a metaphor for how we eschew all the modern advances made in the last 60 or so years of boat engine advancements.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I have bad news for you. Taking an iPhone photo through an old lens is just as much a fake and a lie as running it through a filter. It’s not a plastic fence, it is a composite fence. Still fake.

    Even if you could get old film, take a real picture and develop it in 2021, the print would need to be artificially aged and then that would be a fake. There is no way to make a new old anything that is truly real.

    Perhaps you need to let go of the quest for real, and instead enjoy the pursuit of fakes for what they are. Or, just fry up some bacon and pour yourself a hot mug of varnish, and wait for whatever historical pictures Troy may post. That’s what I might do.

  4. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    come on Troy…they have set this one up for you…I recommend Christa Speck from Playboy…can’t spell her name but can’t forget her ….!

    John in Va

    • Jack Thee Boat Hack
      Jack Thee Boat Hack says:

      Had to look her up . . . nice guns, but how old are you, 90?? Jesus, hope you don’t have to wait too long for film to develop.

  5. Mark in Ohgio (sometimes da U P )
    Mark in Ohgio (sometimes da U P ) says:

    I took pictures for years with Instamatics, Canon 35mm and Panasonic video cameras that sat on your shoulder. I like my iPhone the best. It replaces all of them. Digital photography is the bomb, you can see your f<(k ups right away. The only draw back I see is no one prints out pictures anymore. I miss that. Nothing like a hard copy. I read online ( if you can believe what you read there) more pictures are taken with an iPhone today than with any camera.

  6. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    “You see it on all those crappy repro signs that have been fake aged. Which to me is like the worst of the worst, since it’s truly fake on purpose. It’s a lie. Pure and simple. A facade. Honesty has a feel, and touch, and there is nothing more pure that timeless truth.”

    Wait – Didn’t we just go through a week of fake aging a tool board? Leave me out of this one.

    How about a vintage look with a Flying Boat. At least it’s a boat!

  7. Chug-A-Lug
    Chug-A-Lug says:

    My go to camera was a Canon T70 with lots of lenses.Could have pick-up the pilot’s dinner plate eyeballs in that pic.

  8. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    As a former full-time photojournalist, and a part-time freelancer for the last 19 years, my opinion is more based on the content than the “look.”
    The goal for me was always to honestly tell as much story as I could in each photo, or group of photos. Changes to images after the moment of capture were not ethical, with a few exceptions, such as toning and cropping. PhotoShop was viewed VERY suspiciously, and I know some people that lost their jobs for adding/subtracting content in their published photos.
    Currently, using Adobe PhotoShop to alter pictures is so common that we have “verbed” the word. “Just PhotoShop it,” people say. Can you trust ANY image you see anymore?
    As for the style, or look of the photographs, I kinda like seeing the progression of the technology. And I like the practical aspects of digital photography. For those of us that really use our cameras, we are glad to be finished with film.
    That said, I miss the ergonomics of my final film camera, a Minolta Maxxum 9. That thing was THE BOMB for sports photography and intuitive handling. I use Canon now, and the cameras are very good, but not as intuitive to use as the Minolta.

Comments are closed.