Benz & Gant Helioflex 3000T - 52 Cameras, 52 Weeks

Week 18 Camera - Benz & Gant Helioflex 3000T purchased at the Community Aid thrift store in Hanover, PA. Came in bag with an "official" Benz & Gant tripod, flash and strap for under $10, though I'm not sure it was worth even that much. The camera is all plastic with a shiny large looking lens, only the aperture is adjustable (very cloudy, cloudy, partial sun, and full sun). It feels substantial because of the heavy weight inside the bottom of the camera, and has a fake pentaprism to fool you into thinking it's a real SLR camera. Composing photographs is done through a simple viewfinder, just point and shoot, much like a Holga. 

I knew what I was getting when I bought the Benz & Gant camera, I wanted to see what kind of photos I could get out of it. I liked the feel of the hand grip and the weight was nice. I even liked the look of the big goofy lens, but I had difficulty getting the film to stay on the camera spool to start the roll. I wound up having to tape the leader to the spool to get it started. I also had great difficulty getting the film to rewind, having to put the whole camera in a changing bag to retrieve the film.

Shooting with the Helioflex 3000T was pretty straightforward, just turn the lens to the correct icon for the lighting, compose, and snap the photo. The framing on the photos was not accurate, as the viewfinder was offset from the lens. I found close up photos with the flash turned out pretty sharp, while outdoor distance shots were a bit blurry (the days were overcast and I chose the cloudy aperture setting with a lower depth of field).

I tried out FPP EDU 400 film from the black and white EDU sampler I purchased from the Film Photography Project store. The film stock is rebadged Kentmere 400, which I've used before. This time though, I decided to process the film in caffenol instead of the usual Kodak D-76. The outdoor photos came out dark, because of the cloudy days, but I like the indoor shots with the flash. I'm not sure if I'll use this camera again, but maybe I'll try it on a sunnier day with color film and more close up photos.