Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539
Braun Paxette
I bought this camera second hand for £17-10s-0d in the photo shop in Downing Street, Farnham having raised the money by selling a Hornby ‘O’ gauge train set and a Pathéscope 9.5mm film projector. The camera had a ‘Pronto S’ shutter adjustable from 1 second to 1/300 and a 45mm f2.8 lens. The second ‘viewfinder’ seen here on the left was a primitive exposure meter; useless because it relied on what one’s own eye could see, so far from being a reliable guide in variable light conditions. Despite that it served me well for thousands of exposures until I moved on to something more up to date. I passed it on to my father who used it until the shutter failed. Being an engineer he tried to repair it himself and one day while rummaging in his shed I found a biscuit tin full of springs and gear wheels which was all that remained of my old Paxette. It looked like a grandfather clock hit by Mickey Mouse’s hammer in one of those ancient Saturday Morning Pictures cartoons. An ignominious end for my old friend.
Paxette camera
All the negatives used to create this site are on Kodak Tri-X film. I didn’t like it back then because of its poor grain structure (much improved these days no doubt) but I used it because a kindly neighbour gave me a 400 foot roll of the stuff which I loaded into film cassettes while hidden in a bedroom cupboard and because beggars cannot be choosers. The film was developed in an almost dark room using a variety of chemical concoctions. Developer mainly from Ilford Ltd, fixer mainly home made from the local chemist’s shop. You could buy anything in there; ingredients for gunpowder or stink bombs to take to the church children’s Christmas party. Happy days!

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