I grabbed a new-old toy at an estate sale on Saturday, and it seems to work for the most part:

This camera, the Foldex 20, is a little quirky partly by design and partly by this particular example’s wear and tear. The only real damage that affects the performance seems to be a bend in the lens platform that creates a mild tilt affect (the plane of focus is not parallel to the film plane) and some strange cropping where the bellows interfere with the image.

The rest of the weirdness comes from the cheap consumer nature of this machine. The focus is non-adjustable, the aperture is fixed at what I calculated to be between f/12 and f/13, the focal length is fixed at 86 mm, and the shutter speed is either 1/50 seconds, or “time” mode where you can hold it open as long as you like. The lens design also creates its own issues; it’s a simple meniscus design behind the shutter with only a thin piece of glass in front. The resulting images have fairly low sharpness and contrast (though I boosted the contrast of the outdoor shots above) which, perhaps, adds to the vintage feel.

Over all it’s a pretty cool camera, and I plan to shoot a roll of portraits next.

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