BackgroundPoor old Port Gibson. It is a historic town, with beautiful antebellum houses lining both sides of Church Street (which carries US 61 as it passes through town). The homes survived the Civil War because General Grant reportedly proclaimed the city to be "too beautiful to burn."
My 2016 post on Port Gibson showed some buildings that have since been lost. I had not been back since then for a careful visit, but on December 15 decided look around again. I had another motivation, to test a 1950s Voigtländer Vito BL camera that I had just bought. Some black and white film, a handsome old German camera, and an overcast, drizzly, gloomy day - what could be better? (Well, maybe a real coffee shop?)
I was appalled how bad much of the town looks. Some antebellum homes on Church Street are abandoned and are deteriorating, houses on side streets are ready to collapse, and empty lots have weeds and trash. How could this be happening?
North Port Gibson
Little Bayou Pierre
|Little Bayou Pierre, Feb. 18, 2017. Kodak Panatomic-X film (6 × 6), Rolleiflex 3.5E 75mm f/3.5 Xenotar lens.|
|Little Bayou Pierre, Dec. 15, 2018. Ilford Delta 100 film (24 × 36mm), Vito BL, 50mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar lens.|
Camera noteAs I mentioned above, this was an experiment: I bought a 1957 Voigtlander Vito BL camera for $34 on eBay. It has a fixed 50mm f/3.5 lens Color-Skopar lens (a Tessar derivative with a similar configuration of 4 lenses in 3 groups). The Vito is a strong German precision device from the end of the era when German camera manufacturers ruled the commercial market and just as the Japanese companies were surging forward.
Most of the exposures above are at f/8 or so, where the lens would be performing at its best. After some exercise, the leaf shutter settled down and sounds about right. The film pressure plate had some rust pips, so the first roll of film was badly scratched on the back (base) side. But I have cleaned the plate with a jewelry rouge cloth and an eraser. If need be, I will try some super-fine wet-dry sanding cloth. Stand by for more examples in the future from this little Vito camera. What do you readers think of the lens quality?