Pigeon - Japan 1954
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3rd March 2007

The Pigeon 35mm view camera seems to be quite a rare camera. I certainly couldn't find much information on the internet about it, other than it dates from around 1952 or 1954 and was manufactured by ‘Shinano’. It is made in Japan (it says so on the bottom!) and is a fairly robust little camera that proved quite nice to use in the field. Although it has a wind on knob and a shutter release button on the top plate, the shutter is cocked on the lens assembly, like an old folder. I tried the Pigeon 35mm camera with 200 ASA colour film out and about in London. I did have a few problems with the shutter release and film wind on but I think you just have to do everything in the correct order and remember what you have done - cock the shutter, press the shutter release button and then wind on the film ready for the next shot. Sometimes, I went to wind on the film and it wouldn't move. After a few lost frames, I noticed that pressing the shutter release down again would free the winding mechanism, even without cocking the shutter and actually taking a picture. Maybe something inside is a little worn after 50 years of use. Anyway, I am quite pleased with the results (taken on 3rd March 2007):

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London doorways near Marylebone train station

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A statue near Westminster bridge

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London apartments near Marylebone train station

Below is a comparison of the same scene shot with the 35mm Pigeon and a Fuji F30 point and shoot digital.

Pigeon 35mm view camera from the early 1950’s:

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London’s Millennium Wheel

Modern point and shoot digital camera (Fuji F30):

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London’s Millennium Wheel

I prefer the 1950’s version myself...

Film Spacing

The Pigeon camera was really nice to use but it was tricky with the film wind on issues mentioned above. Once I got the film back I could see just how bad it was. The film spacing was all over the place, even when the wind on worked correctly:

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And I got an interesting shot that some people have told me is wonderful modern art:

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Big Ben and the Millennium Wheel

And one last shot from the Pigeon (well two frames actually, merged together):

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The Houses of Parliament in London, taking from the south side of the river

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