Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spotlight: Robot Royal Mod. III

The Robot Royal Mod. III is a 35mm rangefinder camera that was first introduced in 1953. It sports many of the features a pro or enthusiast photographer at the time would want in a rangefinder camera, with the added bonus of being able to shoot at speeds of 5 frames per second! After readying the spring-loaded motor by turning a ratcheted knob at the bottom of the camera, you can shoot at blazing speeds, where all you have to do is hold down the shutter button and the camera just fires away as fast as it can. When fully wound, you can fire off about 36 frames before the camera runs out of juice and you have to wind it again.

Through the flip of a switch, you can also shoot in a semi-automatic mode, which will fire the shutter "as fast as you can pull the trigger". Unless you want to shoot a sequence, I recommend staying on this setting, as it's really hard to fire just one shot in the automatic mode!

 I took my Robot Royal Mod. III to one of our softball games, and tested out the fully automatic mode. I used Ilford Delta 3200 film, as lighting conditions were pretty poor.

Here is my brother-in-law, Aaron, at bat:


And here is my wife, Katie, at bat:

They're not great shots, but I couldn't get much closer with the standard 40mm f/1.9 lens without putting myself in immediate danger or annoying the other players. Other lenses are available, as the Royal Mod. III has a breech-lock mounting system, but the glass tends to fetch pretty high prices.

The Royal shoots in square 24 x 24mm format, so you get slightly more shots on a roll than you normally would. The smaller image size allows the camera to shoot at higher speeds than if it was full 24 x 36mm format, as it doesn't have to advance the film quite as far in-between photos.

The camera is small, yet hefty. It's only 3 inches tall and 1.25 inches thick, but weighs over 2 pounds! The Royal is German quality at its best. They just don't make cameras like this anymore!

Here are some more photos I took at the softball game. Once again, the film is Ilford Delta 3200, hence the grain.

Thanks for looking!