Balda Baldessa Special Feature


Balda Baldessa 1


Camera type: Compact viewfinder

Lens Type: Baldinar 45mm f2.8 - f16

Shutter Type: Prontor SVS 9 Speed + B 1,2,4,8,15,30,60,125,300


This is a gem of a camera and the condition of it belies its age, it looks and performs like a new camera. You will probably have noticed the uncluttered top this is because all the controls are underneath. (see inset below) The viewfinder window is on the left in this picture, the ghosted window on the right is the reflected bright frame, which puts the viewfinder in an unusual position but this seems to make the camera more stable to hold.


The winder is the turnkey on the right and, if you look closely, under the lens housing is a lever. When you move this the arm on the left flips over to become the rewind crank. Quite unusual but with practice it's a very nice system and beautifully engineered.

And so...to the pictures.

A bright afternoon beckoned and I loaded up the camera and took off for Tewkesbury. By the time I had arrived the sun had gone into hiding and the town was not at all as I expected. There's lots of nice old Cotswold architecture but most of it is either cluttered up by cars and stuff or it's just too close to get in the lens. I did manage to get a couple of shots as you can see here but with it being a Sunday afternoon there was little open and nothing in the line of refreshment, surprising for a tourist town, so I settled for these shots and headed for home.


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Another day, another subject. I was chatting with friends on Saturday evening and mention was made of a turning leading off Savernake Forest which goes to a spot on the Kennett and Avon Canal. When I got home I dug out the OS map and found a village called Wootton Rivers, this must be it. Sunday came along and with it the sunshine, it was blazing, and off I headed for the forest. I found the turning and as I drove down the lane it started to narrow and narrow and narrow until the mirrors were almost touching the sides but I pressed on. It was like going through a time warp when the lane finally opened up it came out into a village that looked untouched for centuries. Further into village I came upon the customary village hall, which doubled up as a library one day a week, and there was parking space for about 3 cars. Time to abandon the car and head out on foot. What an amazing place, helped by the brilliant sunshine, thatched cottages all around and the only thing moving is a local moggie. Just a little way further down the lane I came upon the canal bridge and a lock. Time for a wander along the canal to grab a few shots then back up into the village. On the way back I notice a board for the local church but no church, however there is a gated path. through the gate and up the path about 50 yards and there is the church tucked in behind the houses. A sad indictment to today's society is that even in a remote place like this the door has to be protected from vandalism by a huge steel mesh. I finished of my visit with a stroll up through the village to take a few pictures of the cottages and back to the car. Arriving back I realised that I had forgotten to reset the focus after a couple of close up shots on the canal which meant that all of the shots in the village are likely to be wildly out of focus. In the event they are not too bad and with a bit of help from software have been brought up to passable.



Unusually for me I had loaded a 36 frame roll of film, I had a sense of confidence with this camera, and still had some to use up so I took it up to Banbury the next weekend. Looking on the map for a place, I settled on Farnborough Hall and off I went. Upon arrival I drove into the village centre and found somewhere to park and gathered up my gear. As i headed off to get some pictures of the hall I followed what seemed to be a footpath on the map leading me left at the main road and around a huge perimeter wall. What felt like miles later I ended up in a field with no sign of the house but I still had this wall alongside me. I presumed that this was going to be another one of those stately homes which has been converted for corporate use and no public access was allowed so I headed back towards the car. When I got back to the turning into the village I thought I would just walk a little way down the road the other way. Well, knock me down with a feather, 30 yards past this point I'm looking through a gateway down the main drive of the house and as I continued around the corner I discovered that the whole village was governed by the National Trust and the house and grounds are open to the public. Not only that but from this side of the house there is a large common land leading to a huge lake surrounded by woodland, a really beautiful place. so much so there was a lady sitting on the common behind her easel painting the scene in watercolours. By now I had used up the time I had available and the house was due to close within half an hour, so I have made a mental note to return another day. Meanwhile I did manage a few pictures but due to the scale of the place I've had to zoom and crop for detail.


The Village



The side view


The Main Drive


The lake

To sum up, this is a camera that absolutely astounded me in all respects. The condition is fantastic, the handling was great and the results are superb. I look forward to using it again.



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