There are many excellent Eastern Europe lenses of the past with the M42 screw mount, and I have some, e.g. the Helios 44M4 58mm f/2. Built in the former Soviet Union to equip Zenit cameras. The latter, while if robust, often have limits, both operational, and reliability. To play it safe and always staying behind the Iron Curtain, should turn to production in the former GDR. Still were German! And so, I did not miss a couple of Praktica Mtl5 bodies . One normal, and the other in B version. These differ between them practically only in the power source of the TTL CdS meter. The second in fact, uses the current LR44/SR44 batteries, while the first was designed for use with the PX625 mercury.
These days I am quite busy (even testing and optimizing my new Darkroom and enlargerss) and then I had little time to shot and develop. But I can not overlook this blog too. So I’m writing this quick post with some results from a roll of Ilford Delta 400 Professional pusheded to 1600 ISO and developed in DD-X. This time I used the Olympus XA4. Nothing particularly new for this blog, but it’s always a pleasure to share our film experiences … 😉
There is a camera that I love very much, but I haven’t been too lucky with. It’s the Soviet version of the legendary Zeiss Contax II, which in the 30’s and 40’s disputed the primacy to the eternal rival Leica in the 35m range. Immediately after the war, as partial compensation for damages, all equipment and materials present in the Zeiss factories were moved (along with a good number of technicians and specialized workers) behind the Iron Curtain, in Kiev, at the plant of Zavod Arsenal. Here, in the years immediately following the war, they were therefore produced the Kiev II (almost exactly the Contax); later underwent some changes in later models III and IV. Unlike Zorki and the Fed, that “copied” the Leica models from afar … these Kiev, in fact, can not be considered copies but, delocalized productions …
Yes, dear friends, it’s been a year since I published the first post of this blog! And it’s thanks to you that followed and helped it grow, that this experience has become day by day more enjoyable and exciting. It’s nice to know to be able to contribute, albeit in small part, to the preservation and indeed, to the spread of Analogue Photography. Getting readers from all over the world, and still rising, is a very satisfying element: a sign that I’m working well, in the right direction and with credibility. A small bunch of words and opinions, but many images that speak for themselves, so that readers can always evaluate the results and decide if and how these can be useful for him. A film / developer pair? An old camera? A lens you heard about? Here, maybe, on this blog you can find something of interest to you, written and photographed by an enthusiast, just like you, and exactly in the conditions of use that anyone can experience in his real life. Thank you, once again, my friends, to support me following this blog! I will do my best to always live up to your trust.
Finally, I got a Leica M …. namely, a M2. But also to use a legendary camera, you need the right lenses. So I had to find some… just to start and got a 35mm Voigtlander Color Skopar f /2.5 (Leica M mount) and are waiting for a Leitz Elmar 90 mm f/4 with Ltm mount (M39). But in the meantime, a friend of mine lent me a “Collapsible” Leitz Summitar 5 cm f/2 Ltm mount too, a bit ruined … just to test it. While waiting for a Ltm to Leica M Mount adapter ring, I decided to test first this one, both in digital (with a Fujifilm X-T10) that on film by mounting it on my Canon 7 rangefinder.
Since I started (again) to deal with analog photography, I discovered that there are many enthusiasts who use and collect eagerly Retina cameras and Retinette produced (in numerous models and variants) by Kodak Nagel in Germany from the thirties to the late sixty. At the beginning I did not give much weight to the thing: I was attracted more by other types of cameras, but then some “virtual” friends have strongly advised me to try them. I must also say that my “family camera”, the one with which my father photographed my childhood … was a Retinette Ia!
For one time, I make a transgression in this blog devoted entirely to analog. But it is not so strange, because the passion for vintage photographic gears leads, inevitably, to accumulate lenses, thanks to appropriate adapter, can also be used on digital cameras, taking advantage of some positive features . One of these is the Bokeh, which is the practical result of the reduced depth of field (D.O.F.) using wide apertures.
Another Soviet camera: the Zenit 11, another film: the Rollei Rpx 25. As usual, I do too many things together but, the pleasure of trying new things, and the need not to overstretch the times, forces me to concentrate several elements in a single test. Let’s start from the camera: mine is really in very good condition … it looks almost mint and I got it for few bucks. She comes with the standard lens (later joined by a Pentacon 29mm f/2.8) Helios 44M 4 58mm f 2 and an uncoupled selenium light meter , apparently still working well.
After the recent test of the Leica R5 (with the Vario-Elmar 35-70 zoom), I had the opportunity to shoot again with a series R camera, namely the R-E. This is a simplified version of R5, diversified by the fact of having only the manual exposure and aperture priority. It’s been produced in a limited number of units (about 6500) and according to the experts, has proven reliable and free from some electronic drawbacks present in the Leica cameras made before the R5. This time, in addition to the Vario – Elmar zoom I got to shoot with the “Mighty” Summicron R 50mm (Type II – Made in Germany) f/2. A lens that, if not quite up to the homonymous M series for rangefinder cameras, it certainly comes very close to the performance of that.