It has been a long and intense year, the one that is about to end. This blog has grown thanks to the many readers around the world. Many things have happened and others will shortly happen. The most important was the Darkroom I built, where finally be able to print the best shots made with film. Soon, I will also print using ancient techniques, such as Platinum/Palladium and Cyanotype, when will be ready the U.V. contact printer that I’m building. Thanks to contact printing, I’ll be able to better use large format cameras too. Already a couple (M.P.P. Mark VIII 4″x 5″ and Reality so Subtle pinhole 4″x 5″) are already waiting to be used. But it will also, print (via internegative) images from digital files. So even intangible electronic images will become real. This post by the end of the year is dedicated to another East Europe’s camera, but this time it is not only manual, but electronics controlled with aperture priority exposure: the Praktica Bc1.
I promised you, my dear readers: this would be the last Retina test. Actually it had been there for a bit of time and waited for his chance to be used. The Retina IIa is one of the most sought after on the market and in fact, I struggled just to find a copy in good condition at a reasonable price. The reasons are soon said: small, handy, but at the same time, equipped with a rangefinder and especially, the prestigious and fast Schneider Kreuznach lens Xenon 50mm f/2.
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 … 😉
As I wrote last time, my first outdoor experience with the Mamiya RB 67 was tiring but satisfying. In fact, the generous dimensions of the 6×7 cm negative and the quality of the lenses are ideal for landscape photography. Immerse ourselves in nature, in a place almost out of time, it can only do good for the spirit, and if we are able to bring home some good shots …. better yet.
It’s been love at first sight: she was large and heavy but it gave me a feeling of solidity and undeniable power. She went home with her beautiful Sekor C 90mm f/3.8 lens, a Vivitar duplicator and two SDPro backs, (one for 220) but she felt a bit lonely and I proceeded immediately to add Sekor C 50mm f/4.5 and 180mm f/4.5. At that point, I was ready to fight a war. The only problem is that such equipment can fight mainly in the studio photography, because to use it outdoors things get complicated struggle. And so, the time has passed (almost two years), until a few days ago …
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 …
After more than two years since I started using film again, the inability to print my negs was becoming unbearable. Unfortunately I do not have any usable space in the house and I do not like at all the “flying solutions”. So I was almost resigned to not being able to have my own darkroom for a long time yet. Recently, however, while they were undergoing some work in my garden, I decided to convert an old storage room into something more substantial masonry … and use it as a Darkroom, although devoid of running water (too difficult and expensive to achieve an appropriate plant).