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.
It is true: we’re back in the …. Eastern Europe’s phase. The fact is that the cameras and film rolls accumulate, remain there for a while in half use and then finally, it is their moment to be finished, developed and published. So, it happens that concentrated within a period, similar types or even different versions of the same models. This time it is the turn of the small, but very pretty, Werra 1. Obviously, produced in the former GDR. Simple, spartan (no range finder or meter), but well performing (Carl Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens) and with some super-technologic “surprise”, at least for the time.
As you may have read in my previous post, here came recently a noble representative of the British pride: the Agilux Agifold III. A 6×6 medium format camera. Unfortunately, its extinction meter is no longer working (or at least, I have not been able to figure out how to use it) and then, I decided not to leave her alone in this test and I accompanied with an equally british Weston Master III.
Walking along the Via Appia Antica, in Rome, it’s like taking a leap into the past. Nearby, the modern city with all its noise and its concrete while before our eyes they lie green fields, luxury villas half-hidden among the ancient trees and above all, to the sides of the old road (often with the original flooring), construction of the Roman era, statues, temples and votive plaques. That alone could be enough to bring the visitor back in time more than twenty centuries but, sometimes, you can do amazing meetings, which return a scenario worthy of those immortalized by landscape painters of the nineteenth century.
After some time, here is the return of a Voigtlander Vito. More precisely, the Vito B, built between 1954 and 1960 in two versions that differ mainly in the size of the viewfinder: the one in my possession is the last, with the biggest viewfinder. A very simple camera, with neither a rangefinder or a lightmeter. However, the lens is the renowned Color Skopar 50mm f/3.5 (or f/2.8), in my case mounted on a Prontor SVS central leaf shutter. What is amazing about this camera is the weight! In a body of small size and rounded lines, holding it you will be surprised by the robustness of the construction. Very beautiful to behold, and pleasant to handle. To test it I wanted to use a film recently introduced on the market: the Foma Retropan 320. The small but fierce house from Czech Republic has decided to propose Retropan as a soft and “retrò” effect coupled with an extended exposure latitude. As first time I rated it to 250 ISO.
One of the fun things of film photography is the opportunity to experiment, and I take it widely. Some time ago, I saw on the web some images made with Ilford Delta film and as you may have noticed, I’ve started using it recently. The interesting thing about those images was the performance at high ISO obtained with a specific developer, produced by Ilford: the Ilfotec DD-X. After the first experiments with the Adox FX39, this time I wanted to start personally to test these features. So I loaded a beautiful Kodak Retinette IB (Type 045) with a roll of Delta 400 Professional and set the exposure meter to 800 Iso.