Ok guys, I am back again. The beginning of the new year was a bit ‘busy and for various reasons, I have not posted anything during January. This does not mean that I have not continued to take pictures, of course. 😉 Before moving on to other cameras and lenses, however, I wanted to finish the series of “experiments” with the Praktica. This time, on Mtl5B I mounted a Pentacon 29mm f / 2.8.
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.
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.
Last week I published a successful post (both on this blog and on various social forums) about the first test with my Pentacon Six Tl. As written in the post, I had to develop another roll, mainly took the same day of the first one. The problems I got were pretty much the same, but at least a careful observation of the negatives and of the camera were useful to better clarify their causes and what I’ll have to do to solve them.
Being (among other things) a fan of cameras and their respectable lenses, made behind the Iron Curtain , long ago I had the opportunity to enrich my vintage “arsenal” with a beautiful Pentacon Six Tl, fitted with its Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f/2.8 standard lens, wlf and metered pentaprism with angled eyepiece (and diopter correction). The camera is truly remarkable aesthetic and mechanical conditions, but a first test roll gave so many problems that I thought of having to make another to correct some of my errors in the loading of the film and in the development of the same. In the meantime, I ordered a new focusing screen with split image on Araxfoto site. Following the instructions on the Pentaconsix site (which I highly recommend for any info about these cameras), a few days ago I loaded a Ilford HP5+ film and started my hunting for satisfactory images. But …. things do not always go as we would like …
This time I deal with one of the most popular cameras in the world: the Lomo Smena. In the specific case (just to complicate a little the affair) the SL version, adopting a sort of variation of more known “Rapid” loading system, introduced by Agfa in 1964. Born as an antagonist of the Kodak 126 system, it was adopted by some brands, but didn’t have long nor too fortunate life. I have to say about, that in my childhood I used repeatedly Kodak Instamatic cameras, either in 126 or 110 and perhaps one Agfa 110 … but I’ve never seen a Rapid or SL model.