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 …
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.
Fed, along with Zorki and Zenit is one of the best known Soviets brand by photography enthusiasts. Since the early 30’s of the twentieth century in fact, have been built millions and millions of Fed cameras. Just to give an idea, the initial model that was simply called “Fed” (ФЭД), since 1934 and until 1955, were produced (in many variations) about 720,000 copies, while for the model 5 in production from 1977 to 1990, I have no data (according to the website Sovietcams, which I suggest to refer to anyone interested in identifying and learn more about these cameras) but are surely made in hundres of thousands copies.
As I already wrote in the first part of this post, while traveling in Bavaria, apart from a roll shot with the Leica R-E and one with the Canon P (nightshots), I used two Olympus cameras (OM2n and OM10). I have already expressed an opinion about the films I used (Ilford XP2 Super 400 and Kodak Tmax 400).
Leica R-E & Vario Elmar 35-70mm – XP2 Labdeveloped
As loyal readers already know, at the beginning of December I faced (after almost 15 years) traveling exclusively using film cameras only. In this post I showed the equipment that I planned to use. Furthermore, I also had an Olympus OM10 with three Zuiko lenses (28, 50 and 135mm) as a backup just in case. Once in Munich (Bayern), I bought a nice Olympus OM2n, accompanied by a Zuiko 35-70mm f/3.5-4,5 and a Tokina RMC 24mm f/2.8. The films I used were Ilford XP2 Super 400, Kodak T-Max 400 and Ilford Delta 3200. In total, I took 8 rolls of 36 frames. A ridiculous number of shots when compared with those obtained in a half-day with any digital camera. But this is precisely the reason that led me back to the film, so I am absolutely delighted to have chosen this path.
The previous time I used the Kodak Tri-x in 35mm format I was quite unhappy with the results. But, as the most attentive readers of this blog already know, I have promised to do a new test soon, changing some key parameters. The results were as expected, and I “discovered” again the performance which are used to, notwithstanding the obvious differences between the 120 and the 35mm format in terms of grain.
Ok… I’m back! I finally got to shot again, and above all, to develop. So, this time I tested some things all at once: A beautiful Canon P rangefinder , with 39×1 screw mount, togheter with two standard Soviet lenses: the Jupiter 8 50mm f/2 and the Industar 61 52mm f/2.8. What’s more, however, I developed the film with the old Agfa Rondinax system, using Ars – Imago Fd developer.
Perhaps, as they say … I put too many irons in the fire but the results were satisfactory.