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.
Another Kodak Retina …? Yes, yes…. I know guys, but I warned you that I still had a couple of them in the queue to be tested. Now only the IIa remains (still not loaded yet), and then I’ll stop….. maybe… 😉 This IB, however, has long been around in the house (and in the repairman office), because while being in superb cosmetic condition , the shutter was frozen. Once repaired, however had to wait its turn patiently, until it reached its moment.
Okay guys, I wrote that for this month (probably) there would be no other post, but just today marks the 177th anniversary of our beloved Art: the Photography! And so, since yesterday I had developed and scanned a new film roll, here I am again. It was at least a year that a beautiful Agfa Silette L rested sadly in a closet. Seemed to work perfectly, except the focus ring … At first I thought it was the “usual” problem of hardened lubricant that plagues many vintage Agfa cameras, but once removed the front of the lens I realized that it was simply mounted incorrectly.
About a year ago, I got a nice Minox GT camera and I took some rolls of film straightaway. The second and third have already seen them in these posts. The first one however, remained hidden somewhere, patiently waiting for me to find the time to handle it. In fact, there was the problem of the film tail completely rewound in the cartridge: the first empirical attempts, however, had not brought good results and the “Film Picker” I had purchased had disappeared during the move. Well … a long story.
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.
Many film photography fans are fascinated by cameras (and lenses) produced behind the so-called Iron Curtain, in countries of the former Warsaw Pact. The DDR (or GDR) between them has created brands as Ihagee, Praktica, Pentacon (which has absorbed the first), synonymous with high quality construction mechanics, along with names such as Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer-Optik and the same Pentacon with lenses even at the highest level of quality. Speaking of cameras, robustness is one of the main qualities. The reliability of the models built in eastern Germany is also much higher than that of her contemporaries and even valid Soviet models. It is not uncommon then, to come across more than fifty years old cameras, which seem to come from the factory today and fully functional.
Recently, I’m testing some interesting cameras from the Voigtlander Vito Series. In particular, I took a couple of rolls with the Vito Clr. I have to say that this is a rather “unlucky” camera. In fact, during the development of the first roll I had a light leak, due to a broken seal in the Rondinax and the second roll once developed, I realized that the film was suddenly dragging “crazy” giving random uneven spacing. I will describe in greater detail in another post the Clr, but for now, I wanted to dedicate this one to the random overlapping frames. Involuntary diptychs and triptychs, in perfect Lomography style …… Well, it could be worse! 😉
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).
Voigtlander is another of the names that made the history of photography. It produced many cameras and lenses with the classic German quality. Models such as the Avus and Bessa folding, or the whole Vito series (with various Vaskar, Lanthar, Skopar and Ultron lenses) are well known to fans. The brand still exists but it is not the original manufacturer.