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.
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.
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 …
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.
Sometimes, when you receive a vintage camera, it happens to find inside an old negative, forgotten there for who knows how many decades. It happened to me twice in the past, into a folding 6×6 Rheinmetall Weltax and a few days ago, in another folding MF, the Agilux Agifold. In the first case, the roll was totally blocked and I could not avoid exposing it to light to pull it out. I only remember that it had a red bordeaux paper. This time, however, having noticed through the rear window the presence of a film (at N° 10), I rewound with the intention of developing it. It was an old Tri X Pan Professional, which I developed semi-stand on Adonal (Rodinal) 1: 100 for an hour. Results? Totally disappointing but ….
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.