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.
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 ….
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.
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, do not say I did not warn you! Most of my purchases in recent months has focused on Kodak Retina and Retinette cameras. As a result, even my shots and post on this blog … reflect this trend. This time, however, let’s consider one of the “Top” models of the range: the Retina IIIc (Typ 021 Ausf I). Laboriously, and after a long search, I managed to win one at an affordable price. In fact, many collectors and enthusiasts, eagerly, are grabbing these jewels of photography, conyinuosly raising the prices. Indeed, the aesthetics, the level of construction and the photographic performance, give their holder the feeling of holding in your hands something really valuable.
Wandering through my usual analog groups on the web, some time ago I saw a post about a “modern” Canon film camera and I remembered to have it. It’s the Canon Eos 3000n, purchased in 2005, already in a digital era and used very little (just a couple of rolls with Russian fisheye, as you can see in this post). So I went to rummage through my boxes moving house and I … exhumed it. To make it work I had to buy two new (and expensive) CR123A batteries. The camera, however, quickly got to work fine, like it was just out of the store. The 3000n was an economic model, built with abundant plastic use, but with many useful features and more, thanks to Eos mount, I can use my Canon lenses I owned for professional use in digital. As the first film I chose to test again the Foma Retropan 320 after the unsuccessful first test souped in FX39. This time I planned to use the Ilford ILFOTEC DD-X and I have to say that the results were quite interesting ….
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.
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.