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.
These days I am quite busy (even testing and optimizing my new Darkroom and enlargerss) and then I had little time to shot and develop. But I can not overlook this blog too. So I’m writing this quick post with some results from a roll of Ilford Delta 400 Professional pusheded to 1600 ISO and developed in DD-X. This time I used the Olympus XA4. Nothing particularly new for this blog, but it’s always a pleasure to share our film experiences … 😉
As I wrote last time, my first outdoor experience with the Mamiya RB 67 was tiring but satisfying. In fact, the generous dimensions of the 6×7 cm negative and the quality of the lenses are ideal for landscape photography. Immerse ourselves in nature, in a place almost out of time, it can only do good for the spirit, and if we are able to bring home some good shots …. better yet.
It’s been love at first sight: she was large and heavy but it gave me a feeling of solidity and undeniable power. She went home with her beautiful Sekor C 90mm f/3.8 lens, a Vivitar duplicator and two SDPro backs, (one for 220) but she felt a bit lonely and I proceeded immediately to add Sekor C 50mm f/4.5 and 180mm f/4.5. At that point, I was ready to fight a war. The only problem is that such equipment can fight mainly in the studio photography, because to use it outdoors things get complicated struggle. And so, the time has passed (almost two years), until a few days ago …
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 …
After more than two years since I started using film again, the inability to print my negs was becoming unbearable. Unfortunately I do not have any usable space in the house and I do not like at all the “flying solutions”. So I was almost resigned to not being able to have my own darkroom for a long time yet. Recently, however, while they were undergoing some work in my garden, I decided to convert an old storage room into something more substantial masonry … and use it as a Darkroom, although devoid of running water (too difficult and expensive to achieve an appropriate plant).
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 ….