Along the Tiber River – Praktica Mtl 5b & Helios 44 M 4

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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.

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A Winter Series with Moskva 5

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The Moskva 5 is a big Soviet made camera, which follows forms and performance of the most renowned folding Zeiss Super Ikonta. Snap 6×9 cm frames and 6×6 through a special removable mask. For the technical specifications of the camera back to the previous test readers: here and here. This time, taking advantage of a typical winter day, I wanted to use it in its native format, for large negatives (if any) to print.

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The Russian Contax: Kiev 4 & Jupiter 12

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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 …

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Lomo Smena Sl – Just twelve frames of (1992) Expired Orwo Np20

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This time I deal with one of the most popular cameras in the world: the Lomo Smena. In the specific case (just to complicate a little the affair) the SL version, adopting a sort of variation of more known “Rapid” loading system, introduced by Agfa in 1964. Born as an antagonist of the Kodak 126 system, it was adopted by some brands, but didn’t have long nor too fortunate life. I have to say about, that in my childhood I used repeatedly Kodak Instamatic cameras, either in 126 or 110 and perhaps one Agfa 110 … but I’ve never seen a Rapid or SL model.

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Zenit 11 & Rollei Rpx 25 in Ars-Imago Fd First Test

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Another Soviet camera: the Zenit 11, another film: the Rollei Rpx 25. As usual, I do too many things together but, the pleasure of trying new things, and the need not to overstretch the times, forces me to concentrate several elements in a single test. Let’s start from the camera: mine is really in very good condition … it looks almost mint and I got it for few bucks. She comes with the standard lens (later joined by a Pentacon 29mm f/2.8) Helios 44M 4 58mm f 2 and an uncoupled selenium light meter , apparently still working well.

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