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.
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.
Being (among other things) a fan of cameras and their respectable lenses, made behind the Iron Curtain , long ago I had the opportunity to enrich my vintage “arsenal” with a beautiful Pentacon Six Tl, fitted with its Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f/2.8 standard lens, wlf and metered pentaprism with angled eyepiece (and diopter correction). The camera is truly remarkable aesthetic and mechanical conditions, but a first test roll gave so many problems that I thought of having to make another to correct some of my errors in the loading of the film and in the development of the same. In the meantime, I ordered a new focusing screen with split image on Araxfoto site. Following the instructions on the Pentaconsix site (which I highly recommend for any info about these cameras), a few days ago I loaded a Ilford HP5+ film and started my hunting for satisfactory images. But …. things do not always go as we would like …
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.
Recently, I’ve been quite busy both for purely professional reasons, both for participation in an important collective photographic project. The State of Things, this is its name, is a project of social and documentary photography, entirely self-financed and self-released, carried on by about 40 italian photographers, which aims to keep alive the attention of public opinion and institutions towards the situational city of L’Aquila (and vicinity), struck seven years ago by the disastrous earthquake that has devastated not only the urban aspect, but also the entire social and economic life. For this reason, I had to slow down both my usual shooting pace with the film, and the publication of new posts on this blog. But, I could not leave alone too long my loyal readers, and so, I had already prepared some material to be published in this period. Here is the second part of my tests carried out with the Canon 3000N, this time loaded with Kodak Trix.
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 ….
Walking along the Via Appia Antica, in Rome, it’s like taking a leap into the past. Nearby, the modern city with all its noise and its concrete while before our eyes they lie green fields, luxury villas half-hidden among the ancient trees and above all, to the sides of the old road (often with the original flooring), construction of the Roman era, statues, temples and votive plaques. That alone could be enough to bring the visitor back in time more than twenty centuries but, sometimes, you can do amazing meetings, which return a scenario worthy of those immortalized by landscape painters of the nineteenth century.
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.
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.