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 …
Ferrania is a brand that all Italians of a certain age know, at least also in name only, because until the ’70s the advertising signs and neon signs appeared often in alignment with the photographers “shops” even in the remotest villages. Who then did not use at these times at least one Ferrania film roll? In short, it was kind of our local Kodak. Currently, this brand has returned to the attention of analogue photography enthusiasts with a crowdfunding operation to reactivate the film production lines once famous both in Italy and abroad. Anyway, is not the film that I want to speak about here, but a medium format camera: Ferrania Eura. Built since 1959/early ’60s, the Eura was a kind of Italian Holga, but made in a more refined and reliable way as well, with a decidedly higher level design.
Once again, on this blog, it is the turn of a Kodak Retinette. This time, it is the IIA model (Typ 036), produced in the 1959/60 biennium. It differs from the (virtually) contemporary IA model especially for the presence of the coupled exposure meter and the ingenious method indicating the depth of field similar, if not practically equal, to the one present on the IIB model. To tell the truth, the numbering of the various Retinette models is rather convoluted and I myself still constantly confused between a model and another. So I recommend you consult this Camerapedia page to get a better idea. However, whatever the denomination, each Retinette model I used has always lived up to the hype, back home photographs very well exposed and sharp, thanks to the excellent Reomar, both in the Schneider Kreuznach (IIB versions and IIA), or Rodenstock (IB) versions.
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.
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.
Yes, dear friends, it’s been a year since I published the first post of this blog! And it’s thanks to you that followed and helped it grow, that this experience has become day by day more enjoyable and exciting. It’s nice to know to be able to contribute, albeit in small part, to the preservation and indeed, to the spread of Analogue Photography. Getting readers from all over the world, and still rising, is a very satisfying element: a sign that I’m working well, in the right direction and with credibility. A small bunch of words and opinions, but many images that speak for themselves, so that readers can always evaluate the results and decide if and how these can be useful for him. A film / developer pair? An old camera? A lens you heard about? Here, maybe, on this blog you can find something of interest to you, written and photographed by an enthusiast, just like you, and exactly in the conditions of use that anyone can experience in his real life. Thank you, once again, my friends, to support me following this blog! I will do my best to always live up to your trust.