Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I am going to let my website account expire at the end of the year.  I have put the web site files into a self-extracting archive which can be downloaded from Google Drive:

photovintage.exe (237 MB)
(Google pops up some warnings about downloading a large exe file, but the download process is very fast.)

Click the above link to download the web site files.  Once downloaded to your computer, double-click the photovintage.exe file to extract all of the files to a folder which will be called "photovintage".  Use your web browser to find the file, index.html, in the folder and click on it to show the opening page.

(8-11-15: Fixed javascript for proper image display.)
(9-16-15: Fixed rock art image display.)
(9-23-15: Fixed links and image display for architecture and pinhole.)
(9-24-15: Updated pinhole links list.)
(11-11-15: Fixed scrolling image strip on index page.)

All photos and text in the blog and the web site are copyright mike connealy.
Prior permission is required for any re-use of photos or text.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

taking a break

I'm taking a break from posts to my blog.  Photography and vintage film cameras is a big and interesting subject, but I've probably already written everything worthwhile I have to say on the topic.

The blog and the web site will remain available.  I think they contain some useful observations on making pictures with old cameras, and there are a variety of ways of locating specifics with the available search technologies.  I will also continue to answer inquiries by email about any subjects related to the blog or web site.

Pictures and text are copyrighted and permission for reuse is required in all cases.

Thanks for visiting.

- Mike Connealy

Monday, March 09, 2015

Shooting the FED 1g

The FED 1g is the last in a long line of Barnack-style Leica copies produced in the Soviet Union.  Mine, according to the serial number, was produced in 1955.  I haven't used the camera in quite a while because of a maladjusted shutter which caused a dark line to appear along one edge of the negative.

The explanation of the problem is that the second of the two cloth curtains in the shutter is under too much tension and it catches up to the first curtain a little too soon after the shutter is tripped.  The solution to the problem is to slightly decrease the tension on the second curtain.  The picture below shows the two little knobs with a screw in the middle of each which allow the adjustment of the tension on the two curtains.  The one closest to the lens controls the second curtain.  There are several places on the net where you can get instructions for making the adjustment.  I used the one at rangefinderforum which can be found in the Russian FSU RF forum.

Truth be told, the instructions are pretty opaque.  I removed the little locking screw while holding onto the big round nut with some pliers and keeping the tip of my screwdriver planted in the central screw head.  The whole thing rotated a bit on its own, so when it got to about 180 deg. from the starting point, I returned the nut to its original position by twisting counterclockwise and put the locking screw back in place.  I'm still not sure if what I did corresponded to the intent of the instructions, but I don't see any dark line  as before in the negs, so I guess the problem is fixed.  Below are a couple full neg scans from the roll I put through the camera following the repair.

There are a couple other common problems with these cameras.  The film cassette tends to ride a little high in the chamber because of a slight difference between modern film canisters and the reusable metal one the Russians used.  There is a little extra black light seal material in the modern cassettes which protrudes at the ends.  That can be cut off to allow the cassette to seat better.  If that doesn't do it, you can lay a penny on top of the cassette before you replace the back.

The other common issue is pinholes in the rubberized cloth shutter curtains. Provided the deterioration is not too advanced, you can fix that problem with a light application of black fabric paint which you can get at any crafts store.

In addition to the FED 50mm collapsible lens I have a 35mm Jupiter 12 and the corresponding wide-angle accessory finder.  Both lenses are of excellent quality and I'm pleased to once again have an opportunity to put them to use.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Shooting the Kiev IIa

My Kiev IIa dates from 1956.  Aside from the addition of the flash synch socket it is a well-made close copy of the Zeiss Contax II.  This is a camera that demands some familiarity to get the best performance it is capable of delivering.  The best explanation of the peculiarities of the Kiev rangefinder I have seen is at Laszio Gerencser's blog, The Camera Collection.

The Contax grip is an essential part of using the Kiev IIa.
Though no fault of the camera, the pictures I snapped during our recent snow storm were not worth posting.  I did like a couple of the compositions from the previous day's outing when the storm was just developing.

Tiguex Playground

San Felipe de Neri
I believe both of these shots were made with the 35mm Jupiter 12 lens which I generally prefer to shoot on this camera, mostly because of the brilliant accessory finder which goes with it.  The 5cm/f2 Jupiter 8 is also a very good performer.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

pardon my digital

Albuquerque gets some snow every winter in the Sandia Foothills.  Significant amounts only reach us in the valley about once in a decade.

I shot some Tri-X with the Kiev IIa which I'll post when it is developed.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kodak HC-110 Developer

 I shot a roll of Tri-X in my Pentax K1000 at the zoo yesterday.  As I often do to get close to the subject and eliminate foreground clutter, the camera was mounted with a 135 Super Takumar plus a Vivitar 2X telextender.  The film was processed in HC-110 which has long been my favorite for black and white work as it seems to handle about any film well, and it does particularly well with TMAX and Tri-X.

The liter bottle of HC-110 which I popped open yesterday was the first I've used in about two years since the price doubled.  BHPhotovideo where I usually get my film won't ship HC-110 any longer, so I put in my order with Freestyle where I also get my Unicolor kits for color work.  The price for the HC-110 was $35.99 plus about four bucks for USPS shipping.

While I was sufficiently irritated with the price gouging to avoid buying the HC-110 for a long time, the truth is that even at the current price the developer is still one of the most economical resources for home black and white film processing.  The concentrate is used by most people in the 1:32 one-time-use Dilution B form.  That means the liter bottle will produce nearly 8.5 gallons of working solution to process around one hundred rolls of film.  In fact, it is possible to go to Dilution H with little loss of quality, and get twice the mileage.  For the specifics of mixing and using HC-110 the best source of information is still the old Covington Innovations web site.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Getting what you see

I'm often happier with the images from simple cameras than those from some of my more sophisticated models with highly corrected lenses and shutters with a wide range of speeds.  The Argoflex Forty has a decent three-element coated lens, but the shutter has a top speed of just 1/150.  Focus is by estimation.  The camera's big advantage for me is the brilliant finder which gives me a very good idea of what I am actually going to get on the film.