Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Two compacts

I like cameras that can fit easily in a jacket pocket. I've added pages to my web site for two I like very much.

The Retina I is a 35mm folder that I've had for some time; I'm especially fond of it not only because of the nice images it makes, but also because I worked especially hard to get it working like new.

The Zeiss Ikon Maximar A is a compact plate camera from the early part of the last Century. Acquired just a few days ago, the Maximar has an extraordinarly fine Tessar lens, and only required a couple hours to get it operational.


robert said...

Very informative and great photos,the quality of those shots really speaks highly of those cameras but I believe more so of the photographer and his skill . I was wondering if you use a meter when shooting these types of cameras. Also what colour film did you use in the retina ,it looks amazing.

Mike said...

Thanks for the kind comments.

I do carry and use an old Sekonic selenium meter. I seldom use the meter outdoors other than maybe one initial check on average light. Indoor low light is harder to gauge, however, so I'm more careful about metering there.

Close-ups with an extended bellows or extesion tubes does introduce another wrinkle. Since f-stops express a ratio of aperture to focal length, moving the lens further out from the film plane requires some exposure compensation. For instance, at full extension the Maximar needs about two stops extra for correct exposure.

The film in the Retina I pictures was Kodak Gold 100. I can't get a100-speed film of any kind locally any more, but it is still possible to find on line. I usually get mine from B&H Photovideo.

I initially had mixed results from the Kodak Gold film; I decided ultimately that was the result of where I was taking it for processing. Most of the one-hour places have Fuji equipment which does fine with Fuji films, but not so hot with the Kodak stuff. Locally, I take my Kodak color to a Target store which is using a Noritsu processor. Its seems like the C-41 chemistry should be the same regardless, so the differences might just result from the temperatures at which the machines are run.

Maintenance and skill issues also play a big part in results from the labs. The Noritsu machine ate about half of the frames on that roll from the Retina, so I'm hoping that isn't a sign of things to come.

robert said...

Thanks for the info. I too find labs very inconsistent with c41. Even the few remaining that are considered pro labs.