Friday, April 28, 2017

Classic Combo

The Reflex II was one of the last high-quality classic-design cameras to be produced domestically by Kodak in the immediate post-war period.  It had a nicely-bright view screen, and the paired Anastar lenses were really excellent.  The camera's controls were a bit quirky.  The shutter was cocked by flipping up the shutter release.  Film framing was automatic, but required first bumping a button over the counter.  The camera today does not command the prices of contemporary Yashica tlr models, and certainly not that of the Rollei.  So, the Kodak Reflex II is quite a bargain for those looking for a quality classic and willing to read the manual.

Sharp looking pictures are pretty much a given with virtually any medium format camera, even those with rudimentary single-element meniscus lenses.  The Reflex II Anastar is a big step beyond that, however.  The coated four-element design is very sharp, but it is also outstanding in its capacity to render a wide spectrum of subtle tonalities.  Combine that ability with Acros and Rodinal and you get results that just can't be topped.  That combination of resolution and tonal rendering has served me particularly well when photographing ancient rock art designs on dark basalt which can be extremely difficult to capture well.  Similarly, pictures made in low light conditions have a better chance of being seen by the Anastar than with many of its contemporary competitors.

I was particularly pleased with this last shot on the roll of Acros I recently ran through the Reflex II.  The dim room light demanded the shot be made wide open at f3.5 and 1/50 sec.  I did not know for sure when I made the shot if the focus would be good; even with the camera's relatively bright screen, the low light and my old eyes left quite a lot to luck.  I think luck was with me, though, and the Anastar did its part well.

The Reflex II is easier to work on than a lot of similar cameras.  I cleaned the lenses and shutter  when I got the camera and they seem faultless in their performance.  The film spacing gets a little too close if I rely only on the auto frame spacing feature, but that is easily circumvented by just making use of the ruby window. I have used 120 film in the Reflex II by just trimming down the plastic reel ends with nail scissors to be flush with the backing paper.  However, advancing the film will go more smoothly if the 120 film is re-rolled onto a 620 reel.

Kodak Reflex II with Anastar f:3.5 - 80mm
Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Adox Rodinal 1:50 at 20 deg.C
13.5 minutes development
Continuous gentle agitation first minute, then 3 inversions in 5 seconds every 30 seconds
30 second tap water stop bath with continuous agitation
6 minutes in rapid fixer
10 minute running tap water rinse and a 30 second slosh in dilute Photo-Flo
Steel tank


JR Smith said...

The portrait is superb! And I really like Acros in Rodinal!

Mike said...

Thanks. I was looking for a subject to finish off the roll when Cate showed up unexpectedly to spend the day with us. Acros and Rodinal is probably my favorite combination. I found with the previous roll that deviating from the standard development time is not a good idea even though the adjustment seems appropriate according to the time and temp charts. I think it will do well in stand development, though, so I'll probably give that a try before I'm done with this 5-pack.

JR Smith said...

I will be paying close attention to your results as I have Acros 35 and 120 rolls that need processing. And...I happen to have a bottle of Rodinal to try as well.

Jim Grey said...

What a lovely portrait! You got a nice look from that Acros.

Mike said...

I was looking backward today with the "Acros" label and see that I have used it most in the past few years with my Ansco Panda box camera. I've never tried it that I can recall with 35mm.