Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Exercising the Signet 35

I thought these recent b&w images from the Signet 35 were interesting, though the combination of TMAX and hc-110 did not yield the quality I have gotten from it in the past.  The photos from this roll also introduced too many variables and are not useful for comparison with the last outing with the Signet 40.

I'm going to shoot another roll in the Signet 35 with the same film and lighting conditions as the last Signet 40 pictures to see if I can better compare the performance of the two Kodaks.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

Kodak Signet 40

I have always thought Kodak did nice work with the design of the Signet 40 which appeared on the market in 1956.  I was reminded of that judgment recently when I came across some discussions of the camera on line, so I went looking for one on ebay.  There were a lot of listings at reasonable prices,  I chose the least costly at $12; the seller said everything worked, and the camera had the uncommon f3.5 46mm Ektanar lens rather than the Ektanon most often found on this camera.

The Signet 40 resembles its immediate Signet 35 predecessor with a few notable differences, the most important being a shutter with a faster top speed of 1/400.  The lever film advance, as described in the manual, requires "about" three full throws to release the double exposure prevention.  As with the Signet 35, the shutter is cocked manually.  My example came with a leather case that looked unused and a three-pronged "Midget Flashholder".  Everything did appear to be working properly as advertised.  The vertical alignment of the rangefinder was a tiny bit off, but that seemed like it would be easily corrected.

I decided to give the camera a trial run before attempting any cleaning or repairs, so I loaded up a roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200.  In shooting the roll, I discovered one additional issue; the film counter was not working.

A close-up at the 2-foot minimum for the rangefinder showed good accuracy. And, a walk through Old Town to the Art Museum produced pictures with satisfying sharpness.

After processing and scanning the pictures I took the top off the camera and adjusted the vertical alignment of the rangefinder by turning a small screw which changes the angle of the half-silvered mirror.  That just took a few minutes.
    The non-working frame counter was more of a head scratcher.  I could not see any obvious problem with the operation of the counter mechanism on the top deck and I was careful in putting back the top to make sure the levers were properly engaged with the toothed wheel that rotates the counter dial.  I then opened the back of the camera to take a look at the star wheel at the bottom of the film frame which engages with the sprocket holes in the film when the film is advanced.  Poking around a dissecting needle in the narrow space next to the star wheel revealed the problem to be some tiny bits of film lodged next to the wheel.  Removing those bits freed up the mechanism and the counter then worked properly.

Sorting out Kodak lenses is always a complicated affair due to the fact that the company used product names that had little to do with actual lens designs.  The Kodak Ektar and Ektanar lenses are good examples of that custom as the names were applied to a great variety of lens designs over several decades.
    Several popular on line sites suggest that the Ektanar on the Signet 40 is a four-elment Tessar-like design.  Brian Wallen, however, exhibits a chart on his site based on a 1958 Kodak Data Book which puts the Ektanar on the Signet 40 firmly in the three-element category along with the more common Ektanon.  While it remains uncertain if the two lenses are identical, they do share the important commonalities of good lens coatings and a unit focus design which is said to yield better close focusing capabilities.  Given how the Internet works, the issue will likely not be resolved until someone actually gets around to disassembling the two lenses for comparison.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Color Chemistry

I've been using the Unicolor C-41 kit from Freestyle for quite a while and have been very satisfied with it.  When I went to order a new supply, however, I found it was on back order.  So, I decided to give the CineStill kit a try.  The price was not much different and the instructions for use seemed very similar to those of Unicolor.  The CineStill liquid components are quite a bit easier to mix.  The results seemed very similar to what I was used to with the Unicolor product.

In addition to the somewhat easier preparation of the liquid components, the CineStill kit includes some useful information on push/pull processing and variable temperature development.  The information packet also suggests that developing time should be increased by 2% for each roll of film developed.  With that in mind I've made myself a little developing time chart to follow as I use the kit.  I've been able to get quite a few more uses from the Unicolor kit than is recommended, so I'll be interested in seeing if the CineStill kit performs as well in that regard.

I see in visiting the CineStill site now that the C-41 kit is now on backorder there as well as at the Freestyle site, and the Unicolor kit is presently unavailable as well.  A bit of a mystery.

Friday, October 11, 2019

KW Patent Etui

I've been doing a little repair work on my two Patent Etui plate cameras.  Both had some pinholes in the bellows which some black fabric paint took care of. Soon after I got my first one I dropped the back and broke the ground glass.  I purchased a replacement glass panel, but did not know how to put it in place.  A couple years later I got to looking more closely at the back and realized that I just needed to take out the four little screws in the  back corners which released the glass and the two little brackets that hold it in the frame.

Both cameras seem to be working well now.  I'm going to order some 120 film which I will use with the Rollex roll film back.

These pictures were made on some expired Tri-X in my Minolta X-700.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Balloon Fiesta 2019

The first day of this year's Ballon Fiesta got fogged in, but both weekend days saw impressive mass ascensions.  When the balloons are back on the ground everyone heads into Old Town for the rest of the day.  I walked around the Plaza Vieja with my Voigtlander Brilliant.

Most of my shots had bad light leaks.  When I looked closely at the camera later I could see that there is a dent at the edge of the back that is letting in the light.  I think I covered that the last time I shot the camera with some black tape, but it has been over a year since I last used the camera, and I forgot about the leak.  I'll try to do another roll soon with the leak stopped up.  I really like the little Brilliant as its images are always surprisingly sharp and the brilliant finder makes shooting the camera a real treat.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Third Thursday

The Albuquerque Museum puts on an evening event on the third Thursday of each month.  The theme for September was Lowriders.  Five convertibles were parked on the lawn in front of the museum.  Inside were a variety of family activities and a bar.  A musical program matching the theme was presented in the outside theater.

I shot the cars with my Olympus XA loaded with some Arista Edu Ultra 100. I'm not sure where I got the film, but I was pleased with the way it looked after semi-stand processing in HC-110 at 1:160 dilution.