Saturday, January 30, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
I nearly always like the images I get from the Mamiya C330 and each time I shoot it I pledge that I will use it more often. It doesn't happen. I average picking up the camera once yearly. That's been going on now for ten years.
I loaded some HP5+ into the C330 on Saturday and went down to the river in the afternoon. There were ducks, geese and cranes in the ankle-deep water from bank to bank. It was a scene that seemed to call out for some telephoto work. Of course, I had left the 180mm lens for the C330 at home along with all the other accessories for the camera. Luckily, the 2.8/80mm lens is ultra-sharp and the HP5+ combined with PMK Pyro processing yields very fine grain. So, I came home with one good bird shot.
I think the lens on my YashicaMat is likely just as sharp as the lenses I have for the C330. However, the close focusing and parallax correction available in the Mamiya give it the edge whenever I'm out prospecting for images.
On my recent outing with the camera I used the waist-level finder; it is very bright and easy to focus with the flip-up magnifying lens. The Porroflex finder is a little dimmer and does not completely show the full image that will be on the film, but it makes shooting at a downward angle much easier. The accessory grip in combination with the neck strap also contributes greatly to managing the heavy camera.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
I took a walk in the neighborhood with the Leotax after making some adjustments.
I decided to slightly lessen the tension on the first curtain in order to reduce the shutter capping which was giving me an uneven exposure across the frame. The Leotax makes such adjustments a bit easier than the Leica. You just lift the spring off the cogwheel and turn it slightly clockwise and then let the spring down again to maintain the setting.
I also applied some black paint to the rim of the Jupiter 12's rear element to eliminate some flare at the edge of the images.
Both adjustments seem to have worked. The exposure across the frame seemed even, and the odd flare I got in images from the Jupiter 12 lens was gone. The film I used for the test was some Agfa APX 100, expired 07/98. I gave the film a couple extra stops of exposure to compensate for age, but it still required a bit more of a boost with Photoshop to get the proper tonal values. The APX was processed in Rodinal 1:50.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
I picked up this Leotax Elite recently at a good price from a seller on Rangefinderforum. It is a Japanese Leica clone from about 1959.
The camera looked good with only few signs of use and it seemed to be working. However, there was no take-up spool and the ones I use in my Leica and Soviet copies did not fit in the Leotax. Some research indicated the Canon spools with a pop-up handle were what I needed. I found a pair on ebay.
I shot a roll of HP5+ and processed that in Legacypro L110b. I wasn't too happy with that combination, but at least I got to see that the camera could make some pictures.
I tried out three of my Soviet lenses with mixed results. The Jupiter 8 and the FED 50 seemed ok, but I'm not sure about the Jupiter 12. The camera itself has a few issues that will need attention. The viewfinder is a little cloudy, the rewind switch is a bit hinky, and the shutter curtains need to be properly tensioned because of some uneven exposure across the image. I'll try adjusting the shutter tension, but I'm not sure I'll trust myself with the rest.
I found a couple good repair information resources on the web for the Leotax:
On Flickr there is a good tutorial about viewfinder cleaning for the similar Leotax K.
A Youtube video shows how to take the Elite apart and get it back together, though the presenter gets a bit confused at the end about reassembling the rewind handle and leaves that incomplete.
There is a good review of the whole Leotax line at the yashicatlr site.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
The Canon Pellix was first produced in 1965. Like the contemporary Pentax Spotmatic the Pellix provides through-the-lens metering which requires the aperture to be stopped down with a lever to obtain a reading. Unlike the Pentax and any other single lens reflex 35mm camera of that time, however, the Pellix did not have a swinging mirror which directed the image to the viewfinder before being flipped out of the way to expose the image. Instead, the Canon has a stationary pellicle mirror which directs one-third of the light coming through the lens to the viewfinder with the remaining two-thirds passing through the semi-transparent mirror to the image plane. That means that there is no blink when the shutter is activated, but it also means that the image seen in the finder is a bit dimmer than with more conventional slr cameras. Mine shows that dimness, but the view is still pretty good, due in part to the fast Canon FL 50/1.4 lens.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
I finished off the roll of Kentmere 100 in my Nikon F at a small birthday celebration for our granddaughter, Cate, who turned twelve. This again was an instance of a situation which was marginally suitable for photography with a slow speed film. I shot at 1/125 and with the lens at its maximum aperture of f2.5. The negatives looked thin, but the essential details and tonalities were captured thanks to the bright viewfinder of the camera and the excellent performance of the Nikkor 105mm lens which really excels for portrait work.
One thing I like about shooting with the Nikon F is that it is fully manual in operation. If the images I get are poorly exposed or focused there is no doubt about assigning responsibility.
Monday, January 11, 2021
I took a morning walk along Central Ave with my Nikon F.
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
I loaded some HP5 into my Nikon F and went on one of my usual walks through the neighborhood to the Old Town Plaza. Something about this camera inspires me to see old subjects in a new light, and I finished up the roll before I was back home.
The Nikon F is arguably the best buy in my collection of old cameras; it would have been a bargain at two or three times the price. It shows little signs of use and everything works smoothly and precisely. The shutter is accurate and quiet. The Nikon lenses are all fine performers.