Friday, April 30, 2021

Voigtländer Vito III

I decided to acquire this Voigtländer Vito III recently when I came across its listing on ebay at what seemed a reasonable price.  The seller was a photographer who had made pictures with the camera.  He said the camera showed some minor signs of use, but everything worked properly.

   I was pleased to find on receiving the camera that the seller's claims were largely justified.  There is a little brassing on the lower side and a couple corners of the covering will need to be glued down.  The viewfinder could benefit from a cleaning, but it is usable, and the coupled rangefinder is accurate.  The Ultron f2/50 lens is clear, the shutter seems accurate, and the controls work smoothly.

These pictures from the camera were made on a roll of Kentmere 400 which I exposed at a stop slow for processing in PMK Pyro.  The early morning light in the riverside forest was a little on the dim side. 

The light was a better the next day during a stroll through Old Town. 

The images from the camera lived up to my expectations.  It will take some time, however, to get used to the unconventional placements and operation of some of the controls.  Focusing is accomplished by turning the knob on the top-left of the camera which also contains a pop-up rewind key.  The viewfinder window is to the right of center, so parallax must be allowed for in the opposite direction from that required by most of my rangefinder cameras. 

The placement and operation of the aperture, the shutter speed ring and the cocking lever are quite similar to those controls on my Vito II, one of the first cameras I acquired when I got back to shooting film about twenty years ago.  The Vito III is quite a bit larger than the Vito II, but still quite compact and pocketable when folded.  I'm thinking it will be fun to carry both together, one loaded with b&w and the other with color.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Small Camera, Big Subject

 My featherweight Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim has made a lot of pictures for me over the last fifteen years.  The camera is nearly always with me, so I don't have to miss many photo opportunities even when that is not my main purpose at the time.  This shot was made when I accompanied Margaret for a routine test at the Rust Medical Center.

Even though the little point-and-shoot has no capacity for adjusting focus, speed or aperture, the exposure latitude of modern color films make it possible to get the picture under a wide variety of lighting conditions.  In this case I was shooting some well-expired Kodak Gold 200.  The initial scans of the images from the roll showed a slight green color shift, but that was easily corrected in Photoshop.

A desaturated view of the image shows the persistence of the excellent tonal qualities and fine grain of medium-speed C-41 films.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

More Tri-X expired

 A quarter century on this Tri-X performs nicely thanks to frozen storage.  It seems to me that the tonalities and grain are very close to what a fresh roll of the film would produce.

I still lost one frame due to the curling of the thin film at the end of the roll.  For the next roll I will reverse the loading to put the curly end at the innermost part of the reel.  Or, maybe a better solution would be to insert the film strip in the reel with the emulsion side out since both ends are likely to have a strong curl.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Tri-X Prof (TXP) 07/1994

 I shot a roll of Tri-X Prof (TXP) in my Mamiya C330.  The expiration date on the 320 ASA film was an intimidating 07/1994, but it had been frozen. I gave the film a little extra exposure and a little more time in the developer and it performed very well.  My handling and processing, however, left something to be desired.  I lost a couple frames to poor loading onto the reel and also saw some light leak damage in some of the pictures.  The tonal values and grain were very nice in the surviving frames.

Plaza Don Luis

Plaza Vieja

I have four more rolls of this old Tri-X.  I'll try to be more careful with the processing, and I'm thinking it will be interesting to try some portraits to take advantage of the unique character of this film.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Ultra Wide Color

Having a good supply of expired but properly stored Fuji and Kodak color film gave me a good reason to get out with my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim camera.  I loaded a roll of Kodak Gold 200 with an expiration date of 09/2009 and made 24 exposures on walks in the neighborhood.

Several things became apparent when I processed the film normally in Cinestill C-41.  The decade of refrigerated storage had resulted in very little deterioration.  And, having not used the little vuws camera for some time, I had forgotten the fine points of shooting it.  I managed to capture my finger in about half the shots.  The 22mm lens, the small aperture and great depth of focus means you really need to shoot the camera much as you would a pinhole.  The processed film did have quite marked curvature across the width, so I had to scan it upside down with the curve away from the glass to avoid Newton rings.

I'm pleased I have lived to see another Spring.