Tag: D-23

I Will Remember

I Will Remember

Here, at the end of history, we know that the war that is The Great War would only last one more year until on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour the guns across Europe would fall silent. But one hundred years ago they did not know that.

Least We Forget

The men and women who served, in another 100 years will they names be read aloud by the public? Will their names still be remembered? Will our grandchildren know of the sacrifice of those who died 200 years before? Will there be the same fanfare of sober celebration?

In Memorial

I don’t know about then, that’s the future, I’m here now, and I know that I will remember. And I take my duty actively to make sure the generation after me remembers as well.

Least We Forget

Because if I forget, how can the future remember?

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Redeemer

All the photos featured here were taken in 2017 of war memorials I have photographed in my travels. The icon on social media is a simple 3D replica of a carving found in the tunnels beneath Vimy Ridge in France. I hope you, dear reader, take the time to attend a ceremony tomorrow or take a moment to be silent and remember at 11 am. If you need to know where you can attend such a ceremony in Ontario, you can find the details on the Ontario Government Site.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

Technical Details (From Top to Bottom)
Cambridge, Ontario – Downtown Galt
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Toronto, Ontario – Kew Gardens
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Oakville, Ontario – Georges’ Square
Nikon F5 – Lomography Achromat 64mm/2.9 (Orange-22) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

Toronto, Ontario – Church of the Redeemer
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400
Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Delta Def Jam – Part II

Delta Def Jam – Part II

When it comes to the Delta line of films from Ilford, my least favourite is Delta 400; I don’t know why. I just never got the results I honestly liked out of it. So with Delta Def Jam in full swing, I figured why not give it another go!

The New Post Office

The Old Post Office

Downtown Cambridge, or rather the historical name for this part of the city, Galt has always been on my radar as a place to take a camera and have some fun. While I have tried in the past to do some shooting here, the camera I had with me just didn’t behave. I grabbed my Rolleiflex, two rolls of Delta 400 and hit the road. I also had along my Nikon F90 loaded with Kodak Ektachrome E100G along with three final sheets of RPX25 for my Crown Graphic.

Great Little Pub

A Bit of a Mess

However, I miscalculated just a bit, and the sun didn’t start to show up until after I had left the city and well into developing the film I shot. But a 400-Speed film provided me with enough reach speed wise, and I just made sure to shoot flat compositions or put the f/2.8 lens to use. One of the more exciting interactions I had was when I went into a church in search of a washroom. One of the gentlemen running their pie table asked if I had a Hasselblad. I replied that it was a Rolleiflex, and I had left the Hasselblad at home. As it turned out, he is a fan of the Film Photography Podcast.

Basic + Person

Centering

While I had plans to develop the film in Pyrocat-HD, but I’ll save that until next month. I decided to try another one of my magic bullets, Kodak D-23. And I am pretty happy with the results. Maybe I just don’t like Ilford DD-X. I’ll see you next month for the final Delta Def Jam. Until then keep Jamming folks!

All Photos Taken In Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Five Rolls – A Journey of HP5+

Five Rolls – A Journey of HP5+

If you’ve ever listened to me talk about film, you’ll know there are some films I have a strong view. I love my Kodak Tri-X and JCH Streetpan 400; then there are the ones I’m not too happy with, that is Ilford HP5+ in 35mm and Delta 400 in general. But what if I could change my mind on just one? Would it give me another tool in the kit to use to get a specific look? Could I shoot four rolls of a film stock and come to like it, even go as far as recommending it? Challenge Accepted.

That film isn’t Delta 400, I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like the stock actually I just developed Delta 400 in Kodak D-23 and it turns out it’s not a bad film stock either, but I feel HP5+ can be one that I just might be able to. So I’ll give it a shot, get five rolls of the stock, load it up into trusted cameras, visit suitable locations, and then pick developers I’ve never used with 35mm HP5+ and go to town.

Roll One: SPUR HRX
I got the idea of using SPUR HRX after looking on Flickr after Tony posted a question on the Toronto Film Shooters Group. Tony had asked for developer recommendations for HP5+ and Mike suggested SPUR HRX. To be fair in this case, I also pushed the film a little bit more than an average day of shooting. I shot the roll indoors in a sort of abandoned, or rather closed campus of Sheridan College. I figured, if I’m going to learn to like the film, I might as well take it into a familiar situation for me.

Registrar

Bravo Six

Leftovers

The Moody Darkness

The results they speak for themselves, the images are dark, moody, and the contrast is rich. Not surprising given the lighting conditions. I did note that there a more substantial grain pattern, but using a sharp developer on a 400-speed film will do that, but it isn’t anything worth complaining.

Roll Two: Pyrocat-HD
When in doubt just run with a Pyro developer. I started working with Pyro based developers after seeing some of the amazing work Mat Marrash has been doing with HP5+ in 8×10 and this developer. Having some early morning light in Toronto, I loaded up the roll into my trusty Contax G2 and went to town!

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

When I pulled the negatives out of the tank, I noticed something different, something I had only seen with Kodachrome. Yes, the layers of exposure on the film had a relief to them, as if the silver had been hand etched onto the film base itself. And then into the scanner and you saw this clean three-dimensional image, smooth tones and no grain at all.

Roll Three: Kodak D-23
One of the first developers I ever used was Kodak D-76, it was at the time the preferred developer of my teacher Julie Douglas. While I have only used a single jug of the stuff since, I have latched onto its cousin, the slower acting D-23. I’ve souped plenty of film stocks in it and like how it makes Tri-X look, so I figured it would be a good candidate.

Nature Trail...

Roughing It

Taking on the CRAIG

Take a Seat

I really liked D-23, it performed as I expected it would give the usual smooth tones all the way through the grayscale. Indeed an excellent choice for the film. I’m now hankering to try this with medium and large format versions of HP5+.

Roll Four: Kodak Microdol-X
I happened across this developer completely by accident during my 52-sheet project and came to enjoy using it. While an older Kodak developer again, and not available under the Kodak name, but Legacy Pro has their Mic-X which is the same. Microdol is a fine grain soft developer so it should be able to work a bit of magic.

The Masons

Back to the War

Lighting the Way

Pick Me Up

I honestly don’t know what went wrong with these photos. They all seemed overexposed. The camera, my Nikon F5 has a solid meter, the ASA/ISO setting was correct. Maybe it was the Orange-22 filter I used or the harsh sunlight. I had to work some post-processing magic on these. I think that I need to reduce the developing times by 1 minute or give the film a slight pull to make Microdol-X work.

Roll Five: Kodak HC-110
When you’re having trouble with something, how about going back to an old friend. Kodak HC-110 is one of two developers I have not stopped using since I started developing my own black & white film. The other is Rodinal, but not wanting to give the film one hell of a pull, I figured HC-110 in the standard Dilution B would be a good way to help out.

Blown Open

Eroded Away

Follow the Rails

Sun Dappled

HP5 sings with HC-110, you get to see how sharp the film stock is with this Kodak developer, and the contrast is dead on point even in the strange lighting conditions that are a sun-dappled forest at high-noon. While not exactly the best time to be out shooting it provides a real test for what a film and developer can do, and HC-110 is a sure winner in this case.

When I first set out to shoot these five rolls of HP5+ I went into it thinking I didn’t like the film stock in 35mm, however, upon shooting these five rolls I realised that I did like the film, I had just had some bad encounters with it in the past. In the end, it’s a solid film stock one that I will use in the future because I won’t always be able to find Kodak Tri-X, and now I have several developing options. I also plan on trying to perfect that Microdol-X time/speed issue.

Technical Data:
Roll One: Sheridan College, Skilled Trades Centre, Oakville, Ontario
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll Two: Toronto, Ontario
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll Three: Rattlesnake Point, Milton, Ontario
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-12) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll Four: Ancaster, Ontario
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Orange-22) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak Microdol-X (Stock) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll Five: McCraney Valley Park, Oakville, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Skilled Trades – A Farewell to a Campus

Skilled Trades – A Farewell to a Campus

September 2017 marked a milestone for Sheridan College. As a College Sheridan began its life as a collection of Satellite campuses, those campuses closed, the college moved to centralised campuses. One remained the Skills Training Centre. This September that campus would close its doors as the last satellite campus for Sheridan. STC, as it was better known, holds a special spot for me. I worked at the campus for several years, establishing a permanent IT presence at the small campus. So when I learned that the campus was doomed to closure I made a point to return one last time and document it. And document it as I would any of the abandoned buildings I had explored in the past.

Part One – Before the Move
Unlike many abandoned buildings I have explored in the past, in this case, I had a chance to visit the campus before it closed.

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

STC - Before the Move

Part Two – Empty Walls
At the end of August, all but one department had left the building leaving nothing more than an empty shell.

The Approaching Storm

Registrar

The Moody Darkness

Leftovers

Part Three – Finally In Colour
Having one last errand at the campus I decided to give it one last go around with a digital camera.

Cleanliness

Lab

Tickle Me

Metropolis

Techincal Details:
Part One:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fuji Acros 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C
Part Two:
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C
Part Three:
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

One More Time – Efke Film

One More Time – Efke Film

If you’ve been doing the film photography thing for some time now, you’ll have heard about a classic film emulsion, that is Efke. Efke, a brand name of the film from the Croatian firm, Fotokemika, is a silver rich panchromatic film that gives any images a classic look. This classic look is because the film using a traditional grain structure has a high silver content, and only uses a single emulsion layer. Sadly, when Fotokemika closed their doors due to the age of their equipment and the cost of continuing to maintain the machines, it not only killed the Efke line of films but Adox as well. And while Adox bounced back and still supports a decent number of film stocks such as CHS 100 II and CMS 20 II, Efke has remained buried. And while you can’t buy new stock Efke, a gentleman in Croatia happened across a warehouse worth of Efke 100 film in 35mm and began selling it on eBay. I jumped on this and bought a brick. Of course, I’m not one to horde film or save it for a rainy day.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Film
  • Base: Polyester
  • Film Speed: ASA-100
  • Formats Avaliable: 35mm/127/120/Sheet

This ain't no Baywatch
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

When you could buy Efke films at your usual photographic supply stores, I tended to stay away from the 100-speed stock, going instead with the 50 and 25-speed films. In fact, I shot my final rolls of Efke 50 through 2015 to 2016; I even got a chance to shoot Efke 25 in 4×5 format having secured a short box from Burlington Camera’s Film Fridge. Now looking back through my Flickr search, Efke was a mainstay of my film fridge for a good seven years.

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C
Kodak Pony 135 Model C – Kodak Anaston Lens 44mm ƒ/3.5 – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

When I had shot that final roll in March of 2016, I figured that was it! Fotokemika had shut down, Adox had begun to produce their film stock. Then, at the Winter 2017 Toronto Film Shooters Meetup, James Lee mentioned he had come across an eBay auction, the auction I referred to in my first paragraph. The game was afoot! Several folks around the table immediately upon returning home put in their orders. And sure enough, a couple of weeks later this well-wrapped package of film arrived from Croatia.

Let Fly!
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

There is still enough information out there to develop the film, with most people going for Rodinal or HC-110 as their soup of choice. And yes Efke looks excellent in both those options, but I wanted to try something different. The one thing I was a little surprised that nowhere did I find a developing time for my favourite Kodak developer next to HC-110 that is D-23. There are D-76 times, so I had that at least as a base. A quick search online landed me back on the APUG site and found a thread with the exact question I was asking. After much consideration, I landed on seven minutes, forty-five seconds. It worked, and I was fairly pleased with the results.

Oh that Swirl
Nikon F5 – Lomography Achromat 64mm/2.9 (Orange-22) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

There is still more to go through; I gave Pyrocat-HD a try being my favourite developer period. PMK Pyro worked magic on Efke 25 and Efke 50, I wasn’t too much a fan of Ekfe 100 in Pyrocat-HD. If you are planning on giving Efke a try or happened across a brick of the stock, this isn’t a film for someone who is used to modern film. You will get more grain on this film that you would on Ilford FP4+.

Clean Lines
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

If you do happen to enjoy this look, I know I do in certain situations like re-enactments or gritty street photography work; then you don’t have to fret too much. While Efke is gone, there’s still plenty of film stocks out there that can provide you with a similar look. There’s Adox CHS 100 II, I’ve shot this film only in 4×5 sheets and think it’s a beautiful film stock, and being 4×5 and while I haven’t picked up any 35mm stock I just may have to. But probably your best bet is to look at Fomapan 100, this film is a recent addition to my tool kit and provides a beautiful classic look especially souped in Rodinal and D-23.

CCR Review 61 – Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 – Exakta VX IIa

You don’t have to break a leg to get a kick out of using the Exakta VX IIa, but if you’re not careful if you drop it on your leg, it just may break the bone. I was a little wary of this camera at first. All the controls are on the left side. Thankfully it didn’t take much to get used to the odd layout, and luckily it didn’t take me 39 steps to get used to the machine. And I found it fairly intuitive after a while; there was no throwing this camera out the rear window, I’d by a psycho for doing such a thing.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Dirt

  • Make: Exakta
  • Model: VX IIa
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, Exakta Bayonet
  • Year of Manufacture: 1956-1963

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Good
There are a few things that the genuinely awkward Exakta has going for it. The first item is the optics, beautiful sharp Carl Zeiss lenses, like the iconic Biotar makes this a camera worthwhile for the simple reason of image quality. Along the same line as the lens is the aperture opening lever. On the bottom of the lens barrel, there’s a pull lever that will open up the aperture as the camera doesn’t have an automatic aperture or TTL metering. So having the ability to set the aperture, open it up for focusing, then with a half push on the shutter release the lens stops down before tripping the shutter, gives the VX IIa somewhat of an easier operation. Then there’s the wonderful option of using a waist-level finder. Yes, you read that correctly, you can put a waist-level finder onto the Exakta. It does make for a different shooting experience with the camera and certainly makes using the left-handed controls a bit easier in the long run.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Bad
Throw out everything you know about shooting SLRs; when you pick up an Exakta. I’m not sure of the reason behind this radical departure from the norm, but it certainly makes for a unique shooting experience. And it doesn’t stop there, nothing on this camera is quick and easy. You have to cut down the film leader to load the camera, and there’s little to no feedback on if you’ve loaded the film correctly. The film advance pulls down the meter and cocks the shutter, so it has the longest pull in any camera I’ve reviewed, it’s almost a full 180 degrees. Even rewinding the film, what should be the easiest task of them all is awkward, I lost about five or six frames because when I though I had rewound the film, I hadn’t and opened the back…twice. And finally, the shutter release takes a bit of an effort to push down. All these points combine to a rather awkward shooting experience, even more so than the Leica R3.

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

CCR Review 61 - Exakta VX IIa

The Lowdown
If you want a serious challenge, with some great results, the Exakta VX IIa is the camera for you. Everything is mirrored, everything takes a lot more of an effort to operate and use. This isn’t a camera for quick and dirty operation. So I can see why a wheelchair-bound photographer would use the camera for spying on his neighbors in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. But if you do run with the camera, you won’t be disappointed in the images you get out of it.

All Photos Taken at Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton, Ontario
Exakta VX IIa – Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2/58 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

Film Review – Fomapan 100

Film Review – Fomapan 100

With my film photography, I have had limited experience with the Fomapan products. I’ve shot Fomapan 200 with okay results and the surveillance variant of Fomapan 200 available through the Film Photography Project with much better results. I’ve tried Fomapan 400 in sheet film and got no results. But after seeing some amazing work with Fomapan 100, I decided to pick up four rolls in 120 from Argentix.ca to give it a try. I certainly found the film pleasing to work with, a classic response with the four different developers I worked with over the course of shooting the film in several different situations.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic Black & White Film
  • Base: Format Dependent (120/4×5 – Clear Polyester (PE), 135 – Cellilous Triacetate)
  • Film Speed: ASA-100, with a latitude between ASA-50 to ASA-400
  • Formats Avaliable: 135, 120, and Large Format

Rusted Out
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Opposing Doors
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

The number one good thing about Fomapan films is the cost; these are very inexpensive films to shoot which makes them a great film to start with if you’re learning to develop your own black & white film. But if you want the best bang for your buck, Fomapan 100 is the film of choice. And don’t think you’re getting a cheap film, Foma 100 is one of the nicest mid-speed films I’ve ever used. It has almost a classic look and film, like the films of the mid-twentieth century, great if you want to shoot World War Two reenactments on film.

Summit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Grab a Pint?
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The developers I used for the review are as follows, Rodinal, Kodak D-23, Pyrocat-HD, and Kodak HC-110. It was Rodinal that brought out that classic look and feel, while slightly more grain than you’d expect in an ASA-100 film, but nothing too serious. I saw a reduction in grain using Pyrocat-HD, but I felt that the film came out of the tank slightly under-developed, so it either needs about thirty seconds more in the developer or slightly warmer water, maybe 1-2 degrees hotter. Kodak D-23 is another winner, a bit grainer but brought out the tonality of the film and continues that same classic look that you get with Rodinal. I was also fairly pleased with the results of HC-110 Dilution H, kept the contrast on mark, and surprisingly the grain was hardly noticeable. My final say is that Rodinal is the best developer for this film as it gives you the shortest standard developing times with the best results and can easily be done in the field as you can just use water for your stop bath. I say standard developing times as Dilution B and A of HC-110 has shorter developing times but requires constant agitation.

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

Of course, no film is without fault. While many may target the film’s polyester base, it is not much of an issue. In Medium format, the PE base handles well and easily mounted onto the plastic reels of the Patterson system and will probably handle just as well on steel. No the biggest issue I have with Foma 100 is the long developing time. Most times are around the 10-minute mark, while not much of a slight against the product just a minor annoyance. Thankfully the Rodinal time is under the 10-minute mark. I mostly say this because often we do marathon developing sessions and working late into the night is tough because as you get tired, you’re more likely to make a mistake.

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

My final word on the film, it’s certainly worth a shot if you’re on a budget or just learning. You can pick this up for under six dollars a roll (Canadian). And if you’re shooting the film in 4×5, you’re looking at a buck a sheet, only Arista.EDU and X-Ray film is cheaper. It’s also good if you want that classic look-and-feel that you often saw with Adox and Efke films, it works well in daylight and shadow and just sings in the right developer. I hope to pick up some of the 35mm version and see if there’s any difference between the two formats.

CCR Review 60 – KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 – KMZ Zenit E

Soviet cameras and I have had a rocky relationship. There’s only a handful out there that I like, and then there’s the Zenit E. This is a beautiful camera that is probably the pick of the litter from the Zenit line. One of my first SLRs was a Zenit B, the non-metered version of the E. And despite never getting a single frame from the camera. Because I had no clue what I was doing at the time, finding myself instantly familiar with the workings of the Zenit E and it certainly makes for a much better Soviet SLR than the other’s I’ve worked with in the past. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this camera for a review.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Dirt

  • Make: KMZ
  • Model: Zenit E
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Interchangeable, M42 Screw Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1965-1968

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Good
There is nothing complicated about this camera. The operation, layout and general use of the camera make it easy for anyone to pickup and use. The only feature that this camera has is the uncoupled light meter, but more on that later. Despite the weight of the camera, it doesn’t detract from its use, although a nice heavy duty padded strap would be a good idea. A carbine style cross strap would be best. The M42 mount gives you a wide range of lenses to use on the camera both German and Soviet optics can easily mount on the camera. And as a bonus, most Soviet optics are direct copies of their German counterparts and often have their unique features that you don’t find in other lenses. Even though there is no automatic aperture on the camera that doesn’t detract from the operation, as you can easily set the aperture then open and close it with a simple twist ring that will stop at the correct aperture. The one thing to watch out for is the shutter speed dial; you can only set your shutter speed once the film has been advanced and shutter cocked, much like the rangefinders from the FED and Zorki line. Finally, there’s the sound of the camera, the noise the shutter and mirror make when in operation is substantial and pleasing, there’s no mistaking when you’ve fired a shot.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Bad
Usually, if a camera has a selenium meter that tends to be a positive feature to a camera, no batteries needed, and usually still operates. In this case, however, the meter isn’t a handy thing to have on this camera. First, off the meter is uncoupled, this means that no matter how you adjust the camera settings the meter doesn’t react, there’s a second dial that you set to give you the camera settings based on the meter reading. Add to that the meter read out is on the top of the camera body only. It would be better to stick with Sunny-16 or an external meter. In addition to this, you’ll have a hard time ensure the correct film speed setting as the camera is calibrated more towards the old GOST scale with corresponding DIN numbers. Sadly these film speeds do not line up with most modern films, you do have options like GOST-130, but I’ve never seen that sort of film. There is also the matter of the long film advance crank, while a minor nuisance does make it difficult to fire off several shots in succession. And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Soviet Bloc did not have the best quality control so there is a chance that these cameras can break easily or purchased in a broken state. At least there’s a high chance with the right tools and manual you can do the repair yourself.

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

CCR Review 60 - KMZ Zenit E

The Lowdown
Out of all the Soviet cameras I’ve reviewed to date, the Zenit E is only one of two that I would recommend picking up, but I would lean someone more towards a Zenit B, the non-metered version. Both are strong mechanical cameras that have a nice look and feel to take out on International Communist Camera day and are better than most of the later model Zenit cameras. But there is one thing that you should look for if you are thinking of getting one and that’s the lens. Most of these cameras shipped with and still come with a Helios 44-2 lens, this 58mm f/2 is a copy of the Carl Zeiss Biotar. It has also become somewhat of a cult lens in the portrait market even I have one that I use with my Sony a6000. The reason is that when you shoot a subject at about 5 feet away with the lens opened to f/2 you get a classic Petzval style swirl. So even if you get a broken Zenit, you still get an amazing lens to add to your collection.

All Photos Taken in Hamilton, Ontario
KMZ Zenit E – KMZ Helios 44-2 2/58 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

It’s a TMAX Party – Part I

It’s a TMAX Party – Part I

The fine folks behind the film photography promotion website Emulsive have done it again! In the footsteps of last year’s FP4Party, they have started to run a couple of different monthly participation events for film photographers around the globe through the use of Twitter. Sadly I didn’t participate much in the FP4Party mostly because of time conflicts; I decided to make a point to join in on this year’s film parties. Being free of most projects it freed my hand to keep up this time around. This year’s first party is a celebration of Kodak TMax. Tmax a modern film emulsion that was released in the late 20th-Century and use a tabular grain rather than a traditional grain like Tri-X or Plus-X.

While I figured the easiest way to jump into the TMaxParty was to dig into my box of 4×5 TMax 100. While TMax isn’t always my first choice, I’m more of a classic grain shooter. But hey sometimes it’s good to jump a little bit outside of your comfort zone. So into Hamilton, I went, and while I had planned to shoot all eight loaded sheets that day but the cold weather told me otherwise.

HMCS Haida
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Craft Beers
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Whitehern
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 12:00 @ 20C

Well in Canada, March can be a bit of a hit and miss, and while the weather kept me from shooting outside, my shutters tend to get laggy in sub-zero weather I again had to dive outside of my comfort zone. Usually, when I’m shooting large format I stick to deep depth-of-field, we’re talking f/32 and up on my aperture. Sure it makes for longer shutter times, but it gives the images incredible sharpness. Well, the temperatures stuck below zero so open up the lens I did.

Retention
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

Take Flight
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

The Lights Above
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 9:30 @ 20C

While I’m pretty happy with my results for this month, I hope next month’s TMax Party I’ll have some more outdoor shots. Of course, the big question is what format will I shoot, and in what camera! Current runners are my Contax IIIa, Rolleiflex 2.8F, or Hasselblad 500c. So we’ll see next month!

CCR Review 56 – Leica R3

CCR Review 56 – Leica R3

It’s the red dot special, but not the red dot you were probably expecting. While Leica is best known for their rangefinder cameras, both the older Barnack and the iconic M-Series Leica produces a line of single lens reflex cameras in response to the cameras coming out of Japan. While the early cameras were strictly manufactured by Leica, by the mid-1970s, they had teamed up with Minolta. The agreement produced the Leica CL/Minolta CLE both rangefinder cameras, and the Leica R3/Minolta XE! The first time I picked up this camera, having never used a Leica SLR before I was hoping for something special, but I soon found out there’s a reason these cameras aren’t that popular. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Dirt

  • Make: Leica Camera AG
  • Model: R3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Len: Interchangeable, Leica R-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1976-1979

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Good
There are two good points about the R3, first and foremost it’s a tank, but it’s a tank with balance, it just feels right to shoot, short throw on the film advance, and all the knobs and that thrice-damned stop down lever. The viewfinder is big and bright, and the needle-on-shutter-speed metering system is clear and visible. And of course, there’s the optical quality which is what we’ve come to expect from Leica. And this is despite the lenses being much larger than their M-Mount cousins.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Bad
The R3 is not an easy camera to operate; it took me about three rolls of film to finally get the hang of it. And it all has to come down to how the camera meters. Despite having a decent TTL meter, you need to manually stop down the lens to get it to pick up on the correct shutter speed, then half-press the shutter button, release the lever then press the shutter release down the rest of the way. I gave up by the third roll and switched to metering with my Gossen Lunasix F and running the camera in full manual. And finally there’s the weight, this is a well-balanced camera, but heavy. It’s not one that I would enjoy carrying around all day and shooting with, especially with the 135mm lens on mounted, even the shorter 50mm is still a pain.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Lowdown
The R3 is not a Minolta, it may be Minolta on the inside, but it certainly isn’t on the outside. And while you can purchase the bodies for a reasonable price, don’t expect the lenses to be on the inexpensive side. The R3 is not a camera for the beginner, or for someone who is unfamiliar with the operation of Leica SLRs, there’s a steep learning curve, and it takes away from the decent “feel” of the camera. Despite the image quality and certain cache that comes with shooting a Leica, my honest opinion, do yourself a favour and get a Minolta XE-7. You’ll get an easier camera to operate, with comparable optics and you won’t break the bank building a lens system.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Leica R3 Electronic – Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 1:2.8/135 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C