The Kiev IV is still alive

The end of 2016 was fast approaching and looking at the treasure chest (and my spreadsheet of films shots during the year), I looked at camera who had not went to the field.

The Kiev IV is one of them, and I felt the next trip to Dakota was a good opportunity to take it for a spin. I loaded a roll of Tri-X and pocketed (so to speak) the body, the 50F2 and the 35F2.8.

My Kiev now has a new skin (no more mummy look), and no more light leaks (fingers crossed). So it does not look to shabby anymore and is quite a usable device.

The light-meter on mine is dead, or maybe is it too complicated to use. I find the speed control very difficult to use, and difficult to read with my poor eyesight at close range. The rangefinder with its lighting window below the shutter is not great as I always have a tendency to obscure it with a finger or the other.

I always like the images that the Kiev produces, my two lenses are very sharp, the rangefinder when not blocked, is very accurate. The speeds on my copy are quite on as well. But this fellow stays in the cupboard (actually a giant Tupperware) because of its not so friendly controls (speed change, shutter button, lens change, winding, loading of film). I think it even compares negatively to the Leica III.

This says I love the pics, I may get rid of my set this year, it may be a cheap entry  level rangefinder for someone else, who knows.

About Dakota Crescent estate, you can read more on other posts, around mid-December the place is quite empty now.

This is a roll shot with the Kiev IV Camera, Jupiter 35 or 50 lens on Kodak TRI-X.

Scanned at home on Epson v500.

The Kiev IV is still alive

Saint Patrick Day – Circular Road Singapore

Shot during Saint Patrick Day in Circular Road in Central Singapore.

This is my best shot for a lot time. Done with the badly battered Kiev IV and the 35mmF2.5.

This has motivated me to finally change the skin of the Kiev. I have a set of blue leatherette on my desk for 6 or 8 months, it is time to use it.

Below the naked Kiev.

Kiev IV- NakedKiev IV- Work in Progress

The final look below…. awesome

Kiev IV- Back   Kiev IV- Front

A not very gifted for DIY so I wonder how much this will last, but for the moment it looks good.

Next time I have to sand paper and paint some metal parts as well.

The leatherette was ordered from Aki-Asahi.com for 19USD, they are nice enough to send me also a black leatherette

Saint Patrick Day – Circular Road Singapore

Misadventure in Caffenol – take 1

2 years ago I have been very happy trying to process my black and white film at home with the Caffenol recipe. I did 7 rolls at a time, and some produced some very fine pics.

To make sort, you mix washing soda and instant coffee, add a bit of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and Bob’s your uncle.

This summer I imagined that back in Singapore for a couple of weeks without the family I could replicate this success. Alas, on the 4 films I have processed, none came out very good. My original recipe was  dosed for the washing Soda that can be found in France, and I am not sure the one I can find here is dosed the same way. What about the quality of instant coffee? And the temperature of the tap water?

So I tried to process  4 films and this is what I got:

film num.1: TMAX 100 from holidays in France: I used the original recipe, film goes out bad but I could scan it and post some of the picture in flickr or in my 24th of July post here

film num.2: ILFORD PAN 400 from photo-tour in Arab Street with Singapore Photo Walker group, taken with the Kiev IV : I reduce the soda and used 60-70% of the original: the film is almost unusable and you’ll find the pictures below. I could not scan it, I had to shot the negatives with my DSLR using a flash gun to back-light the film.

film num.3: Fuji Neopan 100 : supposed to be Caffenol friendly: I shot the film (only 12 shots in Medium Format) in Chinatown one afternoon with the old Agfa Isolette III. Film goes out very dark, but when digitized with the DSLR method, pictures are ok; unfortunately the focusing of the Agfa doe snot works ! Argh!

film num.4: Rollei RPX 100: my lastfilm of the holidays in France: I try another recipe and got a total black film. Bouh ouh

Not much lessons to take from this. But I’ll try again sometime

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Misadventure in Caffenol – take 1

A tour at Wessex Village – Singapore

A few weeks back an Art Walk was organized in  Wessex Village here in Singapore.  Wessex Village  is an area of  old colonial style apartment blocks. Originally they were used to house British soldiers, but a few years back they have been offered as residential and studio space for artists.

The buildings are apartment blocks with an external design similar to Singapore black and white colonial houses. The blocks have name of cities, regions or countries. I suppose they are name of regiments or cantonment cities of the British army.

Aden

Aden is one of these magic names that sparks ideas of exoticism and 19th century adventurers to my mind.

Noé was posing for this Japanese painter whose apartment / workshop we visited.

Aden – Arabie

A very easy homage to Paul Nizan book “Aden Arabie“.

What do we seek when we travel? Do we need to go to Aden to seek the truth about where we live? Aden is here anyway.

More down to earth you can imagine this is the score of a soccer match !

Marne

This was the week before the International Commie Camera Day, so I took the Kiev IV loaded with an Ilford PAN 400ASA with the Jupiter 8 50mmF2 and Jupiter 12 35mmF2.8. As you can see on my post about the Kiev I had to tape the body to avoid light leaks; got a couple funny looks.

Mons

I love the black and white of this set of pictures; particularly the black of the tire on this one.

Camera: Kiev IV
Lens: Jupiter 8- 50mmf2
Film: Ilford Pan 400 ASA
Digifilm:Epson V500+Lightroom

A tour at Wessex Village – Singapore

International Commie Camera Days 2013

So May Day came along and a Flickr group organized International Commie Camera Days 2013; a day of celebration for the workers united and an opportunity to get your Russian camera out of its box. So the choice is between the Zorki or the Kiev or both, but at this time I already have received the LeicaIII and some new LTM and have a few rolls on for testing so I’ll keep it simple and pick only one camera and it is the Kiev. The Zorki rangefinder is still not repaired so until then it way stay in the box.

I picked up the unloved Ilford Pan 400 ISO for this “assignment” and In order to get ready for it I have sealed the leaks of the Kiev 4 with masking tape as shown on the last post and made a bit of decoration after loading the film of course.

Discussion on the group gave a bit of flexibility on the definition of May Day and the range was extended from 1st to 9th of May; but I decided to try stick to the 1st of May and/or work related stuff.

Workers Party of Singapore
Bad Comrades – working on may day

 

No Illegal workers – in many languages

I can recognize English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil; the last one I hesitate between Thai and Burmese

Worker at rest

This one is with the 50mmF2 Jupiter 8 nearly wide open, probably F2.8 1/60s seconds in the office.

 

All in all this is only the 3rd film for the Kiev and I must say I am quite pleased with the result; including the B&W quality of the Ilford PAN. I’ll post next the first part of the roll shot in old buildings in Wessex Village in Singapore of which I find the B&W just amazing. Ah and I think I am nearly on target for “a film a week in 2013“; another stupid and funny exercise.

 

International Commie Camera Days 2013

The Kiev IV – A new Comrade on the (East) block

As mentioned on the last post I am so late on my blogging! I can blame on too many pictures from Sri Lanka, I still have a couple for good ones to show and a nice idea on a post on Fort Galle. But also new gear, new photo opportunities and of course the short trip to Taiwan.

Now I have to start somewhere; so let me introduce you the first piece of new gear I acquired since the last one I reported: the Kiev Iv.

What is the Kiev IV?

A bit of google-ing will tell you that this is a rangefinder camera, build in Ukraine by the Arsenal Factory. It is a copy of the Contax II camera and made between 1947 and 1980 (amazing). The story of the Contax factory being relocated by the USSR in Ukraine after the war in quite interesting and worth reading. It has a special Contax bayonet mount for attaching the lenses and the IV version comes with a light meter. The “Jupiter” lenses are made after pre-war Zeiss design and perform very well. My copy came with a Jupiter-8 50mmF2.

Why a Kiev ?

Here comes the funny(read embarrassing  part of the story. I bought mine by mistake… well because of a mistake. I was so happy with my little Zorki that I wanted a second lens for it and order on EBay a Jupiter 12; a quite cheap 35mm F2.8 lens of good reputation. Well I did not read the offer properly and when the lens arrived it was a Contact Bayonet Mount version, hence the price. I let it sit around for a couple of weeks and finally decided to get a camera to fit it with. Usual story; a couple of days on eBay and I got by Kiev IV for also a reasonable price (around 80USD).

What’s in the box?

So now I have one camera and two lenses for lens that 200 bucks! The camera came with its (n)ever ready case; I like the Arsenal logo on the front, but really this is too unpractical to use; plus mine really stinks of having been stored in a basement. My camera has seen better times and the leatherette is waiting for the first opportunity to run away. The 50mm Lens has some denting on the front; but works smoothly. The 35 mm is in far better condition and came with a nice Bakelite box.

A bit of DIY

The inside is clean, but… there is no take up spool. On the IV model the spool can be removed; and it had been in my case. I scratched my head and walked to the lab ( exercise is good) to ask for a couple of empty plastic spools from empty cartridges. By chance the guy gave me an Agfa Vista spool which has a hole in its middle where the film can be blocked if cut properly (see below) that works perfectly well for me. Just as easy as trimming the film leader for Zorki or a Leica screw mount body.

Take up spool DIY
Take up spool DIY

Off to work Comrade

I had to look at a online documentation to find out how to change lenses and how to change the speed. The lens is locking at infinity and you have a button to unlock it that you can also use to focus instead of grabbing the lens. After a couple of tries I decided the meter was not working and the procedure to use it too complex over using the Sekonic.

Finally I put a film inside; cork the shutter (many times) and a few days later the results were back from the lab. The little beast have a light leak…
Dam it.

Singapore sport hub construction site with obvious light leaks

Light leaks can come either from the joint between the back and the top of the body or from the top plate. So I put some painter tape around the back door and roll another film and surprise: no leaks ! So the joint, aka the “yak hair” is the problem. I am not 100% sure of the procedure to cure it and I have some more tape so I’ll use this trick for the time being.

Temporary fix for light leaks
Xi ji Chichen – Look ma : no leaks!
Saint Patrick’s day

T9 be followed by the shots for  International Commie Camera Day 2013

The Kiev IV – A new Comrade on the (East) block