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.

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The Kiev IV is still alive

Going Digital with the Olympus E-PL2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jazz up this old lens – Leitz Summitar 50mm F2 wide open

I was a bit restless last week-end, still scanning the backlog of films I needed some less intensive activity. Plus my son has a field trip in Indonesia and we were thinking he would be better off wit a cheap camera, just in case he lost it, drop it or got robbed.

So I scratched my head and after a while (and a bit of google-ing) went down to the shop and bought a Olympus E-PL2 and 12-24mm lens plus an adapter for Leica lenses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lunch time – Leitz Summitar 50mm F2 wide open

For 140 USD my son have a very good camera although “obsolete” said the shopkeeper. And I can attach my Leica lenses including the russian and japanese ltms to a digital sensor. I can let you see some results.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gong xi fa cai – Industar 22 50mm F3.5 wide open

 

Like everything this takes time to get used to and I am no expert in micro four-third cameras, but it looks this can be a fun toy. A few things to take into account:

  • the E-PL2 has a crop factor of 2, so the 50mm becomes a 100mm and the Serenar 135 becomes a 270mmF4 lens !
  • even with the adaptor depth there is not much room for recessed lenses, so the Jupiter 8 with its big inner element cannot be used (damn I really wanted to use this one)
  • on the good side you cannot hurt the sensor with the collapsible lens.
  • mmm the camera uses the back screen for focusing which is very difficult for me; and EVFs are a bit expensive just for fun, so I don;t know how much usage I’ll do with thus.

Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody, happy year of the monkey.

Going Digital with the Olympus E-PL2

Around Chinatown for Chinese new year – Singapore

So the last week-end before the start of the year of the goat I went with the family in Chinatown. I brought the Leica IIIc and a couple of lenses actually 3.

Most of the shots below are done with the infamous back focusing Jupiter 8, 50mm f2.

Quite fun anyway.

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Chinatown is very busy around this time. People shop for food, decoration, or just stroll around.waex99-01029

These two guys selling chestnuts are here all year roundwaex99-01031

But other stalls are just temporary,

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Just selling nutswaex99-01019

or fruits in the side of the streetwaex99-01021

Some of the sellers are coming from China just for the event, or so have I been told.waex99-01022
waex99-01023

waex99-01033waex99-01034

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Sausages and cured meat stall.

This was the first time I use Kentmere 100 ISO film; reasonably cheap, I understand it is manufactured by Ilford now. As I rarely use Ilford product (except fro Pan 50 and Pan 400) I cannot really tel how it compares to FP4 for instance. Nothing to rave about, I’ll probably finish my stock and go back to Tmax or Rollei RPX 100.

Around Chinatown for Chinese new year – Singapore

How the Leica III let me down on the green corridor

All was looking well when I was walking away from the Bukit Timah railway station, but the Leica had a surprise in stock. This time it is a white band on the right side of the frame. Posts suggest this is an issue with the curtain or with some light seal at the front of the camera where the slow speed dial is. Well I think I have to send the little fellow to be serviced sometime soon. Anyway here are a few more shots of the walk.

Bukit Timah railway station

Singapore is quite a compact city/country so even the green corridor is crossed by several roads, I should rather say highways, which make the walk a bit noisy, but nonetheless enjoyable.

Bridge over the green corridor

This is a typical colonial Black and White house, legacy of the british times; I cannot say for sure but I think this should not be far from Wessex Village,

A black and white house in the greenery

Interesting things can be seen along the corridor, a mosque, a temple or shrine, a mechanics where I used the drink selling machine, a couple of shacks like this one. and in some places old folks sitting in the shade with their belongings close, discussing among peers.

A shack along the road

This is the final sign: No it says. At te back you can see the cranes of the harbour.

No Trespassing

Camera; Leica IIIC

Lens: Industar 22, 50mmF3.5

Film: Kodak Tri-x

How the Leica III let me down on the green corridor

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

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

Zorki S – the second film

So the second film done with the Zorki is back from the shop.

This is a roll of Ilford Pan 400ASA, the cheapest B&W film available here. This is the first time I use it so I have little point for comparison and as I may have pointed out elsewhere I am not a big fan of Ilford.

Since the first roll, the shutter is now working 99% of the time and I just had one problem during the whole film. The rangefinder is still not working. I have tried different tips and/or actions but could not make it work. I may send it for repair sometime. This means all pictures are taken either by hyper-focal focusing method or by random guess of the distance. I generally try to use small apertures to be on the safe side.

5am inside Golden Shoe Car Park hawker center, at the 2nd floor Mee Pok stall.

My Friend Pat, at the coffee shop around the corner of Golden Shoe Car Park in Singapore around 4AM. Wide open (not so wide, f3.5 1/50s)

This last picture is rather uninteresting/mundane, but of all the film it is one of the two less grainy probably due to good (at least better) exposure. They are the proof that tyhe Zorki can do it.


Isaac and Friend that I met a Sunday afternoon and who is doing a project on photographers. Isaac TLR (a Seagull) is broken and he uses to shoot through with his DSLR… .

Below the picture he took of myself with the Zorki and the quote of my quote:

    The self-proclaimed “photo hobbyist” Philippe Bertramo, 46, still enjoys shooting photos of the analog format. Armed with his Zorki-S, a 1955 Soviet-era camera, Mr Bertramo still enjoys this form of photography even in today’s modern digital age because it gives him a great sense of accomplishment when he finally gets the roll of film developed. “You have to make an effort; you have to wait to make a picture and generally that makes the photo more valuable.”

Camera:Zorki-S
Lens:Industar 22 50mm F3.5
Film:Ilford PAN 400 ASA
DigiFilm:Epsonv500, LightroomV3.6

Zorki S – the second film

The first Zorki Film

If you missed the last episode, I bought a Zorki S for 40EUR in an antique shop and it turned out there are some quite obvious problems with it. Two days later, I tempted my luck with a 6 years expired Kodak Gold film. I shot the film on the way to work, using hyper-focal focusing because the range finder does not work, and I missed one shot out of 5 as the curtains of the shutter stay stuck most of the time. Meanwhile the mini-lab broke down so I had to wait two extra days to be able to have a look at this masterpiece.

As expected, one picture in 5 to 6 turned out ok in term of exposure and the 4 below are the best of the lot. It’s very difficult to guess for the rest because of the very bad quality of the film (or because of it’s high artistic quality). Well that will need another try.

In between I have lubricated the shutter by dropping some silicon lubricant on the shutter button and it seems that by firing 20 shots a day the shutter no longer get stuck: good news. Also a gentle fellow user gave me some information on the rangefinder issue so I may run a second roll very soon. Probably an unexpired B&W film.

Graph at the sate park

Appart from trying the Zorki out, I liked this mural very much down in the Summerset skate park; it changes from the usual things we see there. Hope I can shot it with a proper camera before its gone.

Graph at the sate park
Ice cream stall
Signs

Camera:Zorki-S
Lens:Industar 22 50mm F3.5
Film:Kodak Gold 100ASA expired 2006
DigiFilm:Epsonv500, LightroomV3.6

The first Zorki Film

Мой новый Зоркий с камерой (My new Zorki S Camera)

Zorki S

Last Tuesday I could not resist when I pass by the antique shop outside Golden Landmark mall. There were a couple of russian camera eyeing at me and well I though I could well be in for a bargain.

It’s very difficult t check in the spot a camera that you never used before. I never used a Screw Mount camera before so I had no idea how to dismount the lens to have a look at the shutter curtains. It’s not easy to try the rangefinder when its pissing rain and you cannot see 2 meters away. The corking and speed change mechanism was also foreign to me so the idea of listening shutter to check the shutter speeds by ear was also a miss. Plus the two models I wanted a Fed-2 and a Zorki-S do not have a removable back so you cannot check the inside.

It took me 15 minutes to realize that my first choice, the Fed-2, has the tripod bolt missing from the bottom plate hence being unusable without a dirty fix. I ruled it out fr the time being.

Unfortunately I was in a bit of a hurry and the very courteous seller spotted very quickly that I was not very good at bargaining, so as usual I probably overpaid for my new toy (50 US).

Back home, after a couple of hours google-ing and playing with the toy the diagnostic was not so good:
– the shutter only fires intermittently
– the rangefinder does not work
– the aperture ring does move with difficulty.

Thursday out of disappointment I put a 6 years expired Kodak Gold film inside and wen shooting out haphazardly on the way to the office. I focused at hyper-focal distance, set the speed and aperture with the guess-o-meter and fired 5 times each shot before the shutter worked. So I expect 5 or 6 shots in 4 or 5 days. … to follow

A couple of links if you are interested:

http://www.sovietcams.com/

www.ussrphoto.com

Isaak S. Maizenberg’s bible of Russian Cameras, a huge compendium on usage, design and repair:
maizenberg-cameras1.pdf

Мой новый Зоркий с камерой (My new Zorki S Camera)