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

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)