Friday, June 19, 2009

Abandoned Canons and processing film in coffee.

Rolleiflex - developed in Rodinal

Contaflex - developed in Rodinal

Contaflex -- developed in Caffenol

Contaflex -- developed in Rodinal

Contaflex -- developed in Caffenol

Contaflex -- developed in Caffenol

The Canon is gone! I ran a roll of film through it and was really disappointed with the results.
Even at apertures of around f11 the pictures are soft. They have no bite.
So that was it, it had to go back. I traded it in on a Nikon F80 that has given much better results.
I also put a roll of film through the Zeiss Contaflex and am happy with the images produced. They have that kind of old Tessar look about them that is reminiscent of those produced by cameras of its era. It's definitely a keeper and when I get 'round to it I will do a head-to-head test, putting it up against the Kodak Retina. It'll be interesting to see how the Zeiss lens shapes up against the Schneider - Kreuznach on the Kodak.
I developed two rolls of Ilford FP4+ shot with the Contaflex, the same subject was shot in pretty much the same light. The difference was, one roll was developed in Rodinal (about 20 years old but still perfect) and the other in a mixture of coffee and washing soda generally called Caffenol.
(If anyone wants specific mixtures, times, methods, etc that I used, drop me a line and I'll let you have them.)
I have only ever read about Caffenol so this was a first for me. I don't think I'll be dumping my regular developer but I really do like the effects created by the Caffenol and certainly can see some application for it.
Finally, the lead picture in this post was shot with a Rolleiflex. It's of an old, abandoned mine not too far from where I live. There's no doubt, there's no substitute for negative size!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It was Christmas and my birthday this week!

A few years ago, I figured I'd learn to play the guitar and my wife bought me one for my birthday.
I quickly established that, when it comes to music, I have absolutely no talent or aptitude. About the only instrument I have any hope of playing successfully, is a portable radio!
It was with this in mind that I was delighted when, last week someone offered to buy the guitar from me at the price originally paid for it. I jumped at the offer and, with R1000 (about US$120) in my pocket, immediately set out to purchase something more useful -- a classic camera or two.
What a week it turned out to be -- like Christmas and two birthdays all rolled into one.

Spoiled for choice

At a Johannesburg camera store I was spoiled for choice. I fondled a Pentax SP SLR with a clip-on light meter, drooled over a couple of beautiful Minolta SRTs and considered another, high-quality Nikkormat.
But then I saw it, and it was love at first sight. An absolutely, like-new, seemingly never-used, Canon FTb QL with a 55mm f1.2 lens. At R350, including the original owner's manual, there was no way I was leaving without it. Heck, I would have paid three times that and still believed it a bargain!
But it didn't end there. I added a 28mm f2.8 Hervic Zivnon lens, still in its leather case and with a lens hood, for R50, a beautiful Kodalux, all metal light meter that slides into a camera hot-shoe and that can take both reflected and incident light readings for R35 and a Gossen Sixon light meter, complete with leather case for R40. Both light meters are as accurate as my digital meter and accordingly, I am delighted.
I also bought what looked like a perfectly-working Gossen Pilot (what can I say, I like light meters) but wasn't. I don't know if I'll bother to get it repaired and will probably just use it as a teaching aid.
I don't know anything about the Hervic Zivnon lens and can't find much about the brand on the Internet. It's made in Japan, appears to be all-metal and seems to be well-made. I have no idea of the quality of the images it will produce, as I have not yet used it but will post results and impressions in due course.


Two days later Johan from Kameraz -- who knows my fondness for classic German cameras -- called to tell me he had a pristine Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super that was mine if I was prepared to part with R250 -- more or less what I had left over from the proceeds of the guitar sale.
I quickly high-tailed it over to his Rosebank shop and, after a couple of cups of coffee, departed with another, rescued, classic, film, camera.
It is in beautiful condition, apart from a few flecks on the mirror -- as is the case with my Kodak Retina SLR -- that have absolutely no effect on the final image.
The Contaflex is like handling a piece of jewelry and I am looking forward to running a roll of film through it. Once I get 'round to doing so I will post the results and a "review" of the camera but first want to put the Canon through its paces.
Which explains why there are no pictures accompanying this post. Right now, I am having so much fun shooting the 39 year-old Canon that I don't feel like firing up the digital Nikon to shoot pics of the new additions. Maybe on the weekend.