Old 35mm Rangefinders

Dunga Gin

All rather boring but I still use 35mm film cameras, FSU's (Former Soviet Union) FED's, Kiev and Zorki's.

Of course I still have some film slr's leica m's and medium format tlr's.

A Kiev photo from may '10 . .

Hi Dunga,

Glad to hear that someone is also still shooting film. What do you use?

Like Hamish, I too have a bit of penchant for rangefinders. My first was also a (Cosina) Voigtlander but I later bought a Leica MP which is a truly wonderful instrument (gone are the days of rangefinder drift and sticking shutters). I recently purchased a very nice S/H M6 to give me a second body. A wonderful tool also. I nearly always shoot on Ilford Delta (more often 400 than 100) unless I want to push process and then I switch to HP5+ as I love the grain, especially when rated at ISO 1600 and processed in ID11. Must dig out some scans to pop up.
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Well just to compete with all of the digital shots, here are a couple shot using film on rangefinders. The portrait was shot in a cafe in Paris on a Leica MP/Voigtlander Nokton 35 1:1.2 and the second was shot with a Bessa R / 35mm pancake lens. Both on Ilford Delta 400. Both are printed 12 x 16" onto Ilford MGIV and scanned using a Microtek A3 scanner (sorry, I only had JPG's from the Flash uploads to hand)


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What is the second one?
I sold my leica m6 when I needed some cash... It was a beauty... Never mind.... I would like an m7 one day I think ... I have spent a while dreaming of my ultimate leica on that thing on thier web site that alows you to spec your own... One day il do it and actually buy what I spec... One day...
In the mean while ....
I've always had an interest in photography but first learnt the basics in college on a Pentax K1000; a basic but excellent camera. I also was taught how to develop my own B&W prints and it always struck me how B&W film had something about it that could really add to an image. Colour film had to be processed in the local high st processing labs and I always thought the results were not wonderful at all. Digital is close and the software can get you almost any result but there's a difference to be had but starting with film to get that particular exposure that you just cant get with digital. I kinda wish I kept my old Olympus OM10 so I could experiment with a few film shots now.
Ansel Adams was a pro-level pianist as well as a great photographer. He said - in musical terms - that the exposure was the score and the print was the performance. When you shoot and turn your film over to an anonymous lab, you are entrusting the interpretation of your image to who ever was enduring the nine-to-five shift in order to get back to beer and television - the things that really mattered. You abdicated the most important step of all, and of course, your stuff looked bland.

Photoshop liberates you from this crap, but also dumps the whole responsibility upon you. You are totally exposed to the world and there is no way you can blame the mindless drudge who is just pushing buttons, bored to death and only waiting for the end of the shift. Now it is up to you to show your photographic chops. Hardware will not save you - only your technical skills as a photographer and your in-born talent as an artist.

Not every slave wants to be liberated. Taking personal responsibility can be terrifying for those willing to let others dream for them.
I agree that PS etc can give a lot of control to the photographer which, in theory, will allow them to reveal the image that they visualised. Of course, often things get a bit out of hand and things are adjusted / manipulated more because they can than because they should. Sticking to ones vision and having self control are, as you have alluded to elsewhere Larry, a key attribute. Of course there are times, just as there are in a darkroom, that something emerges that one just didn't expect.

As for maintaining control with film, one can always develop and print the films oneself. The skills from a darkroom are not so different to those which the software emulates although of course certain techniques are much easier to perform and some are genuinely unique to a digital route. Of course a digital 'darkroom' is somewhat easier to set up and takes a lot less space! But I must say that, given that I spend much of my working life staring at a screen, working in a darkroom is a wonderful relief. I also like the small variations that hand printing can bring. Even with the most detailed notes and disciplined technique, two prints are rarely truly the same. For example, simulating a 'lith' print is relatively simple in PS/Nik etc and you can get the same effect every time. But somehow they lose the magic of this difficult to control process.

I work with both digital systems (from FF DSLR and RF to capture backs on 5x4) and film. I enjoy image making from both, but my heart belongs to film, or at least the analogue process.
What is the second one?

This was taken in one of the un-restored back yards in Hackesche Höfe in Berlin about 8 years ago. This section of wall had been plastered with layer after layer of posters etc over the years and someone had pull most of them off. This was what was left. Rather spooky I thought.

I have dozens of shots of decaying buildings, old posters, new posters graffiti etc. As we discussed before, I love the urban decay motif and Berlin and Potsdam are a great source of inspiration and subject matter.
It is spooky! I like it...
My d3 is armed with my lensbaby 3G to go and take some photos of some broken old buildings near by... But I'm too bloody ill now
I wish I would have taken up photography years ago, I did it at school , they used to just send us out on the streets with a camera I bet this wouldn't happen now days. I only have one print from them days left now :( . On leaving school I guess I just got on with real life and didn't bother with it. It's only been in the last 3 or 4 years that I've taken it up and this weekend was the 1st time I went out in ages. I got such a buz from 'developing' what I had taken I so enjoy to process of turning a bland shot into something not so bland. I know there are some people who have a problem with the digital process, but for me it allows me to be a little creative and express what I see in my minds eye when taking a shot. I would love to own a film camera, but I just feel it would restrict my creative control as I not really versed in the dark arts. Having said that when 1 od the kids leave home I might just have the space to indulge myself.
I agree Vic, it's that "creating what was in ones mind's eye" that is the important bit. I don't think it matters at all how you get there. Whether digital or analogue, image transfer, Bromoil, scratched prints and negatives, collage etc as long as you get to where you want, enjoy the journey and get a buzz out of the end result and process. It's great when you either turn on the light or look at the final image on the screen or as it emerges from the printer and think, "Yes, that's what I was after".
It is all about the power of the image - the content in the final result. To the viewer, process does not matter. Photography is art not sport. You don't get extra points for degree of difficulty.

Skillful technique is not a goal, but rather a prerequisite. The more fluent you are in the medium, the less it distracts you. Thus the more of your mind and soul you can apply to the content - the message. Poor technique distracts, while good technique is entirely transparent. Technique is learned, the art comes from within.
The A signifies the addition of aperture priority ...
It is also leica M mount where as the r2 is LTM
There is a r3a with a 1:1 view finder and frame lines for normal and tele lenses
An r4a 0.52x vf with framlines for normal and wide
There are also r2m r3m and r4m for those allergic to automation - they don't have aperture priority
Basically the A's are like an leica m7 and the m's are like a leica mp ... But about a 3rd of the price, not quite as solid feeling and have slighty noisier metal shutters compared to the cloth shutters of the leicas and dont have ttl flash ... not the greatest comparison now i think about it ;)
I bought an m6 off eBay ... I did well it was mint
Buying from a dealer and handling the camera first is always a good idea though IMO, you just pay a bit of a premium!