Showing posts with label rangefinder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rangefinder. Show all posts


Monday Column: Photographic and Not so Photographic Trips

Have you ever planned a trip and, as all of us, who think about ourselves as a photographers, take with you a photographic camera of some sort? Of course you did. But on what kind of trip or voyage did you go. A family trip, business one, tourist voyage... Did you take with you almost most of your gear you own (camera, backup, several lenses, tripod, flashes, etc.) and then didn’t used more than one camera with one lens? Have you been ever found in a situation, when in company you were always last of the group and always waited, because the ordinary tourist view and snapshot didn’t meet your photographic standards?

If your answers are mostly yes on to those questions you probably have badly planned your trips. The kind of trip that includes all sceneries in one afternoon, it is not a photographic trip at all! The time is essential for the photographic trips. This means only one or maximum two different sceneries of a day. Preferably you visit first scenery in the early morning when the sun rises and other in the late evening when the sun sets. And around the noon is the siesta time for photographers. We all know why. Do we?

But when we go to a non photographic trip (and we all do them) as a responsible photographer we must properly equip. At all we all want some images from our voyages, no matter if it is business or whatever trip it is. At least I when I go to a trip that is not strictly photographic I try to equip properly, this means light. Only one camera and one lens, a rangefinder instead of a SLR, a smaller lighter, non intrusive option. But then once a year you must go on the photographic trip and take with you all gear you might need or think that you do. But this means that this trip is all dedicated to taking photographs, slow without distraction. This means no time limits, places to be seen in limited time, no people that are nervously waiting for you, no family who aspect your presence in the real world.

Last time I was asking about what photographic camera should I take with me on mountain hike. I knew that it must be light, because it would be just high pace mountain hike, not a slow (with a lot of time for taking photo) one. I finally decide to take with me Altissa Altix-n camera. Nice little “guess the distance” all manual rangefinder from former Eastern Germany. Maybe it would be better an SLR with wide angle prime, but it was very foggy and moist, and don’t know how would electronics in SLR I own would works in those conditions. So I’m pleased with my choice but I didn’t really have time or strength to really photographically enjoy this trip. But I was there, on the top, that is all it counts, at least for me.



Monday Column: The Right Tool for a Hill Walking Hike

This Friday my brother, I and our uncle will go hiking in the beautiful Slovenian Julian Alps. More accurate: We want to get to the highest mountain in Slovenia. This is Mt.  Triglav, 2,864 metres (9,396 ft) high. It’s a two day hike, first day up, sleeping in the Kredarica hut and the next day down. It’s a 2200 meters (7,218.2 ft) rise and then descent.
First mountain hut "Triglav temple" at opening 1871

Now, I’m a photographer. So I want to take a photographic camera with me on the hike. But it’s will not be an photographic excursion, As a contributor to this blog, would be inappropriate to take with me a digital camera (I admit I will be using a small P&S for snapshots... I’m guilty). So my dilemma is which camera to take with me to the hike? Why dilemma? Take your best camera you own or camera that you could give you the best performance, or the camera you prefer the most and enjoy shooting with? Hm... Probably the best camera, none the less of its simplicity, is my Russian large format camera FKD 18x24 cm or 7x9.5 in, with its wooden tripod. It would require a Sherpa to take it to the mountain top, but they are scarce in those mountains (satire alert!). Probably the second best quality would give me (loan from my friend) Kowa 66. This is a medium format 6x6 cm camera. Here is no need for help from Himalayas but it is large and heavy and bulky. Remember the rise? Much lighter and also with enough quality would be my Canon EOS 100 and some lenses. Lightweight would be with 24 2.8 and 50 1.8 lenses. But is also too much bulk, and I already explained in the last column what’s for me analogue shooting. I have only a small backpack and must take with me all necessary for two day trip and this season in mountains has already fell first snow... 

  Secovlje Saltpans shot with Agfa Isola 1
The most lightweight option would be my Agfa Isola 1 and Altix-n. First is a medium format P&S from late fifties and early sixties. It weight’s only 300 g. Problem is that the number of exposures is limited to only 12. And it has only one shutter speed (1/30 s) and only two aperture values: cloudy f11 and sunny f16, and quality of the lens is in the lomographic territory (I like it). The other option is a 35 mm fully manual “guess the distance rangefinder” with nice 50 mm f2.9 lens. But it lacks the mf look and it’s heavier.  

 Secovlje Saltpans shot with Altix-n

I must decide by myself but I want to hear your opinion. What do you think about my options and what would you bring to that kind of hiking from your arsenal?


Cameras of yesteryear:Yashica Lynx 14E

alternative titles: How to get hooked on a 40-year-old Yashica OR It's never too late to get a good rangefinder-for cheap

I never considered myself a collectionist, although I have accumulated many cameras over the years. All of them have their own appeal, but it happens to like (and use) some cameras more than the others, regardless of camera construction or film format. I never had a particular interest in rangefinders, maybe because I never owned a really good one? Maybe. So I never really understood Leica aficionados despite knowing what their advantages are. So it happened, a few weeks ago, to get yet-another-film-camera gift from a coworker. An early 70's Yashica Lynx, possibly the oldest camera in my collection (or next to the Pola 210), and certainly older than me. It might be the fact that it's older than me, it might be due to its solid feel or its bright (and precise) rangefinder, its impressive (but fixed) 45 mm f/1.4 lens, or the combination thereof; I knew instantly it is a camera I want to test, keep and use. So I sent it for a CLA service.
Yashica Lynx 14E
But I still needed to know about its performance. Once I got the developed film back, I was hooked. The lens is a great performer. It easily matches or outperforms at least some of Canon prime lenses (although is prone to flare). Being left in a drawer for decades, this camera finally got a decent life. It deserves it. I just wonder how many of such mechanical marvels are still out there left. You can get one for little or no money, put it to service for a modest sum, and it will make wonders. My advice: don't bother if you cannot afford or just don't wanna spend a fortune on a high class rangefinder. Rescue some nice piece of optical engineering, get a bunch of good films, develop and get some quality scans. There will still be enough money left in your pocket for a good travel or vacation, a good excuse to use your "new" camera.
A closeup test shot on drugstore 400 ISO neg film. Sorry for the crappy scan, it doesn't render justice to the actual negative.
silver regards

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the ultimate resource regarding useful info, repairs and the replacement of (obsolete) mercury batteries for your Yashicas is probably the Yashica Guy.