Food for thoughts … ?

“The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.

Only long experience will enable the photographer to subordinate technical considerations to pictorial aims, but the task can be made immeasurably easier by selecting the simplest possible equipment and procedures and staying with them. Learning to see in terms of the field of one lens, the scale of one film and one paper, will accomplish a good deal more than gathering a smattering of knowledge about several different sets of tools.” ~Edward Weston

It made me thinking a lot …

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A lens lock button …

… and the 35mm Summilux-M pre-ASPH again.

All photos were taken using my 35mm Summilux-M pre-ASPH sans hood, filter and light meter on Ilford HP5+, developed in Kodak`s HC-110 (dilution “B”) and scanned with my Epson V700.

 

Since some time I had the vague idea of exchanging the lens lock button of my M4-2 to the old-style type as can be found on the M2/M3/M4. For what reason you might ask ? No reason except cosmetics and and the challenge … Anyhow, neither Leica CS (customer service) nor one of the famous repair guys wanted to help me so I had to find a spare part on the internet. Now the biggest challenge was to figure out if it would fit without problems (it won`t !). I had disassembled the camera before so no big deal I thought but the simple swap did not work out. Asking Youxin Ye (another famous repair guy) helped because he mentioned that tiny washer might do the trick. Indeed adding three tiny washer helped to align everything well and I reassembled the camera. Now … the rangefinder mechanism did not work anymore, the RF patch got sticky so something must have gone wrong. At that time I decided not to remove the body from the shell but the top-plate and found a plastic sheet that got squeezed between lens mount and cam follower pivot. Easy fix and after re-assembling I was done and had a working M4-2 with M3 style lens lock button so I thought … Wrong ! What had happened was that in the assembling process I managed to install the take up spool wrong and had to remove it, mount another washer and voila everything fine. Here are some snaps of the M4-2 in parts:

So many parts to take care of … At least the camera seems to be working again:

 

Nice to see this camera working AND having an M3 style lens lock button ;)

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Wide …

…so I sold my Nikons FM, F3HP, 24/2.8, 50/1.4, 105/2.5, 200/4.0 and VISOFLEX II system to be able to afford an used Hasselblad XPAN with Hasselblad 4/45 lens. Hasselblad ? Isn`t that the company famous for making 6×6 SLR medium format cameras with that unique “cube-style” and all the bells and whistles to exchange every part including the film-backs ? Yes it this company that made the wonderful 120 film SLR camera and in the end of the 90s had the brilliant idea to combine the features of a Konica Hexar RF (a camera that was aimed at the Leica M-mount rangefinder market) with true panoramic possibilities. So yes, indeed a MF camera but only in one film dimension ! The XPAN exposes 24×65 mm sized frames on conventional 135 film and not only that, there is also the possibility to switch between conventional 24×36 and 24×65 mid-roll. Quite genius, isn`t it ? The camera features AE, motorized film transport and loading and was offered with three different lenses, 4/45, 4/90, and 5.6/30, the latter being really expensive .. Hasselblad worked together with Fuji in designing the camera and Fuji build it. This let to the situation that we have the Fuji TX-1 in Japan and the Hasselblad in XPAN in the rest of the world, both being identical cameras. Later, in 2003, a slightly modified XPAN II hit the shelves with minor improvements but same lens mount and lenses.

What we have is a true panoramic camera, that has an field of view equivalent to a 25mm lens when using the 4/45 in panoramic mode (24×65).

I had always been sceptically about the benefits of such a camera but finally my curiosity won and I gave it a try … here the first results of using the camera for two weeks … I think that I will use this camera for some longer time me seems…

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Recent photos, all taken using my M4-2 and either the 35mm Summilux-M (pre-ASPH), Noctilux (the last one) or the 40mm M-Rokkor CLE. It turns out that these lenses are my favorites and most often used. I would like to try my Super-Angulon-M also again but since it is geographically out of reach at the moment I have to wait some more time …

Also, with the recent price-increase for Kodak BW films (I paid JPY4300 last year for 100ft of 400TX and now the price is over JPY8000 …) I have to look for alternatives. As nice as Tri-X is, that level is getting to high for an amateur like me …

 

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February, 1st 2012

I decided to reduce writing and simply post more photos … This way I might be able to keep my blog more often up-to-date …

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0-Series ….

… I think in 2004 or so it happened that Leica Camera AG made two batches of replicas of the original “Leica 0-Serie” (0-series), the preproduction model of the first Leica sold by Erst Leitz Optische Werke Wetzlar. One batch was made in the version with a foldable “gunsight” VF as I call it, a pin mounted to the front of the camera and a square shaped lens in a frame with an etches cross that has to be aligned with the pin and subject to frame properly. The other version had a small optical VF like we use nowadays in the hot-shoe of modern cameras. (The hot-shoe of the other type has no springs so modern external VF easily drop of the camera …).

Most interesting feature of this camera, despite the missing RF and therefroe scale-focusing, is the shutter-speed control. This camera has no slow-speed escapement and slowest is 1/20s. Now the interesting part is that the faster shutter-speeds are not set via an indcated shutter speed but the slit-with between first and second curtain, which is indicated in millimeters on the shutter-speed dial. With some mathematics (Leica provides a conversion table in the manual, though), one can figure out that if 1/20s is full opening of the cloth-shutter (or about 50mm, more than the width of the frame mask) then 20 (20mm) is 2/5 of 1/20s which makes 1/50s, 10 (10mm) is 1/5 of 1/20s or 1/100s and so on. Not enough with the cumbersome shutter-speed settings but the most unusual feature for a “modern” camera is the non-capping shutter, the shutter blinds don`t close when rewinding and tensioning the shutter so a small cap (fixed with a short strap to the front of the camera) has to be used to clover the lens against any light. Forgetting this step when winding the cameras to the next frame means the actual frame and the subsequent frame are ruined. Neat, isn`t it ?

The lens of the camera is the “Anastimat”, a simple but very high resolving lens of 5cm focal length and 1:3.5 max. aperture. There is no filter thread and the lens is fixed.

A very generous friend has lent me his copy of the 0-Serie so I could a play a little with it. Here some shots:

I have guessed exposure in all of these shots so some errors in exposure were unavoidable … ;)

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Got my pre-ASPH 35mm Summilux-M back …

… old love is back, my first Leica lens. The 35mm Summilux-M is tempting but so is the 35mm Summicron-M ASPH and again a 50mm Summilux-M pre-ASPH and, and, and …. Better to stick with what I have and know, prices are ridiculous recently …

Some photos from the recent time …

 

 

As you can imagine all these photos were taken with the 35mm Summilux-M pre-ASPH. I think that I should keep it and move on taking photos …

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