25. mai 2015

FSU cameras, Zorki

Zorki-1d in it's leather case
A legendary Soviet camera, the Zorki.

This 35mm camera was a further development from the Fed, which, again, was a copy of the Leica II during the 30's. Read more on wikipedia :)

Another good source on Zorki and other cameras is sovietcams.com and be sure to check out the Fed and Zorki survival site AND also the very informative ZORKIKAT (how not to destroy your Fed and Zorki )

I bought mine quite cheaply from eBay, from ua-artprojectcom. The camera came with the collapsible Industar-22 50mm f3.5, in the original leather case and had been CLA'd and tested by the seller.

The camera cost $75

The cosmetic condition was very nice indeed, a little wear here and there, but over-all a very nice looking gadget of a camera.
Very solid too, all metal (even the "leatherette" is metal ^^), quite heavy and sturdy.

I have a Zorki 1d, I think it was made in 1950-56, but you can never be sure with the Zorkis, due to variances in production lines, serial-no policies (first numbers not necessarily indicating production year), and serial-number deliveries etc, basically it's a real mess and a crap-shoot, so it's made "some time during the 50's".....probably....!

There are subtle variances in design that can help classify the models, but even here, you may find yourself with a Zorki with various parts, belonging to no specific class...so..yeah! :)

I wanted the latest first revision, with the original copied Leica speeds (the final version of the 1, the "1E" has the familiar modern shutter-speeds on it). This one has the original, weird shutter-speed steps. ^^

Shutter-speed selector, shutter release, film-winding mechanism and the release knob, to prepare for film rewind.
The speeds are close enough to the speeds I am familiar with anyway (1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/125s, 1/250s etc) and film is lenient, so it's definitely not a big deal.

No, it definitely does NOT have a light-meter (are you mental? =D )

Here's a few more shots of my particular camera which shows the lens and camera from various angles.

Original cover for the lens, it has a little bump on it, but looks very nice and finish off the camera

The knob closest to the camera is pulled up and then you screw it to wind the film back.
Do NOT forget to set the rewind release knob to "B" before you do, or you may snap off your film!

Back-view with serial-number showing. Rangefinder focusing window to the left, composition-window to the right.

Sweet looking Zorki

Bottom loading camera. You unscrew the knob on the right and lift off the bottom lid to load and unload film.

And the original?

The original Leica II....the resemblance is just.....just...oh you cheeky Russkies! =)
Photo shamefully borrowed from http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Leitz/Leica-II-%28Mod-D%29-%28chrome%29.html

In the hand and in use

The camera is quite small, it fits very easily in my hand, although my hands are of the larger kind. :)
There are no luxury-items like a strap or mounts for straps, carry in your hand or in the leather-casing.

Not a very large camera, thin too.

My camera doesn't like the cold very much. I've experienced shutter-lag/sticky shutter when out and about in a very comfortable -4 degrees during winter, so I suppose it is best used as a summer-camera. :)

Very important: You need to set the shutter speed _after_ you've wound up the shutter _only_, or else you can and will mess up the camera and possibly break the whole thing, rendering it useless.
When you've fired off a shot, the shutter-speed selector winds back and ends on some gibberish value, the true shutter-speed value can only be observed when the shutter is cocked.

It is by no means a quiet camera, it snaps pretty bossy and surprisingly loud each time you take a photo, adding to the cheap feel. :)

The rangefinder is surprisingly easy to use for such an old camera. You use the left most window (rangefinder-window) to focus and then the right window to compose your shot. (usually I just use the rangefinder-window for everything, as it is quicker, especially for people).

The Industar-22 lens I have is also very quick to focus with, smooth and well built and looks really cool with it's collapsible design. To use, you pull out the lens and twist 1/4 of a round, so it doesn't fall back on itself when you press the front towards the camera.

The aperture-adjustment ring on mine is a little flimsy (feels that it isn't quite engaged), but it does work very well, so I suppose it's by design or whatever :)

Loading the camera is done in the old Leica way, from the bottom. You also need to cut the film-leader, so that the thinnest part of the leader, is extended to about the same length as the camera.

Be careful so you don't leave any jaggies when cutting the leader, as this may jam and be stuck inside your camera, and make sure you round off your cut _between_ the holes in the film edge..

What about the results?

A lot of talk, but how are the results from this camera?

I haven't shot miles of film with the camera yet, but I am very impressed with the Industar-22

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm, Kodak Tri-X, HC-110 B 6 minutes
Quite close-up, shot with Tri-X, wide open.

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

Zorki-1d with Industar-22 50mm Fuji Acros 100, HC-monobath, 15 minutes
Shoot data: 1/200s @ F4

The portrait shots are incidentally developed using the monobath I was talking about in my last blog-entry, Acros still looks quite lovely in that developer I must say.

The sharpness of this lens at F4 is pretty impressive, especially close up, the proof is in the pudding in the portrait shots, they were all shot a measly 1/2 stop below wide open!
Heck, it's even sharper than my silver Jupiter-8, which is a Sonnar copied design, but I may have a dud there (bought from a seller in Moscow).

I have a black Jupiter-8 too, for my Zorki-4K (looks just like the lens and camera in the picture on that link, more on that in a later blog) which was also bought from ua-artprojectcom, which is better. :)

The camera is FUN and it does indeed produce lovely results, the standard Industar-22 is really a good performer on my camera.

ua-artprojectcom really did a great job with their CLA, I can really recommend him, everything I've bought from him is top notch.

Not bad at all for $75 ^_^

11. mai 2015

Monobath-processing with Kodak HC-110 :)


First a disclaimer: This is in no way, shape or form an attempt to be a scientific report, I am simply going to tell you what I did and how I interpreted the results. For accurate, scientific results, one should use the proper material and processes. (which I don't do at all ;) )

I recently saw a video by Ted Forbes, where he did a review on R3 monobath.

What is a monobath?

Well, for those old enough, it's the same process that makes polaroid-photos develop, stop and fix themselves after shooting. For those that are too young for this...it's magic! :)

For black and white processing it means: A single bath that covers the three stages of black and white development (dev - stop - fix). It really doesn't stop anything, it fixes as it developes....... ^^

This has been researched for decades in the past, with interesting results.
Truth be told though, a magic bullet has never been found, because they experienced speed-loss, development artifacts, grain issues and many other things along the way.

Also, the liquid gets REALLY muddy after just 2-3 runs, as the fixer rinse out the silver and whatnot, I suppose it may or may not affect the shots after a while.

Also, as one know, if you are using black and white film, and you use several different films in the same developer, they have different times at which they are developed. Thus a developer react differently with various films.

The same is true for a monobath, thus, you must tailor the monobath to the particular film you are using and from that follows, that monobaths, although successful with one film, may not be usable with another film.
- Modern T-grain films may also have issues with monobaths.

......So it was never a commercial success.

Anyway, the R3 process is tailored to suit several films, and it seem to do various films pretty well take a look if you live in the US.

In Ted's vlog on youtube, he mentioned that you can make it yourself, and one Mr. Donald Qualls posted an interesting find over at photo.net in 2004, where he had made a monobath with ammonia, which developed Tri-X pretty well.

He also posted the recipe ^^

Orginal at 75F to make 256ml, by Donald Qualls Oct. 2004
50ml household clear ammonia
15 ml of HC-110 syrup Dilution A (1:15)
10 ml Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate
ca 180ml Water to make up 256 ml  

I wanted to make 1500ml, to fit in a large bottle of Coke that I have, so I multiplied up the amounts and used:

300 ml household clear ammonia 
90 ml of HC-110 syrup straight from the bottle.
60 ml Ilford Rapid fixer concentrate
Water to 1500ml

My bottle of ammonia is a no-name brand called "First price" and says 5-10% on it.
I read somewhere it means "5% of solution", "10% of weight". 

Anyway, the original recipe state to use 5% household ammonia and you can usually find it in the cleaning section in your general grocery-store.
I mixed the developer and ammonia first, then I put the fixer in and then water, just to make everything more easy for myself, as I didn't want to stir around with too many bottles and cups.

Use a well-ventilated room OR as I did, mix the stuff on the stove below the fan that normally suck cooking-fumes out, the fumes from the ammonia will make you gag for sure and it can hurt your skin, eyes and lungs, so avoid breathing this stuff :)

In the analog geeks group at Facebook, people have already tried out Tri-X and it works as advertised.
But I am a Acros-shooter for the most part and for 400 ISO I use Neopan 400 (and more often these days, Tri-X), so I wanted to see how this monobath would work with Acros and Neopan.

After all, both Neopan and Acros have roughly the same develop-times in HC-110 (you can put both films in the tank and develop them together).

Both also have a very short development time when you look at dilution B.
For the monobath, you effectively use dilution A, which means half the time of B, which again means a development time of around 2 minutes 30 seconds for those films, very similar to the Tri-X times.

I will not get into the details surrounding Neopan 400 here, except to say that with a development time of 15 minutes, the negatives were thin (looked underdeveloped, edge-markings barely visible) and the base-fog on the film was present, but didn't play a great part in scanning. But I would not use this particular recipe for Neopan 400.

- Scanning did work well, but it was clear that the monobath would have have to be adjusted to suit Neopan 400, which isn't viable, considering the film is no longer produced by Fuji.

For Acros however, it was "wow time".
- And that is kind of funny, since I read somewhere that it is a t-grain/cubic hybrid sort of film.

I did a few test-shots around my apartment windows (because it was getting late in the evening), used my Hasselblad 503CW, mirror lockup and remote release (shutter was around 1/30's at F4) and snapped away.

Some shots were +1 over measured exposure, to see how overexposure would look like, didn't have much effect on the final outcome, maybe a little.

The development data was 15 minutes at 25 degrees Celsius. 30 seconds initial agitation (I used the stick in the tank, not inversions of the whole tank, to avoid spillage), then 4-5 rounds with the stick every 5 minutes.

I have not tested the minimum time for development and fix/clear, others can do that, I did 15 minutes to be sure it was clear


Negatives were CLEAR....really clear indeed. Where the Neopan 400 showed a good amount of base-fog, the Acros came out clear as it normally does in conventional developers.

The negatives themselves looked GREAT (although the negative area looked more brown than the typical black).

Here the strip is hanging in the shower to dry:

Here is how the initial scan looks, I have scanned the sheets to preserve shadows and highlights, so anyone can download them and adjust the levels, to see how the edge-markings and base are, compared to the rest of the negative's shadows and highlights. (I always seem to get leaks in the edges of the negatives, no matter what camera and no matter how damn careful I am :/ )

- You can initially click the photos, then right-click and select "view image" in Firefox to see the full resolution example and then right-click again and select "save image" to get it to your computer, if you like. You can also do the same with the single-photos below, they are large exports from Lightroom and should provide a good way to check out details.

The scanner I use is a Epson v750, all negatives are scanned trough clear plastic sleeves, placed directly on the glass in the scanner, at 1200 DPI.

In all honesty, the negatives themselves are very usable and I would guess that they are a breeze to print too (I've worked with some narly negs in my short time in the darkroom, and these look pretty darn good to my eyes).

Grain is nicely controlled too, nothing to worry about, compared to a normal HC-110 development.
Shadow detail IS pretty good, got good control over that when scanning. If anything, the negatives seem to have gotten increased contrast (S-shaped tone-curve) with a slightly rougher look. I think they look quite similar to Acros souped in Rodinal 1:50.

Here are some of the shots, large scans, adjusted with the curves tool. Mostly just set the black and white point to where the base is just visible, no need to bend the curves here.

Worked like a charm this! :)

I would be happy to try it again sometime.

Acros, being a fine-grained, "best-reciprocity-master", all-round goodie 100 ISO film, is a film I use A LOT, probably others too, so good to know that Acros is a happy camper in this recipe.

Neat to know you can finish the film in 10-15 minutes, wash and hang to dry. ^^

My 1500ml bottle is now pretty muddy (after three trial-runs), but it don't seem to affect the quality of the negatives just yet, activity also seems to be good, so I'll keep shooting it and see when it starts to "die" on me. :)

Have fun and feel free to try it out and share your own results ^^