Pass the rangefinder

Earlier this year I joined an intersting initiative: Pass the rangefinder. It's about a camera, which is sent from one photographer to another, and each one shoots a film through it. You can read about it more here.

The more important part of it are the results. So, here are my photos, which I took with the Pass the RF FED-2 and its standard lens Industar-26M 50mm f/2.8:

In a bus

From a colleague's window
(unfortuantely I don't have such beautiful view from my office)

Lady in white

The tables are ready

Waiting

Young and old

Ora...


PS: I must confess I cheated a little bit. I used an external viewfinder - the wonderful Voigtlander 1:1 50mm finder, which makes using these old cameras a pleasure.

Jupiter-3 madness

Last month I made a deal with Jamie from RFF and traded a Jupiter-9 8.5cm 1:2 lens in Kiev/Contax mount for a Jupiter-3 5cm 1:1.5 in Leica screw mount (M39) for my Bessa. The lens I always wanted. Ever since I knew how good the Jupiter-8 is. And Jupiter-3 is said to be even better!

Here is one picture taken in my room. It was quite dark in there... but I had enough time to focus precisely and this is the result:

Bessa R2 + Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 @ f/1.5 on Fomapan 100

I just love the soft creamy 'Sonnar' bokeh... As we went out, I wanted to try it also outside wide open... and I think the following is still a nice photo, albeit a bit misfocussed... and the bokeh is sooo smoooth...

Bessa R2 + Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 @ f/1.5 on Fomapan 100

The next picture I took with the lens a bit stopped down to increase depth of field. By the way - that's Brian, my dog (on the left), and Lubka, my beautiful girlfriend (on the right) ;o)

Bessa R2 + Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 @ f/4 on Fomapan 100

Zorki 1 adventures

Recently I acquired one very old camera. Zorki 1. It was made in 1955 and it's the oldest in my collection. After I gave it a CLA (clean-lube-adjust) I wanted to try it with film. For such an old camera with the fastest shutter speed of 1/500 I wanted to use something to allow me to use wider aperture - so I chose Fomapan 100. On an average partly-cloudy day using the "Sunny f/16" rule the exposure is 1/500 @ f/5.6 which is fine. Some of the results are here:

This is a statue of Hviezdoslav - a great Slovak poet of the 19th century. Seems he is being guerded by a policeman... but the police is in fact guarding the US embassy which is just a few meters to the left...

taken with Zorki 1 + Industar-22

Some advertisings on the wall of a building at Obchodna (Shopping) street...
taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

A tough guy buying Playboy underwear! This is IMHO the best shot of this roll... I framed it a little bit more to the left, but the viewfinder of Zorki 1 isn't very precise...
taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

Bratislava old town hall. A very nice building built in renaissance style...
taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

Driver of a tourist wagon waiting for the next round. When the weather is good, these little vehicles drive the tourists for a tour around the historical center of the city... The framing a little bit off again, because the viewfinder of the camera isn't very precise...
taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

I also took some portraits of my girlfriend with Zorki 1 and Jupiter-8. The camera is from 1955, the lens from 1956 and my girlfriend Lubka from 1984 :) In the second and third picture she has my Olympus OM-2000, which I lent her to learn photography.

taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

taken with Zorki 1 + Jupiter-8 50/2

February photo-walks

After I've seen the results from my first B&W film, I just fell for this medium. Seems I'm in B&W phase of my photograper's life...

Here are some photos from my second B&W film which I shot during the sunny days in February. Film was again Fomapan 400, developed I don't know in what nor for how long - I had it developed in a lab.

This is St.Martin's cathedral in Bratislava, in years 1563-1830 A.D. the coronation cathedral of Austro-Hungaria. The tower is 85 m tall...

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

This is my most favourite picture of this film is the following called Victim of fashion. The name of the shop just fits the woman on the right - fur coat, high boots, handbag :)

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

This was taken in a round backyard of one very old house in Bratislava center. Normally it's locked, but a man who was just going in offered me that I can enter there and take some pictures...

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

One of the few shabby buildings in the Bratislava city center. There used to be many, but as the economic situation is improving more and more buildings are restored...

taken with Bessa R + Jupiter-8 50/2

An old woman in front of an old building. If you didn't know when I took it - would you guess it right? To me it looks quite timeless...

taken with Bessa R + Jupiter-8 50/2

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

Bokeh of Soviet lenses

(already posted some time ago as a thread on RangefinderForum.com)

I tend to judge lenses not only by sharpness or contrast, but also by 'bokeh' (the rendering of out-of-focus areas). And I just wanted to do a comparisson of my lenses in this regard...

I did this test in June 2006, even before I bought my Bessa R. All shots in this comparisson were taken with my Zorki 4 camera with the Helios finder used to frame the 85 and 35 lenses (since the viewfinder of Zorki 4 only shows the view of a 50 lens). The lenses compared are Jupiter-8 (50/2), Industar-61 (50/2.8), Jupiter-9 (85/2) and Jupiter-12 (35/2.8). All the lenses are Soviet-made, but based on pre-war Zeiss designs. They are not copies, but the plans for those lenses were taken after the second world war as war reparations.

Thanks to Lubka for being a patient model... focussing with Zorki 4 sometimes takes a looong time ;)

Here are the results: (click image for larger version)

Jupiter-12 (35mm f/2.8)

@ f/2.8

@ f/5.6

This lens is a Soviet 'Zeiss Biogon'. The lens is symmetric, and its rear element is very close to film.
The bokeh wide open at f/2.8 is nice and smooth and the image is quite soft in the corners with some vigneting. At f/5.6 the depth-of-field is so deep that there is almost no bokeh... but sharpness had much improved.

Jupiter-8 (50mm f/2)

@ f/2

@ f/2.8

@ f/4

@ f/5.6

Jupiter-8 is a Soviet 'Zeiss Sonnar'. This lens is my favourite. It's quite soft wide open, with very pleasing creamy bokeh, but surprisingly tack-sharp when stopped down. The contrast is lower wide open, but stopping down to f/2.5 helps a lot. The blackening of edges of lens elements isn't exactly the strongest point of Soviet lenses and stopping down to f/2.5 eliminates reflections from these surfaces. Also notice that wide open at f/2 out-of-focus highlights are rendered with stronger edges, but after stopping the aperture down to f/2.8 they are much smoother without the stronger edges... In my opinion f/2.5 or f/2.8 is the best f-stop for portraits with this lens.

Industar-61 (50mm f/2.8)

@ f/2.8

@ f/4

@ f/5.6

Industar-61 (just like the previous version called Industar-26) is a Soviet 'Zeiss Tessar'. It's sharp already wide open, with nice bokeh. The photo taken at f/2.8 shows how sharp it really is. It is said to be one of the sharpest Soviet lenses in LTM mount.

Jupiter-9 (85mm f/2)


@ f/2

@ f/4

The test photos show why short-tele lenses are considered best for portraits. The out-of-focus areas are rendered very smooth and creamy - an example of perfect bokeh. As the previous lenses, also Jupiter-9 is a Soviet 'Zeiss Sonnar'. It is known to be soft wide open, but very sharp when stopped down. My test photos proved this - soft at f/2, but tack-sharp at f/4. Beautiful...

Discovering the beauty of classic B&W film

After years of using mostly color negative film (Fuji, Konica, Kodak) I decided I needed a change. And I wanted to do my own enlargements. So true classic B&W film was the way to go. I loaded my Bessa with Fomapan 400 and went out...

Althought it took me about 2 weeks to get throught the 38 or so frames, it was worth the wait. I then had it developed by a local guy who does developing of classic B&W (I'm not ready to do the developing myself yet - too frightened I might mess it up).

And here are some pics from that film...

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

A wagabond staring at the wall... the wall behind is a memorial of a synagogue that used to stand there. It was demolished during the communist era to make place for a bridge across the Danube. In fact a large part of the historic centre was demolished.

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

taken with Bessa R + Skopar 35/2.5

I used 2 lenses for this roll: Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f/2.5 "Classic" and a Jupiter-8 50mm f/2, but as you can see - most of the good "street shots" were taken with the Skopar. The following photo is a portrait of my grandfather taken with Jupiter-8 50mm f/2.

taken with Bessa R + Jupiter-8 50/2 @ f/2.5

What you can see here are just scans from the negs. I still have to find some time to lock in the darkroom and make some prints... but I already can't wait to do it...

My favorite model :)

This is her. I've got many pictures of her, and I still enjoy taking more photos. I'd like to capture her every expression... every smile... and wink ;) This is Lubka.

This was taken on a walk along the Danube. She looks like a real fashion model :)

taken with Canonet QL17 GIII

This was taken on a trip to a water mill near Jelka (a village). The water is so shallow there, that in the middle of the river we could easily sit on some rocks that stick above the water.

taken with Bessa R and Jupiter-8 50/2 lens

I took this in Bratislava downtown, while sitting on a terrace outside a café. There was hardly enough light for a photo, but it turned out nice.

taken with Bessa R and Jupiter-8 50/2 lens, exposure 1/15 @ f/2

And one more - thoughtful...


...and smiling :)

both taken with OM-2000 camera and Zuiko 85/2 lens @ f/2 or f/2.8