Notes From The Top Left Corner

Discussion in 'Competitions, Themes & Blogs' started by Chris Bennett, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Thanks for these links Pete. Interesting.
     
    Pete Askew likes this.
  2. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Well, thank you very much Brian!
     
  3. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    That is beautiful, the works of J M W Turner come to mind, very good.
     
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  4. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Thank you Dave.
     
  5. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Well, yesterday I was delighted to be given the chance to shoot with a 1932 Leica II that has been languishing in the cupboard of its owner for the last 30 years. Apparently, he brought it with him when he came back from Berlin after the war.

    Leica II.JPG

    The above photo is not mine, but taken by a friend who was with me. The first roll, having been developed, is hanging up to dry just now.
     
  6. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Looking forward to the results. How did you find the handling?
     
  7. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    A true classic, what a great find.
     
  8. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Hi Pete,
    Well, the roll gave a mixed bag of results. Not that there were some good images and some bad, but rather that they were all exposed fairly well, there were no light leaks, nor was there any evidence of pinholes in the shutter curtains. On the other hand, everything was rather soft and unacceptably so. Nothing was in focus - even those images which had a lot of depth to them.
    I am unable to show any just now but will do so in due course.

    The camera is on long term loan to us, so we will be able to experiment some more.
     
  9. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I coped with most of its idiosyncrasies fairly well, I think Pete, except for the fact that my shutter finger always wanted to land on the film advance/rewind selector lever. I generally pushed that at least once per shot before I found the actual shutter release button!
     
    Pete Askew likes this.
  10. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    OK, I'm now able to post some shots from this Leica II.
    The lens is a 50mm f/3.5. Film was Fomapan 200, exposure was calculated for ISO 100 and it was developed in Rodinal 1+25 for 4' 40".
    Here are a few shots.

    The best one:
    Leica II No1.JPG


    This one, I have shown because, as you can see, nothing is in focus, from front to back of the scene.
    Leica II No2.JPG

    This is one that I took and I know that I took extreme care to focus on the finial on the iron fencing in the foreground. You'd never know from looking at this!
    Leica II No3.JPG

    I have included this one which was taken on another camera, but with the same film stock (the very next length from a 30 metre bulk roll of the Fomapan) and developed along with the one from the Leica. This clearly shows there was nothing wrong with either the film, operator or developing process.
    P30 17mm Sugarhouse.JPG

    So, I wonder if anyone has any idea as to what might be the cause of the problem?
     
  11. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Well I guess the most obvious suggestion is that the range-finder needs adjusting! I guess zone focusing with a relatively small aperture might get round that to some extent. That first shot certainly has quite a vintage feel to it and may well reflect to some extent the sort of contrast one might expect. A bit more might be squeezed out with a full clean of the lens. The person from behind is just great though although I suspect not quite what you were aiming for: is the shutter running a tad slow do you think (that might "ride up" with wear though given that it has been sitting for so long).
     
  12. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Thanks Pete.

    I was surprised at how good the exposures all were, so am comfortable with the shutter speeds for now.
    I hadn't expected focussing problems. My friend has shot another roll with it and has cleaned the lens. I'll develop that tomorrow. This meant that I didn't have it in my possession and so wasn't able to investigate. The things that occurred to me that could be causing this were:
    1/ rangefinder out of whack
    2/lens possibly not fully extended or locked in place. It was stiff and has now loosened up a little from use.
    3/lens grubby as hell

    Re. the rangefinder being out of whack, there is another lens, a 90mm but there is no accessory viewfinder for it, so the thought crossed my mind that the finder may have been adjusted for that, rather than the 50mm. Would this be a possibility? I asked Peter to use that for a couple of shots so we can see.

    It also occurred to me that I could screw in a Russian 39mm lens - I have a few Industar 50s and a Jupiter 8. I understand that they will probably back focus, but thought I could learn something from taking a few thoughtfully set up shots.

    So...about this "most obvious suggestion that the range-finder needs adjusting" business. Is this something a reasonably intelligent being can carry out, or is it something for a Leica trained super-technician?
     
  13. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    Panic over, I think we've cracked it...

    Mill no1.JPG

    Mill No2.JPG

    Mill No3.JPG
     
  14. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Now there's a contrast! And the solution?
     
  15. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I haven't got a clue Pete!
    The lens was cleaned, but I think that was only part of it. My suspicion is that the lens wasn't properly extended and/or locked. Two of us went out with it, determined to blast off a short roll of film between us to see how it performed. When the lens was extended, it stayed out until the film was finished. It was quite stiff and as I didn't open it, I can't be sure for myself that it was done properly.

    Anyway, it looks to be just fine after all the trauma.
     
  16. Dave Farnes

    Dave Farnes Well-Known Member

    Yes, all looking good now.
     
    Chris Bennett likes this.

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