Thursday, 27 November 2014

My first Kodak Experience

Well, as you may know, I picked up a little gem on eBay a few months ago.  A circa 1959 Kodak Retinette 1A 35mm with a Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar 50mm f3.5 lens.  

In wonderful condition!

The only problem I have with the Kodak is that I wish I could get a faster shutter speed out of it than 1/250!   I wanted to take some shallow depth of field shots but wasn't able to get the aperture any wider than f8.  I am considering getting an ISO 50 film and pulling it to 25 but that is an experiment for the future.

The lens proved to have a sharp sweet spot but still, I would love to get it down to the f3.5 aperture for some portraits etc, just to test it out to the fullest extent.

The Pollux Rangefinder that I use to measure the distance to subject fitted perfectly onto the shoe fitting also.  There is a story here......  Halfway through shooting this roll, I noticed that the Pollux Rangefinder wasn't synching the images together.  The ghost image was out of synch vertically with the subject image.  I actually got a tape measure out and noted that when the images synched horizontally, the distance indicated was also out!  I was able to readjust the synch horizontally and I think this will still give an accurate distance reading but the vertical synch is still out.

This is where it gets interesting.  For the remainder of the film I had to estimate the distance to the subject.   Luckily, I was raised on the Imperial system of measurement and I know what yards, feet and inches are as well as I know centimetres and metres!  Once I had the distance guesstimated and had set the aperture, I was able to use the 'zone focus' marks on the lens.

This is an area on the lens that is used in conjunction with the distance setting.  If you look closely at the photo of the camera on here, you will see an inverted triangle.  Underneath that, you will see the number 10 on the innermost adjustment ring.  That means that the focus has been set for 10 feet (the numbers are upside down but you have to appreciate that you would looking at them from the top of the camera whilst adjusting your settings).  Either side of that inverted triangle, you will see other numbers marked off at various points (3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11  etc ) these numbers represent the aperture setting or f stop that you have set for your shot.

For example, your subject is 10ft away from you and you are using an aperture setting of f8.  Look to the right of the inverted triangle and find the number 8; you will see that it is sitting opposite a distance of just under 7ft.  Look to the left of the inverted triangle and you will find the number 8 sitting opposite a distance of a little over 15ft.  Therefore, if you subject is 10ft away from you and you aperture setting is f8, your depth of field (the range of sharpest focus) is between approx 7ft and 16ft.  If you are using a larger aperture of f3.5 you can see here that your depth of field will be from 8-12 feet approximately.

Needless to say, the larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field and so the distance to subject must be accurate in the first place!

This all may sound a little complicated but this is why I love film photography and vintage cameras; you simply have to know this information and understand how your equipment works.  It gives me a real sense of accomplishment!

This is the first time I have used the Ilford FP4 Plus 125 film.  I found it to have a strong contrast and the tones are deeper than other B&W films I have used.  It is supposed to have a fine grain but it appears grainier (not that there is anything wrong with that) than some of the other films I have used (or maybe I have been spoiled by Fuji NEOPAN Acros 100!)  I still have 2 rolls of it left and will put 1 now into my Pentax for my next adventure!

All the Best


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Living on the Lake, Toronto, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Paddling on the Lake, Eleebana, Australia.

Bolton Point Wharf, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Customs House, Newcastle, Australia.

Eleebana, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Father and Son, Toronto, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

The Hunter in the Shallows, Lake Macquarie, Australia.