May 1 is traditionally observed in many countries as May Day, a holiday celebrating the worker and his/her contributions to the greater good. It is most known in Communist and former Communist countries. In analog film circles, this day has come to be celebrated as Commie Camera Day, a day to pull out and dust off your old Smena, Kiev, Lubitel, Zorki or whatever your favorite clunker from this era might be. A number of Film Shooters Collective members own one or more of these cameras and are quite fond of them. This year, we asked them to send us some of their favorite shots and a few words about their cameras, in honor of these sturdy hard working cameras and their often impressive lenses.
In 1938, the “Leica News and Technique” published the article “More Factors Adversely Affecting Sharpness”, the July-August, number 34, issue written by Heinrich Stöcker, a technician working in the Leica Wetzlar Factory. He developed a new developer for the 35mm miniature film that he called the Leica Two-Bath Developer.
While I was planning my photography packing for my family's seaside holiday in Whitby last year (I love this bit - deciding on cameras and lenses, sorting through the accessories and the film stash, narrowing it down to a lean 30KG of totally essential gear in no more than four formats including instant) it occurred to me, since nothing says BLACK AND WHITE quite like a Holga, or indeed quite like infrared film, that I should really put the two together.
For most of us, whenever we touch a computer to process an image, however much it was produced using film (or glass or metal) as the support medium and processed in a chemical darkroom to deliver a negative or even positive “inter-image” as they were called, if the image as displayed or viewed in its final form is via some type of electronic medium (not media, medium – there is a huge difference) it becomes a hybrid.
My theory about the renaissance of instant photography (and film photography in general) is rooted in the physical singularity of the images. We are able to more deeply treasure something that is rare, unique, and unrepeatable; it mirrors our own humanity.
Last September I finally pulled the trigger on a camera that I'd been eyeing for a while - an Intrepid 5x4. I already have a Crown Graphic, but I wanted something that would give me more flexibility with regard to movements. With the Crown Graphic I don't really use movements, so all you're gaining is the additional film size, and since my Hasselblad is no slouch in the optics department, there didn't seem to be much advantage in using the Crown Graphic over the Hasselblad, despite its smaller film size. The Intrepid would, hopefully, give me more flexibility with movements, as well as being lighter and more compact.
The combo of a Contax G1 and the 28mm lens came into my life about 24 months ago. This particular cam was not at all on my radar, but after reading a number of glowing internet reviews, I was hooked and knew I wanted one.
Konica’s Autoreflex T3 descended from their original Autoreflex single lens reflex which had the novel (and probably unique) feature of being able to switch from the full 35mm format to half frame at will mid-roll. Although the T3 does not share this ability, it’s still a solid, well made 35mm SLR that’s worth considering if an example presents itself to you at a keen price.