I initially had some problems with the camera. I inserted the film and pressed the shutter release to eject the dark slide. The slide started to move and then jammed. I told my Son-in-Law (it was his camera after all). He replaced the batteries (the camera had been standing for some time) and then tried some brute force. After some tugging the slide finally came out, but unfortunately the first picture came with it, so we lost a frame.
After that it was all plain sailing. Select the appropriate focus zone and then press the shutter release. The first couple of images suffered from light leaks (see picture above), but the rest were good.
What did I like about this camera? Honestly not much. It’s easy to use and there is something rather magical about seeing the image develop in your hands.
What didn’t I like. First it’s huge. Much larger than an SLR even if it is lighter. You’re not going to be putting this one in your pocket. The viewfinder is off to one side, far away from the lens so there are definite problems with framing. There aren’t many controls, but what there are are all off to one side so you pretty much have to take your eye off the viewfinder and turn the camera to see them (and some of them are not all that easy to see even then).
So while it was fun to use I wouldn’t seem myself using one of these long term: not enough controls for me and I didn’t particularly like the quality of the images much.
This last image was taken using the close up attachment which allows you to focus to 15 inches (so not really that close).
I’ve never been a fan of instant cameras, largely because I don’t like the results they produce. However recently we stayed with our younger daughter and noticed this camera on a shelf and decided to give it a try. I asked my son in law if I could use it. He said OK and told me that there was film behind it.
The Instax 210 Wide Camera was the first wide format that Fujifilm developed (It has since been replaced by the Instax 300 Wide). It uses ISO 800 speed film cartridges that come in a pack of ten. Each photo measures 3.4 by 4.25 inches with a white border.
The camera has a film countdown counter as part of an LCD display that also shows the focal distance: either close-up for shots at 0.9 meters to 3 meters or distant for shots from 3 meters to infinity. Every time the camera is turned on, the front lens extends and the camera defaults to close-up mode.
Other controls include a lighten/normal/darken switch and a flash on/off button. The flash on the camera will fire automatically in low light conditions and there’s no way to stop it from doing so i.e. the flash cannot be completely turned off. The shutter speed is fixed at 1/64th and 1/200th of a second, so shots of people (or anything else) moving will look blurred.
The camera comes with a close up lens attachment, which also includes a mirror for taking selfies and requires four AA batteries.
That’s about it. All in all a fairly simple camera.
I’d always liked the look of Leica cameras and, of course, their reputation precedes them. When I started collecting cameras (around 2011) I thought about getting a Leica, but I didn’t want to pay what they cost and I wasn’t sure how I’d like the rangefinder experience. So in order to try out rangefinder cameras my first purchase was of two Former Soviet Union cameras: A FED 2 and a Zorki 4.
Of course it was not long until the yen for a Leica returned so I got my hands on this one: A Leica IIIf red dial (I think). I also got a Leitz 90mm f4 lens, the only piece of Leica glass that I could afford. I also figured that I could use the lenses (Industar, Jupiter and the like) that I got with the FSU cameras. Subsequently I bought the Canon Serenar 50mm f3.5, which you see in the picture above and which I used for this test.
So back in 2011 I trimmed the leader and loaded the camera with Tri-X. And there it sat until recently when I took it out again.
This is such a well known camera that I’ll content myself with a couple of links to reviews:
Leica IIIf. Screw Mount (1950-1957) on kenrockwell.com
First Impressions: Leica IIIf after sixty years
Leica Screw Mount Cameras – the 1930’s through the 1950’s (not specifically on the IIIf but and interesting overview of Leica screwmount cameras).
I struggled with this camera – not the fault of the camera, more my lack of familiarity with it and some basic mistakes I made. Loading was easy enough, but after that things started to go downhill.
Admittedly I was rushing. I was leaving on vacation and wanted to finish a roll quickly before I left. I had the camera set for 6×9 and so only had 8 frames available. I composed my first picture and pressed the shutter release. Nothing happened. Maybe I needed to advance? I did this and still nothing. Now getting flustered I tried again. Still nothing. Eventually I realized that I’d forgotten to cock the shutter – three frames lost, five to go.
It was a fairly dull day and I was using 100 ISO film and in one of the shots I think the shutter speed was too slow for me to hand hold – four frames down four to go.
Only occasionally having used medium format cameras I didn’t realize that depth of field is less than I was used to with 35mm. Only a small area was in focus, with the foreground and background badly out of focus. Five down, three to go (the images above and below),
I found the camera quite cumbersome to use. I couldn’t seem to hold it comfortably and the focus mechanism at the end of the lens was also uncomfortable. I left with the impression that it’s really designed to be used on a tripod, which is what I’ll do next time I use it.
So while I didn’t really like the camera all that much the 6×9 negative is hard to resist so I’ll certainly try it again.
Made from 1955-59 by KMZ, Krasnogorsk (Moscow), USSR. Earlier models were copies of the Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta C. Unlike the earlier models, this model is a Zeiss Super Ikonta adapted form, rather than a clone and unlike the Super Ikonta, its solid top plate has a built-in rangefinder and a dual-format viewfinder. The Moskva-5 was the latest model in a series of cameras, the main difference from the Moskva-4 being the addition of a self timer. The Moskva-5 was undoubtedly designed as an expensive professional camera, and not as an amateur model.
It uses 120 rollfilm and produces a negative of 6cm x 9cm (or 6cm x cm) with mask (apparently the mask is often lost, but I was lucky that mine still has it.
It weighs about 30oz and has an Industar-24 f3.5-f32 (4 elements in groups) lens, which focuses from 1.5m to infinity. The shutter is a Moment 24s with shutter speeds of b, 1-1/250. The shutter isn’t set by advancing the film; it has to be cocked at the lens by a lever. To take a picture, press the button on the left of the camera top. The button on the right is for unlocking the front plate when the camera is collapsed. To fire the shutter, the film needs to be transported, if not, the release button will be blocked, a double exposure locking mechanism is indicated by a small window beside the winding knob, before winding it is white and the shutter release is blocked and after winding it is red and shutter release works.
It sports a rather strange, but effective, rangefinder mechanism with a rotating arm at the end of the lens (I’m not entirely sure how it works but it does). The rangefinder window is separate from the viewfinder, so it’s select the focus distance using the rangefinder and then compose the image in the viewfinder.
The rear of the camera has two red windows, one for the 6×9 frame and the other for the 6×6. Both windows have a blind and whichever frame size is selected (by moving a lever inside the camera back) disables the other.
For a more thorough review see here.