A new digital camera

Actually it’s the first brand new camera that I’ve bought in over 10 years. I recently sold some property and I promised myself that after the sale was complete I would treat myself to a new (rather than the used cameras I’ve been buying of late) camera. After my usual tortured selection process I ended up with a Sony A7IV (seen above with a Samyang 45mm f1.8 lens). I bought it soon after it came out in December, 2021.

Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
Announced: 21st October 2021
Sensor: 33Mp full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm) BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor
Lens mount: FE
Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 50 to ISO 204,800), Video: ISO ISO 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 100-102,400)
Still Image format: Jpeg, HEIF, raw (Sony ARW 4.0)
Video format & compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
4K Video (XAVC HS): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (150 Mbps / 75 Mbps / 45 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps / 30 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL): 50p (150 Mbps / 75 Mbps / 45 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (200 Mbps / 100 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (200 Mbps / 100 Mbps)
4K Video (XAVC S): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC): 60p (150 Mbps), 30p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL): 50p (150 Mbps)5, 25p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (200 Mbps)56, 30p (140 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (200 Mbps)5, 25p (140 Mbps)
4K Video (XAVC S-I): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (600 Mbps)56, 30p (300 Mbps)6, 24p (240 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (500 Mbps)5, 25p (250 Mbps)
Movie functions: Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (Approx. 6 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 9 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 16 Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist
Autofocus system: Hybrid AF with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Still images: Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal (Right/Left Eye Select) / Bird, Movie: Human (Right/Left Eye Select), sensitive down to -4EV
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps
Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 3,686,400-dot EVF with 100% coverage and up to 0.78x magnification
Screen: 3-inch 1,036,800-dot vari-angletouchscreen
Image stabilisation: 5-axis giving up to 5.5EV compensation
Storage: Dual: 1: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II) & CFexpress Type A slot, 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II)
Battery: NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion battery giving 610 images with the screen
Dimensions (WxHxD): 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm / 5 1/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
Weight (including battery & memory card): 658g / 1 lb 7.3 oz

There’s a good review of it here.

I’m very pleased with my purchase. For some pictures taken with this camera and a variety of lenses see here.

Taken with a Sony A77II and Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro lens

Film Camera 2022 – 2 – Minolta Maxxum 600si – Results

I like this camera. It’s fairly light and feels solid. I suppose what I like most are all of the buttons and dials. There’s a button or a dial for practically everything you want to do: exposure compensation; flash compensation; drive mode; exposure mode; exposure area; autofocus area; autofocus mode; flash settings; ISO. There’s no messing around with complicated menus here. I also liked the bright and uncomplicated viewfinder: just the shutter speed, aperture; a green light that illuminates when focus has been achieved. I also liked the top LCD where you can change and view settings without looking through the viewfinder. The various settings are controlled by two dials – one on the front and one on the rear.

The were only a couple of minor things that I didn’t like. I found the exposure compensation dial to be rather “fiddly” because you have to press in a small button before you can rotate it. The camera also has a proprietary flash shoe. This doesn’t bother me much because I don’t use flash a lot and in any case I have flashes I bought for my early Sony Alpha cameras, which used the same proprietary shoe. I would also have liked the grip to have been a little deeper.

The pictures were taken at Dale (no relation) cemetery in Ossining, NY.

















Film Camera 2022 – 1 Moskva 5 – Results

As mentioned in the preceding post I had used this camera before but the results were pretty much a disaster. So how did I do this time?

I decided to walk down to nearby Sparta Cemetery to take the pictures. Generally speaking I was satisfied with the results. I only lost one frame, the very first one on the roll. I had loaded the camera some time ago and I knew when I came to use it that I’d lost that first frame, but I can’t remember why. The other 11 frames were decently exposed despite the fact that I couldn’t remember what film I’d put in the camera. I figured that it would be either ISO 100 or ISO 400 and decided to expose at ISO 200. It turned out that it was Kodak T-Max 100 but I guess there’s enough exposure latitude that even though I was one stop off it didn’t cause much of a problem. Focusing using the small rangefinder window was difficult, but the rangefinder seemed to work well.

There were a couple of issues with the camera, however. First, there were some scratches on some of the negatives. Nothing too drastic but still…There was also a slight light leak on some of the frames. But not all, which made me wonder if it was instead flare or some kind of reflection from something I was carrying. Again nothing too serious.

The worst thing about using this camera was definitely it’s ergonomics. I find it very difficult to hold. I just didn’t know where to put my hands. The focusing rings are right at the front of the bellows requiring me to hold the camera with one hand (already difficult for me) and try to focus using the other one. I suspect that the camera was designed to be used on a tripod, where with both hands free such adjustments would have been easier. The camera has separate viewfinder and rangefinder windows, which I suppose is about par for the course in cameras from this period. The rangefinder is particularly “squinty”. It works, but it’s hardly a pleasurable experience. I found framing subjects accurately using the viewfinder to be difficult, at least in 6×6 format (although when I used the camera before in 6×9 format I don’t recall that this was a problem.

I also find that I don’t instinctively relate to the 6×6 format – at least not at the moment. Maybe with more practice I could get more comfortable with it.

So at the end of the day I don’t see me using this camera very much. I could fix or live with the scratches and the light leak/flare, but I just don’t enjoy using it. So my quest to find a medium format camera that I would really enjoy using continues.










Film Camera 2022 – 1 Moskva 5

I haven’t done any film photography for quite some time so I thought I’d start again. The camera I chose was the Moskva 5.

According to Camerapedia:

The Moskva-5 (MOCKBA-5 in cyrillic) is a medium format rangefinder folding camera made by KMZ and produced between 1956-60.

Its main difference from Moskva-4 is added selftimer.

Earlier models of the Moskva were copies of the Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta C. Unlike 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. Moskva-5 is the latest model in a series of cameras Moskva brand. Main difference from Moskva-4 is added self timer. The Moskva-5 was undoubtedly designed as an expensive professional camera, and not as an amateur model. It was built in an age (1956–1960) when 35mm photography was already suppressing 120-film, and only professionals still insisted on using the larger format. Its dual-format characteristics, rangefinder and excellent lens and finish indicate professional use also. Apparently these cameras were used until very late (the 1980’s?) by Moscow street photographers.

There are 2 types and 2 sub-types of the Moskva-5.

The back of the camera showing the year of production (1958), two red windows for 6×6 and 6×9 numbering, the rangefinder window (left) and the separate viewfinder window (right). The symbol to the left of the serial number is the Krasnogorsk company logo.

Dual Format

Super Ikontas were made either for the 6×9 or 6×4.5 format. The Moskva-5 is a 6×6 and 6×9 camera. Since it has a fixed 105mm Industar lens, at 6×6 you have a mild tele at your disposal. To use the 6×6 size, you need to set the viewfinder to the square format. there is a lever to select the right window so you can see the numbering on the film back. The pressure plate does not need to be removed. The 6×9 red window is now blocked, so there’s no room for confusion.

As a last step, the 6×6 mask has to be inserted. The camera locks right into its holes. Close the camera and you’re ready to shoot.

Operation

The Moment 24c is a leaf shutter with speeds of B, 1 to 1/250s. To fire it, the film needs to be transported or the release button will be blocked, indicated by a red window on the top plate. 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. Before folding the camera, you shouldn’t forget to push down the lever with the glass window.

Specifications

Lens: Industar-24 (И-24) 110mm f/3.5 four elements in three groups
Aperture: f/3.5 – f/32 setting: lever and scale on the lens
Focus range: 1.5-15m + inf
Focusing: by a thumb lever, fixed onto the lens-shutter barrel plate,rotates wedge-shaped prisms in its window, turning the knob to focus rotates the glass, thus adjusts the rangefinder images that must be matched, the rangefinder window on the middle of the top plate sees this prisms apparatus window directly, (prisms assembly is rotatable 180 degrees to the right for the bellows closing) with no mechanical linkage between the lens and the body. Focusing is possibleby directly rotating the front lens element also.
Shutter: Moment-24S (Mомент-24C) leaf shutter, speeds 1-1/250 +B; setting ring and scale on the lens-shutter barrel
Cocking lever: on the lens-shutter barrel, not depends the winding
Shutter release: left side of the top plate, beside the winding knob, releasing is also possible by a knob on the right front side of the struts. To fire the shutter, the film needs to be transported, if not, the release button will be blocked, a double exposure locking mechanismindicated 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
Winding knob: left side of the top plate
Viewfinder:coupled rangefinder and dual-format separate viewfinder for larger field of view, separate windows and eye-pieces. The two rangefinder windows are 6.5 cm apart (very long) for accurate focusing. Frame view changes according to the frame size adjustment lever that points the engravings, a square (6×6) and a rectangle (6×9), on the right of the top plate, this thumb lever moves a sliding frame in the viewfinder
Memory dial: on the winding knob, you can set three film types, and with each film type, four film speeds : (in cyrilic) Tsvetnaya (colour film): 22, 32, 45, 65 GOST, Panchrom (b/w film): 32, 45, 65, 90, Izopanch (b/w film): 32, 45, 65, 90
Bellows opening button: on the right of the top plate; closing: simultaneously pressing to the two struts’ back arms
Flash PC socket: X sync, on the shutter
Self timer: knob on top of the shutter
Back cover: removable, a lever in it for controlling 6×6 and 6×9 frame red window’s lids, opens by a latch on the right side of the camera
Two red window on the back cover w/ built in lids, right lower side one is for 6×9
Engravings in the back cover: Сделано в СССР (Sdelano v SSSR = Made in USSR)
Engravings on the top plate: Mockba -5 (hand writing style), and on the back of the top plate: KMZ logo and the serial number
Serial no. the first two digit show the production year
Leather hand grip
Two tripod sockets, 3/8″, on the bottom plate and on the front cover
Body: made by injection molding, weight: 867g

According to the serial number this particular camera was made in 1957, which makes it nearly as old as I am. I used it once before, but because of my lack of familiarity with the camera I messed everything up (See: Film Camera 2019/10 Moskva 5 – Results for the whole sorry story). On that occasion I used the camera in 6×9 format. This time I decided to try it in 6×6 format.

For a more thorough review see here.