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to all that people with doubts about getting a cheap Moskva 5...
JD, you were completely right! I recognize I had some doubts, and the thing is a bit strange at first if you're not used to 6x9 folders, but man, that negatives speak for themselves !!!
And after shooting you can fold it and it will fit into your handbag (maybe weights too much to carry it in your coat pocket...)
I'll try to make a more detailed review and post it both in my website and here too.
Meanwhile, dust off that Moskvas ;)
"Get it", huh? :-)
Let's see the pictures, Oscar! I have never had 6x9, and just imagine the luscious big negatives. Twice the size of 6x4.5!
But that camera is a seriously ancient looking contraption. How handy is it to use, in practice?
Doug, it's probably the less ergonomical camera I've ever tried :-)
Having used a bit the 6x6 Isolette folder I was expecting something similar, but the Moskva is bigger, heavier, slower to use and generally more cumbersome.
That said, the first roll happily surprised me. My example is quite worn and bellows need some extra help to be extended completely, so my first impression was a bit suspicious. But after receiving the negatives (you can see a couple of shots on my member gallery, and a couple more on my website) I can only take off my hat. I got a really good performer for the price of a Lubitel ($30).
Thanks to the leather strap it has on one side, carrying this camera unfolded it's not much of a problem, but winding film, setting focus, speed and aperture can take some time, so maybe landscapes are the Moskva's cup of tea. Surely candids will be difficult, it's almost impossible to go unnoticed with this thing in your hand.
Looking at 6x9 negatives is really an experience :) and I suppose that's even better with 6x9 slides... and don't forget you can fold it, it takes only a bit more space on my handbag than a Kiev or Zorki...
I think the Zeiss camera that the Moskva was copied after might have been designed by a left-handed person. It is a difficult camera to manipulate, but I live in a household full of Lefties and it seems to be set-up for (and posiibly by) a left-hander. The focusing-shooting arrangement requires me to shift the camera from hand to another.
It is compact. I can carry mine in a fairly small fanny pack. In fact, it is small enough that I carry two together so that I can have 16 exposures instead of having to reload after only 8.
I'm glad you are having fun with it! I went out shooting with mine the other day- I forgot how quickly film goes through this camera, only 8 shots per roll!
Then again, after figuring out how to best work with it, I've been more satisfied than ever with the results.
My next personal project is going to be to figure out how best to mount a flash. The camera might not be the absolute best for candids, but I'd like for it to work in closer situations, and a flash would help.
Mine seems to have trouble focusing very closely- I've got to do some exploration about that too.
Good luck- besides negatives, have you printed anything?
Moskva's have front element focusing lenses. I read somewhere that these lenses are sharpest at infinity and degrade as you focus closer.
Can anyone verify that?
I know mine tends to be softer at the sides and people in group shots at the sides also look a little plumper. Not enough to look distorted, but just enough to draw a little consternation.
You are right- Tessars set up that way (front cell focusing) are compromises that tend to get worse up close, but the shot I was referring to is really (REALLY) out of focus, not just "soft."
I'll experiment with a portrait.
Do you extend the front cell, THEN wind the film? I find that makes a difference with film flatness- the negative isn't strangely shaped then, too.
I have read that one should extend the front first, then advance the film to reduce the chances that the lower pressure inside the camera caused by the sudden bellows extension will pull the film forward in the gate. I have also read that one should not advance the film until immediately before shooting so that the relaxation of the film curl will not adversely affect film flatness.
I've tried them all and sometimes it seems to make a difference and sometimes not. I do try though. Perhaps they all cancel each other out?
Mine came with good center sharpness from 2 meters out to infinity and good rangefinder accuracy. I have no complaints about the center 75% of the frame. The rest I can live with because it is not too bad and rarely needs to be extremely sharp anyway.
Lesser ranked members of the family tend to be placed at the edges of group photos. As their senority increases they will have somthing to look forward to, being in sharper focus and looking thinner.
Your posts about close focus problems made me take a look at the Classic Cameras book by Ivor Matanle. Curiously he claims the opposite, that is, almost all folders (including high quality Zeiss ones, he says) had already infinity focus problems just when leaving the factory.
Not sure about this, 'cos it seems you both have problems on close focus, and I think it's not a translation problem (I've the Spanish version) because that sentence appears two or three times.
To my knowledge and my eyes, my infinity is well focused, maybe a side by side test with another tessar mounted on a non-folder would show some differences ?
Another thing on the to-do folder...
Edit: I'll probably print only the two photos I uploaded to the RF gallery. The other 5 I got (missed one) are pretty bad.
Nice Moskva photos. They seem to have that luminescent quality that seems to be typical of Tessar-type lenses.
I have 4 Moskva photos in the gallery. One is backlit and has that glow as well.
I find my Moskva's to be perfectly satisfactory as is. I have a good idea what the limitations are, and I can work within or around them. I don't need to test these anymore.
Thanks a lot for your words Paul, I see that you're familiar with FSU folders too.
I have also a "travelling" Iskra that is in process of being changed for a nice working one or refunded. It's a nice camera but I suppose things went wrong with mine when the bus ran over it. Luckily the seller quickly offered to solve the problem, now I hope it won't get lost in the mail...
I know what you mean about your Moskvas, and how to solve or work with their limitations, in fact i can't think of any camera without some limitations...
btw, the most comfortable way of using it I found was grabbing it with my right hand under the leather strap and shoot with my left thumb on vertical shots, things complicate a bit on horizontal ones...
It's fun to see the same lens behaviour on that backlit pics. Not backlit but I like ver much your Hanauma bay and light house ones. Have you considered re-framing them as panoramic pictures mosltly filled with that wonderful sea ?
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