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a Moskva 5 review
Old 07-04-2007   #1
theburk
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a Moskva 5 review

ok im new but i felt it would be good to contribute a a review. well recently i went to france, and i bought a moskva 5 about 2 weeks before going, because i wanted a 6 x 9 range finder, as far as 6x9 goes i have an old ziess maximar with a 6x9 back, but it was too ardous to switch backs all the time, so i gave in and because i couldnt afford a ikonta c i got a moskva, i was apprehensive, i got it off ebay but the pictures seemed good, and id read decent things, but of course it all depends on weather you get a good one or not. fortunately i got a good one, it smelled of boot polish and the leatherette got a little tattered in my backpack (i know i know horrible, but it will be getting reapoulstered soon) but all in all its a solidly built camera, it had some filler putty and bubbling on the plastic part of the foreward rangefinder assembly, and a screw replacing the button on the 6x9 frame counter window, and it also smelled of boot polish, all of which frightend me at first. but i found the range finder was very clear, not bright enough but clear, and seemed accurate (i shot at a high f-stop just to be safe but because im used to large format i shoot as high as is reasonably possible) but after developing my pictures the negatives look great, havent printed them yet, but the focus is sharp, a decent problem was the viewfinder, as a good portion of the viewfinder was blocked by the foreward part of the rangefinder. it wasnt hard to work around though. the biggest problem was definately the film advance, the winder has double exposure lock, which locked the film advance after only advancing a full 6x6 frame, not 6x9 i havent figured out how to resolve this but you can force it onward to the next 6x9 picture fairly easily. the second largest problem was fairly common from what i understand, light leaks, it appears they mostly came from the frame window, so basicly if i kept it closed i wouldnt have had trouble. aside from the back having a little trouble fully locking in, but that was easily remedied. i do reccomend it as a fairly cheap alternative to the ikonta ($50-60 usd for a good moskva vs $400-500 usd for a ikonta c)
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Old 07-04-2007   #2
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thanks for the review, i've thought about picking one of these up for a while but never have gotten around to it. 6x9 negs would be nice to have.
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Old 07-05-2007   #3
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I took one of these to Grand Canyon a few weeks ago. Previous to this trip, I'd only put one roll through it. No troubles up to that point and got some great results.

I quickly discovered that the firing and folding mechanisms on mine were fine examples of Soviet workmanship. In other words, they sucked. If you folded the camera in just the right way, the firing pin would fall out of the plate. Eventually I figured out how to get it back in, but several times I had to trip the shutter manually (and pray I didn't get my finger in the frame).

It's a good camera, overall. Just be careful of the folding mechanism.
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Old 07-05-2007   #4
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I bought a Mossie 5 from a member here.

It's great, focussing, &c. &.c

But it has a light leak either through or around the rear window.

A shame as 6x9 transparencies are a joy to behold on a lighttable.
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Old 07-05-2007   #5
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My Moskva (bought from a RFF member) is beautiful--what a large negative from such a small camera. I need to adjust the vertical alignment of the RF, but that's just a detail. I do wish it had a better viewfinder, but that's just the limit of 1930's design. It's great on a tripod. I have no troubles with film advance or light leaks. Luckily I found a good adapter ring, lens shade and filters. I'm going to use it for contact printing onto Ilfobrom.
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Old 07-05-2007   #6
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Thanks for the review, sounds very similar to mine. I now have to cover the film counter windows with black tape, whether they are closed or not. I think that one does not seal properly. I shot some test film which was promising, now waiting for a good break in the weather to try some. I should say another good break, I tried a week or so ago but committed a major blunder with my film. I popped a film in and then peeled back the tape over the window, then wound on, and on, until I realised that the slide cover was in place. I quickly opened the window slider and almost immediately found a number "1". I took my time to compose an interesting and detailed shot and then wound the film on and found that it ended! I was developing some of the same film (Acros) from my C300 and had a chance to look at the discarded paper backing. There, right at the end is a number "1" in exactly the right position for the 6x9 window. At this point the film has finished anyway so I had wound the full film past.
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Old 07-05-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fidget
Thanks for the review, sounds very similar to mine. I now have to cover the film counter windows with black tape, whether they are closed or not. I think that one does not seal properly. I shot some test film which was promising, now waiting for a good break in the weather to try some. I should say another good break, I tried a week or so ago but committed a major blunder with my film. I popped a film in and then peeled back the tape over the window, then wound on, and on, until I realised that the slide cover was in place. I quickly opened the window slider and almost immediately found a number "1". I took my time to compose an interesting and detailed shot and then wound the film on and found that it ended! I was developing some of the same film (Acros) from my C300 and had a chance to look at the discarded paper backing. There, right at the end is a number "1" in exactly the right position for the 6x9 window. At this point the film has finished anyway so I had wound the full film past.
All these thing make us more experienced and stronger, they say.
heh in france i spent 6 or 7 rolls of film winding them all the way through because i kept forgetting to feed it under the film counter mechanism. pissed me off quite a bit because i wound out running out of film and having to use a small crappy digital as a backup (i wound up bouncing the damn flash off tourist brochures and draining the batteries taking several shots to balance the flash properly)
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Thanks for the review
Old 08-10-2007   #8
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Thanks for the review

I ordered a Moskva 5 off Ebay. I am still waiting on it. The pictures of it look good but I know these can be iffy. I hope I have a similar experience with things going well. I can't wait to get my hands on it and check the shutter, focus, aperture etc. I really hope it turns out to be a really good camera. This is going to be my first Medium Format camera. I am glad to hear you had good results.

Ok to everyone that mentioned light leaks. Those doors slide closed but if you want more protection than that you can cut a piece of old 120 paper and use tape to create a little flap to go over the windows. That will help block out light if you are having leak issues.

Also to the OP you should be able to turn that dial on the right hand side and select 6 X 9 format. There are about 3 or 4 switches dials or selectors of some kind that need to be switched on these to go between 6 X 6 and 6 X 9. One controls the viewfinder, one the lock on the sliders, one the advance lock apparently though my understanding is that the film advance is free moving and you have to watch the numbers to know when you reach the next frame instead of it having a stoping mechanism of some kind.
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Old 08-10-2007   #9
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A further trial film came out well. No more light leaks with the tape in use, although I was also using slower film this time (FP4+). I mounted it on a tripod, but found that the mount on the body is not suitable as it's so narrow. It had to have a 1/4 inch adapter fitted so I used the mount on the door. I think that this was more suitable as the major source of movement must be in the shutter assy, particularly when on the high speed as this packs quite some punch. Could be a spring off a rat trap? Some good detail in the negs, in my next film I will try some hand held shots at the fastest speed, imaging some of my normal scenes to allow some (not-so-important) comparisons with my other MF gear (you can guess, of course, that the image detail seen already is way beyond the abilities of 35mm, so much area!)

And....welcome to RFF, fezzik
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Old 08-10-2007   #10
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I'm mystified by theburk's comment about difficulty in winding to the next 6x9 frame, since as far as I know there's no sort of wind stop mechanism in the camera -- you could wind a roll straight through. Moving the thumb dial between 6x6 and 6x9 framing shouldn't make a difference; likewise, the switch under the pressure plate that controls which red window can open isn't coupled to anything.
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Old 08-10-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theburk
ok im new but i felt it would be good to contribute a a review. well recently i went to france, and i bought a moskva 5 about 2 weeks before going, because i wanted a 6 x 9 range finder, as far as 6x9 goes i have an old ziess maximar with a 6x9 back, but it was too ardous to switch backs all the time, so i gave in and because i couldnt afford a ikonta c i got a moskva, i was apprehensive, i got it off ebay but the pictures seemed good, and id read decent things, but of course it all depends on weather you get a good one or not. fortunately i got a good one, it smelled of boot polish and the leatherette got a little tattered in my backpack (i know i know horrible, but it will be getting reapoulstered soon) but all in all its a solidly built camera, it had some filler putty and bubbling on the plastic part of the foreward rangefinder assembly, and a screw replacing the button on the 6x9 frame counter window, and it also smelled of boot polish, all of which frightend me at first. but i found the range finder was very clear, not bright enough but clear, and seemed accurate (i shot at a high f-stop just to be safe but because im used to large format i shoot as high as is reasonably possible) but after developing my pictures the negatives look great, havent printed them yet, but the focus is sharp, a decent problem was the viewfinder, as a good portion of the viewfinder was blocked by the foreward part of the rangefinder. it wasnt hard to work around though. the biggest problem was definately the film advance, the winder has double exposure lock, which locked the film advance after only advancing a full 6x6 frame, not 6x9 i havent figured out how to resolve this but you can force it onward to the next 6x9 picture fairly easily. the second largest problem was fairly common from what i understand, light leaks, it appears they mostly came from the frame window, so basicly if i kept it closed i wouldnt have had trouble. aside from the back having a little trouble fully locking in, but that was easily remedied. i do reccomend it as a fairly cheap alternative to the ikonta ($50-60 usd for a good moskva vs $400-500 usd for a ikonta c)
A fine mini-review, content-wise, but man, there's a thing called paragraphs that will make this tenfold easier to read...
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Old 08-10-2007   #12
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I see a paragraph. :O)

I did read somewhere that camera shake on 1/250 (typically 1/200 on a healthy one) is common with this camera from the shutter spring, as observed by someone here. Not something I woudl have thought about.

I call mine my 'headache cam'. I'll spare you most of the stories.

The folding latch on mine is worn/bent/folded over to the point it doesn't work. That is really a pain in the neck. I keep it in a recloseable sandwich bag to keep it from flying open. I'm pondering a fix...maybe epoxying a small metal piece to give the latch an edge again.

The only light leaks I have had were during my stubborn 220 experiment phase. I hand-wound, and masked the 6x6 mask further down to 6x4.5. Not exactly easy to use., but I get 27 light-leaky images per 220 roll (don't try this at home). Maybe I should try it again at night where light leaks won't be a bother.

I appear to have good focus if I use good Tessar/folder practices; wind after opening bellows to maintain what iffy film flatness is available, stop down to f/11 or 16 and stop trying to use DOF scale focus until I am careful enough to do it right. There is a nice scale on the lens, which none of my scale focus folders have, so it SHOULD work. I had one blurry roll that was depressing - lab said 'looks like Holga!' ("^&!@^& - not SUPPOSED to" was my thought.) Hasn't happened since, have to blame operator I guess.

RF brightness is worst in bright sun...I would have expected it to be more difficult to see in the dark. I want to try the dark dot on RF window visual enhancement fix posted by Rick Olesen and others...just not sure if the unusual RF on the M5 agrees with this technique.

See johndesq.com for content-rich Moskva 5 resources.
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Old 08-10-2007   #13
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I have a lovely Moskva 5 that I bought from eBayer 'Grizzly Bear' that I'm sad to say I haven't got around to using yet. I bought an Iskra at the same time and that has commanded my attention with it's inique qualities. The Moskva is slowly working it's way up the 'please use me' list and should hit the start line any day now!

I'm crossing my fingers that it has no light leaks and no other issues!
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Old 08-25-2007   #14
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The Moskva 5 and the later model of the Moskva 4 are great cameras.
The only real issue these may have is a loose front standard which could be difficult to repair. I have been able to fix all other problems so far. I have not had to replace a bellows yet.

The Moment/Industar lens combinations compare favorably to the Super Ikontas. I have never had to open more than f8 and usually f11 with either Moskva or Ikonta and negatives seem virtually identical. The lenses are nicely coated.

The viewfinder is easy to clean and when clean is far better than those wretched Albada finders found on the Super Ikonta C models.

Buying from the FSU has been interesting. I received one camera merely wrapped with one layer of corrugated cardboard, then taped up and addressed. Fortunately it was also in it's case which is so absolutely robust it could have protected the camera from anything. The camera miraculously arrived in great shape.

I primarily use cameras like this when backpacking as they are so darned lightweight and can be used without a tripod if necessary.

Last edited by literiter : 08-25-2007 at 03:09.
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Moskva 4 (first model)
Old 08-28-2007   #15
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Moskva 4 (first model)

This is a picture I shot about two years ago with a Moskva 4, using Ilford XP2 film. I shot this camera handheld at about 1/100 sec. The neg is quite sharp from edge to edge.
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Old 08-05-2008   #16
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I have had my Moskva for almost a year now. I love it. Wouldn't trade it. I don't understand the problem with light leaks around the window. I can leave my window open and still not have leaks show on film. But my slider still works and I still have the red window on there as well. I haven't used the mask but my understanding is those are iffy at best and mine has been bent a bit by my pulling it out and setting it aside mostly. I want to recover mine with new leatherette and a good cleaning but they seem to have discontinued all the designs I liked. The double exposure lock was disabled pretty soon after I got it. It was fine at first but then it started to not catch completely when the film was advanced so I had to disable it. I had a little trouble early on but for the most part no problems now. I am glad to see so many other Moskva users here. It is sad that so many people have bad experiences with them because I and the people I share pictures with just love this thing.
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Old 08-05-2008   #17
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I got a Moskva 5 with a Moskva 4 lens. It does not seem to be a Frankenstein project camera but most likely a product with left over parts from Moskva 4. Some claim that the lens on the Moskva 4 is sharper than the lens on the Moskva 5.

Thanks for reminding me to use this camera. It is heavy though.
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Old 08-05-2008   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by literiter View Post
The Moskva 5 and the later model of the Moskva 4 are great cameras.
The only real issue these may have is a loose front standard which could be difficult to repair. I have been able to fix all other problems so far. I have not had to replace a bellows yet.
...
I got one super cheap off ebay and learned why. Loose front standard. I don't see anything that should latch in place to keep it where it should be. Oh well, lucky me; how many have a rangefinder with front tilts?

I have run a roll though but haven't had a chance to develop it yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Thanks Theburk, And A Question for 6x9 Lovers
Old 08-05-2008   #19
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Thanks Theburk, And A Question for 6x9 Lovers

Welcome Theburk and thanks for your insights.

As a photographer that never experienced the 6x9 format, I would like to ask the folks participating in this thread, something like "what is the life with the 6x9 format".

Of course that for one film per year, there is no much need to detail. But I would like to hear from those among you that use or used this format quite often, what subjects do you use it for, do you actually may do big enlargements out of it, and how do you manage all the related costs.

Cheers,
Ruben

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Old 08-06-2008   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
Welcome Theburk and thanks for your insights.

As a photographer that never experienced the 6x9 format, I would like to ask the folks participating in this thread, something like "what is the life with the 6x9 format".

Of course that for one film per year, there is no much need to detail. But I would like to hear from those among you that use or used this format quite often, what subjects do you use it for, do you actually may do big enlargements out of it, and how do you manage all the related costs.

Cheers,
Ruben
I don't do big enlargements as I don't darkroom print anymore. However, to me, 6x9 is useful for when you want that much real estate. Scenics come to mind as a good use, both b/w and color. It is almost a natural panoramic. In general it provides a very large negative with lots of usable room, and in something like a non-RF, gives that with very little weight. I have a non-RF Zeiss Ikon that I don't think weighs as much as my Weltini.
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Old 08-12-2008   #21
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I bought a very good example of a model 5. I paid up for it but it looked hardly used. I have put more wear on it in one year than it had for the previous 50.

I like the camera but when I use it as a 6x9 it is hard to get a sharp negative across the entire frame because there is no locking mechanism for the lens. It seems the bellows being closed so much prevents the lens from being parallel to the film plane.

I like it and should take it more often on outings.
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Old 08-13-2008   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisf View Post
I bought a very good example of a model 5. I paid up for it but it looked hardly used. I have put more wear on it in one year than it had for the previous 50.

I like the camera but when I use it as a 6x9 it is hard to get a sharp negative across the entire frame because there is no locking mechanism for the lens. It seems the bellows being closed so much prevents the lens from being parallel to the film plane.

I like it and should take it more often on outings.
I've noticed with mine I often need to pull it out and with maybe a little down pressure for something to click. I still have a front lens with tilts though. But if I am careful, I can ensure it is straight up and down.
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Old 09-13-2008   #23
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The first time I used mine it was a huge pain in the neck. The shutter would always get stuck and there would be significant shake visible in the photos. I sent it for a CLA to Jurgen (the Folder guy) and now it works quite well. I think a lot of the problems that people encounter with Moskva5 are due to the fact that these cameras are freaking old and most likely rusty somewhere inside. Once you learn to deal with their quirks, they are fun.


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Old 09-14-2008   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
Welcome Theburk and thanks for your insights.

As a photographer that never experienced the 6x9 format, I would like to ask the folks participating in this thread, something like "what is the life with the 6x9 format".

Of course that for one film per year, there is no much need to detail. But I would like to hear from those among you that use or used this format quite often, what subjects do you use it for, do you actually may do big enlargements out of it, and how do you manage all the related costs.

Cheers,
Ruben
Hi Ruben,

I received a Москва 5 a couple months ago as a gift and just developed my 1st roll from it. Woo Hoo, it works without light leak and the shutter is accurate enough for color negative. The rangefinder could use some adjusting though. (yes, I'll get to Ruben in a moment)

As a comparison, I am used to shooting 6x9 with a pair of Fuji GW690 rangefinders. (to see examples of the fuji go to http://www.fujirangefinder.com/folder.php?id=118 )

My conclusion after one roll through the Moskva 5 is that the images are not really good enough (usually) to compare with my Kodak Retina IIIc which costs much less per frame to shoot and is smaller and easier to use. The reason for this is that the Москва и-24 10.5cm lens is not the sharpest tool in the shed and the 1/250th maximum shutter speed is really not fast enough to handhold this camera and receive the maximum benefit from the 6x9 film. If I'm going to lug a tripod around, I'll probably use my Fuji GW690 cameras as their lenses are superb and I already own them. The Москва и-24 10.5cm lens does have a unique bokeh and overall low contrast foggy look that may look quite cool on some dreamy portraits or other shots with the lens at F3.5 or F4.0, if I can adjust the rangefinder to that type of accuracy.

Now for Ruben, I like the 6x9 format as it is capable of making images that are much more detailed and finer grained than 35mm. For landscape work where detail is desired the difference if visible easily on a print of 8x10 or larger.

That said, shooting 6x9 is expensive. I spend about $1 every time a press the shutter button for film and processing. (that is film only, no prints). I do scan on a Nikon LS8000 film scanner which isn't cheap either. And the results are now just a little bit better than one can get with a quality 35mm full frame digital camera...

The main advantage of the 6x9 over digital ( I have a Canon 5d) is that I can use color negative film in the 6x9 camera and record a very large dynamic range with a single exposure and color negative excels at long night time exposures which I like to make. There are some night shots at my Fuji Rangefinder site,
http://www.fujirangefinder.com/folder.php?id=118

That all said, if anyone knows how to adjust the rangfinder on the Moskva 5 let me know Maybe I'll try it with a tripod and see it at it's best.
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Mee too - how is your Moskva-5
Old 09-26-2008   #25
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Mee too - how is your Moskva-5

I too just won an auction from the same fellow - very excited to get the camera.

How has your experience been with yours?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I have a lovely Moskva 5 that I bought from eBayer 'Grizzly Bear' that I'm sad to say I haven't got around to using yet. I bought an Iskra at the same time and that has commanded my attention with it's inique qualities. The Moskva is slowly working it's way up the 'please use me' list and should hit the start line any day now!

I'm crossing my fingers that it has no light leaks and no other issues!
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