View Full Version : RF virgin's thoughts on Iskra

05-14-2006, 08:45
I've been shooting film for around 6-7 years and although I do own a digital SLR I much prefer the whole process of shooting film, and I processing my own B&W. I have been using a Mamiya 645, Pentax K1000 and a couple of old TLRs mostly but I recently started to look at some of the more compact medium format cameras - mainly the Fuji GS645s and Bronica's RF645.

I heard mostly good things, but being totally new to the rangefinder system I wasn't sure I wanted to invest a load of money in something I wouldn't be comfortable using. That's when I started looking at some of the Russian folders, the Iskra immediately stood out, coupled rangefinder, the winding mechanism, and the Tessar design lens.

I found a decent example online and bought it, I was a little dissapointed at first due to the infamous winding mechanism not working, but it turned out that the back was not pushed on properly. I really like the focussing system and I must admit that depending on the circumstances I prefer it to focussing with the Mamiya 645.

http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/th_DSC_1305.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/DSC_1305.jpg)

I think it's an absolutely beautiful camera and it's pocketable too if you have large-ish pockets. Having shot a few rolls of film and gotten used to the slight eccentricites of the camera I think it's really quite easy to use and will probably become my "day-trip travel camera". Finally I'd like to thank this forum for helping my decision, as I have trawled through the archives looking for every post made about the Iskra before I made the buy!

a few pictures from the first (and only so far) B&W roll i've shot (click to enlarge). Shot on HP5.
http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/th_crop0005.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/crop0005.jpg)
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/th_crop0002.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/crop0002.jpg)
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/th_crop0003.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b145/alecto123/crop0003.jpg)

05-14-2006, 08:51
Welcome to the RF forum. The Iskra really does stand out. If you buy a second folder just to test the waters, you'll really be able to appreciate the Iskra. Well, maybe if you sold the Mini Cooper, a Plaubel Makina may be in the cards. You did well on your first folder purchase.

05-14-2006, 09:40
Welcome and congratulations! An Iskra is an excellent way to begin in folders. It has, far and away, the finest Tessar type lens that the FSU produced - and arguably the best such lens in any folder.

One tip - if you like color print film, Fuji Reala CS 100 and the Iskra's lens get along very well. Plus it's really quite inexpensive :)



05-14-2006, 09:55
Hi and welcome. Aren't cats just rampant ego maniacs? You can't get a camera out without every cat in the neighbourhood wanting to pose. Congratulations on a great purchase - is the mini yours too?

I did have a busted Iskra that I sold to a good home and now I am a bit sorry. Medium format in your pocket is a good thing. If you get bitten by this FSU thing, I am quite fond of my Moskva 5 and have enjoyed its productions. If you can get one with the format reducer mask, they are loads of fun.

05-14-2006, 10:01
Congrats. As a beginner with rangefinder focusing (if i understood it correctly), you got the walking cat perfectly. You have a long quest in front of you, spiced with GAS, many RFF postings and many many great photographs, i say.

05-14-2006, 10:49
Thanks for the comments guys!

The mini is actually shared but I do drive it when I get the chance. I was quite pleased with the cat image. I am usually left extremely annoyed when I try to photograph her as she insists on walking towards me when I kneel to get a low angle, but the RF system just seems better for keeping focus of something moving.

05-15-2006, 00:18
I am usually left extremely annoyed when I try to photograph her as she insists on walking towards me when I kneel to get a low angle,

Argh.. I have nine (I feed 9, 2 live here), some never to be photographed from the front. I had one that it took 2yrs to get a pic with it's eyes open (w/flash).

An Iskra is on my short list of cameras to buy. My dad shot Speed Graphics for years, and later, Polaroid land 95 and 100 folders. By the time I got one of the poloroids, they discontinued the film. Kind of a nostalgia thing for me.

Thanks for the pictures. Nice camera! :)