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webb3201
01-27-2005, 15:34
Hello all, after lusting over a neighbors M7 for years, I finally decided to try a rangefinder. Learned about the Russians, and of course bought three to start with. I am a new owner of:

Zorki 6 with the Industar Lens
Fed 2 with the Jupiter 8
Black Kiev 4am with Jupiter 8 and Jupiter 12

I am still learning how everything works. here are my questions:

1. Can someone recommend a good rangefinder primer?
2. recommended b&w film
3. What should I buy next

sockeyed
01-27-2005, 15:43
You've got a great start there. I'm assuming that you've got a 35mm viewfinder for your J-12. I think that the next step would be a Jupiter-9 (85/2) for your Kiev. The wide rangefinder base makes for very accurate focusing of this short tele, and the Kiev/Contax mounts are much less likely to have focusing problems than the LTM versions due to simpler construction. They're also less expensive. You'll also need an 85mm finder, of course.

I've posted some results from the J-9 here:
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00AUsy

Film is very subjective. I prefer ilford XP-2 since I can have it developed and printed at any mini lab (ask them to print greyscale), and the negs also print very well in the darkroom, not like the Kodak C-41 stuff. I also enjoy Tri-X and Ilford Delta.

webb3201
01-27-2005, 15:54
Thanks for the film note. My next post was going to be where to find a new viewfinder for the 35mm lens. The lens arrived in great shape last week but the seperate viewfinder order never materialized.

peter_n
01-27-2005, 15:55
Welcome to both webb3201 and sockeyed !:)

I don't know a primer book offhand, but if you're into FSU cameras I would recommend this site that I found recently: Rangefinder Cameras of the Soviet Era (http://www.geocities.com/fzorkis/) . With respect to film, I like Fuji Neopan 400 at the moment but as sockeyed points out Ilford XP2 is convenient to process and an excellent chromogenic. What to buy next? Film! :)

wlewisiii
01-27-2005, 16:00
They are all 3 good cameras, but the Kiev is the best of the bunch I think. A nice Jupiter-9 or 11 would be a good thing to add to it.

As for film, I've recently started using the new Kodak BW400CN chromagenic film. Very nice - I prefer the way my local mini-lab processes it versus the Ilford.

Welcome!

William

GeneW
01-27-2005, 16:05
Webb, you're off to a great start. I'd agree with the recommendations on XP2 -- this allows you to concentrate on the cams and lenses for now and not add B&W processing as another layer of learning until you feel ready for it.

I've never seen any books specifically on rangefinder photography, other than histories of particular cameras, but I think RF photography is as much a style as anything else. The mechanics are pretty basic: set aperture, set shutter speed, focus, frame, shoot.

For style, I think it's instructional to look at as much RF work as possible. I'm constantly inspired by what I see here in the RFF gallery.

I also like to study the Magnum photographers, many of whom use RF cams:

http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/TreePfTop_MAG.aspx?Stat=Menu_Photographers&E=A_29YL53DLU3P&V=Photographers

Gene

Huck Finn
01-27-2005, 17:12
Here are 2 books that combine history & rangefinder technique:

"Rangefinder: Equipment, history, techniques," byRoger Hicks & Frances Schultz, Guild of Mastercraftsman Publications, 2003

"Leica M Photography," by Brian Bower, David & Charles (Pub.), 1998

RML
01-28-2005, 02:38
The book by Hicks and Schultz is nice but IMO hardly worth the money of the new-price. If you can get it cheaply secondhand, I'd recommend you get it. If you buy it new I think your throwing away your money. The book really isn't much more than a glossy catalog of RF cameras, with very little detail about the cameras and excluding loads and loads of models. The new Princelle might be a better buy.

Huck Finn
01-28-2005, 08:22
Originally posted by RML
The book by Hicks and Schultz is nice but IMO hardly worth the money of the new-price. If you can get it cheaply secondhand, I'd recommend you get it. If you buy it new I think your throwing away your money. The book really isn't much more than a glossy catalog of RF cameras, with very little detail about the cameras and excluding loads and loads of models. The new Princelle might be a better buy.

The Hicks book is available used for $15 USD at amazon.com. What RML says about it is true, but when I was new to rangefinders, it was useful to me because everything was new to me & frankly there isn't much out there. It is good at the introductory level - & even beyond that there are some tidbits that others may find interesting. It certainly isn't comprehensive.

I'm always a little confused by recommendations that say "it's not worth the money." My time is more valuable to me than my money. I'm not sure what you're saying, RML. If the book is not useful, it's not worth it at any price - & certainly not worth my time. If it is useful, then the buyer must decide whether to pay the price. If it is of limited value, then it is useful within its limitations & again the buyer will decide whether to pay the price. Nothing personal, RML . . . just the way I see it. So much for my rant of the day. ;)

Both of the following websites have sections on rangefinder cameras with some oimited information on rangefinder photography. Both are opinionated as far as I'm concerned:

www.photozone.de

www.photoethnography.com

RML
01-28-2005, 08:30
Don't worry about it, Huck. Perhaps I was too concise or didn't word my thoughts well enough. :)

Anyway, had I know the contents before buying (for instance, being able to see the book in the shop, which is idle hope here in Holland when it comes to niche hobbies like RF cameras) I would not have bought the book. As it, I did buy it, over a year ago already and regretted it from the first page.

Bus, as they say, YMMV.

Huck Finn
01-28-2005, 11:07
RML, I agree. I, too, was left wanting more. But being a neophyte at the time, it probably had more to offer to me than it did to you.

BTW, what is the Princelle book?

ddunn
01-28-2005, 12:29
The Princelle book is Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras. It describes every make and model of camera produced in Russia and the Soviet Union. Does about everything but describe how to use them.

Since your Zorki & Fed are both Leica thread mount cameras, an old Leica Manual will give you details on what these cameras can do & how to use them. Search www.bookfinder.com for Leica Manual. A pre-1955 edition will cover only the thread mount cameras. Post 1955 editions include the M bayonet mount.