Space Navigation Console

20 June 2021

Film Test: FED 5V

 Well, I ran a film through the old FED 5V and got to know it a lot better. The film of choice was Kosmo Foto Mono, a nice 100 ISO black and white film with an appropriate Soviet aesthetic. I developed this with Ultrafin at 20°C, with a 10+1 dilution for 6 minutes. I add this detail because Kosmo Foto films aren't listed on the Massive Dev Chart Film Development pages.

So what were the results? Well I had some difficulty actually passing the film through the camera. At first there was no movement on the film counter and the odd fairly chunky film advance but this got easier with use. I think this camera has been in a drawer or an attic for a couple of decades and it is needing to work out some solidifying lubricants. I think sitting and winding and firing this for a few hours before I put in another film will be a good idea.

The pictures aren't bad. There were some misfires where the exposure is clearly not good enough but they may reduce after I've worked the stiffness out of the mechanisms. The ones that worked are nicely exposed although there is a general softness to the images. I think I may need to fine tune the rangefinder on this one.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures, which have a nice grainy vintage look to them. Maybe this should be my lomography camera ...

18 June 2021

Another Old New Camera

 I managed to find another vintage rangefinder, or is it? This one is a FED-5V designed in the 1970s. However it has a very late serial number and may well be one of the last models built in the mid-1990s.

Anyway, it all works mechanically and the rangefinder appears to be accurate. So I'm running a film through it to see whether it is light tight and whether the lens is functioning well. I'll post my progress here.

17 June 2021

Busy Exploring with a New Camera

 Oops - looks like I missed posting for the past month. That's because I've been out and about testing and setting up an old 1960s Minolta A5 rangefinder camera.

I've had mixed results with rangefinders; a lot of these mid-60s Japanese cameras come with some electronics which means finding replacement batteries and then dealing with shutter mechanisms that are intimately involved with the light meter. No such problems with the Minolta A5 as it has no light meter and no electronics.

There isn't a lot of info on this camera online as regards making adjustments to get it ready for photography and there were some issues with aligning the rangefinder mechanism on this one. However the top shell comes off fairly easily (once you remove the film winders and a small screw; make sure you don't lose the shutter button which drops out) and then there is a mini optics bench clearly exposed which holds the main mirror of the rangefinder. There are five screws to play with; two adjust the rangefinder distance setting and three support the mirror and can be used to alter the up and down setting.

Once aligned and ready I put some film in and went in search of photographs to take. You need to carry a light meter for exposure (or look at the sky and apply the sunny 16 rules) and the rangefinder mechanism takes care of getting a pin-sharp focus.

The first shots looked good, very sharp and nicely exposed. So it was time to adopt this ideal street photography camera and go and take some real photos.

The nice thing about an old 60s rangefinder is that it is so self-contained. You get the one standard lens that it is permanently fitted with, in this case a Minolta Rokkor 45mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and no zoom. So you get yourself into a good position for your shot and snap away. Not having a built-in lightmeter reduces the fuss over exposure. Take a good reading at the start, set up the camera, and get on with composing and taking your shots.

Here are a few shots from the first rolls. I'll post some more later.