Kiev 80: From Russia with love

kiev 80

Owners call it the Hasselbladsky, the Russian clone of the famous 1600F. We write the end of the 1950s when the Salyut C sess the light of day in the Kiev factories. With confidence the medium sized camera exports to the West, but soon it turns out to be a love-hate relationship. Although the camera is budget friendly priced, it also seems to be a matter of luck to get one that is actually working.

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Contax IIa: the ‘Leica’ of Zeiss Ikon

Contax II

It was now light enough to start taking pictures, and I brought my first Contax II camera out of its waterproof oilskin. The flat bottom of our barge hit the earth of France. The boatswain lowered the steel-covered barge front, and there, between the grotesque designs of steel obstacles sticking out of the water, was a thin line of land covered with smoke – our Europe, the ‘Easy Red’ beach” – Robert Capa, June 6th, 1944. D-day, one of the most import days in modern history. Captured by on the most famous photographers, with a Zeiss Ikon Contax II camera.

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Zeiss-Ikon Contarex ‘Bullseye’: beyond limits

Zeiss Ikon Contarex Bullseye


It is the camera of the superlatives, the Zeiss Ikon Contarex, the most complicated camera of all time. 1100 parts are located in the almost 1 kilo housing. A repairman must first remove 43 parts to get inside. No wonder the repair costs more than the almost priceless camera from the last glory years of Zeiss Ikon. Pride comes before the fall.

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Keep film alive

Kodak No 3A

In the old days, everything was better says grandpa from his rocking chair. People have a tendency to stick to what is known to them. Or is there a piece of truth in that? I know of people who have exchanged their digital camera for an old-fashioned film camera. Tired of all fancy and complicated thinking in bits and bytes, they firmly believe in the inalienable authenticity of celluloid. The lomographers agree with this, just like the large, increasing group of enthusiastic vintage photographers. Is film better, different or just a sentimental tendency to the past? We put it to the test.

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Best scansoftware, matter of personal choices.

After our earlier article on scan software, requests came in to also show some examples of the differences between Epson, Silverfast and in conjunction with Negativelabpro plugin for Adobe Lightroom. For our examples, we use the Epson Perfection V850. Earlier we reviewed the V600, an excellent entry-level scanner, but in order to also work with large format negatives, we have to upgrade to the 7 or 8 series.

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Eternal resting place: Kodak VPK

Kodak VPK

The most sought-after camera ever lies deeply hidden on the highest mountain on earth. George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, lost on the first British Everest expedition in 1924, may have been the first to reach the summit. Another member of the expedition has been quoted as saying that he had loaned his Kodak VPK camera to Mallory as they passed each other on the north ridge. Mallory gave it to Irvine in order to reach the top first and be in the picture. There the story ends. 75 years later Mallory’ s body was found, but not yet Irvine’s who holds the camera with the biggest secret of all.

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Kodak 3A Folding Pocket: a silent movie from 1910

Kodak No. 3A folder pocket

The older the camera, the more limited the information you find. Be aware of even blank wikipedia pages. We dive into the ‘silent era’ of photography. The early years where we cannot ignore it’s pioneers, Eastman & Strong, better known with their Kodak company and one of the most beautiful cameras that history produced: the No. 3-A Folding Pocket.

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The best(y) from the USSR: Zenit Helios 40-2

Helios 40-2 85 mm

Лучший объектив есть. The best vintage lens there is. Pure and simple. At least from Russia, where normally little stable quality can be expected when it comes to lenses or cameras. That said, the Helios 44-2 is at the top of my list of favorite vintage lenses. ‘Best’ not expressed in performance, sharpness, contrast or other technical aspects. But best and unsurpassed in charm and breathtaking Bokeh, bokeh…and bokeh.

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