Zenit and Vitessa

Another of the weekly Saturday morning film meetups of https://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Film-Photographers/.    We met in a cafe downtown, chatted about photography, drank espresso, looked at prints, and checked out each others’ cameras.  Again.  Can I do this every day?  I’d like to.

Some of us went down to the shipyards near Ballard (an area north of downtown Seattle).

I brought along a Zenit with a Helios 44-2 lens that I’d bought at the Kent camera sale some months ago, but have only used once since then.    Jana lent me her Voigtlander Vitessa for the day.

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The Vitessa is pretty interesting because of the giant plunger on top that’s used to advance the film.  There’s a thumb dial for focusing on the back where you’d expect to wind film, and I often found myself focusing when i meant to wind the film.
It doesn’t use batteries.  It worked great.   I think they’re on ebay for $60-$100.    It has a coupled aperture/shutter speed, so once you set it, you can change it while keeping it at the same EV.
I found it to be easy to use, easy to focus, and has some nicely sharp pictures.

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The Zenit has a light meter, but doesn’t need batteries.  I used an app on my phone to meter for both cameras, so I just ignored the Zenit’s meter.
The Helios 44-2 lens is known for its super nice bokeh at wider apertures.  But yesterday was uncharacteristically sunny, so I had to shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, while i used the camera’s highest shutter speed of 1/500th.   But even at these apertures, the pictures are soft.  This is great news to me, because I wanted softer arty pictures anyway.    At some point I’ll take it out in some sun-dappled forrest for the bokeh to really perform.  Search the web for Helios 44-2 and bokeh to see what it can do.

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You can find a Zenit & this lens pretty cheaply on ebay.

It was a fun day.  Having a weekly film meetup is a great way to motivate you to shoot.

 

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