Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Leica News and Technique- Jan/Feb 1937

This edition is a rather interesting publication of E.Leitz from the London office sent out to all registered owners- and sold at six pence to others.  A suitable winter picture was selected for the cover, as appears below, which is credited to Dr. Robert Semple,of Aberdeen.  Efforts to trace the background of this Leicaman were quite easy-always assuming that I have the right person- as a lengthy account of his life in Medicine and his War Service appears on the Internet. He is not credited with an interest in the Leica but it does appear that he must have been aged about 20 at the time the picture was published.

All this would be interesting but would not have taken my eye had it not been for an item on Ebay last week. Advertised for sale was a lantern slide in a 80mm mount of this very picture. As you can imagine I had to 'Buy it Now' at a very modest price. Now, black and white slides were often made in Eldia film holders but these were of the exact size of the Leica negative. This picture has been printed to about 60mm x 45mm.  The label reads "from Leica Magazine"  as  1936-217 and the mount is signed "R.W.Blakeley".   I am lost as to why this picture should become a lantern slide in a larger size when one would expect to see it printed on film to produce a positive image for 2x2 mounts which existed in 1936.  In fact 'Agfacolor' was advertised in the magazine concerned.  I was interested to see that the slide shows slightly more than the printed page so may well have come from the original negative rather than being a copy of the magazine.

I have not attempted to take the research further but should any reader have personal knowledge which might help then do let me know.  Just use the email address at the top of the Blog.

And here is the slide, under glass.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Cri de Coeur - 1950

Also found in a Magazine of 1950 was this small plea from the Secretary of the Circle which strikes a familiar note 67 years later..........All very true today, except that contact should be the Hon.  Sec........ to hear from you!

Artist at Work- R.G. Lewis copy from 1950

From the first page  of Miniature Camera World for April 1950 comes a delightful illustration from 'R.G.Lewis'. The derivation of this name (which only disappeared recently) is a story for another post but it is clear that in 1950 genuine works accessories were in short supply, or manufacture had not resumed after the war.
It should be added that all the addresses shown are decades out of date!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Our 100th Post on this Blog- Recruitment

It is appropriate that this 100th post returns to the original aim of publicising the Leica Postal Portfolios, now Leica Society, and its Circles. Fuller details can be found on The Leica Society website but what an opportunity to scan an article by H.S, Newcombe from 1938 on the very subject.

PLEASE NOTE: All the above addresses are well out of date-Please follow the Club Website.

Leica Competition No. 2 - 1937/8

An interesting competition entry form came into my hands recently,  folded inside a copy of Leica News and Technique, but no hope of entering as entries had to be in by January 31st 1938 !

This Competition was conducted by Leitz at 20 Mortimer Street. Those of us who support the Society in the Annual meetings and Exhibition will be surprised at the relaxed rules that apply today, contrasted with 1938. The practice of requiring contact prints with entries seems to have dropped out in the post war period and was introduced in order that the sponsor could check the fixed relationship of sprocket holes and frame which is the tell-tale signature of a Leica negative.  Also noted is the first rule which precludes 'grey' imports from competing,  but , after all,  Leitz were  putting up the prizes which were not inconsiderable in the values of 1937/8. The submission of 20x24 prints seems to have gone out of fashion in most amateur work and probably just as well knowing the difficulty of mailing even 16x20 prints.  Clause 11 would not be accepted by modern workers and is difficult to justify as reproduction in the magazine was probably the limit of use made of prints. Use of a' nom de plume' is novel and one wonders why a simple number would not suffice?  Finally,  in a nice touch of detail, a small transparent envelope is attached to contain return postage.

and the Winner was.................

The March/April  1938 edition of the Magazine contains the results which are lengthy. From my own knowledge of the early membership, and well known Leica users of those days,  it would be usual to find familiar names right across the winners but it is necessary to go tho Group 1V- second
 Prize (Extra) to find Dr. Jouhar  and in Group V - 3rd prize Frank Dumur of Haus Rosenberg Wetzlar, which might be a questionable entry under Rule 12.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

An Original Tom March print

I was favoured to be given an original Tom March print some years ago. I cannot identify the driver,car or track but would liken to add this souvenir to the previous Blog concerning his work.  I think I can identify a Maserati badge but as usual comments welcome.

T.C. (Tom) March-more on our past Secretary

I have never expected these ramblings to be more than of, I hope, passing interest to Leica users and those who are members of the current Leica Circles. Many blogs ago I wrote about Circle 6 Housekeeping and the Circle 6 Mirfield Award for 1969 which went to Tom March.  However I recently learnt that Tom had been a past Secretary of this Circle and also of the original New England circle when it existed. This position seems to have been held for many years,  at least from the early 1950's, and he was still a very active member in 1969, and contributed to the last ( Big) Morgan Leica Book in 1972.. I have now turned up an article he wrote in 1951 in which he refers to his pre war interest in Motor Racing and I have reproduced this as it is of considerable interest to the Leica user even today.  References to Colour Film can, I think, only refer to Kodachrome at 10 ASA which must have posed real problems with fast moving vehicles but he had the advantage of a 85mm Summarex f1.5 which is a lens rarely seen even today.

A month after the above was posted I came across another print from 1952 and here it is-

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Early Days in Circle 6 - 1938

I was pleased to trace an early report of our Circle in the Miniature Camera Magazine of December 1938 recording the circulation of the very first folio of prints. We are now on 584.  This report came from James Robertson of 5 Mill Road,  Irvine,  Ayrshire,  the first Secretary. The folio was given a fine launch by the inclusion of a one man show from C.C.B. Herbert ( Blogs passim) who was General Secretary of Leica Postal Portfolios at the time and who was collecting  5/- ( 25p) from prospective members.

Given this lead I have also found a report of the second circulation in the January 1939 edition with J.H.L.Adams as the guest showing International tennis stars in action. The second folio included members prints using a diversity of lenses. Two Telyt shots,two 35mm wide angles and one with the 28mm Hektor joined the more usual 50mm and 90mm work.  Members were still sought, as they are today, 78 years on,  but we have relaxed the requirement for home processing although it is interesting that all present members in 2017 process at home.

Finally in what is rather a domestic Blog I have an illustration of a circulating folio in 1938 which is obviously of a 4x3 inch Circle,this small size having been dropped from the present day range of options.

continued overleaf-
Please click on scan to improve legibility.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The State of the nation- January 1946

Following the gloomy posts in the past when our Circle closed for 'the duration' comes a newly discovered report from Miniature Camera Magazine for January 1946 picking up the pieces that remain after six years of relative inactivity.  Interesting to note that just like B.B.C. TV,   the Circles resume precisely where they left off in 1939!  ( Actually a bit of Urban myth- the website will recall the correct version.)

Our Society was back in the swing of Saturday gatherings in London again open to all but a new trend of 'serious photography' in a London showing much evidence of  Wartime damage.  The full notice is reproduced below and it only remains for me to draw your attention,
again, to the meetings based on LCE, Bristol  which commenced in 2017  ( Yes, 71 years later!)  given publicity in a recent Blog here. Sorry about the rather poor original which forced me to reverse the scan.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Unusual lens container-HELP

This post is little different from the usual themes of the Blog in that a response is sought from anyone who can shed light on the container illustrated in the following pictures.  This is of a Bakelite lens pot rather similar to recent Russian products.  The item is marked Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Germany and on the base 9cm Elmar.  However it has been tried with eleven examples of this lens and all are just too long to fit.  It may be that it was offered for a very early lens of non standard length and lacking a r/f ring but this is not available for testing.

Any help would be much appreciated, and in the event that 'Comment' does not work just email to UPDATE July 2017: Another of these has appeared on Ebay at 99.99 or offers.
It is likely that this one shown ,and a 50mm version,may appear at SAS of Newbury in a future auction.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

A Big book in many ways-Rudolf Pestalozzi, 1882-1961

For some years I have owned a copy of 'A Leica Amateurs Picture Book' by Rudolf Pestalozzi, a large publication in more ways than one.  In measure 32cm x 25cm this was published in the UK by Fountain Press in 1935 using illustrations printed  by Gebr. Fretz A.G. of Zurich.  To simply commend the quality of the production is not enough.  The whole is produced on matt paper in a way that really complements the Leica negatives and obviously a lot of expensive work went into it's preparation.  Examination of the images under a powerful lens seems to suggest gravure printing which is an excellent, and surprising, choice for 160 pages.  It elevates the work of this most gifted Amateur to that of the likes of Dr Wolff, a contemporary worker.

Reading the brief notes it is a surprise to learn the the author has just four years experience with the Leica and while he owns a Leica 111/ Summar at the time he is writing, the majority of the prints were produced with the 50mm and 90mm Elmar.  He commends the photo electric exposure meter and the Universal viewfinder but little beyond that and his equipment was not extensive.

Regarding subjects he has travelled to all parts of Europe in gathering a wide selection of subjects. All involve an original interpretation of his subjects, except a few portraits which I would judge to be personal souvenirs.  A notable exception is an available light portrait of Karl Barth as a far younger man to the usual portraits of the theologian in old age.  This makes good use of the 90 mm lens.( 1sec f6.3-Tripod)

Obviously well connected and able to roam freely across the Continent before the build up to World War Two,  Pestalozzi was a member of the well known Zurich Steel company of the same name,   His work continued after the war in more specific travel photography.

I would go as far as to say that most of his work would take a Prize at the Leica Society this year if it could be presented printed in the manner of this book!

I do not think it fair to 'lift' a print from the book but if you can get hold of a copy you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Back to the future-LPP photo walk

Truly in the spirit of the founding fathers of LPP the following notice is worthy of the widest distribution  among Leica enthusiasts in striking distance! 

                                                    Monthly Leica meets in Bristol.
London Camera Exchange Bristol (Baldwin Street) will be hosting a monthly social meet and photo walk, named Bristol Leica Social. The first meeting will be on April 1st, 2017, and on the first Saturday of every month thereafter. 
Each meet will start at the store, at 9am, (3 Alliance House, Baldwin Street, BS1 1SA) then divide into smaller groups for a photo walk around the centre, meeting at a café at 12 noon to compare images and, of course, discuss all things Leica.
For more information please contact LCE on 0117 929 1935. Please note that there are two branches of London Camera Exchange in Bristol. The Leica specialist Baldwin Street branch is near the Waterfront area of the city.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Six foot Leica for sale-$250 million (O.N.O.?)

No picture with this one as it's illustrated across two pages of  The Times (London) supplement today, 18.2.17.  Go out and buy a copy this morning.  At 924 Bel Air Road, Hollywood is a house with an enormous 'Leica' reproduction which could appear to be a bar or a piece of furniture,  However what is most interesting is the model used by the maker.  The body obviously has a battery cover from the M6/M7 but also a front slow speed dial. There is an angled rewind as in later M cameras but above all... the lens,  clearly marked f2.0 5cm Summar but the serial number is unclear (last made 1940) Very strange.  A rather nice house is included in the asking price.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Mystery Solved !

In my Blog dated 8th February I made reference to the unusual viewfinder used by Mr Herbert in the small photograph which I added.  I am pleased to say that I have traced what I think is the finder in a copy of Leica Illustrated Guide 11 by the famous James L. Lager published by Morgan and Morgan in 1978.( Page 125-first printing)

The finder is lacking in any number or Code Word but resembles a squashed plastic cup formed into a rectangular shape at the front.  The model illustrated has a cross wire and bead, possibly for aerial photography, but no reference is made to this part in a railway context and,  quite frankly, the addition of the wire looks rather a home made adaptation unworthy of Leitz.  It bears the usual Leitz trade mark and is engraved '5cm'. There are no optical parts.  It is shoe mounted and no doubt could be replicated in plastic card if one really thought it a good idea.

Given the rarity and the fact it was never marketed no doubt this finder came over from Germany after the War, I have never seen one in the U.K., beyond this photograph.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

More of C.C.B. Herbert and his Railway Photography

The next photograph comes from the results of the 1948 Ian Allan Photographic Competition where Mr Herbert was the Number one prizewinner.  As the premiere winner he had a page all to himself and the print stands up well to enlargement, with just a little interference from the coarse screen used. It  must be said that the locomotive was no doubt moving slowly from rest but, for me, the best part is the smoke and steam rising above.

I was fortunate  to get hold of a copy of My best Railway Photographs. No.four,
 this contains a portrait of Mr Herbert at work.  Note the rather unusual viewfinder which he later describes as  designed for the German Air Force in the War.  I am unable to find anything similar in the usual reference books.It contained no lenses at all, and explains that he  normally used a f3.5Elmar or a f2  Summitar.This latter lens was the favourite 'top' lens of the period offering excellent performance without the drawbacks of some of the exotic offerings of the day.  As a favourite film -around 1948- he used Agfa Isopan F in good light and HP3 if required,

Friday, 3 February 2017

A Leica Postal Portfolios 'Great'-C C B Herbert.

Researching the history of Circle 6 one name, above all others, comes up again and again concerning the all too short pre-Second World War period of activity. That name is C.C.B.Herbert.

We are fortunate to have been given a number of memories of Mr Herbert from friends still with us. Only in recent weeks have I been told of his generosity toward younger members and families when arranging meetings in London at the Mandeville and the Bonnington Hotels. Mr Herbert was a founder member and first Secretary of Circle 1. He was active as President until his death in 1987, having held office in every possible capacity for 51 years!

I was able to trace a few quotations from his own writing which survive, most striking is this quote concerning his railway career-

"I was probably destined to be interested in railways from the day I was born", he said in 1984. He came from a line of railway men, his great grandfather was a senior official of the South Eastern Railway, two great uncles were Directors of the Cambrian Railway and Great North of Scotland Railway, and his father worked for the Railway side of  the London Stock Exchange."

I calculate he was born about 1905- however confirmation would be welcome as some sources differ considerably. Though his enthusiasm for photographing engines began in 1919 with the gift of a roll film camera which we shall refer to later in connection with his books. His photographic career commenced when he joined the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1925 as a trainee in the  Engineering Department at Kings Cross. Happily for us all this coincided with the launch of the Leica camera. He bought a 35mm Leica camera, one of the first models available at that time and set out to photograph the 'Pacifics' and 'Atlantics' at work. Herbert's work is typical of Leica in that most of his photographs were taken handheld and of moving subjects, in this case the train. In his career, it is clear that by the mid 1930's he was well established and respected in Railway Professional Societies as shown by his paper delivered at a meeting of the Permanent Way Society in November 1937. This included the phrase (immortal in the company of some) ”As the chimneys of locomotives have become shorter with the passing of time, rails have grown longer”

Herbert and his camera were rarely parted while he was at work and in 1947 he wrote that many of his photographs were taken "during opportunities that I seized, some while working on the line, standing back at the look-out man's whistle to let an express pass, some during train journeys, and a lot round about Kings Cross". This much is clear from his published work which often shows fast moving trains from a viewpoint which can only have been achieved by standing in the opposite tracks!  This unique opportunity gave him an undoubted advantage over larger format workers still in the mould of the railway company plate users of the past.  Film, other than 35mm, was almost non-existent for some years during and after the War.  We have only a few clues as to his film of choice but by 1947 he was using the high speed H.P.3.  35mm film was produced in profusion for aircraft use so as a miniature specialist he could continue and always favoured the Leica because he believed its versatility enabled him to take instant shots. His photographs have the 'photojournalist' style which lightweight 35mm cameras made possible.  A few samples are available on Web sites including Getty Images and his railway books (pub; Ian Allen) are available second hand. His approach to his work was to produce pictures "giving a fine impression of a railway scene with the 'atmosphere' and feeling of speed" in the Leica manner and in this he succeeded.

He was a member of The Railway Photographic Society, the Leica Historical Society and was President of Leica Postal Portfolios for 20 years, after serving as Secretary, Circle Secretary, Treasurer, Chairman and President -performing some of these roles concurrently! He also edited the Magazine!  Herbert gave his name to a fine trophy which is still competed for in the 'Leica Society' as the two Leica groups have been known since amalgamation a few years ago. In the early days he was a keen recruiter of members to the Circles even to the extent of inviting any user of 35mm to his first Leica Treasure Hunt in London(see last Blog) to try to win them over. In 1965 he was made a Life Member.

The Herbert Collection consists of 35mm film negatives, and some 6x9 film negatives, showing the LNER, at work around London with some SR and GWR photos, mainly at London stations. They are taken in the normal course of a day's duty and include German bomb damage during the Second World War. However, Herbert did not provide captions for much of his work. A small proportion have been printed but the size of his legacy of work means that some 2600 prints still exist but are difficult to match with the negatives.

Still in existence are a number of prints with 'crit sheets' prepared for Leica and other circles, a practice that continues to this day.

I have been fortunate to acquire several of the small books, almost booklets put out by Ian Allan in the early days of their rail publishing and no doubt aimed at young enthusiasts and priced accordingly. Here are several pictures of some relevance to Leica users with the authors own comments.

His books were small -in fact 4.5" x 7"

in format to accord with post -war economy but are produced on quality paper and, if grain is present, this is printed sharply. A number of combined books appeared as reprints in later years but not under his name.

The first print is of a scene that some might regard as defective but which has a touch of Turner in the blurred locomotive at speed. (The scan is enlarged)

This is also an example of the rare technical data which is missing from other photographs. Note the thoroughly standard processing, one can hardly get more standard  than HP3 in D76!

From the same book is this shot of Mallard leaving Waterloo in the 1948 Locomotive Exchanges in Leica 3:2 format.

Note: Click on prints for enlarged view

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A rather unusual activity in London- 1938

In April 1938 a rather special event took place in London, In fact, the second celebration of a 'rather unusual event' for L.P.P. circles.Already Club activities of a far from solitary nature had suggested that this was a group of Print Circles where activity took place on both the home postal basis and as a parallel activity there were group meetings, at that time often in and around London. In retrospect these latter meeting seem to have taken place at a fairly frantic pace in the few years prior to the closure of the Circles during WW11.

The event I am highlighting today was organised by none other than C.C.B. Herbert the then Secretary of Circle 1( Later to achieve senior posts in the Circles and become Chairman/President)) who had proposed a treasure hunt in Central London in the April edition of Miniature Camera Magazine. About 40 Leica users gathered at Nelson's Column on Sunday April 24th to scour the West End for pictures taken in three groups- Named subjects, Titles and, lastly, objects, later producing prints from the negatives. Just to keep all above board the last shot on the roll-limited to a 36 exposure film- was a communal photo shoot of the date board on the gate of St Georges Hospital! The judge was Percy W. Harris and the day was voted a success. The contemporary press report below reveals an atmosphere which is rather dated, but it was almost 80 years ago. In other places are recorded such delights as a joint walk in London on Saturday afternoon and even a night photography session planned to last all night with a break to allow those leaving to catch the last trains!

I am delighted to detect a movement toward such joint activities in the past few years, even if conducted at 'decent' hours. Quite apart from the generous hospitality extended by Leica at Bruton Place and Annual weekends there have been informal groups meeting for 'days out' in the provinces and Circles have not hesitated to join up for quarterly lunches in the Country and for group visits. One concludes that the only solitary activity in Postal Circles is dealing with the circulating folios.

I cannot close without noting that the page filler on Mimosa film at the end of the article is also by Mr Herbert whose contribution in those days, and for some 30 years as President in post war days was tremendous for 51 years in all.

At the time of writing(2017) the L.N.E.R. Railway Society are cataloging the rail archive of negatives by C.C.B.Herbert. This amounts to some 16000 negatives and 2600 prints.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Just what I was looking for? ....Unlikely

I came across the card shown below in some Leica literature and thought it was in good enough condition to add to this Blog. Most of these are worn out and so you have to find the data in a Leica guide or early catalogue. The likelihood of actually needing the data is, sadly, rather low.

rather low!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Unusual Series Filter -Series 7.5

I recently came across an filter that rarely crops up in Leica circles. As it only fits the Apo-Telyt-R 180mm f5.6 lens that is hardly surprising as there are not many of those on the second hand market. It is claimed that this lens was designed at the request of the US Military and was the first APO long lens than Leitz brought to the market, being produced in two versions between 1975 and 1998.  In the later versions an E60 filter came into use, and this is fairly easily obtained. Any Series 7.5 glass is rare indeed as it is claimed that it was never put into production by Leitz on the grounds that the lens was intended for use without a filter! This size was obtainable from B & W  of Wiesbaden,  probably on a 'made to order' basis.The present specimen is in fine condition and only leaves me looking for the lens to fit it to! It is type 010-a simple UV filter.

The question of 'odd' steps in Series filters is rather strange as they seem to have been designed well into the age of metric screw fittings. First there was the Series 5.5 filter which was a real oddity sold for the accessory lenses on the Leica CL lenses, the( German) Elmar-C 90mm,  the Elmarit 40mm, and the 40mm Summicron. The Japanese demonstrated that a metric filter in 40.5mm was perfectly acceptable. There was also a Leica Series 8.5 filter used inside the lens hood of the Super-Angulon 21mm where a very slim filter rim had obvious advantages. It also was used by Beaulieu cine cameras.

This is the B & W effort-:

 And,a magnified view of the makers engraving-;

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

80 Years on.......

On 16th January 1936 we lost Oskar Barnack at the young age of 57. Twenty-five years after joining Ernst Leitz and thirteen years after the Leica came to the market.

Leica-The Royal Connection

No doubt the ardent Leica user will be aware of the above postage stamps which go back some years-about 30 actually. The point of interest is the central photograph on the top left and lower right stamps showing H.M.The Queen with a Leica-looks like a M3 with one of the early(and most reliable) meters on top. Rather a good selection, in fact a gift engraved at the factory.  Her father bought a  'Purma' at the the British Industries Fair to use in Canada shortly before the war !

Thoughts of the Royal Family continue and in running through what I can add I recalled the film of H.M. George VI using what appears to be a 16mm Cine camera in the palace gardens. I sought, without success, for a Leica moment but all I have come up with is the following quote from H.M. The King at the British Industries Fair 1937-:

                                              "I am a miniature camera enthusiast"

Possibly this enthusiasm was reinforced by his  dealings with James Jarche and the excellent reception given to the exhibition of 5ft x 4ft enlargements of the May Coronation taken with a Hektor 135mm lens. James Jarche also attended the Royal Tournament and Spithead with his Leica and the results were reproduced widely.Agfa film was used and the Coronation photographs appeared in Agfa advertising.

(Source-Miniature Camera World  No. 4 vol. 1  March 1937.)
(Leica News and Technique No.27 May-June 1937)

On the other hand the ground is rather more fertile in the case of his brother, H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor.Here where we can provide an illustration,
Schonbrun,Vienna Feb 1935?  (L,N&T March 1935)

Monday, 23 January 2017

Revealing Price List from 1950

I was recently given a bound volume of Magazines issued by Wallace Heaton of 127 Bond Street W.1 -and sundry other places-during the post war years. Many of the treasures offered in new goods were of a strictly utilitarian nature and designed to make up for the absence of the real thing from Europe. Cine was of great interest and the Leica owner is encouraged to consider 16mm silent film as anything smaller was considered unlikely to give satisfaction! Colour was in a state of transfer from the old mechanical tri-colour processes to Agfa Negative film then becoming available. Little mention is made of (imported) Kodak goods- no doubt in the National Interest. Wallace Heaton were after all the Royal snapshot handlers.

However,some quality cameras were on offer, price controls on second - hand sales had just ended, The list I have reproduced here contains some interesting contrasts . It might be noticed that the older Leica goods have appreciated considerably over the 66 years since, but the more recent cameras listed have increased rather less in price. The Company continued until, I think, the 1970's when it was taken over by Dixons,at its peak in the 1950's they had employed 350 staff in a wide range of departments and expanded to a few sites outside London. For friendly service they were superb with an old fashioned atmosphere -and a first class second hand department in Avery row at the back of Bond Street. Coating of uncoated lenses was offered at 7/6, the equivalent of 37.5p in Decimal currency, for each air surface!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Rollei RPX 25 film-some afterthoughts

I published a lengthy note on the results achieved from this most promising (newish) emulsion some months ago. I say (newish) in parentheses as some writers have suggested that what we have is Pan F in a slightly tweaked form. However, the chief criticism of that emulsion was the poor reaction of the latent image to storage prior to processing. Not a point that will concern most users unless one makes a habit of having Father Christmas at frame 1 and 36 with the summer holidays in between as some were forced to do in the early days of Kodachrome imports!

I have just processed two films exposed during a visit to Ireland during last summer and put on one side. No ill effects could be detected at all. I also processed them, in a slightly different manner to the results reported in my previous Blog which resulted in rather high contrast and the loss of highlight detail. I gave the  latest two films 6.5 mins at 20 degrees C in FX-39 which produced a slight reduction in contrast over the 8 mins that appears in many places. I have come to the conclusion that the camera/lens used has a bearing on all this contrast. I used a Leitz Summicron  50mm f2.0 lens (one of the Canadian ones) at f5.6 in most cases. Exposure was set by the R4s averaging meter. I would guess,without real evidence,that the resultant contrast will be far higher than results from many of the old and possibly uncoated lenses recorded in this Blog which have been used in the past. Logically, the next step is to use Rollei RPX 25 in a Leica 1 with the original lens and see what the results are like. I have chosen an old body to try to eliminate any distortion of the results by internal reflection or lack of this but could put the old lens on a M body- Watch this space!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Latest Leica arrives- from Santa

On December 13th I published an extract from a Mail Order catalog that contained what was destined to become the hottest Christmas gift item in the world of Leica enthusiasts and camera collectors.I speak,of course, of the Leica M3 tin of Humbugs which seems to have fallen in price since my last post and which has,quite erroneously, been called a P***** in several parts of the press. Little did I know that I would receive one of these in my Christmas stocking (forget the red tricycle!) and this has permitted a fuller analysis of the reproduction of our favourite camera in some detail.
The Body is numbered 779068 which must exist somewhere accessible to the designer as it is a 1956 serial matched with non mathematical speed markings on the speed dial which is correct up to serial No.854001 and it would have had double wind, unless converted. as below 915251. A good attempt is made to reproduce all of the external features, except the lens, which gives rise to some interesting points.

Judged as a copy the lens is rather attractive and has a most conventional mount that, had it appeared in 1955, would have been accepted as a streamlined improvement. However the designer of this copy was given free range with his choice of markings where the iris is marked f5.6 down to f45! Likewise in the choice of shutter speeds(ON THE LENS!) these are 500 down to B when they change to green and go to 125 seconds in the manner of later Synchro-Compur shutters. Similarly, the lens has 'moving' red depth of field tabs in the style seen, for example, on Hasselblad shutters of a certain age. The synchro post is reproduced alongside the letters VXM but the fp and electronic sockets are shown on the back of the top plate- in the right place .Hidden away on the lens are the words Made in West Germany and a Compur code for the speed scale and light values. I can only assume that a Leica lens was not available and detail has been taken from a leaf shutter lens of the period.

All in all an incredible amount of detail is shown on what is, after all, a sweet tin selling at about £7.99-with edible sweets inside- and a real effort has been made to introduce a high degree of realism. The names on the top plate have been altered which I assume is to keep on the right side of Leitz but the mystery remains as to why advertise it as a P*****?A few more pictures follow.