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.

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!