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Showing content with the highest reputation on 26/11/19 in all areas

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    We got a great place to stay in the Cape Town City Bowl. This is the view from our loft’s balcony.
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    I can't express adequately just how convenient and easy it is to modify some of the older film equipment in ways one couldn't even begin to contemplate with modern digital cameras. This sort of thing was standard practice when I started photography as a profession in the early 1970's. Here in Australia the winds of the Cold War meant that there was almost no trade with the Eastern Bloc countries at all, nor was there an eBay, Internet or International Free Trade Agreements. China was in turmoil during its Cultural Revolution and was struggling to feed its population, let alone be an international trading economy; cheap stuff came from Japan and not South East Asia and was also rather limited, and if you needed some photographic accessory or simple piece of equipment, you bought the raw materials and made it yourself, generally with simple hand tools and a lot of patience. Fast forward to 2019, and in this case I had originally bought a Kiev-60 medium format camera allegedly "rebuilt" by Hartblei in Ukraine, and while it was robust and built like a tank (literally - it was made in Kiev - now Kyif - during the Soviet era by a factory appropriately named "Арсенал" - Arsenal), however it had a rather annoying case of shutter bounce which left a slight shadow at one edge of the frame at 1/30, 1/60 and 1/125 sec, which wasn't too much of a problem to deal with in either printing or PP, but it was annoying. So I spent more money and bought an allegedly re-manufactured ARAX-60 body from Hartblei's competition, and whilst they undoubtedly painted the camera black, added a mirror-lock-up button, stuck some flocking to the innards and gave it a new nameplate, it never wound the shutter on properly, sometimes failing to lock the mirror and thus causing the film to be irregularly spaced, which was something I lived with until the wind mechanism failed altogether (some months after any warranty was up, of course), however that camera did come with a post-Soviet manufactured (1994) metered prism that was both accurate and had the later fool-proof timed auto-off switch which avoids draining batteries. This prism also looked quite smart, particularly when compared to my final medium format camera choice, namely the Pentacon Six TL, for which I have two bodies and one OEM metered prism which I think in itself is probably the ugliest piece of accessory camera equipment I've ever owned, as well it has a standard on-off switch which sucks battery power and is incredibly easy to accidentally bump into the "on" position. Maybe you can see where I'm going with this now? .... So using scrap materials in my shed and tools on the workbench and using the mounting plate of a broken Pentacon Six waist-level viewfinder (the internal superstructure of which had to be laboriously filed off by hand) I fashioned an adapter to mate the ARAX/Kiev-60 meter-prism to the Pentacon Six TL viewfinder fitting, maintaining the Kiev-60 mounting system as well so that I can also use a Kiev-60 waist level finder - the advantage of this being that the Kiev version of both finders has a larger coverage showing the whole Pentacon Six viewing screen and not like the OEM prism finder which crops the already-cropped view of the final image. The actual film image is 55x55mm, the screen size is 52x52mm, but the Pentacon OEM prism only shows 45x45mm, which therefore left a substantial amount of guesswork in image composition if, as I do at present, one prefers to print the edge markings and black borders of the film with the photograph. By adding a plastic spacer (actually cut from an old piece of tri-laminate guitar pick-guard ) I was able to both inlet the screws pins and spring metal retainer clips I had to fashion by bending a couple of safety pins to the rough shape of what was left of the old waist-level finder's broken clips, as well as lifting the prism a bit so that I don't have to use a viewfinder dioptre or wear glasses when focusing the image as my ageing eye now see the viewing screen at its comfortable unaided focus point, and that also makes life easier as well So the first photo shows the three pieces as I was working on them, then the completed adapter from the top with the Kiev locating pins (salvaged from a viewfinder bottom protective cover), the next showing the underside of an intact Pentacon WLF along with the plate I modified for the adapter, and finally the bracket fitted to the camera ready for a Kiev finder to be clipped on. Here are three versions of the cameras together: at left the Ugly-as-sin Pentacon Six metering prism on a standard Pentacon six TL body, the hybrid version with adapted Kiev metering prism and black front-plate with white lettering I modified at an earlier time, and a standard Kiev-60 camera with old-style metering prism (with old dial-type on-off switch - the new type on the middle prism is the barely visible black timed switch at lower left side looking from the front). And finally just the two Pentacon Sixes together (they're actually both the same height, the modified one just has a fatter tripod adapter plate fitted underneath) :
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    I sold my 12-40 when I purchased my 12-100. The 12-40 was excellent in every respect, but I found myself really needing the extra reach beyond 40mm more often than not. The dual-sync IBIS with this lens is nothing short of magical, as I have been able to take 10 second exposures unbraced and handheld, it is that good. While I agree it is a hair less sharp than the 12-40, for 99% of the time the results are stellar. Besides, I have the 25mm, 45mm and 75mm f1.8 lenses when I want to get serious about shallow depth of field and sharpness. You can not go wrong with either of these lenses, as they are both excellent. I am attaching my proof that 10 seconds handheld is indeed possible with this combination, and I was sitting on the ground but holding the camera in a normal position, plus controlling my breathing. I took multiple shots, and could hit the 10 second ones 50% of the time, and anything 2 seconds or less at 90% of the time.
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