Star

Minster on Sea, England. 2022

Taken on my Leica M-P (Typ240) with the Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH lens.

Kiev 4 and expired film

Sheerness, England. 2022

Kiev ~ Киев

This Soviet rangefinder belonged to my late father. It’s kept in a display cabinet along with other old cameras and being a rangefinder of Contax design I thought it was about time I tried this camera out.

In his final years he had started purchasing a few old cameras, models I think he always wanted but couldn’t afford at the time. He had this Kiev 4 serviced by Newton Ellis in Liverpool about eighteen months before his death and I don’t think he ever got the chance to use this camera. From what I have found out about the Kiev 4 camera, these cameras of various models where made between 1949 to 1987 and the first two digits of the on the serial number are supposed to denote the year of manufacture, so this camera was made in 1975 in the Arsenal factory in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Having never used this type of rangefinder, I downloaded a copy of the manual from Butkus.org I found this camera takes it bit of getting use too. Seems to be all working although I don’t think the selenium cell in the exposure meter is working quite as it should, so was relying on my late Grandfathers newly serviced 1950’s Weston Master III meter for exposure.

I’m down to the last three 35mm films from my fathers film stock, two of which are these Jessop diamond 100 colour print dated 2002. I’m not keen on using expired colour film knowing the colour will deteriorate over time but these two films along with a Fujifilm Sensia 100 he had kept in the freezer, so I thought I’d take a chance with them.

The ‘Contax grip

The camera comes with a Jupiter-8M 50mm lens which has the Contax rangefinder mount and is focused via a finger wheel on the top of the camera. Focusing I found somewhat strange at first but you get use it after a while. I found pictures online of how this camera should held, one finger above the rangefinder window, two below the window and remembering not to get your finger in the way of the rangefinder window, which I manage more than once when I couldn’t see the focusing patch through the viewfinder. Another issue I found was remembering to hold the lens when changing aperture unless the lens is on infinity lock. If you don’t, you’ll move the focusing and have to start again!

I do not wear glasses anymore for photography but the viewfinder on this camera particularly difficult to compose images. There’s no frame lines and the viewfinder is quite small as with all these Soviet era cameras. I found I had press my face against the camera body to see the full frame, think I’ve been spoilt by using a Leica viewfinder!

Here’s some results for my efforts.

All film images taken in Sheerness, England on the Kiev-4, with it’s ЮРИТЕП-8 50mm lens with expired Jessop diamond 100 colour print film. For a 20 year old colour print film it seems to of survived quite well being kept all these years in the freezer and doesn’t appear to have lost much of it’s colour.

Edit: One point I didn’t mention, I noticed this version of the Jupiter 8 lens I feel is sharper and has better contrast than the younger Jupiter 8 lens I have mounted on my Zorki 4K.


Picture taken of the Киев-4 where with the Leica M-P (Typ-240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Spheres

Margate, England. 2022

Slightly tongue in cheek street image with the the drain cover, the light globe and the man’s head.

Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Washing the rain

Queenborough, England. 2022

I took my car along to a local hand car wash and the heavens opened.

To my left of this shot was another car being vacuumed under the canopy but these guys carried on out in the open. As fast as they applied the soap, it was being washed off by the rain. As they got wetter and wetter I started taking shots, even when the rain got harder they carried on with their jet washes. Amazingly, once under the canopy to be vacuumed these boys still used chamois leathers to dry the body work despite the heavy rain, bit pointless really, the car soon got as wet when it was being washed as we departed for home.

A job well done by them and I gave them both a good tip for their efforts. Just goes to show there’s always a chance of a good picture to be had even while getting mundane tasks done.

Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Rays of the Sun

Isle of Sheppey, England. 2022

Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Swirling Pathway

Minster on Sea, England. 2022

The sunlight periodically appearing through the clouds catching the grasses and I think I managed to capture the scene, although metering wasn’t that easy. Image was taken at f/2.8 at ISO 100 with the built in red filter setting. It was one of those occasions I wished I’d had a neutral density filter with me.

Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Seaside paradise

Margate, England. 2022

Taken with my Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Scouting for girls

Margate, England. 2022

Taken with my Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.

Morris

Margate, England. 2022

This is Maurice Morris, 88, he’s a local legend around Margate, England. Morris has lived his entire life in the town and is a familiar figure to many. From the 1950s to 1990s Maurice worked in various roles at Dreamland theme park, including as an usher at the local cinema. I didn’t know any of this before I took his portrait sitting enjoying the day at a sea front cafe.

Please do click to enlarge the image, it was taken with a Voigtländer lens.

Voigtländer

Last year a friend of mine tried his hand at some street photography and he purchased a Leica M9 and a Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM. Now he’s decided to buy a used Summilux-M 35mm ASPH and is selling his Nokton 35mm f/1.4 for £400. More and more I’m finding myself using a 35mm focal length, so with this in mind I thought I’d give this lens a try. I see no end of people using this lens, raving reviews about it’s performance and at a £600 compared new purchase price to a new Summilux-M 35mm £4400 it’s not surprising to me that photographers are using them.

I’m quite impressed with this little lens from Cosina. Well made, sharp mostly across the board although I will say the focusing is a tad stiff compared to my Leica lenses. It has a softer look to me and with digital I don’t think that’s a bad thing. With my Summicron-M 35mm and Summilux-M 50mm I think some of my pictures looked to sharp, clinical even, there’s just no life to them.

With the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm I kept an open mind and to be honest wasn’t expecting such good results. Does question why pay for Leica glass! This image above was straight out of camera, only little cropping and straighten was done here in Gimp 2.10

Even wide open at f/1.4 I’m pretty impressed with this lens performance and yes there is a bit of vignetting at f/1.4 but I don’t mind that in my images.

Think this Voigtländer Nokton is a keeper and I’ll use the Leica glass for film.

All images taken with Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.


Edit. Side note, Leica 6 bit coding test.