Island Stream

Minster, Isle of Sheppey, England. May 2022

Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH, B&W yellow filter on Tri-X @ 100.

Nikkormat

Sometime back I picked up a very cheap Nikkormat FT2 of eBay. In excellent working condition, all that was needed was a CLA service from Newton Ellis & Co. of Liverpool, England.

Nikkormat FT2

For me this was my first ‘proper’ single lens reflex camera I used in the late 1980’s at college. Up till then I had never had chance to use a Nikon nor any other Japanese made camera. Back then, this snotty nose kid had little or no interest in girls, but liked photography, had an unhealthy liking for cameras particularly Nikon, Canon FD and Leica R SLR’s, although I didn’t know it at the time, was suffering from G.A.S. I loved the FT2 rugged build qualities, light meter top plate display, mirror lock and it’s manual simplicity. Everyone else at college would choose to use a Nikon FE, FM or F2 we had use of, I’d pick up a Nikkormat, yet unfortunately I was unable afford one at the time. From then on I always wanted a Nikon F film outfit with all the prime lenses you could ever need. Years went by, I never did get the Nikkormat due to lack of spare funds but 2013 older, wiser and with spare cash in his pocket I start buying in items online.

Unusually for Nikon, as many of you know most Nikkormats have the shutter speeds are around the lens collar. I’d forgotten about this when I first used the camera back at college. For Olympus OM owners the shutter speed collar around the lens mount is nothing new and found once I got use to using the tab on the opposite side, it’s easy enough and soon remembered to watch the display in the viewfinder rather than tipping the camera over to the set speed. I have also admit the meter coupling on Nikkormat’s with the ‘Rabbit Ears‘ has always fascinated me and at one point did think of purchasing a very expensive Nikomat FT body in mint condition from Japan which was the first model to be produced back 1965.

Even without a service or new seals this camera was still perfectly operational even after 45 years since being manufactured. First roll of Fomapan 100 came through with very small amount of fogging along the edges of the film, this despite the seals in the body being near non existent and the foam on the back door long since crumbled away. Every one of the exposures I shot where spot on and matched my Weston Euro Master light meter, I was very impressed, it’s a joy to use. My only wish is that Nikon kept the back release latch design the same as the FT2 and it’s siblings, I find the Nikon FE door release with little lever around the rewind crank a bit fiddly sometimes to use.

Nikkor lenses.

Most of my Nikkor Ai lenses I purchased relatively cheap, with the most expensive lens being the 28mm f/2.8 Ai at £170 with metal hood and came with original Nikon box plus polystyrene packaging. My Nikkor 200mm f/4 looks like it’s never been used and the 135mm f/3.5 is mint and only cost £69 plus P&P. Ever since Digital came onto the scene, I noticed the Ai series lenses I wanted originally dropped in price, partly because of their age not being the AiS version but in the early days of Nikon digital would only work in full manual and non Ai lenses stop down metering.

Time passing, many of the Ai lenses seem to have been now snapped up. Slowly over the last few years I’ve manage collect all the Nikkor lenses I wanted and all have one thing in common, they all use 52mm filter size making for a compact but extensive kit. Last month I finally completed my 1980’s Nikon line up with the last acquisition of a Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai lens with Nikon HS-8 metal hood. This was the last lens I wanted and it took me a while to find one at a reasonable price, most where either in very sorry state or mint condition with a high price tag.

In the above picture, the Ai lenses as follows, Nikkor 20mm f/4, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8, Nikkor 35mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Nikkor 85mm f/2, Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 and finally the Nikkor 200mm f/4.

I picked up the Nikon DR-3 right angle finder for £28 of eBay, boxed and unused.

Incidently, the Nikkor 35mm F/2.8 Ai I picked up for £50 bought as seen. A ‘user’ lens, it came with no warranty, scratched, few nicks, no paint left around the filter ring, missing it’s rubber focusing grip, some dust within the optics yet had a very smooth focus and with snappy oil free aperture blades, it worked perfectly. It’s since had a CLA and this lens looks a lot better condition than when first purchased the it.

Since 2013 I probably spent around £950 which I think was around what this equipment cost in 1980’s and is around £2700 in today’s money. Dread to think what the equivalent Nikon digital kit would cost these days!


All film images taken with Nikkormat FT2 and equipment pictures taken with the Leica (Typ 240) M-P with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Wait for it!

Sheerness, England. 2022

Click to enlarge image.

Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH on Kodak Pro Image 100 film.

I love the look on these Spaniels faces.


So my Leica M6 is no more.

I took the above picture last month on the M6. This was one of a few films that were not fogged, indeed Weekend Races image was from the same roll of ProImage. Despite being returned a couple of times for repair the fault kept arising as you can see below. As you can see the problem was still there and was getting worse with each new roll exposed.

Click to enlarge images.

On side note, I noticed I’ve been having issues with white spots on my negatives. This turned out to be my fixer, which I hadn’t noticed was dated 03/2020 …oops! Then I found in my photo cupboard another black concertina bottle from my late father, marked ‘fix’ and dated 2007. This is what came out of the old bottle below, glad I didn’t use it. The black fragments in the sink make me think the inside of the bottle had been slowly deteriorating.

Anyway, back to the M6 issue. It went back to the dealer again and this time I was offered a full refund. But then thinking about it, was only another £1600 ($2,100) for a new ‘M’ body. So I am now the very proud owner of a shiny new chrome MP. Wish I’d done this in the first place but I was stupidly thinking it cannot happen to me again and the first few rolls seemed alright with the M6. I did ask what they where going to do with my faulty M6 and was told it would be sent back to Wetzlar, Germany for an complete overhaul.

Expensive I know at £4100.00 ($5395.00) but it’s not second hand, comes with a year warranty plus an extra year if you register the camera with Leica AG and top and base plate are made of brass not zinc.


Black and white images, Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH on Fomapan 400 film rated at an ISO of 200.

Deluge

Sheerness, England. 2022

Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH taken on Fomapan 100 classic film with a B&W Yellow filter.

Erect and the limp

Sorry, tongue in cheek title. Anyway the Leica M6 is back!

Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH taken on Fomapan 100 classic film with a B&W Yellow filter.

Light leaks

Normally I wouldn’t have bothered posting about another Leica rangefinder with another light leak (Previous Leica M4-2 light leak – Wetlands) but this turns out to a different problem.

After the first couple of films the M6 started to develop a problem which a first I thought might of been a light leak through the top of the door flap on the back of the camera body remembering the image is always upside down in a film camera. After which I tried to find the problem by exposing the camera to various light sources to see if I could narrow down where the light was getting in. This did not work, after developing a 12 exposure strip the film was clean, everytime!

I puzzled about this because none of the negatives had fogging across the sprocket holes only in the middle of the exposed negative. As you can see the very bottom of the negative is perfectly exposed. Not only that, on a roll of 36 exposures there would only be a few frames with these marks.

After some research online I’m pretty certain it is the shutter failing. I found on the Rangefinder forum an old thread about an M6 with the same problem. They found that some faster speeds, the shutter curtain was coming adrift causing the same fogging marks as mine has. The rubberised shutter curtain is not shutting at the top of the frame at same time as the bottom of the curtain at faster speeds thus allowing extra light across the exposure. It doesn’t effect every image as you can see with the previous pictures Winter Light and Onward, as I found the camera was fine to use at no more than 1/125th and below. Say this though, it would only be a matter of time before the shutter curtain failed completely.

Luckily for me this camera come six months warranty. So reluctantly, I carefully packed it plus added copies of the offending negatives and the camera is now on it’s way to have a repair and be serviced.

In hindsight knowing this camera body dates from 1986 from the serial number and is near pristine condition, so I do wonder how long it had been stored away in some cupboard only to suddenly find itself being used most days. You could say this idiot broke it by using the camera and expecting too much from it. Now, I just hope it not to long away at the repairers.

So if you see anyone online saying their Leica has these strange fogging marks across their negatives, point them in the direction of this post.


Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH taken on Fomapan 100 film.

Winter light

Isle of Sheppey, England. 2022

Leica M6, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH taken on Fomapan 100 film and a B&W yellow filter.

Out & about with the M6

First roll with my new/old Leica M6 circa 1986 model.

Also new to me, I used Rodinal film developer for the first time processing these negatives. I’ve only ever used D76 or the equivalent ID11 developer.

For these pictures I solely used the Summicron 35mm ASPH lens and I shot two rolls of Fomapan Classic 100 film and rated it an ISO 800. The jury still out on the focusing tab, I’m 50-50 about using it and I mostly zone focused the lens on this photo walk. But by the end of the day I forgot the lens even had a tab and I have to admit with the smaller E39 size lenses the focusing tab used for precise focus does work well. Maybe I was a little too quick to dismiss it first time round and will get use to the tab in time. Glad I purchased the black chrome 1959 design of the Summilux which doesn’t have a tab unlike it’s modern sibling and really I think is totally unnecessary for a lens of that size.

‘Close up’
Tenterden High Street.

Do you think he forgot his reading glasses?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised how responsive the meter is on the M6 and it matched my Weston Euromaster lightmeter readings everytime. Despite the poor light, the LED’s in the viewfinder are clear, easy to use and very bright, if anything I found it easier than the Leica M-P (Typ 240) display, not bad for a 35 year old camera!

So this is Tenterden in Kent, England on cold, overcast December day, very soft light.


While walking along his gentlemen suddenly leaned in front of me talking on his mobile phone looking down the service road to the supermarket. Oh well, might as well take his picture now! Other side of the street, girl on the right was staring into space for ages, while the woman on her left, I think she was writing her memoirs.

Stop!

Gentleman in the middle of the image amused me, thought I was some sort of local litter enforcement, I was wearing flat cap, navy blue top, trousers, black body warmer along with my Domke F-5 bag and camera, hmm?! …think he might of dropped something he shouldn’t have.


Few pictures from the Sheerness, England.

I was amused by the local butcher was wearing a rubber turkey on his head for Christmas, taking a shot through the display window, relying the cameras meter for the exposure. On the right, a mother enjoying some phone time with her young son. I took the shot through the Cafe window, where we were having lunch at the time and guessed the exposure on this occasion by an extra stop.

Cyclist Dismount

Cyclists, you’ve got to love them!


All in all I’m very pleased with the results, what else did I expect with a Leica Meßsucher.

Well at £2400 British pounds or $3200 for just camera body you could say it’s an expensive tool or toy. Really with this camera other than different frame lines and a built in meter, is no different to my old Leica M4-2. While the Leica M3 was a lovely old camera with a fantastic built qualities, I personally found the viewfinder on the M3 much darker than my old M4-2 0.72x and the new M-P 0.68x viewfinders which both give a great view outside their frame lines too.

With prices of used Leica film cameras still climbing, I think I have made a good investment overall.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Eastern Patterns

Sheerness, England – February 2021

Morning after Storm Darcy, aka ‘The Beast from East 2’ a cold front eastern Europe and Russia. I’m going start a new club called the ‘Frozen Leica Society’ because oh boy was I so cold my hands started to hurt in the -7°c wind chill …We English are not use to this sort of thing you know!

Anyway I shot this picture purely because of the pattern of the snow fall along the seawall. Later on, further along the front in the distance you can see the waters edge looks very white and as it turned out the sea was starting to freeze.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Fomapan 100 Classic film at an ISO of 800

Flood light

Yes I know, corny title.

Weeks after I have taken this picture this area is two or three worse still and the grass where we walk our dog, the water comes up around your boots as the ground is so saturated. Anyhow, what with the on going lockdown restrictions, photography is becoming a little harder to do at present especially street photography. So my attention has turned to a little local landscape photography.

Taken last month at Bartons Point Coastal Park, Isle of Sheppey, England. I took this shot not only for the sunlight reflecting in the water but because the different puddles across the fields leading to the horizon.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Fomapan 400 film with a B&W yellow filter.