Friday, April 20, 2012

Light Leak Leica

This blog present my first photographs through a 60 year old camera that probably hasn’t been serviced since the ‘70’s. In no way am I trying to show what is so great about Leica cameras.

Here’s my ‘51/‘52 Leica IIIf taken by my borrowed Hasselblad 500c. The Hasselbad could eat the Leica for breakfast. This is a scan from the lab. Ektar 100.
Leica IIIf @ Port Orford Heads, Andrew D. Barron©3/27/12
I got my first rolls back. I knew it needed work; allow me to elaborate. Below are two closeups with the lens off, looking into the film plane from the front. The shutter curtain looks like this after it fires (as it should):
Leica IIIf shutter curtain: fired, Andrew D. Barron©4/17/12
But when the shutter is cocked, the other part of the curtain is reeled in front of the plane. They are in bad shape:
Leica IIIf shutter curtain: fired, Andrew D. Barron©4/17/12
As a result, the camera has some amazing light leaks. It gets worse (better?) at higher shutter speeds. I scanned the negatives on a cheap Epson V330. The V330 seems to do very well with black and white film, but so far, less good with transparency film. Right now I am into the imperfections of the negative frame (the messy edges). These happen mostly from the camera, but also from the scanner’s film holder.

The first roll into the IIIf was Tri-X 400, by most accounts, a favorite, classic black and white film. I hesitate to cover all that I want to in this blog, but I prepared these things so here goes.

I like what SilverEFEX does to the scans. Here is what, for now, would be a final result:
Backyard scene with shutter curtain light leaks, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
But prior to SilverEFEX conversion, the tones are acceptable and interesting:
Backyard scene with shutter curtain light leaks, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
And for good measure, here is the preview scans that came back with the negatives from the lab:
Backyard scene with shutter curtain light leaks, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12

This roll went pretty quickly on March 10 (I think). Easy to do with 24 exposures. Love the grain.
Nesika Market exterior, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
Nesika Market mirror, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
This shot was overexposed, but recovered okay in the computer. When this happens with Tri-X though, the grain gets pronounced (and beautiful).
Nesika Market gumballs, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
I had a really good day shooting and presented some of that in Upriver Few 3/10/12.

So, yeah, I drove upriver. This was a pretty fast shutter speed. It seems like it spreads open the curtains and lets light in.
Trees at North Bank & Edson Creek, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
Up to Lobster Creek bridge.
Lobster Creek bridge from North Bank road, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
It is pretty cool to carry around all these cameras. Though the above shot is pretty much a loss, the instant film print came out great:
From South Bank road towards Lobster Creek bridge, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
Over the bridge. I got the best shots on this day with a Nikomat 35mm and a Hasselblad 500c. Those will have to surface in another form.
Lobster creek bridge over the Rogue river, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
Further, up a random dirt road off of Agness road above the bridge. To me, the overall feel and quality of this photograph is what the Leica is all about. I feel lucky to have one frame that showed me what I was looking for. This is f/2 @ 1/60” or 1/30”.
Trees up uses road 3313, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
Lab scan of same:
Trees up uses road 3313, Andrew D. Barron©3/10/12
I hope you enjoyed the warts-and-all first look of film through my Leica IIIf, my first time shooting with a real rangefinder camera. I plan to send this to Youxin Ye for CLA and curtain replacement. Then the Leica adventure will continue! As of right now, I am down to just a couple of film cameras. Maybe I’ll get back to shooting.

Stay tuned for more film blogs. It could be one on the next roll through this camera (Ektar 100). The light leaks on color film are mind blowing!

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