During a visit in November 2020, my friend Erik gave me a camera on unlimited loan: an Edixa-MAT Reflex, Model C, built around 1960. At the time of its manufacture, it was one of a few West German SLRs with a focal plane shutter, an M42 lens thread, and a Waist Level Finder.
Due to time constraints, I only get time to take photos in town during the week when it is dark. In the first week of January I had the opportunity to try out this camera. Since the settings on this camera are a bit awkward and I didn’t want to meter much exposure externally anyway, I fell back on experience I’ve had digitally.
The film I used was Kodak T-MAX P3200, which I shot and developed for EI 6400. I thought it might get stony instead of grainy, no problem.
For the lens I took the Pancolar f/1.8/50mm, it’s my fastest M42 lens, although the aperture is defective and stuck at f/1.8. But the Pancolar is already so sharp open, a great lens. I used a 1/25 shutter speed, thinking it would work well throughout, and looked for objects that were not too dark — if something was overexposed, it would not be too bad. The contrasts at night are often hefty anyway.
I think Waist Level Finders (WLF) are great, just not necessarily on 35mm camera. And portrait format is very problematic when using them, which is why I like 6×6, by the way. They’re a little fiddly little too. But loading the film was child’s play: slide the film into the slot in the take-up spool, make sure that the perforation click into place, wind, trigger, wind again, close the flap, done.
So off you go.
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I live in a small town, a very small town. You go through it quickly. Since I no longer have a dog, I need these nightly walks through the small and quiet town for exercise.
After a few years it becomes more and more difficult for me to find new motifs. But a little something can always be found. Day after the previous night’s walk wanted to develop the film. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done yet.
So, the Pancolar had to go. F/1.8 at EI 6400 during the day with this camera? That’s pretty much impossible. I replaced it with a (working) Zeiss Jena Tessar f/2.8/50mm and walked out into a field. It was winter and not so bright, so I got times of 1/250 – 1/500 at F/11 – F/16.
The subsequent push development in Kodak HC-110 was trouble-free, 12min in dilution B (1+31). Later, when scanning, a problem with the camera revealed itself. When I took the pictures during the day, i.e. with short times, the image became slightly darker from left to right. Apparently, the shutter is not running quite synchronously. Either one curtain is too fast or the other is too slow.
I still like the daytime shots, and those grains, they are real rock boulders.
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