mercoledì 22 febbraio 2012

- Fed 2 & Peak District


Soon after I sent my project at Monte Amiata in Italy we had three weeks of snow and cold weather, not too bad if all you want to do is just staying home training and planning next trip to the Peak District...
One evening, while I was searching for some old lenses to use on my small Sony camera I came into an old russian rangefinder camera, a "Fed 2" of 1958 that can use some of the lenses I already own... as I never shot a single roll of film in my life I thought it would have been nice to give it a try, especially to capture the vast Peak landscapes with my 12mm wide angle, which can only act as a 17mm on digital. No exposimeter and a mechanical spring shutter means that there's no need of batteries, the problem is that in this kind of camera you can't see what the lens is actually capturing, nor focus neither actual picture frame. You just have to rely on the rangefinder, a device that makes you see two images matching, at the distance the lens should be focused on, but looking through that you will get an idea of what you will be capturing using a standard 50mm lens... use a different lens, and you have to imagine what the picture will look like.
Hidden inside wardrobe I found an old film roll, out of date from 2003, loaded it into the camera (quite new to this operation), and tried to take a few test shots, checking exposure with my digital camera... when I had it back from the lab the result was this:


The poor camera was still working but seemed not to be able to focus at infinity, and not further than 60 centimeters with the 12mm wide angle... it seemed like lens mount on the camera was too distant from film plane, making it act as a sort of extension tube... no way to get  decent picture out of it with the wide angle... if I wanted to bring it to Stanage I would have had to make my best to fix it.


So I started carefully to measure flange distance and I found it to be 30.1 millimeters from film plane... it should exactly be 28.8 millimeters for lenses to work correctly, argh! that's why I was getting that results...
The only option left was to manually sand paper the metal lens mount ring off !!! After some efforts i got it down to the right thickness, reassembled the camera, and moved forward to re-calibrate the rangefinder mechanism. A hard work, but after shooting a second film roll to test, I finally got these results:


Everything seemed perfect! Now I was able to focus at any distance and rangefinder was quite reliable even to focus the f1.4 lens! I'm pretty happy I gave life back to this 1958 vintage camera, now I will try to do my best to freeze with it some moments of my journey to the Peak. Don't expect great things... at least these pictures will be added value for my memories. Greetings from Sheffield by the way...

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