I’ve been thinking a lot about buying a new and expensive camera recently. The rangefinders I bought were to do with that, a trial if you will, as was the 35mm lens I bought for my main squeeze. That’s great, but this is all about cameras and not much to do with photography.
“I think the Hasselblad is one of the most elegant medium format cameras you can lay your hands on. Some people are techy and prefer cameras like the Mamiya RB67 or Bronica. I’m completely obsessed with look/feel/design of things so I’ll give up built in light meters in order to hold onto a piece of camera engineering’s greatest treasures.”—Luke H
The Zorki's viewfinder is bigger and brighter than the Kiev's, but the Kiev's rangefinder patch is better defined and it's much easier to see when you're in focus: the images just kind of snap together. It's nice.
The Zorki has a dioptre adjustment, but I can’t get it to focus so the finder is always slightly blurred. It’s pretty loose too, and it jumps when you take pictures which looks like an earthquake happened.
The Kiev’s rangefinder window is right where you put your finger. It also has a really irritating lock which engages whenever you focus on infinity.
Setting the shutter speed is nicer on the Zorki. The Kiev is fiddly.
Both are knob-wind, which is slow, and painful in the cold. The lever-wind FED would win here, if its shutter worked below a sixtieth and if its rangefinder wasn’t jammed out of alignment and if its lens didn’t need re-lubing.
The Zorki has a really bizarre way of disengaging everything so you can rewind the film that I’m not sure I understand. I can disengage it just fine, but re-engaging it takes me a few minutes of jiggling things around to make it catch. The Kiev has a button on the bottom like normal cameras.
The Kiev’s shutter is seriously quiet. The Zorki’s is pretty violent for a 35mm.
The Zorki doesn’t have a flat bottom, so it falls off whatever you put it on.
There’s an article I like called The C Feature. I’m a little sad because I’ve been out taking night photos with the Zorki and it hasn’t got it. It looks good and feels nice, but it’s a pain in the ass to use to the point I can’t see myself continuing with it.
About a month ago I bought three FSU rangefinders, a Kiev, a FED and a Zorki. I put a roll through the Kiev, the first to arrive, but the others have been shelf-sitting.
Last night I walked into town without a camera, and I was totally in the photo groove. I was seeing pictures everywhere. I took a couple on my phone, but it wasn’t the same. I remembered why I’d bought the rangefinders: I’d bought them because I wanted a rangefinder for night photos. Apparently the brief few days between buying and getting the cameras were enough for me to forget this.
I bought some Delta 3200 today. The Zorki is loaded!
I just ordered a copy of Snake Or Be Snaked, totally on a whim, partly because it looked interesting, and partly because I want to be making books (or prints, possibly) and I wanted to see what the deal is. Sometimes you just need to do something. I started setting things up to sell prints back in September but I’ve been procrastinating…
I was reading a post by a guy called John Sypal where he described one of his pictures as “[perhaps] the kind of image that works best as something within a body of work rather that attempting to insist it is Art on its own”. I think there’s something of what I’ve been struggling with at the moment in that. Part of me equates success in photography (whatever that is) with the creation of iconic images (whatever they are). In my head, iconic images come first, followed by bodies of work around them, but I don’t think that’s right. I think iconic images—if they exist at all!—come out of bodies of work, not the other way around. And I don’t see my own stuff as being coherent enough for that.