A Sunday Morning Stoat – part 2

Stoat: Scottish slang, meaning to wander around aimlessly. For example: “I was just stoating aboot the toon”.

So, back to last Sunday morning and the tale of two cameras. In part 1 as well as talking broadly about the route I took I also shared some images from the Fuji. This time it’s the turn of the camera in my other pocket, the Zorki 4, a relatively recent addition to the kit bag – or indeed to the pocket!

I still had the Chroma Double Glass* lens attached from the previous day’s walk and was happy to leave this in place. Bear in mind that this is not a typical, optically perfect, lens. It has two glass elements and a unique look that in my opinion is well suited to 35mm photography. I popped a Cokin filter holder in my pocket and an orange filter too. The Weston Master V was in my back pocket (note to self: don’t sit down) so I was all set. The roll of HP5+ was to be rated at box speed of ISO 400 as the light was such that I’d need all the help I could get!

This lens has a very distinctive rendering – something I will write about at some point

Now, I don’t believe that I’ve written about the Zorki 4 in my blog as yet. The Zorki 4 was possibly the most popular of all the Zorki cameras, with around 1.7 million made by the KMZ factory. The Zorki 4 was also the first of the Zorki cameras to be exported in large numbers to the West. It is a fully manual camera, and does not have a lightmeter, hence why I had a Weston Master V in my pocket. I’ve a few of these old rangefinder cameras on my shelves, less used these days if truth be told, and whilst they are essentially Leica copies they lack the mechanical finesse of their putative progenitor.

Even an orange filter didn’t help!
The weather/light really was this grotty

The Zorki 4 uses a wind-on knob which does the job but isn’t as pleasurable to use as a lever-style wind-on mechanism. But, it’s not a deal breaker so it’s something to be tolerated. The rewind knob though is a different matter. Narrow enough to be aesthetically pleasing but not large enough to use comfortably, especially as it’s also fairly stiff. There is also a small collar around the shutter release that needs moving to facilitate rewinding the film and it’s a little temperamental which also detracts from the rewinding experience as well as interfering with the subsequent loading of film. I lost a third of a 36-exposure roll to this idiosyncratic arrangement. It probably worked perfectly fifty years ago to be fair. My Zorki 4 was manufactured in 1969 to be fair.

The solution to this came to me a few days ago though. Don’t rewind the film and don’t move the little collar. Simples!

So, once home, I now pop the camera, without rewinding its fully exposed film, into the changing bag along with scissors, a film reel and tank. Snip! Film cut out of camera and popped onto reel. Matter of 30 seconds and painless! I’ve also taken to loading film as if this were a bottom-loader so that I do not have to disturb that problematic collar. It’s made using the camera much more pleasurable and by way of a bonus I’ve been getting 26 frames from a 24-exposure film too!

Gotta say, I’m liking this lens!
I do need to remember not to put important detail on the edge of the frame with this lens

With a sky that wasn’t anything to write home about (see above) I’d decided to keep the Zorki in my pocket for the most part. A few frames would undoubtedly be exposed, mainly out of interest in seeing how the Chroma Glass performed, but I was not expecting to use all 24 exposures. Oh, and a note on this unusual use, for me at least, of short rolls. My first play with the Zorki 4 was with a 36-exposure roll of film. Towards the end I started suffering spacing issues. On a hunch I moved to shorter rolls which solved the problem. Andy suggested that perhaps being an older camera, and a copy of one that was probably even older at that, it wasn’t designed for 36 exposure rolls. I was just pleased though that my solution worked.

Once again, the orange filter might as well have stayed at home

In the end, I did use the whole roll. The light was forcing me to look for more intimate compositions with the Fuji digital camera and some of the textures I found were screaming to be captured on film, especially with the Chroma Glass attached. I also enjoy using the Zorki too if I’m being totally transparent.

So, presented here are a selection of images from the Zorki 4, the Chroma Double Glass lens and a roll of my go-to film, Ilford HP5+. I hope there is something here that appeals to you. This lens though, renders like no other lens in my kit bag apart perhaps from the Lensbaby. But that’s another blog post!

* I will write about this lens in a future post. So far I’ve posted two sets of images made with the lens, those in this post and also those in my previous post entitled Marmite.

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