Film Photography Podcast - Episode 163 – May 15, 2017
The FPP Gang reads your letters! Clarus MS 35mm Camera! Fed 1 Camera! Darkroom Update! Cable Releases! Lots More!
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The gang’s all here! That’s right, Michael Raso is joined in studio by Mat Marash, Leslie Lazenby, Mark Dalzell and Mark O’Brien! Topics on today’s shoe include the Clarus MS-35 and Fed 1 cameras, scanners, a darkroom update, cable releases, book of the show, listener letters and so much more! We have podcast sign so keep us locked in!
One of the best tools to keep in your camera bag is the cable release, and Mark O’Brien has brought in a bag of these devices. So for those who don’t know, what a cable release is, it is a device that allows you, the photographer to remotely trip your camera's shutter either through a mechanical release or an electrical signal. But the most common and readily available is the mechanical style release. For the most part, these are fairly universal, using a threaded tip that connects to your camera’s shutter release or the shutter body in the case of Large Format lenses. Then it simply uses a metal rod that trips the shutter release. While most cameras use the standard threaded insert, Leica along with early Nikon cameras had a nipple mount that had a flange that covered the shutter release button and use the metal rod to push down the button rather than the internal trip manually. Modern cameras went to a more proprietary connector when shutters became electronically controlled in the late 1980s. But the older mechanical ones are still made and are readily available new and used and often inexpensive. Plus they last forever. Both Mark and Mat cannot recommend these enough when working with a tripod as they will reduce camera shake for long exposures. Another variant on these is external timers for cameras that don’t have a built-in self-timer. These clockwork powered devices simply screw in or attach to the shutter release, just wind it up and go! Need a Cable Release?! Head over to this LINK and pick one up from The FPP!
In the post-war industrial complex of World War Two, many of the camera manufacturers were still in war production mode, and the American people were clamoring for cameras. And with German and Japanese factories reduced to rubble, many smaller companies began to produce cameras in the meantime. One such company was the Clarus Camera Manufacturing Company out of Minneapolis. Leslie fills us in on their lineup, the MS-35. That’s right; they only produced one camera and not a very good one at that Leslie continues. The MS-35 was a cinder block of a camera that even outweighed the Argus C3. Produced between 1946 and 1952 and reaching only 20,000 units the camera was a failure from the start, the main issue was the shutter kept failing. But the camera, if it had worked would have been decent as it was fronted by classic optics by Wollensak, including three 50mm lenses, an Anastigmat, Veliostigmat and a Raptar. Add onto that two 101mm lenses and a 35mm lens. But don’t think you can take these lenses and mount them on any other camera as the Clarus Mount while a screw mount was 41.5mm, too big for the Leica Thread Mount (LTM/M39) and too small for the M42 mount. Sadly if you used a lens outside the 50mm range, you would need to have an external viewfinder as the internal one is only rated to 50mm. Leslie isn’t even interested in getting the camera fixed or finding one that works, they just aren’t worth the money, despite being a beautifully made, heavy camera.
The FEDs are coming!
Along the same theme as the MS-35, Mark Dalzell has another post-war camera that isn’t the best out there, and that’s the FED 1. The FED 1 is the post-war version of the original FED NKVD produced from 1946 to 1955 when the FED 2 was released. The FED NKVD and FED 1 were unabashed copies of the Leica II, however, the early versions, despite having an LTM (Leica Thread Mount) or M39 it wasn’t the same with a different thread pitch. This was fixed after 1950, or the FED 1g which is the version that Mark purchased. But it isn’t the lens that is the frustrating part of the camera; it’s the bottom loading. He was able to get it loaded a total of one time, only to shoot the camera with the lens collapsed and hasn’t been able to load it since. It’s just left Mark FED up. Your better choice would be a FED 2 or FED 3 that have removable backs that make for an easier loading experience.
A topic that has been discussed many times on this shoe is film scanners. But listener Rick has written in asking for a scanner for the regular guy. While there are cheaper units out there, it comes down to quality and ease of use. Sure you might be able to get a scanner on the cheap, but the quality and speed won’t be there. Michael continues to say it’s best to look at the future and go for an Epson V-Series and while the latest and greatest in the form of the V800/V850 may still be out of reach, the V700 is still a solid choice and can be had for a fair price on the used market. Plus you may not be shooting large format now, but there’s no saying what the future will hold.
As you may have heard, MidWest Photo Exchange’s darkroom is up and running and is rather popular among customers and photographers in the greater Columbus Ohio area. This community rentable darkroom comes fully equipped with a pair of enlargers that allow you to print from 35mm all the way up to 4x5 and has all the chemicals you need. Just provide your paper, and of course, the film needed to print. Plus if you’re a student, teacher, or a listener of the FPP you can rent the space for only 12$ per hour, or a full 9 hour day for 70$! If you don’t know how to print or develop, you can sign up for a class that is taught by our very own Mat Marrash! The classes will walk you through shooting, developing and printing. For more details and how to sign up and rent the form visit: mpexlearningstudio.com/mpex-darkroom or email Mat at email@example.com.
Book of the Show!
The continued exploration of Mark O’Brien’s extensive photo library has landed us on Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographers by Robert Flynn Johnston. The gang is enamored by the haunting images that are presented on the pages. The theme that binds them all is that no one knows who took the photos. That’s right; this isn’t a Viviane Myers situation here where the name is known. The book is certainly worth an addition to any photographer’s shelf and though produced in 2004 is still readily available online through such retailers as Amazon!
That’s it for this show! If you want to kill some time over the next couple weeks, Mat Ayrs alerted us that the fine folks at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York have been diligently putting their collection online, you can check it out here: eastman.org/collections-online or if you’re in the Rochester area, the museum is certainly worth a visit. If you want to learn about all the news and specials from the FPP, you can sign up for our email newsletter at filmphotographyproject.com/newsletter/subscribe you can also share your film photos and join in the discussion on our Flickr group! Or you can drop us a line by post: Film Photography Podcast PO Box 264 Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll see you in a short two weeks!