About eighteen months ago, my (re)introduction to film was with an Olympus OMG – well it just had to be didn’t it! Since then I’ve acquired an OM-1 and OM-2n, a large collection of Zuiko lenses, some medium format stuff and some really old cameras.
But up until now, I’ve never tried a rangefinder. That changed with the acquisition of this beautiful camera.
A Zorki 1D I believe (but I might be wrong) picked up for from the Ukraine with an Industar-22 lens. For those not familiar with the Zorki 1 (or Soviet era camera’s) the Russians made several camera’s after taking the designs, equipment and even people from Germany as reparations after Word War II.
The Zorki 1 is essentially an exact copy of a Leica II rangefinder camera. I put a roll of Ultrafine 100 through the ’21 and I found it to be super sharp, but recent trawling of eBay netted me an Industar-61, which is supposed to give super-saturated and sharp colour images.
I loaded up the camera (which I have to say is probably the only thing I dislike about the Zorki – frankly, it’s a pain and I hope it gets easier with practice) and headed off out to Golden Gate Park on a lovely warm Saturday afternoon.
I shot the following on some expired Kodak 400 gold using the sunny 16 rule. Needless to say the images have a soft somewhat lo-fi look to them.
The pictures were taken in and around the Chinese Pavilion in Stow Lake
The roll was developed at home in what is probably the final dregs of an Arista C-41 kit before I bottle it up and take it down to the local disposal facility.
In short, I’m on the fence about rangefinders.
I do like their compact size, but then I can throw my 40mm f/2 onto my OM-1 and get a very compact SLR setup which allows me to meter, focus and frame through the lens, or if I want to go really compact, I have a Rollei 35s which I’ve learnt to zone-focus with.
One would think then that, for me at least, a rangefinder would offer no real benefit. except that I find my Zorki an absolute joy to shoot. There’s something really satisfying about that ‘thock’ sound the shutter makes, and the lack of a mirror lets me get better shots hand held at 1/60 than my Olympus.
I still think of my OM-1 as my ‘go-to’ camera. But if ever I’m in the ‘rangefinder’ mood – this Zorki has me covered!
My instagram – fashionistalori