I've had this Zorki-4 camera in my collection for a while now, but hadn't found a chance to run a roll of film through it. I'd got it off the shelf a few times over the years, then feeling time-poor and not immediately sure how all the settings worked, and feeling too rushed to stop and learn about it, it went back on the shelf "for when I finally have some time".
With the current Pandemic situation, from late March I have been working from home, so as a distraction each afternoon to get me away from the computer and thinking about something else for 20 minutes or so, I decided to go for a walk around my local streets, and take a camera from my collection with me to run a test roll through.
I home develop all of my black and white film with HC-110, and had plenty of Ilford HP-5 film in the "film fridge", so there was no need to venture out to the shops un-necessarily in order to do this project.
The Zorki-4 was my second my second camera test. The Chiaka being the first, I wanted to continue the USSR camera theme. Sadly my Fed-3 camera shutter decided not to work consistently, so I was unable to test my other USSR-era camera.
I really enjoy learning about what these old cameras are able to do, and the excitement of opening up the Patterson development tank once the development process is completed is always a bit nerve-wracking. Will I have just wasted a few hours of my life taking photographs and developing them, or will I have discovered treasure - a camera that may be a bit old and neglected on the outside, but still very much ready to take beautiful shots.
The images from the Zorki-4 came out pretty well given the range-finder focus is broken, and the focus ring is a bit shuddery, but I was still able to turn it to the estimated focus distance on the dial, and hope. I tended to use more open apertures, shooting above f/8 to make sure I had enough depth of field so I didn't need to have pin-point focus. I use the sunny-16 rule when out shooting with cameras that don't have a light-meter to decide on my settings.
About Madeline Bowser
I've been photographing with film for what seems like forever ... well since the late 90's. I shoot both film and digital, but film is where my heart is and I get the most ongoing enjoyment from and what I enjoy sharing and teaching to others. I also travel the world hunting down old cameras and unique locations to photograph in, and exhibit and sell my travel photographs.
When out shooting film, I often get asked the questions 'can you still buy film?', 'I thought film stopped being made 10 years ago' and 'why would you want to shoot film when you can shoot digital'.
My answers are, 'yes', 'no, it didn't', and 'I also shoot digital, both have their place in my mind'.
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