The 'V' word.

I need help! I know, I know, a good friend said to me “don’t start getting interested in those little gem of cameras manufactured by the West German company Voigtlander. But did I listen?, NO!


Anyway, I thought I was fighting it but didn’t realise how fast the addiction takes hold of you. I just clicked on the ebay app and ‘Damn’ it was still set for the search for the ‘V’ word, and there they were, a pair of Voigtlander Bs.


As we all know, it’s better to get a pair of something, right! think of a pair of Purdey shotguns, or a pair of shoes, well maybe that’s not a good example.
Anyway there they were on the page staring back at me and they didn’t need bidding on as they were ‘Buy now’. That dreaded term ‘Buy now’ as if you can’t resist. But, I did resist for a couple of days, I think in the hope that someone else would ‘Buy now’ and leave me free to a normal life without the ‘V’ (see I can’t even say the full word, in case the affliction takes hold).
So, eventually I did buy the pair of Vito Bs which I didn’t think were overpriced as the seller said they both worked and one had a very nice brown leather case with it.

The Vito B has an unusual film load as part of the base of the camera hinges open to then allow the back to swing open. It is held in place with a very nice little catch which is typical German engineering and very detailed.


The next stage is to put film through them so we’re all set to go for a photography outing which has been put on hold for the stormy weather to pass as I don’t think these little jobies will stand getting a soaking.

A blast from the past – The Yashica-24 TLR

At age 20 I had a healthy interest in photography but not a very healthy bank balance. I had been shooting for a while with a 35mm SLR, a Russian made Zenith fitted with an f2 Helios lens. I did however have a desire to obtain a twin lens reflex camera to try out the bigger negative size.

The Yashica-24

I can’t remember exactly how or where I got it from but I did acquire a Yashica-24, probably because that camera was somewhat cheaper than the more desirable Rolleiflex. After around 20 years and 4 house moves later the camera resurfaced in the loft during some buidling work to convert the loft. I decided I wasn’t going to use the camera anymore as we were all digital now and no one is going to use film again, right? So, I gave it to a friend of mine who had a bit of a camera museum at home and he could display it on one of his shelves.

Jumping forward another 28 years and the present time and after retirement saw me rekindle my interest in some serious photography, I also started to get interested once again in the old film cameras. In the present climate of interest once again in film I thought it would be good to see if my friend still had the old Yashica, and there it was, still sitting on his shelf. As he had two examples of the same camera I asked if I could reclaim it, which he was happy to do.

Imagine my surprise though at finding it still had a film in it. My friend hadn’t used it so it must be one of mine from at least 25 years ago. I had started to develop my own film again and imagine the excitement of processing this old film to see what the images contained?

One of the images from the camera. There is some edge deterioration.

Some of the film had deteriorated around the edges but it still had some of the images which showed a steam train which had visited our location station those years ago. It’s amazing that there is anything still there at all.

I must soon get to take it out to see how it is still working.

Decaying France

One thing I love about France is that they seem to be quite happy about just allowing buildings to weather and decay. All these photos taken in aix en Provence in January 2020.

Rather than spending money on repairing facades and making everything look new they allow the fabric of their buildings to atain a certain aged quality which I find very interesting.

I often say to people I’m with to look up about the shop fronts and study the faces above. That is where the history of the building is.

Next stage on from 'Another film camera'

The Voigtlander Vito C

So, after spending all my pocket money in one hit (£15) over Christmas at an antiques centre I was eager to see the results of said film camera. I wanted to see if all was working with the little Voigtlander Vito C so on a trip around St Albans I put a roll of Ilford HP5+ through the little camera.

Here are some of the results. Developed in Ilford Ilfotec DDX:

St Albans cathedral.
I tried some interiors too which was pushing the boundaries of the 400 ASA film and the f2.8 lens.

All appears well with the shutter speeds and I was pleased with the results. The Vito C doesn’t have a rangefinder. You can try to estimate distance to the subject but that can be a bit hit and miss and is OK when using the large depth of field that a small aperture can give you. It’s a bit more difficult at f2.8 though.

Another excuse to purchase another gadget? Of course. I thought I’d keep to quality West German engineering of the same era as the Voigtlander and bid on a couple of rangefinders on Ebay.

I ended up winning two bids and was the then the proud owner of two rangefinders. One for £2.20 and the other for £19. The £19 Watameter one was the better of the two. It was made in West Germany somewhere around the 1940s to 50s. It’s a split image rangefinder with the scale in feet also visible through the eyepiece.

The eyepiece end of the rangefinder. You look through the left hand aperture and turn the right hand wheel until the split image aligns. The distance scale is also visible in the viewfinder.
The object lens of the Watameter.

The little rangefinder looks good mounted on the flash shoe of the Voigtlander. I don’t think it’ll be very good in low light conditions though. I’ll have to wait and see.

The Voigtlander with the Watameter mounted on the flash shoe.
The rangefinder even came in a leather case which doesn’t look out of place alongside the Voigtlander case.
Had to drag out the old Weston Master V for the exposure too!

So, what’s next for the Voigtlander? having just read an article over on the Emulsive web site about pushing EI of Ilford HP5+ to 3200 I’ve decided to load it up with this film and try doing some night shots around the town at this uprated film speed. It could be tricky but I like a challenge. Who knows, I might even attempt some Street photography with this setup!

London Photo walk – Jan 2020

Royal Victoria Dock and The Southbank

A walk with members of Bishops Stortford Camera Club.

As we were planning on starting our walk just before lunchtime we started with some of us meeting at a local establishment where we had a brunch to set us up for the day. Following this we caught the train into Liverpool Street.

The group arriving at Liverpool Street.

Following on from this we caught the Cental Line tube to Bank then on to the Docklands Light Railway to end up at Royal Victoria DLR station where we met up with another two of our group who had caught a different train down to London.

On the tube.
Changing trains at Westferry.
The group photographing around Royal Victoria Docks.
The old dock cranes alongside Royal Victoria Docks.

We had to go over the high level walkway across the dock to continue our walk along the south side back to where the Emirates cable car. Some of our group didn’t particularly like heights but we all seemed to manage OK. The lift up to the walkway wasn’t operating so it was a bit of a climb up the steps.

Good advice!
The ruins of the old Millennium Mills building from the elevated walkway.

Once we were on the south side of the docks we walked back toward the western end where we could get on to the Emirates cable car. Before getting on the cable car we found a nice cafe for some refreshments.

There is some interesting architecture on the western end of Royal Victoria Docks.

For those that didn’t fancy the high level crossing to Greenwich on the cable car thay went back to the tube to connect with the rest of us at London Bridge.

Into the cable car and ready to set off.

We went into a couple of cars so we didn’t feel too squashed up!

The first group disappear into the distant gloom!
Greenwich Peninsular and the O2 in the distance.
The sloping cable at the end.

When you get to the end the cable does drop at quite an alarming rate. At this point I was hoping the maintenance people had screwed up tightly the car connections onto the cable !

Walking to Greenwich station to catch the tube to London Bridge.
Didn’t quite know what these things are meant to be?
Reflecting on our photography!
North Greenwich tube.
Movement on the escalator.

Arriving at London Bridge we met up wit those who had decided to forgo the cable car to then proceed along the Southbank taking in the Thames as night fell.

Dusk along Queen’s Walk on the Southbank.
I managed to get a few photos for my series ‘Through a Window’.

We finished the photography in the area in Lambeth called Roupell Street Conservation area, an area of Victorian Terraces which have been used for filming for quite a few TV series.

Victorian terraces along Theed Street in the Conservation area.

We finished the walk around 6pm and we searched out a pub in Roupell that I’d found out about called the King’s Head. It has a Thai restaurant at the back which turned out to be very good and an ideal way to end the day before we set off home.

St Peters Church, Little Hanningfield.

From evidence in the north wall, the parish church of St Peter’s originated in the late 12th or early 13th century. The windows and glass reflect the history of the church and its time.

HISTORY: The nave is late C11 or very early C12 in origin. The chancel is of uncertain medieval date, but may be late C12 or early C13. The nave was lengthened to the west and possibly widened to the south in the C15, when the bell turret was also built. The south porch is also of this date, and the nave roof may be contemporary. The chancel was party rebuilt in 1850, and the church was further restored in 1883-4 by Frederic Chancellor (1825-1918), a well known church architect who worked widely in Essex and was mayor of Chelmsford seven times from 1888.