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SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

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Old 03-20-2017   #41
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Two more images of the Alpa Reflex showing the unique rear viewfinder design of the early models.




With the camera back removed it's more obvious how close the rangefinder focus viewfinder (on the rewind side) and the framing viewfinder eyepieces are positioned to the film rails. So much that the camera back actually includes two openings to accomodate them. Of course it works well enough as each eyepiece features its own circular light trap around its circumference, but, seeing a camera back with two holes in it is still a little strange. The Prisma has the same arrangement, and differs mainly in its use of a pentaprism finder instead of a waist level. Reflex owners could (and did, in some cases, according to factory records) return their cameras to the Pignon works at Ballaigues for upgrading to Prisma specification.

You can just see through the rangefinder eyepiece that there are two rectangular, horizontal windows. The rangefinder image of the Reflex and Prisma Alpas is not superimposed into the focus viewfinder as is the case with most other rangefinders. The lower horizontal window provides a small view of the lower part of your scene. Very close to the top of this is the rangefinder window. The upper part of the scene is visible through it, but will move left/right within that window according to the focus distance of the lens (presumably via a pivoting mirror, I don't know the precise details of the installation yet). You can see the front of these windows in some of the photos I added in post 32, incidentally.

Thus, focusing with this system entails lining up the lower portion of an object in your scene with a decent edge on it (a tree, wall, whatever) with the lower window, and then adjusting the lens until the upper part of it aligns in the top window. The adjacent edges of the two windows are set very close together, but they don't quite meet, so Eg focusing on a person's eyes for portraiture is vaguely possible, but rather fiddly. And if you are a spectacle wearer like me, all of that just got a great deal harder to do, as there's minimal eye relief, making it that much harder to see much of both windows within the eyepiece readily, except for a portion of the centre. For subjects beyond ten feet or so of any size RF focusing isn't quite so bad, portraiture head shots, well, not so much use.

The reflex finders of either early hybrid camera are less than stellar. I suspect they'd improve somewhat if stripped and cleaned, but as found they are pretty grim, and I doubt they'd ever be good, let alone great. If I was using a Reflex or Prisma, I'd probably focus with the RF at middle distance (it's still faster, previous issues notwithstanding) but switch to the reflex focus system for setting the lens for close range images, head shots etc. Unless the absence of parallax at close range made the case for framing with the reflex finder overwhelming, as the main non-reflex finder is decently bright, regardless of how I focused the lens I'd be inclined to compose with it most of the time, anyway.

If this all sounds very mediocre, bear in mind the Reflex was in production during or immediately after the cessation of World War II. It is not a 1960s camera or even a 1950s one. I should take a look through the waist level of my pre-war Kine Exakta for a fair comparison, as it's the period the Reflex design harks from and would have been the main SLR competition. Rangefinder competitors, well, that's another matter. I don't do Leicas, but my pre-war Contax rangefinders absolutely cream it as far as ease of focus and finder brightness are concerned. I'd love to be able to strip one of the Alpas down, clean, adjust the optics and then try again, but sadly, that's not going to happen.






Inside the back, the serial number of the matching Alpa body is stamped near the pressure plate. At some point someone has also made some pencil notations on the back including its serial number and what might be 80 quid, 7 shillings and sixpence, perhaps? Maybe its second hand purchase price, it seems a bit cheap to be its list price when new, compared to period advertisements from the USA showing USD prices. The cost of some repairs, maybe? Australia converted to decimal currency in 1966, so if it was a reference to Aussie pounds, the notation was made over fifty years ago...
Cheers,
Brett

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
I was lucky to buy Alpa 6b few months ago, and finally it's back from CLA. Done some test shots, and while Switar is very pleasing, using the camera is trully unique (awkward), some kind of je ne sais qoui.

Click here to see a large version

Not a shelf queen and I'm gonna use it properly (with some chromes).

Some test shots on TMax:

Click here to see a large version

Click here to see a large version

Click here to see a large version

The open back looks like a well made early Zorki 4
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Old 03-20-2017   #42
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
I was lucky to buy Alpa 6b few months ago, and finally it's back from CLA. Done some test shots, and while Switar is very pleasing, using the camera is trully unique (awkward), some kind of je ne sais qoui.



Not a shelf queen and I'm gonna use it properly (with some chromes).

Some test shots on TMax:





The bokeh produced by the f1.8 50mm Switar reminds me a lot of the bokeh that I gotten from some of the late made Canon 50mm f1.8 lens in FDn mount.
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A Few Images From the 11si
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #43
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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A Few Images From the 11si

I ran a roll of Agfa Vista 200 through the black 11si that made an appearance in the thread previously. The lenses used were the standard black Kern Macro-Switar 50mm f/1.9, and the Schneider 80-240 Tele-Variogon f/4 zoom fitted to my Alpa 7 in post 28. I'm not much of a fan of zoom lenses in general but this one I rather like. The Alpa catalogue I have on hand says this about the big Schneider: "This lens has optical characteristics which are noticeably superior to those of most zoom lenses." My initial impressions tend to agree with that, and I'm thinking of making an offer on it, actually.

In other news the Prisma has found a new home, and yesterday I collected a carton full of little red Alpa boxes and the most peculiar tripod I have ever seen, an Alpa Macrostat with all manner of clamps and strange accessories, images to come.

Cheers,
Brett


Kern Macro-Switar 50mm f/1.9



Schneider 80-240mm Tele-Variogon f/4 @ 80mm



Kern Macro-Switar 50mm f/1.9
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #44
Vince Lupo
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Brett I really like those three colour shots - they have a great vintage look to them!

Every time I think about getting back into film, I think of my Alpas that I had and sold. I particularly miss my black 9d with the Switar lens.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
Brett I really like those three colour shots - they have a great vintage look to them!

Every time I think about getting back into film, I think of my Alpas that I had and sold. I particularly miss my black 9d with the Switar lens.
Thanks, Vince, I thought that, though, not having shot this Agfa before, I was unsure of how much of that to attribute to the film, lenses (or both).

Not sure if I should tell you or not, but there is a chrome 9d with Macro-Switar, plus lens hood and front cap, in the stash of items. I haven't seen that one yet but if you really have a fancy for it, and it checks out, I might be able to arrange a competitive price.
Cheers
Brett
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #46
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I have always found those apochromatic Switars very sharp and brilliant. A pity that even the last ones (that had M42 mounts under the Alpa bayonet - my earlier post above, may be misinterpreted as if the last Switars did not have an Alpa bayonet) stick a little bit too far into the full frame Canon DSLRs when focussed at infinity.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ph. View Post
I have always found those apochromatic Switars very sharp and brilliant. A pity that even the last ones (that had M42 mounts under the Alpa bayonet - my earlier post above, may be misinterpreted as if the last Switars did not have an Alpa bayonet) stick a little bit too far into the full frame Canon DSLRs when focussed at infinity.

p.
The Alpa lens register is a particularly short one. It's why so many other makers lenses could be adapted to their cameras. Despite prices that have climbed over the last ten years or so, it's still easily possible to procure a working Alpa body for less than the cost of a new Canon DSLR of the same format, so I think the solution is a fairly obvious one, if you wish to use a 50mm Switar with a SLR.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #48
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Yes, for film it performs splendidly on my ancient mechanical wonders .

Given that the rear element of the Switar sits about as far out from the focus plane as most other 50mms I had hoped that the rare M42 version could be used on my full frame digital, not just on film. It turned out that it can be used at shorter distances, but not at infinity. Rather like some Zeiss Planars and wide angles.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #49
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Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Thanks, Vince, I thought that, though, not having shot this Agfa before, I was unsure of how much of that to attribute to the film, lenses (or both).

Not sure if I should tell you or not, but there is a chrome 9d with Macro-Switar, plus lens hood and front cap, in the stash of items. I haven't seen that one yet but if you really have a fancy for it, and it checks out, I might be able to arrange a competitive price.
Cheers
Brett
Ha, thanks for the thought! But nope, can't travel down that road again. The Leica M-D (and my Monochrom) has me hook, line and sinker
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #50
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It is interesting to see the very early Alpas, the family resemblance to the Bolsey RF cameras is fairly strong, even if they were aimed at nearly opposite ends of the market.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #51
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Ha, thanks for the thought! But nope, can't travel down that road again. The Leica M-D (and my Monochrom) has me hook, line and sinker
No probs Vince!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #52
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It is interesting to see the very early Alpas, the family resemblance to the Bolsey RF cameras is fairly strong, even if they were aimed at nearly opposite ends of the market.
I have to assume the resemblance is a consequence of Bolsky having a hand in both makes at the times they were each designed?
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #53
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I mentioned recently that there is an ALPA Macrostat tripod and its complementary lighting support and transformer/base. These are just a few quick and somewhat nasty phone images. I'll post some better quality ones in due course when I have some better light to shoot in.



This is the most modular tripod I have ever seen. Even the legs are simply 3 x machined alloy tubes (beautifully finished ones, to be sure) that slide into the centre unit that takes the vertical post and are clamped into place. Everything is adjustable for height and rotation and sometimes angle too. The object to be photographed can rest on various support plates, transparent glass, opaque glass etc. The tripod head itself is stylish, cute and did a good enough job of supporting my Alnea 7 for the photos. It's mounted on a Novoflex made rack and pinon that permits lateral adjustment of its location.



There are red boxes in one photo, lots of red boxes. Many of them are empty as they contained the plethora of individual tubes, brackets, clamps and doodads that combine to make the tripod and its lighting array. Some housed other things like adapters, camera brackets, even a complete Alpa body and lens I'll have to ID and match up to its container. There's a blue box I suspect would have contained a Kinoptic 100mm f/2 lens, that should be around. There are still other boxes, big and small, empty or full not in the picture.


Cheers,
Brett
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #54
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There was also device , "Inversbag", that could reverse-mount the Macro-Switars (they had a quick-mount filter solution, no filter thread).

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #55
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Quote:
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There was also device , "Inversbag", that could reverse-mount the Macro-Switars (they had a quick-mount filter solution, no filter thread).

p.
It's entirely possible I may unearth one of those, yet. It sounds like a very worthwhile device for close up imaging, given the quality of the Switar lens.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #56
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Addendum:

If "unearth " means buying, the reversing ring may need a reduction ring depending on your lens diameter, Type A or type B, The older Switar mount is smaller - like the one in your picture.

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