I’ve been scanning a few more of the frames from the old film / even older Fed photoshoot and I’m wondering if maybe I was a bit harsh on the old comrade because, while some are frankly dire a couple of them are really quite nice once I accept them for what they are. I particularly liked this one of the plants, the muted colours I think really work and the focus is as close to there as it’s reasonable to expect. I possibly could improve things with a bit more lightroom tweaking but I think I like it just as it is
There’s also a bit of me which suspects that my lack of familiarity with the rangefinder focussing might be an issue too here. The nice hard edges to the leaves in this do provide a decent focus target and the light is good (the rangefinder patch on the FED isn’t that big or that bright, especially with my older eyesight). I’ve also given it a really good clean up to see if that improves the focussing possiblities, though of course another solution would be to get to be a better judge of distance against aperture and just trust to that rather than the focussing spot.
This one I thought worked well too, though it’s had more added clarity to bring out the details. One thing I can’t decided is wether the colour shifts are a feature of the way the lens deals with the colour, or if that film was in some way past it’s best. I didn’t buy it and have no idea of it’s provenance prior to my having it. The only other roll I ever shot with the FED, when it was new, was the one this image came from (it featured in a past blog post) which while the colour isn’t perfect lacks the extreme desaturation seen in the one from this year, the trees behind her are definitely a brighter green.
A significant part of me wants to persevere with the FED, or at least try another roll or two through it. Definitely some monochrome, something with some contrast and another roll of my certain colour to satisfy my curiousity about whether it’s the film or the camera. I also want to see if improving my focussing skills with the rangefinder improves the sharpness of the images or if they’re always just going to be a wee bit blurred. But there’s also a bit of me which rather thinks that this product of the former soviet union just deserves to be used..
(Incidentally, while writing this article I discovered for the first time that the name FED are the initials of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, first head of the Soviet Secret Police – now how’s that for a camera pedigree!)