Zenit and Vitessa

Another of the weekly Saturday morning film meetups of https://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Film-Photographers/.    We met in a cafe downtown, chatted about photography, drank espresso, looked at prints, and checked out each others’ cameras.  Again.  Can I do this every day?  I’d like to.

Some of us went down to the shipyards near Ballard (an area north of downtown Seattle).

I brought along a Zenit with a Helios 44-2 lens that I’d bought at the Kent camera sale some months ago, but have only used once since then.    Jana lent me her Voigtlander Vitessa for the day.


The Vitessa is pretty interesting because of the giant plunger on top that’s used to advance the film.  There’s a thumb dial for focusing on the back where you’d expect to wind film, and I often found myself focusing when i meant to wind the film.
It doesn’t use batteries.  It worked great.   I think they’re on ebay for $60-$100.    It has a coupled aperture/shutter speed, so once you set it, you can change it while keeping it at the same EV.
I found it to be easy to use, easy to focus, and has some nicely sharp pictures.


The Zenit has a light meter, but doesn’t need batteries.  I used an app on my phone to meter for both cameras, so I just ignored the Zenit’s meter.
The Helios 44-2 lens is known for its super nice bokeh at wider apertures.  But yesterday was uncharacteristically sunny, so I had to shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, while i used the camera’s highest shutter speed of 1/500th.   But even at these apertures, the pictures are soft.  This is great news to me, because I wanted softer arty pictures anyway.    At some point I’ll take it out in some sun-dappled forrest for the bokeh to really perform.  Search the web for Helios 44-2 and bokeh to see what it can do.


You can find a Zenit & this lens pretty cheaply on ebay.

It was a fun day.  Having a weekly film meetup is a great way to motivate you to shoot.


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