6x9 Russian Cameras

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ronlamarsh, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    Just wondering if anyone out there has used one of the Russian Moskva's in 6x9 and did you think. I have used mine qiute a bit and found it to be an inexpensive way to enter medium format to get ones feet wet. Although they are quite rough in finnish and ergonomics I found the lenses to be quite sharp and contrasty. I usually shoot large format but carry one of these as a option for that quick shot that otherwise migh be lost.
     
  2. hither

    hither Member

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    I think you can do just as well using an ANSCO Shur-Flash, which costs significantly less and doesn't waste any of your time with focusing pretense.

    I honestly have not seen a single Moskva image that I would consider "quality" worth the price of the Moskva.
     
  3. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    The Moskvas are capable of great things if appropriate care is taken. I have made a number of very nice prints from mine. Tomorrow evening I'll be printing some very recent Moskva pictures and will try to scan and post them as soon as I can. I have had two -- my first one cost me $60 and the second cost me $40. These are pretty reasonable prices IMO.
     
  4. hither

    hither Member

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    For my tastes, the images made by Moskvas tend to be too be soft. Not trying to harp on the units, just thinking that an Ansco Shur-Flash could give roughly the same results without having to do the math for focus. I don't feel that one should have to spend that much care and time prepping the shot on a $50-something dollar folder to get the results I have seen. For $50 I can buy 2 Reflektas and focus off the glass. I'm SOL for format, limited to squares, but those shots WILL be in focus unless otherwise intended.

    Since I just grabbed one of these ANSCO Shur-Flash units this afternoon, I will post some comparisons once my film is dipped and scanned. Can't beat it either way for the $9 I spent on it.

    Cheers!
     
  5. dgamm

    dgamm Member

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    Are the lenses removeable on the Moskva cameras? I'm looking for a cheap medium format camera to try modifying for pinhole photography (remove the lens and replace with a body cap with pinhole). I thought it might be good, since you don't have to worry about focusing anyway, and it has a separate viewfinder.

    I've also posted a thread in the pinhole photography, looking for advice on the best medium format cameras to modify, if you're interested in this topic. thanks
     
  6. rjr

    rjr Member

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    Yes. Just like with any other 6x9 folder. You can unscrew the lens/shutter block from inside - loosen a collar, take it off. - all you are left with are the bellows and the frontplate - not ideal for a pinhole camera.

    The Moskva is overkill for that - get a cheap Ansco or Agfa (usually the same), I got several for approx 5EUR at Ebay.de. Or get a box (or Agfa Clack/Ansco Weekender) for that job, they are easier to obtain and easier to modify.

    The Moskva is considerably heavier and more expensive. And it would be a shame. ;-)

    My first M5 was a dead duck - someone tinkered with it, it was damaged. Image Quality? Soft. Very soft. Something was wrong with that.

    Then I got a gift parcel from the USA, a friendly Moskva user decided he had too many cameras and sent me one for free.

    That Industar (Tessar derivative) is tack sharp and contrasty, the camera looks decent, the RF is a pleasure to use and the Moskva is probably the cheapest way to get a decent 6x9 rangefinder folder.

    If you guys are interested in one - avoid the "brand new" type. Something is rotten with them - there is a reason why they rested 50 years in a cabinet.

    Be ready to do a CLA on yourself - relube the front focussing lens, adjust the lens on infinity, check the rangefinder. No one will do that for you at acceptable cost.
     
  7. Solinar

    Solinar Member

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    This statement may be your personal experience, but it is total rubbish provided the 6x9 folder in question has been properly serviced.

    While certainly not the equal of a large format camera or a modern 6x9 with the lens mounted to the body, even a second tier 6x9 folder can produce crisp enlargements from an f/16 exposure that will simply blow the box camera out of the water and its exposure control is so much better.

    That said, there are some hurdles to overcome when shooting with a 6x9 folder. The big one is that most of their current owners will not invest either the money or the time to completelly refurbish the camera. The main difficulties here is making sure that the range finder is accurate, the shutter is functioning properly, all the elements are cleaned, the front element is collimated properly at infinity and the lens assembly is parallel to the film plane. Secondly, one needs to wind the film just before making the exposure. Third, these cameras beg to be used with a tripod, as they are rather difficult to hold steady other wise. Also, a lens hood is a must have accessory.

    The box camera on the other hand is much easier to CLA, as there isn't much to service. The end result is a print with whole different look and it's a look that may or may not be pleasing to some upon enlargement. Ironically, you really must think outside the box when using this type of camera. Personally, I like the way the image sharpness fades away from the center of the frame when used in some of my garden shots, especially when sunlight is filtering through the trees.

    There are a couple of 6x9 box cameras with tripod mounts. The Box Tengor and Synchro Box are two such cameras. They also allow for the use of a cable release.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2004
  8. AlvinYap

    AlvinYap Member

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    Hello!
    How are you guys doing with your cameras? I've recently stepped into medium format, really love it but... I didn't expect the camera to be so heavy in the field - got it off ebay without handling it :smile:

    These folders look like a good way to still use medium format on the go. Apart from the Moskvas 5 which I'm eyeing, any others you guys'd recommend? I'm probably going to be using 120 B&W.

    Alvin
     
  9. hurdy_gurdyman

    hurdy_gurdyman Member

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    Very good and accurate advice. I also use a Moskva 5 which I completely overhauled (using a second parts camera.) Well worth the effort. Tack sharp and contrasty. Great carry around camera. I have a lightweight tripod that makes pictures consistantly better than handheld. I don't try handheld below 1/100 speed much anymore with it, as it's just to hard to get sharp results. This is a handheld daytime camera with good lighting, otherwise should be looked at as a compact tripod camera (use cable release.)

    Dave
     
  10. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I got very lucky with my Moskva-5 -- it came to me direct from Ukraine, and appeared to be freshly serviced; all shutter speeds are accurate, the lens clean and focus and RF correctly set, though there is a small vertical misalignment in the RF that I might try to correct sometime.

    It took me almost two years to get the hang of hand holding the camera at any speed slower than 1/250, but I finally learned how to support it to get good hand held images down to 1/50, which is slower than I "should" be able to go with a 105 mm lens.

    For other 6x9, I have a Voigtlander Rollfilmkamera (immediate ancestor of the Inos I, differing mainly in not having support for 6x4.5 dual format with mask); the Skopar in dial-set Compur is clean and clear, speeds and focus are accurate after a little tinkering, and I think I've gotten all the light leaks out after carefully bending the thin sheet metal of the back and inner body and adding a pair of baffles made from Foamies material on the spool spindle ends. My Wirgin Auta 6.3 almost never goes out without the 6x4.5 mask, now that I have multiple other 6x9 cameras, but the wonderful thing about a slow lens on 6x9 is that even a cheap triplet (Wirgin Gewironar) doesn't look bad if you can only open it half a stop past f/8 and shoot on big negatives. And my most recent 6x9 acquisition, a Zeiss-Ikon Ikomat I got from Tim O'Brien, hasn't yet been tested with film because I want to clean the lens first, but I expect it to be very much like the Wirgin except for lack of 6x4.5 mask; it has an f/6.3 Novar-Anastigmat triplet and and identical Vario shutter with 25-50-100 plus B and T.

    BTW, if you want to convert a 6x9 folder to pinhole, the simplest way is just to remove the glass from the shutter and mount your pinhole to the "shelf" in front of the shutter blades; this will leave the viewfinder accurate, let the shutter and retaining ring continue to retain the bellows to the front standard, preserve the compactness of the camera when folded, and allow for restoring the camera to original condition if/when you find something you like better for pinholing. As a bonus, if the shutter has slow speeds you might find them useful with fast film in bright sun, and the B and/or T settings are much easier to use for speeds under 1 second than a lens cap, even if the slowest timed speed is something like 1/25 (and 1/4 or 1/2 second isn't out of the realm of possibility with fast film at around f/256).
     
  11. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    I use a Moskva 5 and mine is very sharp, even pretty decent at f5.6, with good contrast. The RF is spot on, as are the shutter speeds it would seem.

    Mine's not the most pristine example, and has had its double exposure prevention mechanism removed, but then it only cost $20. It is not the easiest thing in the world to handhold, but a bit of practice makes it easier. It is easier to handhold vertically.

    Paul
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have owned two Moskva 5 6X9 folders and an older Moskva 4 6X9 folder. Both of the Moskva 5 holders were in almost mint condition, but the struts were very sloppy and the rangfiner was off so I never felt comfortable using either of them.The Moskva 4, on the other hand, looked like it had been through two wars, but it was very rigid and the rangefinder was spot on. I sold the two Moskva 5s and kept the 4, which I still use from time to time.

    The Moskva 4 also has the Industar lens of the 5. If you use the camera on a tripod and focus accurately this lens is a very good performer.

    Sandy
     
  13. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If I thought I could do it without messing the camera up, I would remove the double exposure mechanism from my Mockba. I find that I often press the shutter release when the shutter isn't cocked. This sets off the prevention mechanism, but doesn't fire the shutter. You can reach around and set off the shutter by pressing a lever by the lens, but it is a hassle.

    Matt
     
  14. tdeming

    tdeming Subscriber

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    I have a Mockba-4 also. Although it was pretty beat up on the outside, had been repainted, and the linkage was a bit sloppy, the lens was clean, aligned and the RF works well. The industar lens is very sharp and contrasty, and gives very nice negs, even handheld at fast shutter speeds. For about $40, a pretty good deal for a 6x9 rangefinder. The lens quality seems about on par with the color-skopar on my Bessa-1, which I consider a fine lens.

    cheers

    Tim