A Fine Combination

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Each time I load the first cassette from a new roll of Arista EDU Ultra 100 I wonder just what I'm going to get. From roll to roll, I've noticed there's a slight variation in film speeds and in quality control; at it's worst one can only be grateful for the cloning tool in Photoshop. This time I chose a Minolta SRT101 as the recipient of the test roll, and fitted it with the Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 lens. Here's the regulation picture of the kit.
  2. As it turned out, this bulk load is just fine. I rate it at 80 ISO for development in PMK Pyro, and this combination of film and developer gives me negatives that are very full-toned, and scan very well. For those not acquainted with the Arista EDU Ultra 100, it's a brand marketed by Freestyle Photographic Supplies, manufactured in the Czech Republic by the Foma people, and it's generally accepted as being the same stock as Fomapan 100. It has a very "traditional" look about the images it produces, a little more grain than, say, Ilford FP4, but it's a grain structure I find quite pleasant, being very even and not at all "clumpy". It's also very sharp. The resulting images have a bright, silvery, metallic quality that gives them real presence, unlike the more subdued appearance of a finer-grained film such as Fuji Acros. It's also one of the cheaper films, which also suits me rather well.
    I chose the Minolta SRT101 because it had been languishing on the shelf and deserved a workout. The meter seems accurate with a 1.5v cell rather than the defunct 1.35v mercury cell it was designed for, and I've always loved the sheer simplicity of match-needle metering. The 35-70mm Minolta MD f/3.5 lens is taking on iconic status, these days, being a lens created by Minolta that was later adopted by Leitz as the Vario-Elmar-R 35-70 mm f/3.5 during the period in the 1970's when Leitz and Minolta jointly developed some fine lenses. It's certainly one of the better short zooms.
    I'll post a few samples from this test roll. I had to take a vehicle to a neighbouring town for a wheel alignment, so I spent a couple of hours wandering about, enjoying the dramatic appearance ordinary locations take on in the spotlight effect of the low winter sun. There's no high art in these images, but I hope they serve to illustrate some of the qualities I've mentioned. Scans were from an Epson V700 using Silverfast SE software.
  3. My two 101s are probably my favourite Japanese SLRs Rick. They're very well featured cameras. I find the lockable depth of field preview system the 101s have helpful for Eg. landscape imaging if you are being particular about your zone of focus. It frees up a hand and lets you concentrate on the focus and aperture rings more easily. The mirror lock up most of the 101s had is also welcome for those times a tripod is in use and maximum sharpness is sought. And of course, when it was released, open aperture TTL metering was still a pretty big deal when some cheaper SLRs still did not have TTL at all, let alone open aperture. It's clear that an awful lot of thought went into the metering system with it also being capable of accomodating older lenses using stop down metering if necessary, or even lenses of other mounts such as M42 with the appropriate "P" adapter.
    It is not a camera I like working on, in as much as the means of controlling the tell tale circle for the exposure controls and also the shutter speed display inside the finder (various strings and pulleys, lots of pulleys) is aesthetically untidy, and downright fiddly to manoeuvre in and around, if the top cover has to come off, as one of mine did to free a sticky meter needle. I'd rather work on a German camera any day. But as they are super reliable cameras for the most part and rarely give problems, other than a few metering issues and the odd locked mechanism, happily, working on them is not something that is often necessary, and they are as clean and crisp externally as they are cluttered and cramped internally. And the Rokkor lenses are excellent and mostly still reasonably affordable.
    I have one older black dial 101 and a later example which looks to be identical to your own. No zooms at this stage, as I prefer primes, but given your helpful information about the 35-70 quality, I will not decline one should I find it at a decent price (something I might otherwise have done). Both of mine usually have a MC 58mm f/1.4 Rokkor fitted to them, or perhaps my MD 50mm f/1.4, but I also have a few 55mm f/1.7s, a MC 135mm f/2.8, a MC 28mm f/3.5, and a MC 200mm f/4.5 (I think). They're all sharp lenses, very well made and enjoyable to use. You can see a few images made with my SRTs on Tri-X @ EI 1600 here. Thanks for another great post.
  4. I don't remember how many SRT 101 cameras I have or how many SRT cameras in general. There must be quite a few. The 35-70 MD is one of my favorite zooms. I have two of them. When I got my first one I tested it on an X-700 with ACROS developed in Fuji Microfine. I was impressed. The constant f/3.5 aperture makes the lens much more usable at the 70mm end and the close focusing is handy. Your photos are very good, as usual.
  5. Nice tones from the Arista Ultra 100. And great sharpness from the MD 35-70. The era that the MD 35-70 comes from seems to be close to the peak of the moderately priced camera makers zooms. Even a few independent lenses also were good performers. The overall performance of these zooms for the most part is good at most focal lengths and apertures. In later years, in efforts to make short zooms an alternative to the standard fast 50 sold with SLRs, camera makers began to outsource their short zooms (often called kit zooms). For example, the 35-70 f3.5-4.8 zoom that was sold during the late 80’s and early 90’s would be outperformed by the MD 35-70 as well the offerings from other camera makers. Fortunately today, a nice Olympus 35-70 f4 would not be that much more expensive than the outsourced 35-70 f3.5-4.8 that was later offered.
    Apologies for hijacking your thread a bit. But again great results and thanks for sharing.
  6. Never done much work with the Minoltas, but rarely had one from the equipment locker.
    Not only are your pictures excellent examples of what the Minolta can do, they are also a testament to the "world becoming one", for better or for worse. ;)
  7. One of my very favorite films, and as shown by your shots, an old school film that can make wonderfully sharp images. I use the film w/ Rodinal at 1:25, as well as w/ Mic-X at full strength. FP4 leaves me cold (but I love Delta 100) as it doesn't have much character in my hands, but the Arista stuff has plenty. W/ the Mic-X you lost a stop at full strength, which is OK w/ me.

    I tried shooting this film at box speed w/ D-76 and the results were too contrasty, but you could learn to like it for the right subject. In D-76 and setting the effective ISO at 50 I got pretty boring but sharp shots. Acufine will work well too, but I found the negs actually too sharp. They looked unrealistically sharp on the edges of things. Can't beat the price on this film either.
  8. Rick,
    Great camera, lens, and film in the hands of a master photographer who I envy.
    Due to declining health (two back surgeries) that did nothing to lessen my back problem, I now can not walk very far.
    All of my beloved cameras and flashes sit on shelves wondering if they will ever see the big outdoors again. That is why I come to this forum and others to see the great photography all you very talented photographers put for those of us who are no longer able to do what we use to love doing.
    So Rick, JDM, Mike, and Louis, and rest of you wonderful photographers, keep up the great job you are doing.
  9. Thank you all for your input; that's what I always hope for from these posts, so don't apologise, Mike. The information that emerges in the responses is just as valuable as that contained the original post, and often more interesting! Yes, JDM, cultural blur is pretty much in evidence downunder... Thanks Brett, it's good to hear from someone so familiar with the finer points of the SRT 101, and I'm pleased you share my high regard for the 35-70 MD, Jeff.

    You've obviously had quite some experience with the Arista, Steve; like you I found it too contrasty in D76 and I progressively reduced the development time in PMK Pyro to achieve the levels I wanted. Thank you, Richard, I'm sorry to hear of your lack of mobility. I'm sure many members of this forum have found that continuing to skip about like spring lambs is no longer an option, and we try to make the most of our opportunities to get out and about with a camera. Speaking for myself, I'm delighted that these posts bring you pleasure, and I'm sure the other members you mentioned would agree.
  10. Nice work Rick, lovely tones and light as usual! The SRT series sort of didn't have much impact on me back in the day, but as time goes on I have far more respect for them.
    The cameras are very nice to use, with better than average metering and bright finders. We all know how well those Rokkor lenses perform, and even though I haven't used any of their zooms, I can see by your pics that they are classy as well. The fact that Leitz chose Minolta to produce a couple of their zooms speaks volumes.
    The really lovely XE series of cameras were another treasure from the brief Leitz/Minolta marriage. The XE1 was, in my opinion, the better camera between it and the Leica R3.
    Glad you are liking the Foma film, I was just about to try some Foma paper...see how it goes. Keep warm!
  11. Great post, Rick! I'm excited to see some pictures taken with the 35-70/3.5, and your shots look wonderfully sharp. I had posted a question a short time ago about my 35-70/3.5 (that I acquired for a steal on a black XD11) that wouldn't focus to infinity. Rather than pay to have it repaired I just bought another one that focuses perfectly, and is in even nicer condition, and cost less than it would've cost to repair the first one. Your post has inspired me to take it for a serious test drive. Excellent shots as always!
  12. Thanks, Tony, I'll be interested to hear what you think of the Foma paper; it seems to have quite a following down here. Andy, I'm sure you'll love the lens; it's one of my "go to" walkabout lenses, and it's equally good on a digital platform. I'm in the throes of putting together another Minolta post that I'm sure you'll be able to contribute to...
  13. I'm looking forward to that post Rick!
  14. The SRTs are really nice, dependable cameras that produce great results. I agree about the match needle display - I really don't know why (except for complexity) cameras moved away from this intuitive display.
    Also agree on the Arista. I use the bulk roll too, but haven't quite figured out the optimum way to process in my usual HC-110. Medium format in HC-110 is great - sharp and contrasty.
    Every time you post moves me closer to trying out the Pyrocat. Thanks. I think.
  15. Thanks David, we seem to be on the same page. Something better than the Pyro developers may well be out there , but they currently suit me very well.
  16. Rick,
    I am continually impressed by your photos. Sharpness that you achieve is something that I have not seen before in 35mm format.
    I have a bulk roll of FomaPan 100, plus a few rolls in 120. I have got together enough PMK Pyro, and fixer to develop in Pyro.
    I will go out and shoot some of the local land marks. There are not many but I can always shot the same thing twice.
  17. Good news, Greg, I'll look forward to seeing what you can do with the film/dev combo. PM me if I can be of any help.

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