Anticomar 10cm f2.9: The cult of the Plaubel Makina (1929)

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by ? rj, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Returning home to England this summer (things change much in 6 months), The Plaubel Makina strut-folding 6x9cm camera still remains the same, although I've uh, acquired more than 1 now. Anyone interested in 6x9cm format, do take heart.
    Mike Connealy once made a comment about the quality of vintage lenses and the subsequent effect of film development once. These images play around this idea.
    The Plaubel Makina's standard Anticomar 10cm f2.9 lens is the tried and tested Tessar type lens with an image circle sitting somewhere around the 100mm mark. Because of the strut design, it's not possible to wobble the lens safely in order to improvise movements (unlike other folding cameras). Maybe whoever is fortunate enough to have a monitor calibrated to the same wavelength as mine might notice some interesting effects with the lens.
    The first set of images (London) are processed straight in rodinal 1:50- 1:100 on traditional Ilford or Agfa emulsion. Only 1 or 2 images have been subjected to strained film development (don't ask). In the second set (Snowdonia), document film - Technical Pan - or orthochromatic film - Maco Ort25c and contrast filtration, developed for acutance [Rodinal 1:200 - 1:300] using a combination of a standing tank technique and improvisation.
    Aesthetically it was a hard lesson. I abandoned the IR film attempt on the Plaubel and used it on a Ross Ensign instead and had a film yield ...well... arrive at your own conclusions. I think I've started to appreciate the striking ability for a classic lens to render images as 'modern' using compensating film development, as well as retain its own character. I realise I am not using the 1929 lens to its limit and yet it's pleasing to know that such an old lens still has plenty more potential to draw from.
    Best wishes.
  2. Stunning work!

  3. These are the best I've seen here for a while. Are these scans of silver prints because they have the look of someone who is an excellent printer!
  4. Indeed, "Southwark Cathedral, London" shots are very nice. I've often considered the Makina, will eventually have to acquire one.
  5. Looking around some more... hats off to you, yours is a fine eye for subject, lighting, composition. Thanks for sharing.
  6. RJ, these are some of the most beautiful photographs I've ever seen. I'm amazed by the texture and detail and composition. My favourite is End of Play, which is a difficult choice, when they are all stunning. I hope to see more of your work.

  7. Oh, my... Very very nice. I love the "old font". Excellent compositions and even more amazing
    scans. I'm going to go off and feel like just a grasshopper for a little while.

    Thank you,

  8. A real treat to see you and the Plaubel Makina in action. Thanks for brightening the day. Take care.
  9. Crap...RJ...this is like the 6th time I've looked through your entire website and your photos blow me away. Get to work finishing the "Aedificium" gallery -- I would love to see larger versions of those!!!
  10. Gosh - thank you for all of your heart-felt encouragement and kind comments - but it's not me - the Anticomar lens of the Plaubel Makina is a wonderful tool.

    Mike - I love silver gelatin printing and it scans better than I can manage on negative scanning. I don't usually print small enough to scan, however I like the detail and tonality of the 6x9cm format printed small.

    CE - best of luck on finding one - there are several different types, from the Plaubel Makina I - VI or more - all with the same Anticomar lens effectively.

    Nancy - thanks for your words on End of Play. The Plaubel Makina isn't the easiest camera to use for street photography - the image was at the end of the roll and I lept for joy in the darkroom when I saw the negative come out as I had felt it then.

    Best wishes - I'm going after that grasshopper....!
  11. Excellent pictures! What version of Plaubel Makina is your camera? I own the Plaubel Makina III and I think it is the best of the lot. The ergonomics are the best in III and IIIR in my opinion. I have been told that the Anticomar was desined to make a bit softfocus pictures when shooting wide open, like when shooting portraits and when stopped down to for example 5,6 etc. it instantly becomes extremely sharp.
    RJ, have you tried the wide angle and tele lenses for this camera?
  12. Stunning photos! Don't give all the credit to that lens. A lousy photographer and printer will show, despite the best equipment. Again, stunning work!
  13. What Glenn said. It aint just the camera, I can do a lot worse with modern glass.
  14. Superb pictures! Beware of photographing in Trafalgar Square, though. There are almost
    always some children there during the daytime. Red Ken Livingstone passed a law making
    anyone who photographs children there (presumably without permission) liable to arrest.
    Don't know how he's going to enforce it, but it's a sign of the times and one of us could be
    the one he chooses to make an example of.
  15. You could fix that little issue you know - show up with several hundred UK photogs, all their children in tow, and stand around photographing each others' offspring. I dont know why people take such abuse of power while laying down. Just because it's a friggin "law" doesn't mean it's just.

  16. Consider that London is a little tense due to events of late!

    RJ, can you post some photos of your camera?
  17. Yeh, this was an issue pre-bombings, however. It cannot be hidden behind threat of terrorism. I didn't mean to degrade this wonderful thread of RJ's - His work is wonderful. I'm a lifelong malcontent who simply cannot keep his mouth shut when best he should. Not my intention to rain on the parade.
  18. So much for the canard that old lenses are bad lenses.


  19. RJ - Superb work - Bravo!

    CE - Thank you for your support, street photography is becoming very difficult anywhere in the UK, not just London. It's just that Red Ken has ordered signs to be put up warning people to beware of photographers!!!
  20. Don't give me that "it's not me it's the camera" stuff RJ. These are brilliant and beautiful images crafted by someone with an unerring eye both for the shooting and for the printing. That first image-Chapel Street- will remain in my memory forever.

    Thanks so much.
  21. Thanks again everyone - I think everyone on this forum is biased towards the use of vintage cameras, right?
    Some post-its:
    Joseph - thanks for the reminder. I find working with a computer harrowing. I've lost my draft work for completion of the website so many times, it's becoming as hard as finishing the great wall of China on a 1:10,000 scale. I'll get to work ;)
    Jani & CE - the version I use is illustrated in the snap below. The ground-glass focusing is very accurate.
    Jani - the Werthar Orthar 73mm f6.8 is a very sharp and beautiful small aperture wide-angle lens. The Plaubel I use won't accept these lenses - I've only experimented with them on 5x4" using rubber bands and an autoshutter system. They're worth using; the 73mm needs a separate add-on viewfinder piece if you have the rangefinder version. That's correct - the f2.9 aperture is very soft yet appealing. Ther Plaubel Makina III, version V-VIII is probably the one I would recommend since this can take 3 focal lengths. I made a mistake which is how I ended up with 3 focal lengths and only one usual focal length - the Anticomar 10cm. The lens from the 1929 camera was cleaner than the later model which I have - these are interchangeable on the pre-III model I use. The later models have all the lens elements in front of the shutter. I believe there may be some differences between the later Anti-comars and the early version (perhaps it is just a layer of fungus bloom?).
    Jim - hi again - I understand what you mean about photographing in London. I find that most people smile in curiosity when they spot the Plaubel Makina (what goes through their mind?). When I cross a photographer using a Voigtlander Bessa II, I can't stop smiling either, yet brings out a digital SLR at eyelevel and I'll scarper for cover along with the rest of London. Most Europeans of the generation above me (who recognise the Plaubel) stop to share a thought about the camera, or open up and talk. I don't know Mr Livingstone. I'm sure he has a measure of compassion - yet perhaps like most humans, his is latent. In any case I'd rather photograph.
    Steve & Glenn - I'll insist the camera lens is special ;)
    The Chapel Street image came around when I was working with a 6x6cm/square Hasselblad, my 'home' format. It didn't click with me, which is how the Plaubel Makina came in. The modern Carl Zeiss lens blew the contrast range due to its contrasty lens, and the Plaubel Makina with its lower contrast held the tonal scale. Granted that there might have been some development issues.
    Thank you for all your thoughts and for keeping the roots of classical photography alive and well. I'm looking forward to coming back to this forum more often to see what you are all up to.
    Best wishes,
  22. The man they killed, BTW, is now reported as innocent of any involvement with any bombing schemes. This is the price of paranoia:
    Britain Says Man Killed by Police Had No Tie to Bombings
    Justice and the law have become further estranged... to my UK brothers and sisters, our hearts go out to you. Do the right thing. Paranoia serves no purpose.

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