Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/02[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]
Saved by the Leica Dear LUG readers, I recently visited Calabria, in southern Italy, with two coworkers to conduct a coastal field trip. We examined breakwaters, harbors, sediments, and beach conditions. We took a video camera, a digital camera, and an old Olympus OM2S with two lenses. Well, the Olympus was not working, and it looked like the previous user splashed it with seawater. Fortunately, at the last minute, I had packed my own Leica M3 with a 50 mm Summicron and a 20 mm Russar lens, so I ended up using the M3 for most of my traditional (non-digital) photography. I exposed many rolls of Kodachrome 25, and the results were fabulous. The 20 mm lens proved to be very useful for recording the big picture at some of the sites. My coworkers are amused that I take mechanical, 40-year-old cameras with me, but, as this trip demonstrated, the Leicas always work. The province of Cosenza rented a helicopter for us, and I'd like to share a useful technique I learned (old-timers, please be patient if you already know this). The windows were somewhat scratched and cloudy. The pilot sprayed them liberally with spray furniture polish, similar to our Lemon Pledge. Then, with some clean towels, I buffed them thoroughly, and the results were fantastic. The scratches were completely gone and the plexiglas was as clear as real glass. The wax must fill the hairline scratches and have an index of refraction similar to that of the plastic material (analogous to the old photographer's trick of using nose or forehead oil on scratched negatives). Well, from now on, whenever I anticipate renting a Cessna or other small aircraft, I'll bring along a can of spray wax. The M3 works for aerial photography, but changing film is a bit cumbersome, especially if you drop the bottom into the carpet or seats. I had my type 4 Summicron with me, but I wish I had my older rigid model with the infinity lock. Anyway, a spot of masking tape achieved the same result. By this time, I fixed the Olympus body by cleaning the contacts and installing new batteries. The remaining lens that had not been salt-damaged was the 35 mm f/2.8 shift lens. It is not intended for aerial work, but its optical performance is superb. If any of you LUG readers are Olympus users, I recommend this 35 f/2.8 shift lens highly. I'd say it's performance is almost up to 35 Summicron standards. If you can find a used one, it would be worth having an old OM body just to be able to use this optic. Our Italian hosts were wonderfully gracious and friendly. The food was great, the scenery delightful, the ladies pretty. What more could one want in life? (except to stay longer).