A vintage Zenit 12 gets an outing with a roll of Lomography’s Earl Grey. The deep blacks, bright whites, and every shade of grey in between that the film produces perfectly match the experience of shooting with the veteran Russian heavyweight.
Back in July, while on a trip to see my wife’s family in Poland, I asked her uncle if there was anywhere in their city that I might be able to pick up some old Soviet cameras. In a flash, he ran up stairs to their attic and returned a couple of minutes later with a lumpy looking plastic bag.
I could see the sparkle in his eyes as he handed the bag to me and I felt the weight. That and the lovely, musty leather smell could only mean one thing: Inside was a pair of old Zenits and a matching pair of LOMOs.
I was delighted. They didn’t all work, but the Smena Symbol did its stuff but the camera I was most looking forward to using was the Zenit 12. It was the 12cd version which I understand was the non-export, ‘home’ version that was sold only on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It looked like a ‘proper’ camera. The sort of thing that I remember my dad and uncles using when I was a kid.
It had obviously had a lot of use. The black paint on the prism had worn off around the edges, revealing the brass underneath. Even around the eye-piece was worn from being held to my uncle-in-law’s eye many thousands of times.
The first opportunity I had to use it was on a trip to Vilamoura for my wife’s birthday. I loaded it with Lomography's Earl Grey film and hoped for the best. Everything seemed to be doing what it should. There was no metering to worry about so I would have to rely on my sketchy understanding of the sunny 16 rule.
I fired off the roll in pretty much one go on a walk along the beach. I got the metering somewhere near (maybe a little under-exposed), but range of tones in the resulting pictures is great. The camera feels like it will last forever and there were no worries about what the wind-blown sand and sea spray might do to it.
The Earl Grey seems like a natural compliment to the camera. The black and white pictures that are so obviously analogue look like they could have been taken any time in the last 50 years and that is why I’ve bought another 6 rolls of Earl Grey to feed the mighty Zenit for the next few months.
Lomography’s Earl Grey is an exquisite black and white 35mm ISO 100 film that will surely give your shots an extra dose of style and class. Whether you’re taking landscapes or portraits, you will get jaw-dropping results with Earl Grey super-fine grain and wide tonal range. See our selection of Lomography films here.