May 26, Somewhat of a disaster

This is a longish and convoluted story that readers may just want to scroll past to get to the mediocre photographs below.

This story starts with my wonderful new little 1949 Leica Ic. One of the reasons I purchased it is because the I series Leicas have two cold shoes, how perfect me. I always use an external viewfinder and it’s nice to mount my little Reveni labs light meter beside it. Much to my dismay, the cold shoes on the Ic aren’t spaced far enough apart to accommodate both the rather wide 15mm Voigtlander viewfinder I often use and the little Reveni light meter. Oye.

What to do? I could just carry around my Reveni spot meter, but I don’t usually prefer to meter that way. I could carry the little Reveni in my pocket or on a lanyard, but I’m sure I would lose it sooner, rather than later.

After a little pondering I realized this was an opportunity rather than a problem, an opportunity to acquire another light meter! I had read that many of the old selenium light meters still work fine, and it seems like a lot of the old GE light meters fall into the still working category. After a little research, I had my eye on the GE PR-1. It was their first really compact meter and seemed well designed and easy to use. The PR-1 is also of the same vintage as my Leica, it first appeared in 1949.

After I little searching around I found a PR-1 on Etsy that the seller said worked fine, and gave the same readings as his Nikon F4. It was all of $15.00 so I snapped it up. It arrived remarkably quickly and its readings correlated very well with those of my little Reveni meter. I think it’s quite a sleek little meter.

The GE PR-1

Even though I bought the GE primarily to use with my Leica, my little Sawyer’s Mark IV 127 twin lens reflex has been feeling a bit neglected. I thought this might be a good opportunity to test the new GE meter and take the Sawyer’s out for a shoot.

Shooting went fine, the Sawyer’s is always a pleasure to shoot. It’s so much different than all my other cameras that it really slows me down and gives me a different perspective on photography. Fun as it is, I’m not very good with it and the shots often don’t turn out to be all that.

Once I got home and started the developing process everything turned to muck. After loading and re-loading the film strip onto the reel (in a light tent) I realized there was something wrong with the reel. This was after a half an hour and at least 10 tries loading the film onto the roll.

Luckily, I was able to slip a better reel into the light tent without fogging the film and loading was a snap. I have to say, loading 127 film onto a reel without the benefit of sight is so much easier than loading 120 film, but that’s another story in itself.

I had used Ilford HP5+ on this shoot and decided to develop in Cinestill Df96 monobath, largely because many of my recent attempts at developing HP5 in Caffenol have been completely fruitless. I’ve had few rolls come out completely blank, very discouraging.

To add insult to injury, my old Paterson tank leaked like a fucking sieve during development. I can only get it to seal completely on rare occasion these days. I’m recycling it tomorrow.

Upon development the negatives turned out to be both slightly overexposed (i think the shutter speeds on the Sawyer’s are a tad slow) and overdeveloped. I shot the HP5 at 200 because that ISO just seems to work really well with the Sawyer’s. I knew that it might be difficult to pull process it on a warm day like today, I wasn’t wrong on that, despite chilling the developer down to 70° and only developing for 3 minutes, it was still a little over cooked.

So here they are, in all their not glory. They’re not horrible shots, but boy what a pain to birth them.

It’s a Plymouth!
I have absolutely no idea how I got this double exposure.
Cadillac in infrared, just kidding. Cadillac in primer.
A tree in the park
Fence Break
Shiny steel shed door

2 responses to “May 26, Somewhat of a disaster”

  1. I have a GE PR-1 as well. It’s still accurate. I like to use it with my old meterless cameras.


    1. Cool! I’m so amazed that those old PR-1s still work, and I agree, they’re perfect for using with old cameras. I stumbled upon a guy in England who sells refurbished Westons, when I’m a little more flush, I’ll probably order one.


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