35mm Photos taken by German soldier

Discussion in 'General' started by Dutchsteammachine, Jan 29, 2020.

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    I have recently acquired a large (+400) collection of 35mm negatives taking during WWII by a German soldier.

    This collection is taking some time to scan but I am gradually getting there. Will be upgrading this thread when more gets digitized.

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    Uncanny snapshots
     
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  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I think the ones on the rifle range are using French Berthiers without magazines.
     
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    From the stonework,I was going to give the location as France or Belgium but then seeing the Eiffel Tower,I think it must be France.

    Remarkable shot of the Eiffel Tower for this looks to be the exact location that the camera caught Hitler and his entourage standing on the only occasion of Hitler visiting Paris on 23 June 1940.Enthralled by Paris,Hitler set Speer to design a better capital city......the new Berlin would be called Germania.

    I'm not sure, but the Germans at rifle practice....could it be Fort Valerien,near to Suresnes on the western outskirts of the city.It became a notorious place of execution of many French patriots during the war which the Memorial of Mount Valerien testifies.
     
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Luftwaffe personnel rather than Heer soldiers.
     

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  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Were these photographs taken using a 1939 Voightlander Vito camera with 828 film ? That is paper-backed unperforated 35 mm film, image size 30 by 40 mm. The camera had a 50 mm lens with a focusing ring. Measure or guess the distance and set the lens, but had a hinged daylight filter gadget. No light meter but the film may have been up to 100 ASA. These pages from " The Photo-Amateur's Pocketbook" for 1955, published by Focal Press so the speed of the film may have become faster between 1940 and 1955.

    It must take a long time to scan at the rating shown, so thanks.

    Best picture children crossing the road, then the two soldiers cycling in the snow. Lens had good depth of field and the photographer guessed the exposure quite well, unless there is a lot of adjustment in the scanning.
     

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  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Regarding the frame showing the children crossing the road and the transport that Parisians had to resort to.

    However the most interesting subject there is the Citroen in the background,the common vehicle associated with the French "Gestapo" and German Gestapo.A sure sign of oppressor presence whenever this model was seen around.
     
  10. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Is the Citroen on one of the avenues leading to the Arc ? Perhaps possible to guess at the local school and send them a copy through the wonders of the net.

    Apparently the filter gadget was a yellow filter to reduce lens flare. The picture of the chalet with the washing must have been taken at f16 at 1/300th. See the underexposed sky. If it was a Voightlander Vito then here is a review:
    Voigtlander Vito I film camera test roll of film - Milly's Cameras

    Not a Leica but an expensive item for a soldier to carry around. As to camera value ( I have never yearned for a Leica, medium format is so much better than 35 mm ) I am amused by the quote from the man who founded Canon, Goro Yoshida, found on the Canon website:

    View by period - 1933-1936 - Canon Camera Museum

    " Goro Yoshida
    (1900-1993)
    In those days, the average starting salary of a graduate of an elite university in Japan who was hired by bank, the best-paying job, was around 70 yen per month. In contrast, the price of the Leica camera was 420 yen.
    This high-end camera was considered to be a “takane no hana (something far beyond reach)” for ordinary people. During those years, there was a Japanese man who attempted to make the first domestic 35mm focal-plane-shutter rangefinder camera (hereafter called as the 35mm rangefinder camera) by disassembling and studying the inner workings of a “Leica Model II.” This person was Goro Yoshida (1900-1993).....

    When asked about his motives in disassembling a Leica to produce Japanese made high-grade 35mm cameras, Yoshida explained in later years:
    “I just disassembled the camera without any specific plan, but simply to take a look at each part. I found there were no special items like diamonds inside the camera. The parts were made from brass, aluminum, iron and rubber. I was surprised that when these inexpensive materials were put together into a camera, it demanded an exorbitant price. This made me angry”.
     
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  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    John.

    Yes, I thought it was one of the 12 avenues that radiate from the Arc de Triomphe. Unfortunately there is no street furniture or signs available as a clue apart from "Sauffxxx" etc over the shop on the left hand side of the frame.

    Most of the avenues have intersections as shown as the avenues radiate from the Arc.

    The Citroen could be on the Avenue Foch where at No 84 the Gestapo HQ was situated but looking at the frame,it is difficult to recognise the building, if in fact the building was there at all.

    Former Headquarters Gestapo - Paris, 16e - TracesOfWar.com
     
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  12. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Harry,

    I like old Citroen's, probably from watching Maigret in the 1960's, and I am also fond of Bert Hardy's photographs. He swore by his Leica which he bought second-hand from Constantine and Jackson's shop in Chancery Lane in the 1930's. I am just old fashioned and like Daguerrotype's !

    I think I have found the location from the sign on the right above the nearside rear of the Traction Avant which says "Empire."

    See here: Avenue de Wagram — Wikipédia, and the photo on the page here:

    Angle de l'avenue avec la place de l'Étoile.

    I have sent an email to a private school in the area. The girl's coats look quite expensive to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
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  13. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    There were two types of high quality 35mm Camera available to the German soldier during the war - The Leica and the Agfa. The former was the highest quality but expensive and still relatively bulky and heavy. Also before film cassettes were perfected the early models were a s*d to load (having used one I can testify to this). The Agfa was a simpler camera. It had a lens mounted on small bellows that sprang out when the front was opened and folded back when it was closed. This made the camera compact and it could be easily carried in a jacket pocket. I have one. My Dad bought the camera from a second hand shop in Lisbon in 1946. Checking the serial number it was made during the last year of production before this ceased mid war. At that point sales were limited to mid ranking military officers and Nazi party members and had been for about a year. Apparently in 1946 2nd hand shops in Lisbon had lots of Leica and Agfa cameras for sale as well as high quality German binoculars, watches etc. Dad had a pair of very good binoculars as well. One can only assume that there were people anxious to raise the boat fare to Brazil.
    Prior to the war the Soviet Union manufactured copies of the Leica in contravention of the patents. However in 1946 the UN declared all Leica patents null and void as a part of war penalties and a huge number of copies produced across the globe resulted. There are some camera collectors who specialise in Leica copies and some of the rarer and more obscure ones used to fetch as much money as genuine Leicas - this resulted in people making fake fakes.

    BTW a yellow filter was used as a cloud filter as it accentuated clouds, - I also have one that fitted the Agfa
     
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  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    John

    I do not know how I missed the "Empire" which was on the larger image.It was a theatre/cinema on 31-41 Avenue de Wagram,The image does not show the frontage which may have changed since the war as shown in searches.

    Like all cinemas since the war,it struggled from time to time to keep in business and in the mid 2000s,it was demolished and a hotel built on the site.

    Certainly firmly places the location of German soldiers photograph on the Avenue de Wagram.
     
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  15. This is normal sprocketed 35mm film.

    I do not know the camera brand. The photo IDs come from the 35mm film stock (Agfa Isopan F, Kodak, etc.) Some films are 'Voigtlander' branded above the sprockets, see first post for scan of this.

    Only clue we may get is from distance between two frames, exact frame size, and the fact that most frames are a little skewed. But I imagine this would vary from camera sample to sample.

    We'll never know!
     
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  16. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Dutch,

    Thanks for the clarification on the film stock. and thanks for providing such high quality scans. My nephew bought a very good 1960's Voightlander Vito B with matching light meter in cases for about £8 at auction a couple of years ago and I rather like the brand. The best modern equivalent I have is an Olympus Trip.

    John
     
  17. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Wow..... 400+ negs.?
    That is a lot.
    I would love to make some real prints of those, but i have a feeling we are separated by quite a few Kilometers. :)
     
  18. It is my idea to eventually provide prints as some kind of Patreon reward. (With a stamp on the back and date to clarify it is a modern print) but I never made a darkroom print before... would need the room and equipment. Hopefully it can be worked out with somebody close by who does have a darkroom. Something for the weekend every month...

    Depending on Patreon tier every person can chose a print to be made in X size of X amount of negatives.

    You can view the negatives scanned so far in full resolution here.
     

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