Apr 172015
 

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Mamiya 6 with Rollei Crossbird

By Frank Stelzer

Hi Steve, Brandon,

Being a long time follower, I thought I submit a story for your Film Friday series. I have been enjoying your site since 2010, when I was soaking in your Leica M9 and lens reviews all night. It was the first time that I got to know about Leica in detail; what they are, what you can do and what you cannot do, and I have been infected with the Leica virus ever since. I also value your Daily Inspirations and Film Friday series as platform to get to know other approaches, techniques and cameras.

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Quickly about myself, I have been fascinated with the process of making photographs since I was a teenager. My first equipment has been a viewfinder film camera in the 1980’s. I basically clicked what I found interesting enough to preserve as a memory. In the late 90’s I made the move from an Olympus mju-I to a film Pentax SLR and a monster 28-200 3.8- 5.6, because I thought, the bigger the camera and the lens, the better my photos. Little to nothing I knew about film sizes, f-stops and most importantly light. This changed gradually over the past 15 years, but there is still so much to learn. Somewhere in between I jumped on the digital bandwagon, enjoying the instant gratification of seeing the image immediately.

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I don’t remember since when I had this growing curiosity about medium format film, maybe it was your GF670 review. But it really accelerated after getting Jonathan Canlas’ book “Film is not dead” two years ago. Since then I gathered information about MF from almost everywhere.
I thought a portable camera would be nice, so I can easily take it with me when travelling. This sort of narrowed it down to a couple of rangefinder cameras: Fujifilm GF670, Mamiya 6 and 7.  I went for the Mamiya 6, which ticked the boxes in my book. It just feels right in your hand. The grip is fantastic, letting your hand mold around it nicely. Not only while shooting, but also when just walking around with the camera in the hand and the strap around the wrist. That’s one of the differences which made me go for the Mamiya instead of the Fujifilm GF670. One reason I preferred the Mamiya 6 over the Mamiya 7 was the retractable lens of the former, making it easy to put into a messenger bag (with Hadley Pro insert) without getting too bulky.

I only got the 75mm lens. There are also 2 more lenses (50mm and 150mm) available for the Mamiya 6, making it a nice system. There is a dark slide in the Mamiya 6 that you have to open and close manually when changing lenses when there is film inside the camera. This could lead to missing shots if you forgot to open the dark slides after a lens change. But for me it was not a problem with one lens only. The RF patch had a bit less contrast for my taste, which made focusing taking a bit longer at times. I did not consider 645 format at that time, since I was intrigued by the bigger 6×6/6×7 format.

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When my wife and I visited Australia last year, I decided to try Rollei Crossbird film for shooting some urban landscape. I never did cross-processing before, but I was curious to see what color-shift effects I would get. This film is marketed especially for cross-processing, but at the end you can take any film and cross-process it. As it seems, this film has a tendency to develop a green cast and also some visible grain. Nothing you can’t do with a digital camera and Lightroom, but definitely more fun. I am more than happy about the result I got with the Mamiya 6 and Rollei Crossbird. It’s sounds strange, but limiting yourself can be quite liberating. When shooting digital, there are endless post-processing options, that it’s easy to get carried away if you don’t know exactly what you are aiming for.

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Many people say that shooting film is a different experience compared to a digital camera. And I totally agree with them. I take more time thinking about the composition and exposure settings. Then there is the uncertainty and waiting for the film getting developed. Well, you could put tape on your DSLR’s screen and wait a week or so putting the SD card into your computer, but it’s not the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to start any film vs. digital discussion. For me it’s both film and digital. Since I am an amateur, I have the freedom to decide depending on my mood, whether to go out with film or digital camera. I enjoy both. We live in a time where we have all these many different photographic tools and formats available, where everybody can find something according to his/her own interest and budget. The good thing about film cameras is that you can sell them almost at the same price you bought them, because they don’t depreciate anymore. This makes it easy to try different formats and systems until you find the one you like most.

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I should mention that I sold the Mamiya 6 meanwhile. Not because I didn’t like it, but because the shooting experience was very similar to the Leica, both being rangefinder cameras. I wanted something more challenging for my medium format adventures, so I traded it for a Hasselblad 503CX. Admittedly, it’s a not as travel-friendly as the Mamiya 6. In fact, it is a completely different beast and lets me discover photography from another angle. But that might be another Film Friday story.

My social media links:
Website: www.frankstelzerphotography.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/frankstelzer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/frankstelzer

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Apr 172015
 

Hasselblad Xpan and Kodak Ektar: Port of Antwerp

By Dirk Dom

Hi!

Last Monday, my friend Ivo Smets and I went to shoot in the Port of Antwerp; Ivo with his M240, and me with the Xpan. I think that is the most delightful camera I own; I shot Kodak Ektar and because that film is so special, I expected some sparks.

First, we went to the Berendrechtsluis. The weather was nice, sunny and a bit hazy, which gave for sort of a high key atmosphere.

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We were lucky enough to find a gate open so we could get right next to the water.

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But shooting through the wire is fun, too. It sort of adds to the composition.

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Here’s some more fun, looking through stuff:

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In Lillo, a little village right in the middle of the port, we ate lunch. The tide was low, which made for a nice image:

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Lots of current in the river.

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We continued through the port. Antwerp is the largest petrochemical industry center in the world.

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There used to be a lot of fortresses around Antwerp. This one is from Spanish times. It’s covered by sand. It’s a forbidden entry zone, and right next to it is a lake where birders set up and shoot.

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We continued to the old crane museum near downtown Antwerp.

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We walked along the river to downtown Antwerp; the sun was setting. I had taken 4 films with me, which is 84 photographs, 21 a film. I was running out of film.

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My last shot of the day:

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I shot the Xpan with its 45mm lens. The negative size is 24 x 65mm, which makes the lens (horizontally) equivalent to 24mm on full frame. I scanned with an Epson V750 with Silverfast. Ektar scans great.

Bye,
Dirk.

Apr 152015
 

West Coast Monochrom

by Phillipp Wortmann

These are photographs taken along the California West Coast during a trip in march 2015. The route was roughly LA – San Clemente – Joshua Tree – Morro Bay – Big Sur – Santa Cruz – Point Reyes – San Francisco.
As I like to keep it simple I brought only my M6, 35 Summicron IV and a bunch of Kodak TriX film. It doesn’t matter if it’s cameras, lenses or film – if I bring more than one I can never decide what to use so limiting myself in that way actually gives me a lot more peace of mind.

For the past year or so I have been almost exclusively shooting 35mm color film but for this trip I wanted to give the black and white another go. This decision was actually made a couple of weeks prior to the trip when I went through my archive and rediscovered some of my older black and white film photos. You can check my little user report on that HERE.

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Another reason for going with black and white was that I had already been to do southwestern US the year before where I shot all Kodak Portra 160. So to avoid ending up with very similar photos from two different trips using Kodak TriX 400 made sense. If you like you can see the color shots from last year here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/sets/72157648794789646/

So overall the trip was a blast and although I didn’t shoot as much as I had hoped/planned/anticipated I’m really happy with some of the shots I got. I will probably need to find a darkroom to do some prints soon.

The entire album can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/sets/72157651692347201/

You can also see more of my photos here: lifeon35.tumblr.com and instagram.com/derphilipppp/

Best regards and thanks for the opportunity to showcase my work!

Philipp

Apr 142015
 

Black & White with Leica M6, M9 and MM

By Dan Bar

Hi Steve & Brandon! About 8 years ago a friend of mine , a well-known photographer in Israel told me he wanted to buy the new digital Leica M8. I thought very highly of him and decided to go and see the new wonder. Yes it was a Leica, looked like one and was VERY expensive.

I have always dreamed of one but never wanted to spend so much , so I offered the salesman my Canon 5D + some lenses and to my great amazement he agreed to switch. I had to add some money of course as I also wanted 2 lenses with it. Since then I sold the M8, bought the M9, than sold it for the MM .

I also had the M6 for some time but the trouble dealing with film and development made me sell it too.

The purchase of the M8 , MM and M6 incited my love for black and white again. With my Canon 5D I only shot color. There is something about Leica that draws the user to b&w and I don’t know why. This odd attraction made me buy the Leica MM which I think is a fantastic b&w camera, as close to film as can be ( at least in my opinion. ) I know Steve prefers the 240 and so does Mr. Thorsten Overgaard, ( he told me so). I love the 240 but i mainly use it for color photos but here are some of my B&W photos which I like and hope you will like too.

Thank you
Danny

M9\35 mm

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Leica MM\35 mm

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Leica MM\35 mm

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Leica MM\ 35 mm

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M9\35mm

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Leica MM\35mm

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Leica MM\50mm

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It is not easy to decide which photos to send, I am not saying I dont like color photos and yet BLACK & White has its uniqueness. I love your site and look at it on a daily basis.

Thanks
Danny

Apr 102015
 

Wales in B&W. Film.

By Ibraar Hussain

Hi Steve and Brandon, I hope you had a joyous Easter. it’s almost Friday, and I thought I might submit an article again! How the weeks roll past!

To all those bored witless of the endless ramblings from I Hussain ESQ please turn away now!

I love going to visit Wales, fascinating place, and as magical and beautiful as can be. For all the delights and marvels of foreign lands, the East and the High Karakoram and Himalaya, the magic of Wales is right up there with the best of them and luckily I can return there again and again – being but a couple of hours drive West from London.

I think Black and White is suited in many ways to the broody landscape of fell and moor, beacon and megalithic standing stones and circles which are to be found in Wales. The landscape can be very bleak, and moody, with expansive skies and cloud. It can also be stunningly beautiful and uplifting with majestic coast lines and water features.

There were a couple of Films in my camera bag which I eventually decided, after a long hiatus, to develop. A roll of Rollei Retro 400s and a roll of Rollei Pan 25 – both shot with my Rolleiflex 3.5F. Both of these Films were exposed last Summer! Apart from my recent trip to Pakistan (March 2015) of which I’ve written already, I did absolutely no photography from August 2014 to March this year! Hard to believe but true! Rollei Retro 400s is a 400 ISO Film. I have never used it before, but have had exceptional results with the 80 speed Retro 80s before so had nothing but positive feelings about the results.

It’s a fine grained middle speed Film and has a nice character with slight red sensitivity it should give nice contrasty yet balanced results when developed with Rodinal. It has fine grain and has high sharpness. It features a tear proof clear polyester base which makes it excellent for scanning (the clear film base).

The other was another first for me; Rollei Pan 25. This is allegedly Agfa Pan 25. It is a very fine grained very slow ISO 25 speed Film with high sharpness and resolving power. It features extended Red sensitivity and a clear plastic base, so scanning again is very easy. This gave me a stiff lesson in how to meter for B&W. I have been using a Minolta Autometer III incident meter. The problem with this is that for B&W sometimes one should expose for the shadows and then control highlights in development. High contrast situations can mean a lack of shadow detail using this type of meter without being careful. Me being me took a light reading in the SUN rather than shade and off I went snapping away.

I shot this Film at Llanthony Priory, a ruin of an ancient priory which fell into decay after King Henry VIII ’s dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.
It is a fascinating place with a wonderful remote atmosphere, and a photographers paradise. it has been photographed to death but there aren’t many B&W photos compared to colour. Anyway, needless to say the developed negatives were very contrasty and I had to work them in the Digital Darkroom (Photoshop CS4 Mac).

Rollei retro 400s was more forgiving but I made the same mistakes again. I shot this Film at the Waterfalls Walk by the River Ned, in the Brecon Beacons National Park. A magical place, full of delightful waterfalls, brooks and features, all in glorious woodland. I also managed one of an ancient Megalithic Standing Stone in the beacons. It can be tricky snapping away using a fully manual TLR and an incident light meter, but the whole process gave me some vital lessons which I have taken away and will not make the same mistakes again.

In future I will follow the golden rule of exposing for the shadows unless I want some more creative effect by adjusting exposure. Of course, with a 35mm Contax G2/T2/Tvs or SLR with an inbuilt centre weighted or matrix meter – it’s more straight forward, and incident meters are very useful too and 9 times out of 10 are superb, especially when dealing with backlighting, but for BW especially I think I need to be more careful.

Even with the exposure errors, I managed to get two rolls of mostly keepers! (20 shots all in) I’ve included some from each here, and have tried to reflect the atmosphere, mood and beauty of the places I visited.
I took some portraits of my Missus with a Rolleinar I and Rolleinar II but unfortunately they’re not for public show – the Rolleinar I especially is, I think, essential for the 3.5F if you want to shoot portraits with a very very shallow depth of field!
Black and White can be a very rewarding pursuit, and the more so with a manual camera and light meter, I waited 8 months to see my results – a far cry from instant Digital.
And Wales is a magical place.

All photographs:

Rolleiflex 3.5F, Rollei Gelb-Hell Yellow Filter, Minolta Autometer III.
Developed in Rodinal R09 1+50.
Scanned with an Epson 4990 flatbed using Epson Scan software.
Worked on in Photoshop CS4 Mac
I’ve used Overlay and brush tool to dodge and burn, used levels and curves. I then toned using a Pantone 7518c. then added a border.

Rollei retro 400s Maen Llia standing stone, Brecon Beacons.

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Sgwd Clun-Gwyn Waterfall, Brecon Beacons.

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Walk in the sunlit woods. Waterfall Country, woodland, Brecon Beacons

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Water. A brook in the Brecon Beacons.

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Rollei pan 25 Llanthony priory

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Apr 072015
 

Back to Film

by Jay

Hi Steve!

First I want to say thank you for all the great work. Your site has been part of my daily inspiration for some time now so I thought it would only be right to make a small photographic contribution. My name is Jay Lynn and I got my start in photography as a junior in high school back in 1985.

My school had a school newspaper and if you were selected to be on the paper’s staff you got out of school three hours early everyday to sell ads to local businesses and follow-up leads on local interest stories. That was too good an opportunity for me to pass up but I had one problem. The paper had plenty of stand out writers and my writing skills were average at best. Just as I was about to resign myself to not making the staff, the faculty coordinator asked me if I had any experience with photography. I did not but I knew that my father had an old Pentax ME Super along with a few lenses that had been sitting in a bag in our basement for years. I had never so much as picked it up but I sure wasn’t about to blow my chance to get out school early.

What followed was a steep learning curve but I got the hang of it and when I got my first good roll of film back from the lab I was hooked. I went on to “upgrade” to a Nikon FG and eventually began developing my own film. My passion continued unabated throughout college until I joined the Marine Corps and became a Marine officer. After the events of 9/11 and the subsequent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, I just could not justify making time for photography amidst the constant training and combat deployments. Of course there were so many moments that I experienced during those deployments that would have been amazing photographs but for obvious reasons I could not even allow myself to think about that. In those environments you have to be 100% focused on the job at hand. Still, the passion never died and every time I had a photojournalist embedded with my unit I did find some time to talk photography and admire their gear and their photos.

Leica M6 with 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit M and Kodak Porta 400

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In 2011 I was assigned to the Marine Forces headquarters in the Pacific, which is located in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. For the first time in over 10 years I picked up a camera again. So much had changed with the progression of digital photography since I had last enjoyed photography but so much remained timeless. I bought a Nikon D5100 and a few lenses to get back in the game. Within six months I sold the D5100 and purchased a D7000. Ergonomically the D7000 just worked better for me and I got a lot of mileage out of that camera. Being in Hawaii affords me an opportunity travel throughout Asia and to photograph a lot of amazing landscapes. In 2013 I jumped at the chance to purchase a D600 for use with wide FX lenses and that has been my primary digital body ever since.

I love digital photography and about half of my work is digital. But as much as I enjoy the convenience of digital I really began to miss the tactile aspects of film photography and the deliberate nature associated with the process of shooting a role of film. The other thing that had changed since I took my break from photography was that all the film cameras and older lenses that I had lusted after in high school and college were now readily available for next to nothing on online auction sites or even for free in some instances. So I bought them all! Well, practically all of them. And I do love them but I noticed that I was spending more and more time shooting the old manual cameras like the FM2 or the F2 versus the more modern film cameras like the Nikon F5 or F6. I have a Mamiya 6 rangefinder that I travel with a lot and I really began to appreciate the process of using a manual focus rangefinder over the more automated cameras. You know where this is going, right? Yup, you guessed it.

Leica M4 with Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM and Kodak TriX 400

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In October of this past year my wife and I took a three-week backpacking trip through Vietnam. I used that trip and the need to travel lightly to justify buying two Leica film cameras, an M6 that I used primarily for color film and an M4 loaded with Kodak TriX 400. With the addition of the wonderful Zeiss 35 f/2.8 ZM and a Leica 90 f/2.8 Elmarit M, I was set. I knew that I wanted to take portraits, landscapes, and street photography while in Vietnam. I carried only the two Leicas and the Mamiya 6 for the duration of the trip and I have absolutely no regrets. This was a huge step for me because I am usually the guy who brings along the proverbial kitchen sink “just in case”.

Mamiya 6 with G 75mm f/3.5 and Kodak Portra

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Traveling with light gear that I could carry in a small, inconspicuous sling bag was such a liberating experience and I am so happy with the results. I really do believe the adage that the unobtrusive nature of the Lecias allows for more candid shots because your subject is not intimidated by a giant camera and lens combo. I also love the all manual approach that the Leica rangefinders require.

It makes me think more about what I am doing and it also makes me feel like I am more involved in the decision-making cycle that occurs before the press of the shutter button. I especially enjoy the M4 which I do not use with a meter. I practiced estimating exposure for weeks before the trip and got comfortable enough determining exposure that I never regretted not having a meter when using the M4. I am attaching just a small sample of the nearly 1000 images I made during the trip. One from each camera. Of note, I have more “keepers” from this trip than I have ever had since I began shooting film again. I have to believe that the process of using all manual film cameras has something to do with this and that this translates to digital photography as well and will ultimately make me a more discerning photographer. Enjoy the photos and keep up the great work.

Jay

Apr 032015
 

Punjab part 2 – with the Contax G2 and 3 Film selection

By Ibraar Hussain – His flickr is HERE

I thought I’d just add a Part 2 to my Punjab trip here for you and for stevehuffphoto.com viewers and lovers.

I really enjoyed shooting with my Panasonic Lumix GX7 with the couple of lenses I had with it. But as usual whenever I travel I take my Contax G2 along with me.  Unfortunately, out of a 15 day trip, 9 days were rained off so I was unable to go where I wanted to and shoot the exotic things at the places I had in mind and planned.

I was able to expose 3 rolls of Film though and experiment with my seldom used lens – the 90mm Sonnar T*. Now this is a lovely portrait lens, great contrast and sharpness and a perfect portrait length – there is one problem though, shooting wide open with it is tricky as the focus on it for some bizarre reason doesn’t always hit right. When nailed the results are spectacular, but more often than not most people have difficulty with this lens. I have hardly ever used it in the past and then not often at f2.8 so I decided to give it a bit of liberal use.

Family of beggars
GT Road
Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T* Kodak Ektar 100

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My usual lenses are the unparalleled 45mm f2 Planar and the 21mm f2.8 Biogon, but this time I was after portraits of local people in villages around the town of Sarai Alamgir in District Gujrat, Punjab.  The town straddles the Jhelum River and lies close to the city of Jhelum – Ancient Hydaspes of Alexander The Great fame.

I decided to shoot a roll of some different Films than my usual Kodak Ektachrome e100vs and Fujichrome Velvia. I had two rolls of The Original Fujichrome Astia 100 (not the later inferior 100F) my rolls were procured from eBay at a high cost as allegedly they had been frozen and gave accurate colors. I managed to shoot one of these.

My other roll was of a rare Film by Adox – Adox Silverman 21 at 100 ISO. This is a German made B&W Film which allegedly has a high Silver content and gives some unique results. And finally a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 people tend to rave about.

Shoe Shine and Repair Man
GT Road
Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T* Kodak Ektar 100

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My results were a mixed bag. The 4mm Planar shots were nailed as usual and keepers.  The 90mm Sonnar T* shots wide open at f2.8 were hit and miss. I had as many off focus shots as nailed ones and I was very disappointed with this lens. Sure, the nailed shots are beautiful, but I want to be in charge and not subject to the whims of a focussing system. Anyway, the Astia 100 was pretty nice, not as nice as my beloved Kodak e100vs but not bad. The Adox Silvermax I shot with and without a Hoya Orange filter. I gathered the higher contrast Filter may give some good effects outdoors.

Kashmiri Child
Sargodha, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T* Kodak Ektar 100

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I developed the Adox Silverman in Rodinal 1+50 and scanned everything using my Plustek Opticfilm 8100 scanner. I cleaned up the scanned Astia Slides in Photoshop (rid dust and spots), resized and gave them a border – hardly any post processing. The Adox Silverman results were very pleasing, I did foolishly drop the negatives after drying and there was hence some dust but very nice tones and feel – I’d love to print these. I used Photoshop Layers to dodge and burn and levels, then resized and border applied – not USM at all here!

The retired Soldier
Jhelum, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T* Kodak Ektar 100

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The Matriarch
Jhelum, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T* Kodak Ektar 100
90mm Sonnar T* (bottom)

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The Kodak Ektar is a nightmare. I cannot understand why people use this stuff. In almost all respects it is Inferior to a decent E6 Slide film – the only reason to use this would be latitude and I had no need of such huge Dynamic Range. So this is the last time I will use this or any other C41 Colour Film (unless forced to). Give me Slides, BW or Digital any day. A royal pain to scan and to get the colours and contrast right – at least Slides (and in camera Jpegs) give me everything as I want with no fluffing around – shooting C41 is worse than RAW capture (which I find to be a total waste of time and effort and of vital minutes of ones life).

Anyway, enough ranting, here are even some samples. The others can be found on my Flickr.

Cheers!

Punjabi Widow
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Old lady with a Hukkah pipe
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Jatt Villager
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Jatt Village women
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Happy Village child
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Blind Kashmiri Gent
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T* Fujichrome Astia 100

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Retired Village Gentleman
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Man with Motorbike
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Old Matriarch
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Servant Girl
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Punjabi Matriarch
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Hoya Orange Filter
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Brothers
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Hoya Orange Filter
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Retired Village Gentleman
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Kashmiri Village Girl
Near Sarai Alamgir, Punjab
Contax G2 45mm Planar T*
Adox Silvermax 21
Rodinal

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Mar 122015
 

How To Shoot Kodak Ektar 100 Film

By Marlon Richardson – HIS WEBSITE IS HERE

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Kodak Ektar 100 is one of my all-time favorite films. It’s a punchy daylight film that can be shot into the sun with grain smoother than your baby’s bottom. Color and detail rendered from Kodak Ektar 100 in landscape photography is second to none.

When I tried Kodak Ektar 100 for portrait work, I was amazed at how beautiful it is. For some reason Kodak Ektar 100 has been tagged as a poor choice for portrait photography. Among other issues, it’s been criticized for rendering skin tones too red, too contrasty, and too saturated.

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 I disagree. Kodak Ektar 100 is an excellent professional film for portrait work. (I’m not the only one! – url: http://www.wendylaurel.com/shoot-kodak-ektar-100-film-tutorial/)

Maybe you haven’t tried Kodak Ektar 100 or perhaps you tried it and didn’t get the results you expected. This “How To” is designed to help portrait photographers interested in this film stock to consistently get great results.

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Why I Shoot Kodak Ektar 100 

Color Rendering: More than any other film, Ektar shows the most accurate rendering of the tropical environment I live in. Kodak Ektar 100 is a bright and contrasty stock that performs extremely well under intense South Florida sunlight.

Ease of Use: Kodak Ektar 100 is very easy to use. Unlike any other fine grain film of this speed or slower Ektar retains remarkable detail, consistent color characteristics, and low grain with 2 additional stops of exposure latitude (-1 to +2).

Fine Grain: Kodak Ektar 100 is grain free. 16×20 prints from 35mm negatives of this film show an almost imperceptible level of grain. In 120, resolution rivals low ISO settings of the latest medium format digital sensors.

Easy To Scan: Shot correctly, this film is super easy to scan. Most of the time, I only need to do very minor adjustments to get the look I want.

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TIPS: Shooting Kodak Ektar 100

Shoot It Box Speed: Some color negative films need to be overexposed several stops to not only look their best but also maintain consistency. Kodak Ektar 100, doesn’t need such trickery. It’s a true IS0 100 speed film that looks it’s best when exposed properly. Ektar handles up to a couple of stops of underexposure without any problems. However, being a naturally contrasty and vivid film, overexposure over a stop will noticeably increase those characteristics and color may not be consistent from shot to shot.

More Light Please: As I’ve mentioned a few times Kodak Ektar 100 is a light loving contrasty and vivid film. It excels in settings that would benefit from those characteristics. As long as the setting is bright, even harsh light, whether from the sun or controlled lighting you’ll be fine.

I See Red People: Kodak Ektar 100 renders red, green, and blue even more vivid than it does with other colors. This characteristic could cause Kodak Ektar 100 to exaggerate the redness in the skin of fair skinned people that have a naturally pinkish complexion or noticeable redness caused by sun exposure. In this case a low saturation and low contrast film like Kodak Portra 160 will be a better option. For any other complexion, including darker skin, Kodak Ektar 100 is great!

Indoor Mixed Lighting = Flash: When shooting indoors in poor light or mixed light use a flash

Thank you!

Marlon

 

 

Mar 022015
 

Travel Photography with Medium Format Color Film

By: Logan Norton

www.seeingthelightworkshops.com

As someone who has done quite a bit of photography oriented travel, I have experimented with many different gear configurations in search of the most suitable solution for my travel needs. I have found that using medium format (120/220) color negative film (c-41) offers me the most versatility while ensuring that I can achieve the “look” that I desire. I know that many of you will probably have serious doubts about the practicality/convenience/wisdom of this choice, but I can assure you that I have tried just about every other format and, for me, this is the one that fits the best.

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Knowing that the digital vs. film debate will inevitably arise from this post is, I would like to address that a little before we get any further. This is not meant to be an endorsement of film over digital. I don’t believe there is a universal truth that one format is better than the other. They are both tools with advantages and disadvantages and the beautiful thing is that they both exist. You have a choice as to how you will achieve the goals you seek through the use of one or the other, or both. I have taken a Nikon D800 and a Think Tank bag full of lenses on a two week Costa Rica trip. I’ve spent a week shooting in Austin, TX with a Fuji X100s and I took a Leica M9 and a 1950’s 50mm summicron on a roadtrip up the west coast for two weeks. Recently I spent a couple weekends in San Francisco with nothing but a Leica MM Monochrom and a 35mm cron and these days, the majority of my shooting is done with a Leica M2 loaded with Kodak 400tx and an older 35mm summicron – a setup that I love for its simplicity.

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The point I am trying to make here is that I have enjoyed an assortment of equipment configurations, both film and digital, and I have been able to create wonderful images with each, despite that fact that all of them have unique challenges. Anytime you seek to find the most appropriate tool for a specific job you have to weigh the negatives against the positives for each option. I spent quite a bit of time doing just that before a recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I wanted to simplify my travel setup; I didn’t want to carry multiple cameras with different film format, battery or memory card needs. I wanted something that would not distract me from enjoying the process of traveling and photographing.

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The first question was film vs digital. I realized that I didn’t want to be tempted to spend my evenings poring over the thousands of images I had downloaded into my computer, or to spend my lunches thumbing through pictures on my camera screen. It was important to me that I enjoy the experience of traveling while also taking pictures, rather than being preoccupied with the pictures I was taking on my travels. I also knew that I didn’t want to be reliant on batteries as I often spend long days shooting without any opportunity for charging. Another consideration was that a huge amount of travel photography occurs during the brightest part of the day in very changeable light conditions. Film is able to handle these changes more consistently and pleasingly than any digital format I have experimented with. The latitude that film allows, along with its ability to smoothly control transitions between shadows, mid-tones and highlights makes it a more effective tool for mid-day shooting, in my opinion. I also considered the difference in the way I work with film as opposed to digital. With digital I have a tendency to shoot everything knowing that I have virtually unlimited capacity for recording.

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When I’m using film, however, I find my process slows substantially. I search each setting/situation for the right moment, knowing that my shots are limited. I find that film forces me to really get into each moment and to stay there longer, something that I find incredibly important when I travel. In the end, these considerations led me to choose film as the medium for my travel photography needs.

Next I had to settle on the format. 35mm would allow for smaller, lighter gear and many more shots per roll. Medium format would give me incredible dynamic range, detail and latitude while forcing me to be extremely critical while shooting. In the end, the technical advantages of the medium format option won out over the convenience of 35mm. I knew it was going to be medium format film, and because I was going to the amazingly colorful town of San Miguel I knew I wanted color film. I chose to bring Kodak Portra 400 as my only film stock as it affords exceptionally smooth renderings at low iso while also providing excellent push-ability, fantastic highlight retention (imperative for the bright Mexican sun), and great colors. It also translates very well to black and white Continuing my theme of keeping things simple, I chose a Fuji GW670ii rangefinder camera for the trip. These “texas leicas” are all mechanical so there was no battery life to worry about. Since rangefinder cameras are mirrorless, they are nearly silent in operation and they allow the user to utilize slower shutter speeds with less vibration than slr cameras. These cameras all feature a fixed 90mm Fujinon lens that is incredibly sharp with fantastic bokeh characteristics and color rendition.

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Armed with my newly simplified kit I headed off to San Miguel de Allende for 12 days of exploration and shooting. I would be lying if I said I didn’t immediately question my decision upon leaving the rest of my gear behind, but after the first day I was convinced I had made the right choice. The Portra performed as well as I’d hoped in capturing the beautiful colonial architecture and brightly colored haciendas of San Miguel. When shooting in the mid-day sun I was able to rate it at 100 iso without any need to pull the processing when I got home (which was critical while using the Fuji which has a top shutter speed of 1/500) and it produced amazing results pushed as high as 6400 iso at I spent countless hours walking San Miguel’s beautiful cobblestone streets, sampling the local cuisine, meeting locals, and capturing amazing images. I found it to be one of the most welcoming and warm environments for travel that I have ever experienced. My days were spent exploring the magnificent el Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens; the el Tianguis Tuesday Market, a huge bazaar that features a little bit of everything; and the central square known as El Jardin that sits right next to the beautiful Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel cathedral, the main architectural landmark of the city. During my trip I was privileged to witness two daylong celebrations in and around this immaculately maintained square, as well as a traditional Mexican wedding at the church. These events provided further insight into Mexican culture and afforded me some amazing photographic opportunities.

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Spread around the city are a number of other spectacular cathedrals, as well as a number of other squares where people gather. I could not help but fall in love with the uniqueness and beauty of the city and its people; and I returned home with 53 rolls of film filled with amazing memories from my time there. I cannot wait for Ultimately I was incredibly happy with my decision to simplify my travel photography setup. I believe that the careful process of selecting the right tools afforded me the ability to be in the moment more during this trip than any other before it.

Feb 242015
 

My Canon A1 and Good Old Film!

By Philipp Wortmann

Hi Brandon,

Today I’d like to share a couple of slightly random Black and White Film photos that I dug up on my hard drive. I think a hard drive is just a horrible place for photos to live so I figured your website might be a better place for them ;). When I first started shooting film I shot almost 100% black and white, which was awesome because it was just an entirely different approach from my dslr back than.

These days I mostly shoot color films but looking back at these images really made me want to go back to black and white, which I will probably do for my next trip along the California coast in march – already stocked up on Tri-X!

Most of these images were shot on Agfa APX 100 black and white film with a Canon A1 between 2013 and 2014.

If you’d like to check out some of my more colorful photos you can do so here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/ or http://lifeon35.tumblr.com/ or for the more mobile and digital folks here http://instagram.com/derphilipppp/.

Thank you and best regards,

Philipp

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Jan 222015
 

My Leica M6 in Scotland

By Philipp Wortmann

Hi Brandon,

It was so cool the last time I got featured on your site I just had to give it another try :)

This time I took my beloved M6 on a short trip to Scotland. I stayed in Edinburgh for a couple of days and also had the chance to take a short trip into the highlands and meet some of those legendary “hairy cows“.  As to be expected the weather was very cloudy so ended up pushing my Portra 400 to 800, which I didn’t mind at all since Portra handles that beautifully!

More pictures of the trip can be found on my flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/

Have a great day and best regards,

Philipp

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Jan 212015
 

CineStill 800 Xpro Tungsten 35mm film user experience

By Aivaras Sidla

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I’ve tested new film recently and thought to share this experience with You. Its CineStill 800 Xpro Tungsten 35mm film, I don’t remember where and when I heard about it first time, but I haven’t paid to much attention to this product, as my first reaction wasn’t big excitement. Thought that its more special effects product as some of lomography films.

I think that for me the trigger was Brett Price article “Shooting & Processing Cinema Film in a Still Camera” published in Steve’s site. Then I started to dig deeper and finally I bought five rolls to play with. So, you see Brett – you are responsible for my expenses. Joking. I’m a big fan of your work, It inspires me. You have unique style, know light well and it seems to me that you have very good sense where to break rules of composition for best results.
Basicaly CineStill 800 Xpro is Kodak movie film prepared for still photography and for C41 development process. Film is balanced for tungsten light, so It means that usable to shot indoors under inside lights. There are more technical aspects of this films, but I’ll not go into them, as there is plenty information in manufacturer website. For me it was important, that: its C41, means I could dump it to my lab as usual, its fast and suited to shot indoors – I do a lot such shooting in winter, it’s very flexible with good colours.

So, here I am after 4 used rolls, trying to draw some notes for myself and other potential users:
- Tungsten balancing. I thought that shooting outdoors should use warming filter 85B as per manufacturer recommendation, but after first roll I understood that there is no need. I dig this blue cast it delivers in natural light.
- Flexibility. It handles underexposure very good. And it’s good characteristic for fast film, as one faces low light levels with it.
- Mixed lightning. A little unpredictable, at least for me and at least from 4 rolls experience. I know more or less what could be achieved when shooting Portra 400 in various light situations, but with this film facing mixed light, means I could get something unexpected. But stated this, I can say that in all cases unexpected wasn’t bad.
- Halation effect. CineStillFilm warns that there could be red halation when sources of light are in focus. And it is true, you will see it in the pictures. I don’t fully understand how this effect arrises, and honestly, I don’t care. In some cases this effect is bad, In some cases I can tolerate it, for me it doesn’t spoil the picture (see picture of broken xmas decoration), sometimes even adds some charm (see portrait of a man). What I do noticed and it wasn’t in any reviews, that halation appears from certain strength of direct light source in the picture. In case light source is not so strong, there is no halation (see portrait with xmas tree lights in background).
- Film speed. Before shooting this film, I read that some people overexpose this film a bit, using ISO640, but I used box speed all the time and it went fine for me. Should note here, that I use spot metering almost all the time.

To sum my experience up, I can say that this film has its unique and unforgettable look. Its in grain, in colours and unique blue cast. In some cases it reminds movies look (and it should remind). I will definitely come back to it and I can honestly recommend this film for others. CineStill made a good job providing film users more choices. And they are marching on with publishing of new exiting product – 50Daylight ISO50 film, there are 5 rolls in my fridge counting their last days and waiting for proper execution (and probably next story for a different day :)).

Thanks for reading!

As usual, more could be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aiwalit/

Aivaras

 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-F50mm F1.7

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-F50mm F1.7

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-F50mm F1.7

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Jan 202015
 

Film and Digital, Digital and Film

By John Tuckey

Film vs Digital? Do we ever get tired of kicking this question around? Here’s a run of three image pairs from recent shoots where I’ve shot film and digital side by side – again. See what you think.

Pair A
digital shot from the Leica M-P (type 240) with ‘Lux 50. The film shot is off a Hasselblad H2 and HC 100mm 2.2 loaded with Ilford Delta 100

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Viewed side by side, I prefer the film. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should throw away your digital camera. In fact the list of ticks in my digital column is pretty long: I began with digital and, even now, tend to consider the digital files from my M to be my ‘main’ files. Digital capture and convenience is my primary workflow. Shooting digital allows me to easily pull gorgeous, rich, detailed and sharp 20×30 prints from my M’s files. And higher ISO flexibility in modern digital cameras gives a more flexible and easier shooting experience in available light.

Pair B
digital shot from the M-P (type 240) with ‘Lux 50. The film shot is off a Leica MP and Zeiss Sonnar 50 2 loaded with Ilford Delta 400

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Of course, digital is the professional norm now and, commercially speaking, there’s no denying film is dead. Yet many artists and amateurs alike continue to use film and not just to learn technique, but because they love it and it gives their work a USP – why?

Pair C
digital shot from the M-P (type 240) with ‘Lux 50. The film shot is off a Hasselblad H2 and HC 100mm 2.2 loaded with Ilford Delta 3200

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Probably for a lot of the same reasons I love film. When I shoot film, I not only enjoy it’s unique signature but see it as a self education tool that’s valuable even in my digital work. I think learning to shoot film builds confidence and knowledge which applies to every camera of any format. In fact, if I had to settle for one single reason to shoot film, that would be it.

35mm Film is rarely as blisteringly sharp as digital can be, and unlikely to enlarge as well without grain becoming an issue (unless you’re taking the medium format path) but…. that’s irrelevant. I took these shots the ‘hard way’, they made me think and learn as I took them, and perhaps as a result they make me smile more.

Smiles. That’s the biggest tick you can put in any list of positives.

http://john.tuckey.photography

Best regards

John Tuckey

 

Jan 082015
 

Traveling with my Leica M6

By Philipp Wortmann

I’ve been following your this site for a while now and I thought it was time for me to try to contribute something to.

This is a small selection of pictures I took during a 3 week road trip through the southwestern USA this summer. To document the trip in the most simple way I decided to only take 1 camera, 1 lens and 1 type of film with me. These were: Leica M6, 35mm Summicron and a whole lot of Kodak Portra 160. Before leaving for the trip I was worried shooting film only might be too much of a risk or I might miss shot due to not being able to change ISO or the manual focus. But it turned out to be a complete joy! Taking this minimalist approach allowed me to focus on all the beautiful moments during this trip rather than LCD screens, settings or back ups. Using only Portra 160 gave me beautifully consistent results I couldn’t be happier with. I currently don’t own any digital camera and after this trip I’m confident that this will stay that way for a while to come :)

As mentioned this is only a very small part of the images. I shot 26 rolls of film and if you want to check out the final edit of the photos you can check out the little photobook I made HERE.

You can also see more of my work here: lifeon35.tumblr.com or https://www.flickr.com/photos/derphilipppp/

Best regards and thanks for running such a cool site,

Philipp

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Jan 072015
 

My experience shooting 35mm film in Croatia

By Sebastian Castilho

Hi everyone!

I have been a fan of this blog for some time and am excited to be able to make a guest post here.

I guess you could say photography runs in my blood. My grandfather had a large passion for it and I myself have been shooting with whatever I could get my hands on since I was a kid. I’m now 24 and work as an animator. This career has allowed me to afford expensive modern cameras. My photos for a naked calendar were recently featured on national and international news (paper and online). However I’ve always loved the aesthetic of real film and over the years collected a few 35mm film cameras.
Towards the end of Summer I went over to Pula, Croatia for a family vacation. It’s a beautiful place with clear waters and a very peaceful vibe. At the time, my digital camera had broken and so I was forced to use my film cameras. I’d been looking for a reason to make use of them for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity.

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On the left is the Minolta SRT-101 with 55mm f1.7 lens. It is my grandfather’s SLR, made in the early 60’s. I had a 28mm for this camera but the 55mm is sharper by far. On the right is the Yashica Electro GSN I bought from ebay some months ago in immaculate condition for only £70.

HANDLING

Both cameras feel great in the hand, with the Minolta feeling more substantial owing to its heavier metal construction. That being said, the shutter button requires a deeper press followed by a loud mirror slap that makes you worried the image may come out blurred (though they never did). The rangefinder uses a leaf shutter; it’s almost like a conveyor belt that goes around the camera. The quieter shutter means you can take a picture without attracting as much attention, meaning more natural shots of people.
The Minolta is fully manual and has a fairly accurate exposure meter within the viewfinder. The circle moves up or down depending on the exposure of the scene. Adjusting the exposure settings on the camera will move the pin and you have to align it with the circle to achieve correct exposure (in the picture the pin and circle are already aligned). The fastest shutter speed of this camera is 1/1000th. I had to use an ND filter to be able to use the widest aperture in daylight.

The Yashica changes its shutter speed automatically to achieve a 0 EV exposure. You can trick it into under or overexposing by setting the ISO dial to something the film stock isn’t. The fastest shutter speed of this camera is just 1/500th – which is another reason I used this one for the low light stuff.
With the SLR you rely on sharpness to focus. With the rangefinder you rely on contrast because you have to align two images. It’s a really interesting way to find focus, but in daylight is not as effective. In low light is where it actually shines.
And so I took either camera with me depending on the time of day. Convenient really as it allowed me to use the correct film stock for the occasion.

Kodak BW400CN, Ilford FP4 Plus 125, Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 (x2), Kodak Gold 200, Fujicolor 200, Ilford Delta 100, Kodak Professional T-Max 100

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PHOTOGRAPHY

I was in Croatia for a little under a week. As I mentioned, it’s a very peaceful place with beautiful waters. There isn’t much obtrusive construction going on like in the cities I’ve always lived in. In fact there’s a lot of old architecture, like the Roman arch and amphitheatre.

The lenses on both cameras had a focal length of about 50mm, so I couldn’t get really impressive wide shots of that architecture. I ended up focusing on capturing interesting shapes, tones and moments. A few times I stood overlooking some architecture that created a frame within the photographic frame, and then snapped the photo when something else came into the frame to finish it off

 

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I do think zoom lenses are detrimental to your photography. You end up spending a lot of time zooming in and out, recomposing and repeating. And in the end you’re still not completely satisfied by the composition. With fixed lenses, your mind develops a sense of framing and you automatically see a good opportunity for a shot long before you’ve lifted the camera to your face.

RESULTS

When I got the printed photos back from Fujifilm DS Colours Labs in Manchester (UK), I was blown away by them. The colour and tonality (especially of the monotone pictures) were simply brilliant. I really wish you could see them in this form because the in-house scanned negative don’t do them any justice really. They come highly compressed and oversharpened. I had to import them all into Lightroom and move the Clarity slider to about -25 to reduce the artefacts. And then I had to adjust each picture to make them look closer to the print version.

This is really the downside of film photography. You can scan them into your computer but they just pale in comparison to the print. If you like to put most of your work online, you really are better off using a DSLR (or mirrorless). Most modern sensors do have better shadow and highlight recovery too.

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CONCLUSION

What this journey made me realise for sure is that photography isn’t about upholding to the classics of carefully adjusting dials and knobs on your camera to achieve perfect exposure and focus. It’s about chasing light, finding compositions and capturing moments. For that, you need a camera that suits you. A camera where you don’t get lost in menus. A camera that’s fast to use and doesn’t get in the way. That’s right, I’m now a staunch supporter of autofocus and auto settings (that still allow you to select an exposure).

You can see more of these photos (over a hundred of them) on my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ scastilho/sets/72157647726972102/ and you can also find me on my website (sebcastilho.com).

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