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).

Jan 062015
 

Traveling Middle East with a Leica M6

By Johannes Carlsohn

Hi Steve,

I want to share with you and your readers the experiences I had on a trip to the Middle East with only a film Leica. I bought my first Leica (an M6) a year ago, in December 2013.

I fell in love with it instantly and decided to use it as my main camera for all the trips I was planning to do in 2014. So I used it in Madeira, Barcelona, Greece and Georgia, sometimes accompanied by digital cameras.

For the last and longest trip of the year, 3.5 weeks in October to Iran and Oman, I decided to go film only. So I packed my M6 and few lenses (15mm Voigtländer, 50mm Summicron, 35mm Zeiss) and 35 rolls of film.  I relied on my iPhone for quick pictures to share with the family or on Facebook.

Shooting only film gave me a peace of mind I wasn’t used to before. No worrying about batteries or memory cards, no file formats, no settings, hardly switching any lenses (I shot 80% of the pictures with the 35mm), and that all in a small package that was never a burden to carry around.

I have not once had the feeling that focusing manually has slowed me down, but I definitely felt that unobtrusiveness of the Leica, that helps shooting strangers in the streets.

Apart from photography I can only recommend traveling the Middle East. The people, especially in Iran, are friendly, helpful and welcoming on a level I haven’t experienced anywhere else. The cultural heritage, the nature and the way of living there are amazing. And no, we have not felt unsafe at any point of the trip, nor have we had any trouble with authorities.

In the end I shot 29 rolls of film, had only a hand full of badly focused or exposed pictures and a lot more keepers than usually.

In the meantime I switched from my Nikon D600 to a small Ricoh as a digital backup. I planned to buy a digital Leica in 2015, but after having so much fun with the M6, I decided to postpone that investment for at least another year.

Keep up your great work!

Johannes

Munich, Germany
http://500px.com/blende2acht
www.blende2acht.de (has been a work in progress for the last 3 years…)

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Jan 062015
 

My first serious landscape shots with the Linhof Technikardan 69

By Dirk Dom

Hi!

So I wanted to do serious black and white landscape. After almost having gone the digital route with a Sony A7R and a Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens, I decided I’d go with film and a technical camera. I chose a 6×9 rollfilm format camera because I’d have lots of movements with ultrawide lenses and I wanted to do those shots with crazy perspective and depth of field.

It became a Linhof Technikardan 69. So far I have a 150 and a 65mm lens for it. The Linhof is extremely high quality. It feels like Leica. I got it used for a very reasonable price.

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After some trying I figured out how to lug the camera around without getting tired (backpack and un- and repack every shot) and I got familiar with how to work it.

Now, it’s midwinter here in Belgium, real dark, and my folks have a place in Spain, at the Coste Blanca and there it’s sunny and T shirt weather most of the time even now; I got so fed up with the Belgian darkness and frustration not to be able to shoot (exposed a shot eight seconds at 2PM, for God’s sake) that I drove there (1860km) for a week. I’d do my first serious black and white landscape with the Linhof and see what it’s actually worth.

Well, I can tell you, it was sort of a ultimate experience. Now I understand why people lug around with 8×10 camera’s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I eventually got one of these things. Only thing I have to figure out is how do you get such a beast and 50 8×10 plates through the airport security.

They say the main charming thing about a technical camera it that it slows you down; that’s perfectly correct, taking a shot takes five minutes at the least and even shooting a turtle on a Sunday stroll would be problematical. But the real thing is that you make the image happen in a way you don’t experience with any other camera. I’m at a loss for words here, be it said that I have a Canon F1, an Olympus PEN, a Hasselblad Xpan, a Fuji GX 617, a Mamiya C330, a Mamiya 7. All magnificent camera’s which are a profound joy to image with. But I can tell you now, that concerning the joy in picture taking not one of these camera’s comes even close to the Linhof.

This is all of course highly personal. Lots of people may absolutely hate the cumbersome technical camera workflow.

I shot one film (Eight images) a day.

Well, came back yesterday, with 40 images, developed, scanned and postprocessed today.

Here ‘s some results, scanned with an Epson V750 at 2,000 PPI, more than enough. For printing I’ll spend some weeks finetuning the postprocessing. I print 30 x 45cms.

The first day: no clouds! For good black and white you need some clouds. All shots Tmax 400, red filter. In Belgium I had some trouble focusing the 65mm, but that was due to the very low light level. Here it went like a breeze.

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I had overexposed two stops the first day, (forgot to put 400 ASA in the light meter) so I had to go back. I pulled that first film two stops (20% less development time) and it came out perfect. The next day nice clouds.

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I took this shot two years ago with the Mamiya 7, but this one came out nicer.

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An extremely windy day. I was afraid my filters would blow out of my hands and over the cliff, let alone that my tripod and camera would fly off and I’d find it back thirty meters lower. Didn’t happen. I did lose my wire release, though, luckily I had two with me. I have to figure out which spare parts I need, like the dark slide is absolutely essential and I might drop it and not be able to recover it.

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I’m crazy about skies taken through a red filter. 150mm.

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Here I used tilt for more DOF. DOF from 30cms to infinity. Yum, yum… 150mm. Try that with a camera without movements.

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Film doesn’t burn out highlights. I learnt not to compare film with digital or try to emulate digital with film or vice versa. I enjoy the different media for what they render in their own characteristic way.

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Plenty of mountains in the Costa Blanca, right next to the coast.

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And finally, a really overcast day. I discovered these houses and waited until a little spot of sun shone on them. It took four shots and over an hour until I got it the way I wanted it.

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I’m doing this multiyear project, shooting San Francisco. This Easter I’d go there for two weeks to shoot the city and its people in springtime. I’d take the Xpan and the Olympus PEN; in the Summer I’d spend six weeks there with the Linhof and some other gear. Now I’m so hyped I want to take the Linhof with Easter, too. I ‘ve never done this kind of intense shooting for a long time and I don’t know if I ‘d get fed up after a few days. In the summer I’d do different kinds of shooting and take a day off if it gets too crazy. The Linhof with Easter might get too intense because of the limited time. I have to make up my mind.

Bye,

Dirk.

Dec 192014
 

Friday Film: the Mamiya 645 Pro + various lenses and films

by fiftyasa

Browsing your excellent blog, I could find only one post about the Mamiya 645 and I thought to send a second one. And here it is! (I will keep it short and let the picture speak)

My configuration of the Mamiya 645 Pro with prism and winding crank, here with the Sekor 80mm f/2.8 (picture taken with Nikon FM2 50mm f/1.4, drug store 200 ASA film, scanned at home)

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Some impressions about the camera:

  • The Mamiya 645 is bulky – of course, it is a medium format camera! without lens it’s about 1,300g, similar to a Nikon D4.
  • It looks made of plastic, it feels made of plastic and it is made of plastic! But it doesn’t feel cheap at all! It is robust and well assembled, despite the fact that it has many removable parts (magazine, prism, winding crank and lens). Of course holding a Hasselblad 500 cm or a Rolleiflex 2.8f is something different, but with the Mamiya I don’t have the feeling that I am going around with a very expensive and rare antique. You might attract some attention due to the size of the camera, but that’s about it. No need to tape the brand or hide your camera for fear of being robbed
  • Also because a used Mamiya 645 Pro can be found very cheap! Mine was in mint conditions with 80mm f/2.8 for less than 300 EUR. The ProTL costs more, the 645 (no Pro) less.
  • The prism is stellar! Really big and with info of the shutter speed. Mine has exposure compensation and a wheel to select average metering, spot metering or auto. And the auto works: it recognizes when I shoot into the sun and correct exposure accordingly
  • The prism also has split prism and microprism ring to assist focusing. Nevertheless my focusing hit rate with fast apertures is not 100%. I always have a few shots which are out of focus. But the same happens to me with the Hasselblad 500 cm (which does not have split prism). Comparing the focusing experience with the rangefinder cameras, I find the latter easier to focus (I use Leica M6 and Zeiss Ikon ZM)
  • Of course you have to forget about a quiet shutter (if that is what you want, go with a Rolleiflex)

Lenses:

  • The Sekor 80mm f2.8 N is great! Small and relatively lightweight, it is in my opinion a super general-purpose lens!

Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Porta 400, standard lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Porta 400, standard lab scan with Fuji Frontier (the bokeh here looks like an oil painting)

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Fuji 400H, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 160, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Ektar 100, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier (the 3 pictures below show the typical rendering of the Frontier when scanning Ektar: bold, vivid and saturated colors)

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Ektar 100, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 80mm f/2.8, Kodak Ektar 100, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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I also have an 80mm f/1.9 N, maybe the fastest lens in the 6×4,5 world. This lens is heavy and I am not impressed by its rendering mainly because I see no character. Maybe it’s just me, but I see more 3D pop in the Contax 645 + Zeiss f/2 or even in the Rolleiflex 2.8f. I don’t own these 2 cameras and my comments are based on pictures from others, so I appreciate your opinions on this. Here you see examples. Open for comments.

Sekor 80mm f/1.9 (more or less at f/4), Kodak Ektar 100, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier (long exposure would require the special shutter release cable that I don’t have…)

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Sekor 80mm f/1.9 (I guess wide open), Fuji 400H, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 80mm f/1.9 (I guess wide open), Fuji 400H, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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I also use a 110m f/2.8 (non-N). This lens is not made of plastic like the modern N lenses. My only complaint here is that you have to keep on turning the focus ring for a while to go from minimum distance to infinite. I wonder why Mamiya made such a long focus range, also because it’s hard to see any difference in focus when you turn the ring only a few degree..

Sekor 110mm f/2.8, Fuji 400H, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 110mm f/2.8, Fuji 400H, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier

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Sekor 110mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 400, professional lab scan with Fuji Frontier (some flare visible on the black shirt)

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Further pictures on my website: http://fiftyasa.wordpress.com

Comments are of course welcome!

Dec 192014
 

The Linhof Technikardan 69 and Schneider Super-Angulon 65mm f/5.6

By Dirk Dom

Hi, everyone!

About half a year ago I decided to go into serious black and white landscape. First I wanted to buy a Sony A7R, with a Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens. That would have cost me some 6,000 Euro’s. But my love for black and white film (You can’t emulate grain) and mechanical camera’s made me change my mind and I bought a Linhof Technikardan 6×9, which shoots 6×9 on rollfilm.

I had a 150mm lens (equivalent to a 60mm on 35mm) and I proceeded to shoot this camera.

It was a disappointing experience. I put the camera on my big tripod and with that combination on my shoulder I walked around. After an hour I was in pain and I was exhausted. Setting up tripod with the camera on it was very difficult.

Then, last month, I got the idea of putting camera and everything in a Lowepro backpack and walk around with backpack, and tripod in hand, and setting up, getting everything out of the backpack, shooting, and putting everything back into the backpack. This worked, now I didn’t get tired anymore and could really shoot with this camera.

I’m working on a project: shooting San Francisco. Two years ago I spent six weeks there with my Olympus PEN and FD lenses, I’m going back for two weeks with Easter to shoot Spring there, and next summer I’m going back for another six weeks. Now that I had the logistics of the Linhof figured out, I want to spend the summer six weeks in San Francisco shooting black and white with it.

I want to shoot with four lenses (on a walk I always carry one lens), a 47mm (eq. to 19mm), a 65 (eq. to 26mm), my 150mm, and a 300, eq. to 120mm.

Today my 65mm arrived.

This is it

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On the camera it is like this

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I went to the forest to shoot it. There was a lot of traffic and I only got there at 3PM, so there wasn’t much light anymore. I had left my spotmeter on, and the battery was dead, I had to guess the light. The negs came out good.

Here’s my first shots with the 65mm: At last a wide angle on this camera!

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Here I used tilt to get more DOF, but I overdid it. With the wide lens the edges of the image on the ground glass are very dark, and there was only little light. The top of the trees is unsharp. Focusing with this lens must be real accurate, much more than with the 150mm.

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And here I did some serious burning in Photoshop.

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I scan the negs on an Epson 750 flatbed at 2,400PPI, this gives me enough for an enlargement of 2 ft 4 inches at 300DPI.

Everything you read on the Net about these camera’s slowing you down is true. Shooting with the Linhof is a unique experience, not in the least to work with a piece of fine mechanics. I know that image quality wise, the Leica M240 or the Sony A7R are better than this camera, but I’m glad I decided for the Linhof.

Bye,
Dirk.

 

Dec 172014
 

Rediscovering Old Friends Part 2 – With film

By John Tuckey

Hi Brandon

In my recent post about rediscovering the ‘Lux 50 I mentioned that there was film in the lab and that I’d send in a  film post when it was back… well, here you go. I’ve picked out a handful that directly correlate to the digital shots in the last post for those who still haven’t had enough of the film vs digital debate ;-)

For those who missed the first post here’s the digital shots http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/12/05/rediscovering-an-old-friend-the-lux50-asph-by-john-tuckey/

These have all had the same tweak to contrast and black level as they came into lightroom but are otherwise edit free beyond cropping. Hope you enjoy them!

M2, ‘Cron 90, Ilford Delta 400

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M2, ‘Cron 90, Ilford Delta 400

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MP, ‘Lux 50, Ilford HP5+

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Lux 50, Ilford Delta 400

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ux 50, Ilford Delta 3200

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Lux 50, Ilford Delta 3200

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Best regards

John Tuckey

Dec 092014
 

An exotic modern classic, the Rolleiflex FX-N

By Brett Price

Hello Steve/Brandon,

Its been a while since I’ve submitted anything for your site, I thought it was long overdue. I recently purchased what I believe to be my dream medium format camera, a Rolleiflex FX-N and I thought I would share some photos and experiences with it since owning it for the month or so I’ve had it.

Rolleiflex FX-N

Before owning this camera my primary medium format camera was a Hasselblad 501cm which I loved but often felt as though it was the wrong type of camera for my style of shooting. It’s an excellent system, but focusing can be slow and if you use a prism of any kind it becomes rather large and cumbersome. I had a kit with a few lenses, a few backs, a waist level finder and a prism but often felt like I really only shot it with the 80mm and carried one back 99% of the time. I also rather hate the need for extension tubes to get closer than 1m which can feel somewhat limiting for someone who primarily takes portraits.

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The FX-N is my perfect medium format camera because it solved most of my issues with shooting with the Hasselblad in one camera that didn’t have any negatives to me. It’s extremely small, not really needed more space than a Leica with a lens when put in a bag. It has a fast 80mm f2.8 lens, perfect for portraits. It’s quick to focus, moving from min focus to infinity is extremely easy and fast, the Hasselblad often would take 2-3 full slow turns to do that. It uses a leaf shutter, something I’ve grown accustomed to and is nice when working with flash or low shutter speed, It’s insanely quiet, almost inaudible and has no mirror slap so it can be handheld at low speeds easily. It has a built in meter, something the Hasselblad required an electronic prism for. But the main reason I sprang for it was its close focus ability, allowing me to get up to 55cm away from a subject without the need for an extension tube or magnifying filter. I hate carrying these things around, and I often feel like the sweet spot for portraits was just under the 1 meter that most cameras allow.

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So now this camera comes with me everywhere I go, easily. It doesn’t sacrifice anything I find to be important in a system and will shoot the way I want it for 99 percent of anything I typically throw at it and I’ve been hugely enjoying it thus far.

I actually thought twice about writing this short review for a camera that most people would never buy. Dropping the amount that this camera cost is not something that anyone would take lightly but when I considered the long-term usage over the course of a lifetime and the problems it has solved for me in finding an all round system that I like, it seemed like a reasonable amount. I also loved the ability to support one of the last companies still producing film cameras. I sold a bunch of gear to help pay for it, and part of it was a wedding gift from my now wife. It came in just in time for my recent wedding, which was the first day I used it for. It’ll always have a place in documenting our lives together.

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I think one of the things our generation forgets is that a camera used to last you a lifetime. It used to be something you would pass along through generations. I’m not knocking on digital cameras but that is certainly one quality I miss in modern cameras that digital will probably never be able to offer us again. I hope you like the photos I’ve shot with it thus far.

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I have more posted on my tumblr here:
brettprice.tumblr.com

Or on instagram here:
@brettwayneprice

I try to post at least a photo a day to those places if you’d like to see more.

Cheers,
Brett

Nov 122014
 

A Dedication to Chris Brunkhart

By Alex Bacon

Thank you Steve Huff for allowing me the opportunity to write about my friend, Chris Brunkhart. Chris is an amazing and influential lifestyle/snowboard photographer who was just recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colon and liver cancer.

Many of you who visit this website daily may not recognize Chris’s name but you may recognize his iconic photography. Chris’s images have documented the world of snowboarding in Snowboarder, Transworld Snowboarding and Frequency
magazines—to name a few. His editorial work in the 1990’s was often described as having a dark atmospheric quality, that gave as much attention to ethereal, snowy landscapes as it did to the athlete he was photographing.

I can truly say, that it isn’t just shooting the best athletes, over six continents that makes Chris tick. It’s the freedom of self-expression and the process of creating and capturing life’s fleeting moments which fuels his creative fire. His photography evokes emotion on such a deep level. You don’t just “see” what’s happening in the frame, you feel it…you’re in it, experiencing that moment physically, and I can’t think of a more apt compliment for any photographer. Chris’s creative vision and unique photographic style has influenced many young action-sports photographers over the years. Seeing Chris work first hand, applying his gift of capturing that moment in time is what drove me to pick up my first camera and pursue photography as a passion, I thank him for that gift every day!

For the past year, Chris has been living in Brooklyn, NYC where he has been shooting landscape photography and field portraiture, as well as dabbling in mixed media sculpture, woodworking, and continued contributions to underground film and video projects.

Upon his diagnosis in September, Chris returned to his home city of Portland, Oregon so he could be close to his friends and family during his treatment. Chis has recently begun his treatment of Chemotherapy and has started to fight against the cancer which is threatening his life.

There are two benefits being held to help raise funds for his ongoing treatment and everyone reading this is welcome to attend. The first will be on November 14, at NEMO Design in Portland, Oregon, and the second will be on November 20, at The Boathouse Collective, in Costa Mesa, California. A GoFundMe page for financial donations has also been set up at www.gofundme.com/chrisbrunkhart.

Image caption guide:

Meeting the heli, Juneau Ice Field, Alaska

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 Yakutat backcountry, Alaska

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Matt Donahue, Mountain pass near Briancon, Italy

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Craig Kelly, warming hut, Revelstoke, BC

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Devon Walsh, Mt. Hood, OR

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Dan Peterka, Stepping off into the Vltava river, Prague, CZ

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No Tennis. Creston Park, Portland, OR

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A woman waits on a cold winter day, Prague CZ

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Jamie Lynn, about midnight in Seattle, WA

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On his way to work. London, UK

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Silhoetted by the clouds. Craig Kelly, near Pucon, Chile

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