Aug 272014
 

Shooting Cinema Film

By Mark Ewanchuk

Hi Brandon and Steve–I hope this email finds you well!

Inspired by prior posts from Brett Price and others, I decided to attempt to shoot and process cinema film. I have included five recent images, but this is more of a “how-to” for those so inclined.

More details may be found on my site at http://iftimestoodstill.net/developing-cinema-film/

The two main questions that I had getting started were:
How do I get the film off the 400+ ft roll, and into my bulk-loader?
How do I remove the Remjet with minimal mess and difficulty?
One of your readers (Thanks, Dominic!) http://blog.wakingmist.com/?p=1481 was most helpful in addressing some of these concerns.
I have since acquired large rolls of Kodak Vision3 500T, and Vision2 200T–of the two, I must say I prefer the 200T for it’s slightly finer grain structure.

As far as Question #1 goes: Into your standard changing bag, you will require:

Your bulk roll of cinema film (Take the sealing tape off the film tin, but don’t open it yet!!)
Your bulk loader
Some scissors
Some cellophane tape
An empty inner spool or roll, which will fit easily into your bulk loader. I used the plastic roll from a standard film canister–I had to drill out the core to ensure that it would slide freely onto the post of my bulk loader.
White cotton gloves (from eBay!) to avoid marking the film.
Once all above in the bag, open the film tin, then the inner bag, and find the end of the film reel. Next, (using a small piece of cellophane tape…) tape the leader to the inner reel you’ve set aside. Start rolling the film tightly onto the reel, ensuring that the inner surface (the emulsion side) stays IN. This will likely take you ~10 min to transfer ~50 feet of film, and make the roll approximately the same size as your bulk loader. When finished, cut the film, and load into your bulk loader in the usual fashion. Don’t forget to re-package and seal the bulk roll into the tin!!

The next part, you know how to do: Load your film into canisters, and shoot away!

As far as development goes, standard home C-41 works fine (I use the Tetanal kits)–but you need to get the Remjet off first. (Thanks again to Dominic for the tip!) I use 2 litres of SUPER HOT water, to which 2 tablespoons of standard, garden variety (well, home variety, I guess…) Baking Soda has been added. This step must be done before your standard pre-soak. Two litres should give you about six washes. The water will start black, turn to pinkish-grey, and should be clear by the final wash.

Process according to your standard method, then stop after your final wash (and before your stabilizer). Remove the film from the development canister and hang–wipe once with a soft sponge as carefully described on my site. Re-thread the roll, and run through the stabilizer…Surfactant and distilled water to finish up, and you’re all done!

Yes, it’s a lot of effort…but I really do enjoy the results.

;)

The film has a unique character, and really affords you some creative latitude. Thanks to all who have contributed to this ongoing odyssey.

Best regards,
Mark

PS: If anyone wants a roll or two, shoot me a line…I’m sure we can work something out!

200T-SH-1

200T-SH-2

200T-SH-3

200T-SH-4

200T-SH-5

Aug 152014
 

Shooting film with a Leica M6

By Kjetil Andre Dalheim

In my last “inspiration” I wrote some word on my thoughts on going from a state of the art DSLR to rangefinder and Leica. Gear is not all, but changing to Leica is to me more than going from Canon to Nikon. Using rangefinder, manual focus etc change the way I take pictures. Wanting to challenge myself even more, I started to look into shooting film again. Someone once said that shooting film Leica is something all Leica users should do, so then….

I love my M(240), but adding a film Leica had two purposes for me. First the change in the process with using analog medium would challenge me and also give me a final product which I really like. I love to print (as big as possible), and film produces a look that cannot be copied with any digital camera/SW (in MY opinion). The other purpose, was that I wanted a small, cheap (in Leica terms) camera to have with me ALL of the time. I could have bought a Sony, Fuji or even digital Leica that fit in a pocket, but how boring is that ;)

After some research I concluded that M6, and M6TTL particulary was what I needed. Many reasons to choose something else, but for me there where a couple of important things. The M6 has a meter. No need to make the challenge too big! The M6 is mostly mechanical as opposed to an M7. M6TTL have have a way better shutter dial than the Classic. Last but not least, I found a MINT Leica M6TTL for sale here in Norway! It was also 0.72 viewfinder which I find practical as I shoot 28-50-90mm.

I love 50mm, and use my 50 Lux “all” the time on my M. To make things compact and not have to move lenses around I bought a 50 Summarit for the M6. I was now ready for some film shooting!

Analog vs digital

There is a lot of discussions of which is best of digital and analog. My conclusion so far is that I love both! One of them will not replace the other. Both methods have some advantage to the other, and I think shooting both is more “relaxing”, as you will not try to make one method be the other.

First of all analog is not instant. In today society that is almost unheard of, but one of the things I really enjoy. You take the picture, but no LCD to chimp, you wait for the film to be developed, picking the best negatives to go through the scanning process, process in LR/PS and print. All of this really gives you the feeling of creating something. Sitting down a looking at the final print on fine art paper is just lovely. On the other side, seizing a moment and share it online instantly with friends and family is something I appreciate to be able to do, so for me both worlds offer something.

Not being instant also gives another benefit that I did not think off. Taking a picture and not seeing it before it returns from development maybe weeks later, give you a distance to the picture. It really makes you look and make an objective assessment of the photo. Looking at something for a split second on the LCD might not give the best impression, and you might just delete the picture trying to reduce the massive amount to go through afterwards.

Film is more expensive ( if you forget the cost of the camera/lens). Taking photos by trial and error is both difficult and expensive with film. That makes you slow down. I take fewer pitures, but have just as many or maybe more keepers than with digital. On the other side, when conditions are difficult and the result is critical digital is by far the best.

M6 does not have any A mode, so learning manual is needed. The meter is pretty good, but again having no LCD to look at, you start to think of exposures. I have learned the “Sunny 16” rule, and use far more time to get the correct exposure.

Today we get new cameras on the market with new sensors almost every day. With increasingly sophisticated software we can also make the picture look exactly the way we want even before it comes out of the camera. All of that is fine, but with film I have found an even greater joy by the fact that each time you load a new roll in the camera you have a new sensor! The planning and anticipating with choosing a specific film with all its unique look, is far more fun. It is almost like trying to pick the perfect red wine for a specific dish.

Pixel peeping and 100% view…. I am one of them when I shoot digital. One of the benefits of Leica is the superb quality of the files. I love it when it, but with film I do not get the same result in regards to sharpness. It is possible, but I simply do not care that much. Slight OOF pictures… doesent matter. Grain… beutifull. If I only shot film, I might be more concerned, but I am not.

Workflow

Using film today is for many, including myself, a combination of old and new technology. I get my film developed at a studio close by (for now at least), but use a scanner to digitalize and finally print. I did some research before getting my first roles of film back. I ended up with a dedicated film scanner (Plustek 8200i). From what I see of examples they have an edge over flat-bed when it comes to 35mm film. From what I have learned so far, the software is by far the most important.

My current workflow consists of 4 programs. It might seem like a big job, but it is really quite fast and gives (in my opinion) descent result. I use Vuescan to make a linear scan. Vuescan is easy, fast and cheaper than alternative software. I open the file in PS, where I use ColorPerfect ( Plugin run through Filter in PS) to adjust the image and convert to positive. ColorPerfect is really THE key to get the best output! Finally I import the picture in Lightroom to give it the final tweak. This whole process from scanning is finished takes normally 1-4 minutes, which I think is acceptable.

M(240) vs M6

This is not meant as a product review, but I thought I might give some thoughts on pros/Cons on these two (wonderful) cameras. Both my cameras are in silver, and to be honest the M6 looks and feels like a “slim” M240. Both feel very solid, and the M240 is still a relative small camera, but the M6 has a slight edge in size. Small is not always best, as even the 50 Lux feels a little “big” on the M6. The Noctilux is almost a no-go.. Shutter sound on both are very nice, though most silent on the M6. The only think I consider to upgrade on my M6 is the glass in front of the focus screen (not sure that is the correct name..). In some light it makes the focus very difficult due to flare on the focus patch. This is due to missing coating, but can be upgraded to one with coating. As both mine are 0.72 viewfinder, it is really easy to change between the two cameras.

On the M240 I use A-priority almost all the time. Trying manual after using the M6, I actually find the M6 meter to be easier and more responsive as to signals. Having the opportunity to use A-mode speed up the shooting a bit, at least for candid pictures. But again a did not get the M6 for its speed ;) I long thought about having a second digital M as backup. Looking at it now I think the M6 with no need for batteries (metering yes, but it still work without), mostly mechanical might be a better choice.

Summilux vs Summarit

The 50 Summilux is surely one of the best 50mm around. It already had a 90mm Summarit and was very impressed with this “low cost” Summarit series. Receiving the 50 Summarit I was exited to see what it would be like. In short, I LOVE this lens! It is SMALL, sharp and very well-built. Compared to the Lux you lack some f-stops, but from f2.8 , sharpness, contrast and colors are just as good as the Lux. Build quality is very good on both lenses, but the aperture ring I would say is even better on the Summarit than the Lux, and the best I have tried on any Leica lens.

Summarize

To be able to shoot Leica film and digital is really the best of two worlds! I love the process of working with film, and I have already made changes to how I think, shoot, and process my photos. Some examples follow from the first roles in my beloved M6TTL :) Color photos are Kodak Portra 400, and the B&W are from Kodak Tri-X and Fuji Acros 100.

D@alheim-1-9

D@alheim-1-10

D@lheim-1

D@lheim-1-2

D@lheim-1-3

D@lheim-1-4

D@lheim-1-5

D@lheim-1-6

D@lheim-1-7

D@lheim-1-8

D@lheim-1-11

D@lheim-1-12

Aug 152014
 

Wedding shoot with a Leica M4-P

By Rikard Landberg

Hi! My name is Rikard Landberg.

In March this year I did my second wedding shoot ever. I don’t like to photograph weddings, they are too posed and too stiff. But this couple wanted something else. Beside the regular “posed” wedding photo the couple wanted some different pictures, so I figured I could shoot the wedding with a documentary feel. Capture the moment, in between the posing. Almost like behind the scenes.

At the time my Leica M6 had broken down so i had to get a new camera. So I found this beaten up Leica M4-P. It looked like it was hit by the train but it worked like it was brand new! I loaded it up with som Kodak Tmax 400 and shoot the wedding. When my M6 got back from the shop I sold the M4-P, something that I regret.

Here are the results.

Bröllop_spegelTOYP

Bröllop_spegel (2)TOYP

Bröllop_JA (4)TOYP

Bröllop_JA (3)TOYP

Bröllop_400_walk (2)TOYP

Bröllop_400_åsaTOYP

bröllop_travis

Check out my website and flickr!
www.rikardlandberg.se
www.flickr.com/landberg

Rikard Landberg, Sweden.

Aug 082014
 

A Film Friday Thank You

By Michael McFaul

Hi Steve!

You honored me with a post on your Film Friday a few weeks back and for that, I thank you. Now allow this write up to serve as a 2nd thank you…a thank you for lighting the fire within me that is photography. It’s something I didn’t know I had. I’m sure a lot of you are probably groaning and rolling your eyes as you read those previous two sentences. :) Cliche, I know. But let me explain.

Back in late 2011, my wife and I had booked our long overdue and months delayed honeymoon to the land of a thousand smiles, Thailand. After a big move to Chicago from FL, then a return trip back to FL for our wedding, and finally getting our finances in order…we booked our flight for Ko Lanta Yai, Thailand. Prior to this trip, we had gone to Sleeping Bears Dunes in Michigan and at the time we had a simple P&S by Fuji. However, have you ever been to Sleeping Bear Dunes? It’s beautiful! Fan-freakin-tasticly beautiful! The vistas are simply summed up in two words, jaw dropping. I. Kid. You. Not. And yet the little camera that is Fuji simply couldn’t capture Sleeping Bear the way I saw it. Don’t get me wrong, I have great memories of our trip and it was a great time for my wife and I. But when I conveyed my excitement to others and gushed about its beauty, the pictures I would eventually show them didn’t match my enthusiasm and words. It left me wanting more from a camera.

A Google search online led me to stevehuffphoto.com and damn you, Steve… :) I find it rather impressive that I haven’t dropped more funds on cameras and built up more of collection than I already have. I will say this, my wife is not the least bit happy that I discovered your site. Kidding. ;) But kidding aside, the many reviews old and new, guest posts, your love for M4/3rds among others, led to the purchase of the Panasonic GX1 and their classic 20mm f1.7.

I apologize, but do allow me a moment to get sidetracked…if it were not for Aaron Rodgers’ statistically out-of-this-world 2011 season, my fantasy football team would not be winners of our $1k+ league pool. Aaron, if you’re by chance reading this, thank you. You gifted me a pretty sweet camera and lens combo.

Back on track. Actually, enough writing…here are a few of my favorites snaps from Thailand. Although there may be more writing to come after this set of photos. All of these photos were taken in JPEG and edited slightly or for some, too heavily via Snapseed.

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Thanks to you, I have wonderfully beautiful images of our time in Thailand. It was an adventure that involved delayed flights, missed connecting flights, an impromptu stay in Phuket via an online booking from a Thai airport, an unplanned ferry ride to the Phi Phi Islands (DiCaprio, The Beach!) then a connecting ferry to Ko Lanta (which actually worked out better and would recommend for everyone:), and a truly fantastic stay at our resort…all documented via the Panny/Panny combo. Yet if you’re up for sticking around, there’s more.

The more would be our daughter, Eleanor. Documenting these past 18 months with her as a part of our life has been pure joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. And I am forever grateful to have my m4/3rd to capture the many moments that we have with her. Thank you, Steve.

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All these photos led to a previously done wedding gig via the OMD EM5 (which will be a post for another day…I promise), a family portrait session in the coming weeks and a job with an interior designer for her completed projects to be used for her site. I love it. I don’t see these projects as work and I hope that it doesn’t ever feel that way.

Your amazing site has opened a door to me…led to the discovery of my creative side in photography…and I’m excited as to what the future holds for me.

Here’s a link to my super green and new blog www.mikemcfoto.com … please bear with it as I’m trying to find my style/structure (I feel like my style is constantly evolving) for the site and decide if it’s going to be strictly film, a combination of film/digital and a posting of works I’ve done. But do feel free to visit. :)

Cheers!

-Michael

Aug 082014
 

Canon AE-1

By Shane Caut

Hi Steve and Brandon,

I thought I would write a submission highlighting some of the beauty of Australia captured on a Canon AE-1 Program film camera.

To begin with I am a novice when it comes to photography and have only started working at this passion the last year or so, so I know I still have a lot to learn. Your site has been a constant source of inspiration and information, which I have keenly absorbed and so I wanted to share my progress.

My first serious camera purchase was a Leica M8. I was all set to start with a Fuji X body, when I was shown a used Leica M8 in the camera store and I was hooked. The M8 seemed to make so much sense to me and I did not get lost in all the gadgetry that other digital cameras can provide. I love how the M8 taught me the basics of setting the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. What more could anyone need?! I started with the Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 color skopar lens and it is certainly a great value for money lens. Wanting to try a wide-angle, I purchased a 24mm f2.8 FDn lens which I thought I could adapt to the M8 and focus using zone focusing. This worked fine, but that lens just did not belong on that camera. I then did some research and decided to try the lens on a body it was designed for. This led me to the Canon AE-1 Program. This camera is a delight. It is simple to use, ergonomic, quite small for a slr, and can be purchased for less than $100.

I fitted the lens to the body and took it on a trip to Melbourne. Some of the results are below. The other shots are from the streets and beaches of Adelaide.

I have used a few different films in my fledging film endeavour: Velvia 100, Ilford FP4, Ektar 100, and Portra 400. All have their own unique signature, and to my eye provide a depth of character difficult to recreate on digital. I am now hooked on film, and switched my Leica M8, which I did love and will always be thankful for purchasing, for a Leica M3. The M3 is in another stratosphere to the other cameras, and is hard to put down once you start hearing that almost silent click of the shutter release and experience that super smooth advance lever. I now have a nice balance of the M3 with a Canon 50mm f1.4 ltm lens and the Canon with the 24mm.

I hope readers enjoy the photos and feel free to provide any critical advice.

I have just started a flickr site here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125897175@N08/

Kindest regards,
Shane

2568-09 (848x1280)

2568-15 (1280x848)

2565-19 (1280x848)

2565-21 (1280x848)

2565-32 (1280x848)

2565-16 (1280x848)

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13680034 (1280x846)

Aug 082014
 

David Hockney, a Rolleiflex and The Road To Prescott

By Huss Hardan

Hey Steve and Brandon. As always, thanks for providing such a great forum.

A few years ago I was watching a tv show on the famous British painter David Hockney. One always wonders what goes through the mind of such an artist, the process and how they envisage the image. What struck me was one scene where he was walking down a grey, damp, almost monochromatic country lane. And describing the explosions of colours everywhere.

I couldn’t see it, but then they showed a painting of what he had described and it was stunning. It was almost like he was looking at a negative film image. That taught me a lesson – never just look at a scene – imagine what that scene could be if you just let loose your color palette.

Fast forward to the present time. I was taking a long weekend trip from Venice Beach, California to visit a friend in Prescott, Arizona. It would be good to get out-of-town and away from the crowds, but I wasn’t prepared for the emptiness, nor the heat! Stepping out of the Jeep into the searing brightness was an experience. Initially everything looked bleached out and colourless. But as my eyes adjusted, colours began to saturate and condense.

A Rolleiflex 2.8E was used with polarizing and warming filters to create the imagined scene.. The film was expired Kodak E100G from my buddy Jim at Studio3 in Portland, Oregon.
http://www.studio3.com/

Peace out
Huss

husshardan.com

Along the way

Evening cloudburst

Into the valley

Passmore Gas and Propane

Stop

Upon an azure sky

Aug 052014
 

The best camera in the world! Pentax full frame MZ-3

By Aivaras Sidla

1

I decided to write, because of three main reasons:

A)    I really enjoy your site and would like to be a part of creating community rather than only visitor.
B)   I’m big fan of Pentax MZ-3 / MZ-5N cameras, and this article is my “thanks” to Pentax.
C)    As film shooter I want to promote film.

I’ll try to concentrate on user view of camera and lenses of the system and let readers know what could be achieved with it and with various film. Hope this will create more interest to use Pentax film cameras and push people to shoot more film. Sorry to inform, but report will be quite personal, contains too much photos and language will not be fluent.

I’m hobbyist photographer from Lithuania. My photography illness started in 2012. I started to shoot digital and by accident I stumbled into film photography – found unused film camera in my office and decided to try it. Then I hooked on film and I can’t let it down since then. Digital camera is used only about 30%, when there is not enough light for film, or when I’m in the mood for digital.

My history of film cameras started from Pentax MZ-30 (called ZX-30 in US) and after tests and changes of equipment, researches, purchases and sales I found which film camera is closest to perfect for me – Pentax MZ-3. MZ-3 is enthusiast camera close to top of the range in Pentax MZ line. Camera has very specific balance of simplicity and automation and this is main point in selecting it. Pentax tried to get back to traditional camera design but they put some modern features in it. In this article I do mention MZ-5n, part of shots are taken with it. This camera is very close to MZ-3. MZ-3 has higher top shutter speed – 4000 vs. 2000 in MZ-5n, but MZ-5n has 2s slowest shutter speed on dial vs. 1 s in MZ-3. There are none any more differences between those cameras that I know. To me they are the same, MZ-3 has advantage being faster;  I use both of them.

CONTROLS

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MZ-3 has to be used with lenses that have physical aperture rings, aperture is controlled with ring on the lens, and shutter speed is controlled by dial on top. Shutter dial has position “A” for Aperture priority, and with lenses that has “A” on aperture dial, camera can be used in shutter priority, or with both controls on “A” it is fully automatic. Simple as that. Below shutter speed dial is metering control switch – there are options of multi segment metering, center weighted and spot metering.Top left of camera contains exposure compensation dial. Below it is drive selector, with single frame, continuous shooting, timer and several options of bracketing.

Slanted panel, situated below top display contains exposure lock button. Main controls of camera are very intuitive, logically laid, fluent in use and everything could be controlled without taking camera from the eye. Controls of camera are very important issue for me, and MZ-3 has one of most confortable solutions. By the way – I think that creators of todays hot Fuji X-T1 had a good place to get some inspiration for controls.

VIEWFINDER

Viewfinder has 92% coverage with 0.8X magnification, has diopter correction and decent eye point – I wear glasses and that is important for me. There is display of main data in right side of finder with good visibility in good and poor light. Mate screen is suitable for manual focusing even without focus confirmation.

BODY AND DESIGN

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Body is made from plastic and has metal lens mount. I see that some call it flimsy and low quality, but for me it feels solid and reliable. It’s in line to fuji x100, X-E1 cameras that I owned, maybe it has even more solid feel. It weights 410 grams without battery. Body is compact, but with front integral grip and right curvatures in back cover it is very comfortable for my medium size hands.
Camera looks and feels in hand as proper camera should look and feel. Its great. Its traditional but not too old school.

AUTOFOCUS AND MANUAL FOCUS

Autofocus is screw drive, so it’s noisy. It’s quite fast with 43 mm and 50mm lenses and slow with 77mm. It’s quite accurate in normal light, usually confuses in backlight situation. I have no experience with fast AF cameras, so for me AF performance is decent and after using MF cameras, even existence of AF is very good thing.
For manual focusing mate screen is enough, after some practice. Additionally camera has visual (green dot in viewfinder) and sound confirmation.

METERING
As I mentioned previously, camera has 3 types of metering – multi segment, center weighted and spot metering.  I don’t use center weighted metering, so can’t comment on that.  Multi segment metering works good, I use it for less contrast scenes, and hadn’t any issues with it. According to manual it even senses and compensates metering for backlight scenes, but I haven’t tried. Spot metering is great function in this camera; I use it a lot. It’s great that I am able to switch between multi segment metering and spot metering with my eye on viewfinder.

OTHER / SPECIAL FEATURES
Panorama mode – there is a switch close to viewfinder that lets curtains on film in upper and lower sections of view. Then view and picture becomes wide. But is happened at the price of smaller frame – this function is similar to cropping. I use it rarely.
Multi area AF – autofocus can work with single center area (Spot focusing) or 3 points automatic focusing. I use only spot focusing.
DX coding – camera takes DX code from film canister and sets ISO automatically for each film. It prevent from stupid mistake to forget change ISO according to film used. There is option for setting ISO manually.
Auto rewind – camera prepares new film by winding several frames on spool, after loading of new film, winds film after each shot automatically and rewinds it automatically after film roll is finished (I receive strange looks when my camera begins whining when rewinding film).  I like auto film advancing, it lets concentrate on scene and prevent movement of camera which happens when manually advancing film.  Catch in focus feature – when using non AF lenses and dedicated remote cable, camera could be set to shoot automatically when subject comes into focus.  This is convenient in some cases. Build in flash  - used in once, so don’t have experience with it. Data back  - most MZ-3’s comes with data back. Date and time can be printed in each photo. Never used it.

CRITISISM 
There are several aspects that could be better in this camera, but issues are not big. Anyway I prefer to write about them:

Panorama mode – there are 2 problems. First – who needs it? :) Second – more important – if there is backlight in scene, then panorama “curtains” cause bad flare effects. AE lock button – its small, recessed and it hard to find without looking.
There is no mirror lock up feature. I haven’t experienced problems with that, as vibrations are well dampened, but still.

MAIN PROBLEMS
There are several common problems with MZ-3 and MZ-5n:

One is build-in flash spring holder. It breaks and flash doesn’t hold open, It has to be kept raised manually. One of my cameras is experiencing this problem, but for me its not big deal as I don’t use flash. It doesn’t matter when flash is retracted. This problem is easily solved by fixing spring holding pin (with glue).
Second is mirror motor drive gear. Its made from plastic and it breaks eventually. Pentax has solution for that – they produced motor with metal gear and put it MZ-3 limited models and some later models. This motor still can be bought new (approx. 30USD) and could be replaced.

LENS MOUNT
This is where we are coming close to interesting part. Body supports Kaf2, Kaf, Ka, K – mount lenses. Plenty of lenses are available as new or used options. It’s possible to get good quality lenses for reasonable prices or go for top of the range (and quite expensive) Limited’s. More on lenses – later. There is one limiting factor – lenses must have aperture rings, there is no option to control aperture from camera. Worth mentioning Pentax has wide array of legacy lens accessories, providing endless creative possibilities; there are macro add-on lenses for standard lens, macro helicoids, tele converters, even AF adapter that enables AF on some non AF lenses.  I don’t have lots experience here as trying to be as simple as possible. Use only Asahi close up filter Nr. 1 for closer focusing.

To sum all thoughts about camera, the essence not details above, I feel several great things about it:
-       It begs to be used. Starting from look of the camera, feel in the hands, continuing with feel and logic of controls to operational sounds and finishing with results. It inspires to go out (or stay in) and shoot.
-       It disappears when I’m using it. Looks like it’s me and the scene.

LENSES
I shoot with primes most often. My favorite focal length is around 50mm, sometimes I go for short tele range up to 100mm and I’m big fan of shallow depth of field. Pentax provides exiting options in this area and I will go trough those I own and love to use. I like fact, that Pentax managed to keep their prime lenses extremely light, compact and to keep small filter diameter (49mm in this case) – its important for me that all lenses I use has same filter diameter, It helps to save weight and expenditures for filters.

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
Good, predictable, balanced standard lens. A little soft wide open (rarely use it at F1.4), reasonably sharp from F2. Smooth bokeh, nine aperture blades provide non distracting highlights. It gives pictures on warm side and has old lens character (and that’s good).
Lens is quite compact, light despite amount of glass used, its made from plastic. Aesthetically this lens sucks with its horrible design and flimsy aperture ring and small manual focus ring, but from compactness side, from picture quality side and from cost side it delivers with excess. Lens is quite cheep both new and used. I would recommend it to 50mm shooter as universal lens. It my first AF 50mm  lens and I use it till this day, but its least used from 50mm lens range as its too much “in the middle”, not too “perfect”, but character is not pronounced enough. Everything about pictures from this lens fits into word “smoth”, therefore I use it when I want same feel in my pictures.

 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak Ektar 100

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 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Fujifilm Superia 200

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak Portra 400

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak Portra 160

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak BW400CN Professional

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 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak Portra 400

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Kodak BW400CN Professional

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 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4, Fujifilm Superia 200

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SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited

This one is special. Special starting from odd focal length – 43mm. I adapted to it and like fact that could include a little bit more of context into pictures.  It’s very compact and light, build quality is top. It’s real pleasure to handle this lens. Lens is sharp from wide open, bokeh is quite smooth, but highlights could be strange and distracting in some cases. Pictures from this lens is more on “modern”, “perfect” side. It’s my most used lens today. No lens is perfect, but excess perfectness in pictures and rare distracting highlights are compensated by feel of quality, sharpness, focal range and compactness of lens.

Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Fujifilm Superia 200

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Fujifilm Superia 200

6

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Kodak Portra 160

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Fujifilm Superia 400

8

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Fujifilm Superia 200

9

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 Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9, Fujifilm Superia 200

10

 SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

Again, typical to Pentax Limited’s odd focal range. Compact, high quality build, integrated lens hood, sharp, smooth bokeh, warm colors. Only good words for this lens.
It focuses slightly slower than 50mm or 43mm, but I suppose this is related to longer focal range.

Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8, Fujifilm Superia 200

12

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Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8, Fujifilm Superia 200

77 superia naujas

SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7 Limited

Latest addition to my lens stable. It’s very special by way how it renders picture and what colors it gives. There are two words that describe pictures from this lens  - surreal and psychedelic. :) I suppose this could be seen in photos. Lens is compact, light, sharp from wide open. Bokeh is… I don’t know how to describe it… its painted maybe? I like handling and physical feel better than FA 50mm F1.4. And its way cheaper in used lens market too. But not everybody would be fond of this lens strongly pronounced character.  Pictures has this “old school” look.

 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7, Fujifilm Superia 200

24

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7, Fujifilm Superia 200

25

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7, Fujifilm Superia 200

26

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7, Fujifilm Superia 200

27

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 Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7 + Asahi close up filter Nr.1, Kodak Ektar 100

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Pentax MZ-5n, SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7, Fujifilm Superia 200

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And… that’s it.

Steve and Brandon – thanks for keeping awesome site and thanks for publishing this article, or even considering (in case it wont be published :)).
Readers – thank you for reading and looking.

More pictures could be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aiwalit/

More about gear setup I use could be found here (only digital camera has changed): http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2014/02/bag-792-aivaras/

Best regards,

Aivaras

Aug 012014
 

Kodak Pakon F-135 Plus Film Scanner Review

By Logan Norton

www.logannortonphotography.org

Hello again Steve, Brandon and readers. A couple of weeks ago I read Brandon’s account of his experiences with the Epson V600 scanner. I have used that same scanner for a couple of years with similar results. While I found it to be a good tool for working with medium format film, I struggled to get consistent quality results from it when using 35mm film. Black and white performance was decent but where I had the biggest issue was color film.

This struggle led me to the Kodak Pakon F-135.  After extensive research I order a Pakon and got to work setting it up. This small desktop scanner was a staple in 1-hour photo shops for many years and is relatively widely available on the used market today. I was able to find one in excellent condition for $250, a far cry from the $12,000 they sold for in 2004! Because of this age, and the fact that Kodak/Pakon no longer support these scanners, it is necessary to run them with Windows XP or earlier software. While this is a definite downside to the equipment, the Apple Parallels program is able to provide me with a relatively seamless operating experience.

Once I had the machine up and running it was time to scan my first roll of film. Key word being roll; the Pakon scans entire rolls of film and does so in less than 5 minutes! So, I loaded a roll of Ektar and started scanning. When I opened the images in Lightroom I was absolutely blown away. The color was so rich and vibrant, the exposures so consistent and the detail was fantastic! The scanner produces RGB, 16 bit files with a maximum resolution of 3000×2000. The scanner has a very good version of Digital Ice that handled some very dirty negatives well without being overly aggressive in the image softening. I have found it to produce spotless images with reasonably clean negatives.

The most important factor for me though was the color rendering that I get from this scanner. Kodak designed the software that is used and it produces color that is so good it only requires a very minimal amount of post-processing. Highlights and shadows are both heavy with detail and skin tones are some of the best I have seen from any scanner, easily rivaling those from both the Frontier and Noritsu scanners I have used. I have created a number of 16×22 prints from Pakon scans that are fantastic.
So, are there any downsides to this magical little machine? Only one as far as I can see: it only handles 35mm film. My answer to this was to continue using the Epson V600 for medium format and incorporate the Pakon for my 35mm work, which grew exponentially after getting this scanner up and running. For those who shoot a lot of 35mm film or those who may have a large quantity of old film they would like to digitalize, I highly recommend you give the Pakon some serious consideration. I am sure that you will find it an excellent tool for your needs.

Additional Resource:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llthINnRSYA

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Jul 252014
 

Olympus XA series user report

By Gary Perlmutter

XA2

I first used the Olympus XA back in the early eighties and recently when looking for a cheap camera to start shooting film again, came across the range once more on eBay. The Olympus XA series first arrived in 1979 with the original XA (and the best specified model). A tiny true rangefinder 35m film camera with a very sharp 35mm f2.8 Zeiss Tessar lens. It had a built-in meter and a matching flashgun that simply screwed onto the side of the camera. Then in 1980 a more affordable addition to the line up was the XA2, this had a pre-focus slider, auto exposure and a cheaper but still very sharp f3.5 Zeiss Tessar lens. Other models released were the very basic XA1, the XA3 (which was really the same as the XA2 but with DX coding so that the film speed was set automatically) and finally the XA4, which had a 28mm macro lens that could focus down to one foot. The example I purchased was the XA2 model for just 7.50GBP or about $13. The original XA’s command a higher price, but can still be found for around 50GBP or $85. Most are still sold complete with the flashgun, which as mentioned earlier simply screws onto the side of the camera body.
When you buy any film camera of this sort of age it’s important that the seals around the camera back are intact. Otherwise you could get light leaking in and fogging the film. They can be replaced but on a camera already so cheap, it’s better to move on and find an example with the seals intact. Other things to look out for are is that the lens is free from fungus or scratches and that the shutter and meter work ok. They operate with two SR44 or equivalent batteries. Using the XA2 is a joy, especially for my passion of street photography. It’s tiny and black with a very quiet shutter, so very inconspicuous. Just slide open the clamshell cover and your ready to go, on the assumption you’ve remembered to load it with film first that is! Loaded with 400 ISO film and having set the focus slider to the middle setting, (Actually it resets to this anyway on closing the cover) most subjects will be sharp from around a metre or so to about 5 metres. So perfect again for shooting in the street. So if you’re looking for a full frame rangefinder camera for less than $85, you need not look much further! I have attached a few images shot with the first roll of Ilford HP5 plus that I put through the camera. I then processed the film myself with Ilford developer and scanned using my Plustek 8100, then tweaked just a little in Lightroom.
Full spec below:
Olympus XA

Lens: 35mm f/2.8 internally focused lens. Does not retract: magic optical design makes it shorter than its own focal length! It’s ready to shoot the instant you slid it open.
Exposure: Aperture preferred automation.
ISO: 25 to 800.
Shutter: Automatic electronic analog, 1/500 – 10 seconds.
Aperture: two-bladed manual, f/2.8 – f/22.
Focus: Rangefinder.
Power: Two SR44 cells.
Colors: Black; also red, silver or blue.
Weight: 7.800 oz (221.15g) with batteries (measured).
Size: 2.567″ x 4.123″ x 1.572″ HWD (measured).

Olympus XA2
Lens: 35mm f/3.5, four element Tessar variant, front element focus.
Focus: three zone manual. Resets to mid-distance when clamshell is closed.
Metering: Center weighted, program auto.
ISO: 25 to 800.
Shutter: 1/500 – 2 seconds. Aperture integrated with the two shutter blades.
Power: 2 SR44 cells.
Size: 2.598″ x 4.102″ x 1.605″ HWD (measured).
Weight: 7.480 oz., (212.1g) with two S76 cells (measured).
Olympus XA4 (1985)
The XA4 was an XA2 with a 28mm lens that scale-focuses as close as 1 foot (0.3m). The wrist strap was this same length so you could tape-off your shots.
Closing the cover also reset the scale focus back to 10 feet (3m).
My links: http://gpstreetphotos.tumblr.com
Twitter: @gpstreetphotos

 chilling

cool

I believe

Jul 222014
 

My $3 wonder, the classic Ricoh FF-90 Review

By Brandon Huff

DSC_4551

Hey everyone, hope you are all having a great day today! I recently acquired a new to me Ricoh FF-90 film camera. Gotta love the local Goodwill! After buying it I wanted to put it to use so away I went.

I took the Ricoh FF-90 to the river hoping to get some great shots of people and the group I was with, I got a few but noticed some small issues with this camera. This could easily be that it was a Goodwill camera and had some issues from the owner misusing it or just due to age, who knows. However when this camera does focus right and focus well, the camera has pretty well photo quality even though I am using not very good film for this test (just some cheap CVS Kodak film) I may put some Porta 160 in this camera to see how much better it is then update this review with better photos. To me, the lens looks good so far.

My favorite part of this camera over the Contax T2 that I have been using is it is way quicker, though more cheaply made it still feels great in the hand, when I took this on the river I had to keep it in a small waterproof box attached to my belt loop which wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever but good enough to be able to get some good photos. I could easily and quickly grab it out and take a picture then hurry and put it in before the rapids came. When you place film inside this little camera it automatically winds it and tells you the ISO by itself. It’s practically a fully automatic analog camera which is nice for a point in shoot sometimes. So yea, this is indeed a Point and Shoot. Nothing fancy, nothing exotic..just a good old-fashioned P&S film camera.

Kyle, mid day AZ sunshine on the river – Ricoh FF-90

Kyle tube

The colors are actually quite nice even with very cheap film about 8 dollars for 3 rolls, if I was to put Porta 160 in here and the camera focused correctly I bet it would be quite superb..I love Portra!

Sarah Ricoh FF-90

Sarah

Group Photo Ricoh FF-90 – others that were on the river that day..

Group photo

Group of tubes Ricoh FF-90

Group

Party

Focus issue 2

Landscape

Focus prob

This camera has made many of my photos unusable as it did not focus correctly on many occasions.  It either focused really close or behind the subject which is quite…. odd, but when it works well the images do come out nice and I enjoy the images this camera gives! I must say for 3 dollars from Goodwill this camera is terrific even if it is a little sketchy but hey,  you can’t beat that price! I will be keeping this camera as a backup or carry while hiking kind of camera! Id say if you can find one for under 8 dollars go for it! It’s a great cheap alternatives to the higher rated point and shoots and isn’t that bad of quality!

Thank you everyone for reading!

Brandon

http://brandonhuffphotography.com

Jul 222014
 

The new Hasselblad CFV-50c CMOS Digital Back. 

cfv-image3

The new CFV-50c from Hasselblad. A 50 MP CMOS digital back with ISO up to 6400 for the iconic V system. Hasselblad is promising amazing IQ and colors in any light, which is unheard of when it comes to Medium Format as they have always been very limited in this area. While not cheap, the new CFV-50c is not nearly as expensive as I expected it to be, coming in at $14,900 US. Now yes, that is insanely expensive but I expected Hasselblad to come in with this at $25,000. With their Stellar and Lunar Sony bodies coming in at such insane prices, the thought of a full on Hasselblad NEW CMOS 50MP digital back for such an Iconic camera line had me thinking $25-$35k. So $15k, that is about the cost of a Leica M and a 1-2 lenses. ;) Add in a used V series camera setup with lens and you will have a classic, iconic and gorgeous modern day masterpiece. Old with the new. Modern meets classic. I love it. So who makes this sensor? Well, the one company who keeps pushing the limits..SONY. There are even rumors that Sony will be releasing a Medium Format fixed lens MIRRORLESS camera soon. ;) 

You know, there was a time when Hasselblad stood for many things including quality, precision, build, design, soul, magic and originality. Their classic V series of medium format film cameras have always been the gold standard for MF shooting. I have lusted over a 501CM camera for many years, and have only shot with one for one day of my life. It was a very nice experience. The negatives that came back from that camera were gorgeous as there really is nothing quite like a medium format negative. Rich, full of texture, full of soul and life. Using the camera was an exercise in slow, steady and using my brain. Looking through the finder was a very cool experience that felt natural to me.

Sadly, over the years the Hasselblad system started to fade as digital came into play and soon, many of these classic systems started to appear on e-bay for peanuts. Many dropped the system as they no longer used film. Some tried out the digital back that was released a while back, the CFV 50 (minus the C) with good results, but it was limited to ISO 800 and CCD.

This week, Hasselblad has launched the new CMOS digital back for the V system…

Lately it seems Hasselblad has been focusing their energy and time on silliness such as the Lunar and Stellar cameras, which are rebranded high prices Sony bodies that are now out of date. Many have lost faith in the once mighty Hasselblad, writing  them off as a company who would soon be history, or become a spoof of its once former self. Now it seems they are giving something back to all of those who own and use the classic V system. Well, not GIVING, but making it available…at a price.

YEP, this week Hasselblad has announced the CFV-50, which is a new digital medium format back that can be used on all classic V system cameras. Yes, that 501 you have in your closet? You can now add a state of the art digital back to it and use it once again, just as you did in the glory days of film. :) OMG, I so want one. In fact, I would love to have the system just as shown below. This is a new CMOS sensor guys, so much more usable than the CCD sensors in previous digital backs.

The stock image of the new CFV-50 on a 501CM. What a combo!! 

HassebladCFV50

Unfortunately for me, I do not have a spare $20k or so lying around to create something like that but maybe..one day. For me, something like what you see above is sort of a “Holy Grail” setup. Modern Medium Format Digital connected to the most gorgeous and classic medium format FILM camera ever made. It is a thing of beauty and while not a camera for daily use, it would be one for SPECIAL use. I can not wait to see examples that come from this beauty. Hasselblad will NOT be recreating the camera body of course , so you must have a classic V model to use the back. I think this may just drive up prices on the used market for them. You can see a list of compatible models HERE.

From Hasselblad CEO Ian Rawcliffeon the new CFV-50 Back:

“We have experienced a substantial resurgence of interest in our iconic V cameras – users love the traditional ergonomics and the unique appearance. Our research has shown that although we no longer manufacture V models, there is a big demand from our dedicated V System users who want to be able to continue to use their classic cameras but also desire access to our latest technology.”

Research:

See more at the Hasselblad site HERE.  Compatibility page is HERE and Planet V page is HERE. 

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Tech Specs:

Sensor type: CMOS
Sensor size: 50 Mpixels (8272 x 6200 pixels)
Sensor dimensions: 43.8 x 32.9 mm
Image size: RAW 3FR capture 65 MB on average. Tiff 8 bit 154 MB
Capture rate: 1.5 capture/sec. 35 captures/ minute (based on a SanDisk Extreme UDMA7 120 MB/s)
Single shot
16 bit colour
ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 & 6400
Longest shutter speed: 12 minutes
Image storage: CF card type II (write speed >20 MB/sec) or tethered to Mac or PC
Color management: Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution – One generic profile
Storage capacity: On average 60 images on a 4GB CF card

Battery type: Sony™ InfoLithium L NP-F series
Colour display: 3.0 inch TFT type, 24 bit colour
Histogram feedback: Yes
IR filter: Mounted on sensor
Feedback: IAA – Instant Approval Architecture: provides acoustic and visual feedback
File format: Lossless compressed Hasselblad 3F RAW
Software: Phocus for Mac and PC (included)
3FR files are also supported directly in Apple and Adobe environments
Macintosh: OSX version 10.5 or later. PC: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), Windows 8
Camera support: Hasselblad V System cameras manufactured since 1957. 2000 series cameras and 201F with C lenses only. 202FA / 203FE and 205FCC camera models need a minor camera modification to use F/FE lenses. All other cameras with Hasselblad V interface.

Host connection type: FireWire 800 (IEEE1394b)
Battery capacity: Sony™ InfoLithium L, up to 8 hours of shooting capacity
Operating temperature: 0 – 45 °C / 32 – 113 °F
Dimensions: 90 x 92 x 57 mm [W x H x D]
Weight: 530 g (Excluding battery and CF card)
Package contents: Hasselblad CFV digital back with protective cover, adapter cables, rechargeable battery with charger, EL camera battery adapter, FireWire cable and 8 GB CF card. Focusing Screen (Split image / Micro Prism) with dual format markings.

Jul 162014
 

Epson Perfection V600 scanner

by Brandon Huff

(From Steve: Hey guys! Today I bring you an article by my Son, Brandon who has just started to get into film photography, and he is hooked for sure. He has been saving for a Leica M6 but he asked if he could post this short review of his new film scanner here and of course I said yes! He also started his own little website just for fun where he will talk about film gear, scanning, shooting and all kinds of stuff from time to time, so check it out at http://www.brandonhuffphotography.com. He works for me a few hours per week and liked it so much he wanted to start up his own little space on the web. As I always say, it’s all about the passion..and he has it! Like Father like Son!)

For over a month now I have been wondering…should I get a scanner? Should I spend all of that money and potentially not enjoy this time intensive process at all? Well, I will just tell you the old way I was doing it first. After my first roll of film I realized it would be REALLY expensive to get it all scanned at the pro lab at 10-15 dollars a roll. I decided to look for cheap ways to scan film while keeping good quality for what I was doing. I took my Nikon V1 with 18mm lens and propped it on a tripod. I then took a glass door from a cabinet and a bright LED light under with photo paper on top. I would take a picture of each frame and crop it out, this was working great for black and white and medium format but once I got around to color film and especially 35mm format it all went down hill. The contrast was horrible, the colors I tried to fix myself were horrible and it was all just not going to work. So I finally splurged and paid the $220 on Amazon for the Epson V600 scanner.

I must say WOW! This is without a doubt the best 200 dollars I have spent for film photography since I’ve started.  The V700 does medium format and 35mm plus regular scanning as well. It’s resolution for film scans can be set all the way to 12000 DPI even though I can not use that resolution as the scans come out in TIF format at a whopping 1Gig each!! Yes 1GIG! Insane!

Here is the Epson closed

DSC_4546

Here is the Epson open with transparency unit exposed

DSC_4541

Excuse my product shots I have no good way at the moment to do things like this.  The resolution of this scanner is fantastic, it is considered a semi pro model under the Epson V700 which is the professional line but the main reason for not purchasing this is the price jumps and I mean JUMPS this model is only 200-220 dollars while the V700 sky rockets to around 600-700 depending on who you buy it from. Enough talk, lets get to the sample images. I will be showing the old way in which I was doing it (Using my Nikon V1) and the new way as well (with the V600)…

Contax T2 old way with the Nikon V1

mom

Contax T2 same photo Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto008

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Contax T2 old way with the V1

Brother

Contax T2 Epson V600 4800 DPI

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I will now show you some holga shots that are color as well…when I did these color photos they were done in full auto mode with NO retouching WHAT SO EVER non at all!

Holga old way with V1

Asian man

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Holga Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto020

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Holga old way with V1

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Holga Epson V600 4800 DPI

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The rest of these photos will be from the Mamiya 645. I do not have any color film with it yet but the sharpness if fantastic. Before I do that I would like to say one thing that is wrong with this scanner. The two photos above with the shirts… if you notice the first one is a bigger frame, you can see more shirt to the right and while the one scanned with Epson is WAY better looking it cut off some of the image because it did not see the shirt on the right side. The V600 cropped the frame a bit.

Mamiya 645 Old way with the V1 as the “Scanner”

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Same images but with the Epson v600 9600 DPI

Film auto035

Film auto034

As you can see these photos are FANTASTIC! WAY better quality out of this scanner so all in all I will be keeping it. I love it!  it’s amazing and I think for all you film shooters that do not have the money to blow $600 on the V700, this is one of the best alternatives I know of. Here are some new photos for you all to enjoy from this great scanner!

Mamiya 645

Selife

Moped man

Momma

Grafwall

Also if you want too you are all welcome to check out my new photography blog/review site. I mostly do film cameras and film types, I am in the process of getting more equipment to review so I will try to post as much as possible!

http://brandonhuffphotography.com

Jul 112014
 

A Leica M3 User Report in Pictures

By Logan Norton – His website is HERE

LEICAM3

 

Hello Steve and readers, I would like to present a review of my favorite documentary camera, the venerable Leica M3. As a long time Leica lover I have tried or owned every M camera iteration and I continually find myself drawn back to the original for its impeccable style, exquisite viewfinder and solid, mechanical feel. The M3 does not require batteries, as it has no light meter. It features a .91x magnification viewfinder that is exceptionally well matched to 50mm lenses.

The M3 started a long history of Leica use for reportage and street photography. Greats such as Imogen Cunningham, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gary Winogrand, Helmut Newton and Diane Arbus all chose Leica cameras for their work. A Leica camera provides near silent operation in a small, easily ignored package; something that allows street photographers and reporters to blend into their surroundings and operate with minimal disruption of the events surrounding them. It was for these characteristics that I chose to bring my trusty M3 along when I went out to document a Peace March in Salinas, CA earlier this year.

In response to escalating violence involving the Salinas Police Department, members of the Hispanic community organized a Peace March. The march highlighted three shooting deaths of young Hispanic men at the hands of the Salinas police and called for open dialect between the city and the Hispanic community leaders.

In order to cover this event I paired my M3 with two of Voigtlander’s best lenses; the 50mm Nokton f/1.5 and the 28mm Ultron f/2. One of the downsides to the M3 is its lack of 28mm (or 35mm for that matter) frame lines. For my work I do not use an external finder for this lens, instead choosing to shoot with both eyes open and guestimate the framing. I have found this to be suitable for my purposes but would definitely not recommend it for everything. The images were all captured using either Kodak 400tx (my favorite film for these events) or Fuji Acros 100. The film was developed at home using Kodak Xtol developer and scanned with a Kodak Pakon F-135 Plus.

 

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Jul 112014
 

The Ancient Aegean Coast of Turkey, Film Friday

By Ibraar Hussain

Dear Steve and Brandon and all Stevehuffphoto.com lovers!

I thought I’d write a short article about Asia Minor, The Ancient Near East or rather Turkey and The Aegean Coast. I guess this is most likely a Film Friday post, but I am trying to make my posts more about Photography and less about Gear and whether Film or Digital.  I do love Photography and as you may have noticed, travel photography especially so.

Me and the Missus went to Kusadasi for a week and had a great time, and I went with just one camera, my Rolleiflex 3.5F and 6 rolls of Film, and my trusty iPhone 5. I spent most of the time relaxing, experiencing and soaking up the vibe, but I did get some time to take a few pictures here and there.

Me and my Rolleiflex, at Ephesus, picture courtesy of The Missus. iPhone 5.

IMG_6753

Kusadasi is a nice resort, a modern town with an ancient heart.

Amid the tourists, cruise ships, sun, sandy beaches and bazaars you’ll find some history and the resort is especially important as it is a base for exploring the surrounding country where you can find some of the most well preserved and glorious Ancient Greek, Roman/Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman sites in the World.

Kalaeci Mosque, Kusadasi. Rolleiflex 3.5F Fuji Velvia 100

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The beaches along Town are pretty crowded, nice and lively enough but too much for me, so we went over to Dilek Milli Park to explore the beaches down there.

Busy “Ladies Beach”, Kusadasi. iPhone 5.

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Travelling around is easy, just hope on the very frequent Dolmus or Mini Bus for less than a Dollar a journey and go where your heart pleases, the people are very friendly, hospitable and relaxed. For secluded beaches amongst pines, forests canyons and hills nestled along the Aegean and within sight of The Greek islands is Dilek Milli Park. There are three beaches in Dilek Milli Park and the first is a beautiful sandy cove – but pretty busy as this is where most of the families go.  The other two beaches are quiet and tranquil and here you can relax and enjoy the sea, sun bath, snorkel and just relax – but watch out for the Wild Boar!! And there are absolutely no shops or anywhere to buy anything within the park, so be prepared!

Beaches at Dilek Milli Park, with the Greek islands visible. Aegean Sea, Turkey. Rolleiflex 3.5F Fuji Velvia 100.

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The ancient sites worth visiting include Ephesus, The Meryama – the House of The Virgin Mary where St John brought her after the Crucifixion of Christ, Ayasoluk Hill – in Seljuk; the site of St John’s Basilica and the Byzantine Fortress (along with Isa Bey’s Mosque and many other Seljuk and Ottoman sites), The Ionian Cities of Priene and Militas, Aphrodisias and Pamukkale.

We didn’t have time to explore everywhere so we will go to Priene, Militas, Aphrodisias and Pukkalake next time and I’m looking forward to it!

We did visit the Meryama and Ephesus, and impressive as these are, there were a LOT of tourists and the weather was hot! Beautiful places which i longed to photograph but alas the scourge of tourism meant that I could hardly take a snap without loads of people violating my vista so I include only a handful of shots of Ephesus here and none of the Meryama which I was reluctant to photograph as it’s a pilgrimage and holy site for many Christians and I found snapping it a tad disrespectful.

Ephesus was awesome, it really was awe-inspiring and amazing, the architecture, layout all worked with stone and utterly beautiful, yet again, a sadness came over me as I thought how it must’ve been like and how it has fallen into ruin. Ephesus used to be by the sea, but the sea retreated contributing to it’s downfall, but waves of marauding barbarians destroyed Ephesus ensuring it’d never rise again and will be just a monument and a place where tourists tread.

I think moody Black and White would’ve worked better for photographing these ancient monuments and cities, and for those interested, read the excellent Southern Frontiers by Don McCullin – a big book full of beautiful B&W Large Format plates of photographs taken in similar places throughout the Southern Frontier of The Roman Empire.

“Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/;[1] Greek: Ἔφεσος Ephesos; Turkish: Efes; ultimately from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city[2][3] on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital[4][5] by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. According to estimates Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.[6]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus

The Ruins of Ephesus, Rolleiflex 3.5F Agfa Ultra 50.

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did however go to Seljuk, and Ayasoluk Hill and explore the ruins of St Johns Basilica and the Byzantine fortress overlooking the hill – and resting upon where the Gospels were said to have been written down.
And at the base of the hill is to be found The Temple of Artemis; in ruin, with a sadness in the air but with a hidden majesty which befits one of The 7 Wonders of The Ancient World.
Walking around the ruins is an episode in itself, I could sit there for hours and reflect.

“The Basilica of St. John was a basilica in Ephesus. It was constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. It was modeled after the now lost Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.[1]”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_St._John

The Ruins of St Johns Basilica from Ayasoluk Hill, Seljuk, Turkey. Rolleiflex 3.5F Fuji Velvia 100.

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The Byzantine Fortress at Ayasoluk Hill. Rolleiflex 3.5F Fuji Velvia 100.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis

“The Temple of Artemis (Greek: Ἀρτεμίσιον, or Artemision), also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey), and was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401.[1] Only foundations and sculptural fragments of the latest of the temples at the site remain.”

The ruins of The Temple of Artemis, Seljuk, Turkey. Rolleiflex 3.5F Fuji Velvia 100.

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In this picture you can see the Byzantine Fortress and St John’s Basilica atop Ayasluk Hill.

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A wonderful place which you’ll need weeks on end to visit and explore, I have only included a small selection of photographs here as there’s a wealth of things to see and experience, olive groves, peach trees, sleepy hillside villages, Greek Churches, boats and orange trees, and of course bazaars, market towns and fantastic food and people.

A wonderful place for the photographer.

Jul 112014
 

My New Challenge: Black and White Landscape

By Dirk

Hi!

I decided I need a new challenge in photography. Thirty years ago, I printed black and white landscape. After a move I didn’t have a darkroom anymore and it stopped. Some years ago I started shooting medium format. My favorite camera was the Mamiya 7 rangefinder with the 43mm lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I started shooting landscape again. I discovered I could directly use all my darkroom experience in Photoshop. This week I bought a 6×9 technical camera. I’m going for serious landscape now, with a camera with movements. I hope to make about ten good images a year. I very much enjoy going to the basics of photography. I know the Sony A7R with the Canon 17mm tilt – shift is better, but I don’t care: there is simply no comparison. I get my images printed with an inkjet on Hahnemühle baryta. I like grain and thus I shoot with 400 ASA film.

Here are a few images, shot with the Mamiya 7 with the 43mm lens:

The Bernia mountain range, Costa Blanca, Spain, orange filter.

Bernia mountain

Schelde river at Antwerp, red filter; this image was on my first roll off the Mamiya.

River Schelde, Antwerp

A village in the Ardennes, shot with an orange filter.

Falmagne

Dirk.

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