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Apr 142017
 

Friday Film : A roll of T-max 400 from shooting to sharing 

By Jerome

Hello Steve and Brandon,

In November last year I had the chance with the local photo club to shoot a roll of t-max 400 during a film « Grenowalk » (a shooting walk once a month, each time a different theme ; and the club is from Grenoble, France). I restored the Yashica FR I 35mm reflex camera lent by my step parents, throw a roll of t-max 400 (36 views), and here we go.

 

Shooting was very enjoyable ; the viewfinder is very big and bright (paired with a 50mm f/1.7), composing and focus are easy, metering very good (confirmed by the images later). Once shot, the film was developed by myself in an associative lab, La Bifurk, where I was taught how to develop and enlarge a 35mm film. Scan was done with a DIY box, where the film is back illuminated with my smartphone and scanned with an Olympus E-P5, the same 50mm f/1.7 used one the Yashika, and a couple of close-up filters, and post processed with Lightroom (curve inverting, contrast, local dodge/burn, spot removal). The t-max is a low grain film, and with pleinty of informations in hightlight and shadow to recover ; PP was easier than I tought.

I am quite happy with the result, I think some images are worth showing, I hope you will enjoy some of them.

Thanks for reading,

Jerome
www.flickr.com/photos/jeromedoutaz
www.facebook.com/jeromedoutazphoto/

Mar 312017
 

Film Friday! Downtown Antwerp with the Hasselblad Xpan and Kodak Tmax 3200

By Dirk Dom

Hi!

When I just had my Xpan, a few years ago, I felt like going downtown and shoot at night with it. I only had the 45mm lens (field of view horizontally equivalent to 24mm full frame) and used Kodak Tmax 3200. Because the Xpan only does automatic exposure with shutter times shorter than 1/15th second, I kept the camera at 1/15th or 1/30th manually and eyeballed it. All shots hand held. The Xpan shoots 24 x 65mm negatives on 35mm film, 20 shots a roll. It’s a rangefinder, but with the 45mm I always zone focus except when I need it to be super accurate. It’s one of my most favorite camera’s.

The Xpan with the 45mm lens

The 24 x 65mm vertical shutter

The park near where I live, between the houses and the railroad

These are old water cisterns from the time when there were still steam locomotives. They’re a very beautiful sight, very close to my place

An old building they refurbished into apartments

A pedestrian / bicycle tunnel under the railroad

The Antwerp cathedral is beautifully lit

A group of statues at the Cathedral, commemorating the building. They worked at the Cathedral for over 200 years. Take that, 21st century!

A shop window, downtown

The Meir, a big shopping street, completely deserted at night. The stone pillars were later removed as in the very crowded street during the day people didn’t see them and got hurt walking into them.

An office buillding on the Melkmarkt

Of course a Mac Donalds on the Meir, and to the left the Antwerp Central Station. This was a difficult composition and exposing the very brightly lit Mc Deonalds and the tower was difficult. Burning and dodging are your friend!

A last one of the Cathedral,

And a last shop window

Walking the city at night is fun. Hope you enjoyed them!

Film exposed at 3,200 ASA and normally developed in Tmax developer, developing time as on the bottle.

Bye,

Dirk.

Feb 032017
 

India Street Photography

By Roshan Moh’d

Hello Steve!

My name is Roshan, 20, and I’m from Hyderabad, India.  I’m a street photographer and a CS student. I’m a self taught photographer and started shooting film for a year.. and got attached to Film photography..  Bought a Canon AE1 with 50mmf1.8 lens.. shot few rolls.  Got it developed and processed here. In India Labs are very rare, especially in the place where I live and it’s expensive too.

The scans aren’t great.

Hope you guys enjoy my work. Please follow and support me on Instagram @numowl

Thank you! 😀

Jan 272017
 

Friday Film: Leicas in the Attic

By Keith Lewis

What a treasure trove of film cameras!  My son and I were astounded and excited by what we were being shown.  Through a casual conversation about cameras with a neighbor friend, I had learned that his wife’s deceased father had been a passionate amateur photographer and that they had been left as part of his estate quite a collection of “old film cameras”. These cameras had been stored in an attic for several years.  I was invited to look at them along with my son who was visiting with us that weekend from Holland and is a very keen and talented “retro” street photographer i.e., he much prefers shooting film over digital.

The collection of cameras included high-end Nikon, Minolta and Canon analog SLRs, a Pentax 6×7 medium format camera with many attachments, many lenses, flashes, tripods etc.   The collection also included two field cameras and the “jewels in the crown” for us were a Leica M6 and Leica iiig complete with a wide selection of lenses, filters, viewfinders, cases and attachments all in seemingly excellent or very good condition.

The Ebony RW45 field camera was probably the most unusual and rarest camera in the collection.  What a piece of hand built workmanship!  A beautiful assembly of mahogany wood, machined titanium and leather and in almost unused condition.  I quickly went online and discovered that this “old” camera is still desired and used by many serious landscape photographers around the world.   Ebony cameras have only just gone out of production when the last master-craftsman in a small shop in Japan decided to retire (July 2016).  I quickly realized that this would be a great camera for the right buyer but it was not for me; way too much skill and patience required!

My son was immediately drawn to the Leica M6 since a high-quality rangefinder has been on his wish list for a very long time.  We soon agreed he would have an option to purchase the M6 pending some test shots.  I spent the next few weeks with this camera on loan and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of using a rangefinder for the first time.  Here are a few sample shots showing the vibrancy and clarity of the outstanding Leica M lenses.  Note that these results are from a standard high street 1-hour processing, Fuji ISO 200 film and low resolution scan.  The camera was found to be in great condition except for some paint bubbling on the top where it must have been stored in a damp case?  The two Summicron lenses (35mm & 50mm) and the 90mm Elmarit lenses were found to be in excellent condition despite being almost 20 years old (the Elmarit is older).

White Horse of Kilburn, North York Moors National Park, Leica M6 w/Summicron 35

Roseberry Topping, North York Moors National Park, Leica M6 w/Summicron 35

To cut a very long story short my friends gave me free-rein to assess and experiment with all the cameras and to help them find buyers.  Their goal was to try to find photographers who would use, love and appreciate the cameras as a continuation of her father’s legacy.  Very generously, selling price was a secondary consideration. Fortunately, I have a golf friend who is a passionate photographer and I garnered his interest and enlisted his help in this project.   We found talented and motivated buyers for the medium format and large format field cameras, plus some of the better condition 35mm lenses.  There was little interest in the 35mm SLRs and we sold those through a dealer.

The one camera unspoken for was the Leica iiig.  I was hooked from the first moment I got hold of this wonderful camera, complete with the vintage compact and collapsible Leica LTM (Leica Thread Mount) lenses.  The experience with the Leica M6 inspired me to try film again so I asked to borrow the iiig and see whether it would work for me both as a collectable and as a working camera.  I spent several enjoyable hours researching the history and functionality of the Leica “Barnack” cameras and I became more excited about the iiig when I realized it’s long pedigree and the fact that this was the last model produced.  It is notable that production of the iiig continued for a couple of years even after the “revolutionary and modern” Leica M3 was released.

I decided that before loading film in the iiig I should test the LTM lenses for clarity by hooking them up to my digital Lumix GX7 via a very inexpensive E39 to m4/3 adapter ring purchased on Amazon.  As soon as I took the first digital test shots with a vintage 3.5cm Summaron F3.5 lens I knew I was on to something special.  The pictures had great colour and a different feel to them i.e., a rich combination of pop and subtlety. Next I decided to take a few direct comparison shots between the Summaron lens and the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens which is renowned for its sharpness.  In these comparisons, I used aperture priority mode and tried to shoot the pictures with approximately the same frame view, aperture and a fixed ISO 200 setting.  As you can see in the example below the Summaron lens often resulted in a much more pleasing picture.

Land Rover GX7 w/Summaron 3.5cm

Panasonic GX7 and 20mm

 

In another example, you can see the fine detail and bokah produced by the Summaron lens fully open at F3.5.

 

Flowers with GX/7 w/Summaron 3.5cm>

I did a series of checks, using the Lumix GX7, on all the other vintage Leica LTM lenses which included a 3.5 cm Elmar (F3.5), a 5cm collapsible Elmar (F2.8) and two 9cm Elmar (F4) lenses.  In addition to the Leica lenses there was a 24mm Voightlander (F4) LTM lens complete with view finder.  All the lenses were found to be in great condition except for the 5cm Elmar which showed signs of haze and fogging, particularly when wide-open.   I have recently had this lens evaluated by a Leica specialist and it is probably beyond economic cleaning which is a disappointment because it is an excellent standard lens for the Leica iiig which features 5cm and 9cm guide lines in the view finder.

Once I was satisfied that the lenses were good to use, I set about loading my first film into the iiig body.  As noted in a recent post, this didn’t go well and I was very disappointed to lose some good test shots of Rievaulx Abbey.  Prior to my second film I practiced loading the film several times and made sure that the wind-on was properly engaged.  For this trial, I used B&W Ilford XP2 film.  My camera handling was much better, I got used to metering using an iPhone app and I was confident of some good results. Unfortunately, the high-street processer over developed this film and the photographs were ruined because they were very grainy.   However, there was enough in the grainy pictures to make me want to persevere with the iiig so I loaded a third film, trying again with a Fuji colour print film (ISO 200).  This time success! I got a few prints and scans I was happy with and decided to go ahead and purchase the iiig plus the collection of lenses and attachments.  Here are a few examples of the test shots taken in beautiful North Yorkshire.  Note that the Fountains Abbey pictures were taken on a rather cold, dreary and damp November afternoon.

 

Kilburn Church

Fountains Abbey 1

Fountains Abbey2

I feel extremely fortunate to have the experience of using the Leica M6 and Leica iiig both of which are fantastic examples of Leica design and workmanship. Some may be wondering which do I prefer?  Frankly I do not feel qualified or experienced enough to critically compare two great camera systems that many others have reviewed and extensively commented on.  I can say what I love about both cameras:

 

Leica M6 & Summicron lenses

·      Fantastic build quality and feel

·      Sharpness second to none

·      Test pictures had great “feel” with vibrant colours

·      Having an integrated view finder and rangefinder that works with 35mm to 90mm lenses

·      Very easy to use metering

 

Leica iiig & assorted LTM lenses 

·      Jewel-like mechanics and finish; no batteries required

·      Fantastic design in a compact package (smaller than the M6)

·      Separate viewfinder and rangefinder with high magnification; it takes a bit of getting used to but I like this feature since the magnification on the rangefinder makes precise focusing easier!

·      Small beautiful compact LTM lenses that can be used on almost any digital camera via inexpensive adapter to produce great pictures.

 

The Leica iiig has a few challenges and quirks which can take a bit of getting used to, not least being the film loading which is from the bottom of the camera and required a pre-step of shaping and trimming the film leader using a template to ensure a proper engagement with the winding mechanism.  You need to be very patient when using the camera because the knob winding for film advance is slow and must be completed before the shutter speed can be changed etc.  Slower shutter speeds need to be set with a second dial. You need to focus and frame your photos in two steps using the separate rangefinder and viewfinder.  You do have to remember to take the lens cap off because there is no metering or through the lens view to remind you that this rather important step has been completed; I speak from experience LOL! These rather precise steps slow your photography down but the results can be very rewarding.

In the UK there was a very popular TV show called “Cash in the Attic”.  In my limited experience, there are many “old” cameras stashed away in attics, some of which have real value, others have less material value but nevertheless are interesting and exciting collector’s items.  Since finding the Leicas, I have discovered via a different friend an Original (1929) Rollieflex camera tucked away with a bunch of later model cameras in her late father’s attic.  Prior to finding the Leicas, another neighbor sold me a Purma Special complete with original box, close-up attachment and manual.  This camera was given to his father as a retirement present in 1937 and at that time this camera was a state-of-the-art innovative design and possibly the first to be mass-produced in a sleek bakelite material. He was so happy to pass this legacy on to someone that is interested in it’s history and contribution to photography.  For those of you that are interested in classic cameras and photography I suggest you start asking friends, neighbors and relatives what they have stashed away in the attic.  You never know what you might find…….

 

 

Note that in the above picture the iiig has the optional Leica Viooh universal viewfinder mounted on it.  This viewfinder covers 3.5cm to 13.5cm focal lengths with parallax adjustments.  It is a little quirky to use but quite necessary with the 3.5cm lens on the camera, plus it is a great talking point since it looks like a mini ray-gun!

Sep 172016
 

Film Friday on a Saturday. Maremma, Tuscany, Italy

by Massimiliano Farinetti

Dear Brandon and Steve, long time I don’t submit anything for your website I daily follow…

This year I spent my summer holidays in . Maremma, Tuscany, Italy
What a beautiful piece of land (and sea)!  Nice people, nice places, nice food and nice wines.

I’ve decided to go there with a Fujifilm GA645Pro loaded with Provia 100F only and I really enjoyed my choice: one fixed 60/4 lens on 6×4,5 format has given me less trouble in changing lenses and more focus on the scenes. That slide film colors are really superb…

My “walking” was around Monte Argentario (photo 1-2-7) and the two islands close to it, Giglio (5) and Giannutri (4), and the well-known villages of Castiglione della Pescaia (3), Capalbio (6) and Pitigliano (the village built on top of a tuff’s hill, photo 8)

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maremma-6

maremma-7

maremma-8

Hope this small tribute could let some people be more interested about those really nice places

Thanks for the space you will allow me

Massimiliano Farinetti

Sep 092016
 

Quick Shot/Friday Film. Leica M-A, 50 Lux and some Tri-X

by Anthony Kileen

Steve,

I was visiting Savannah, GA, with my wife a few months ago and we went into the cathedral there, which is a beautiful space. I spotted this lady praying near the votive candles. In this crazy world, I felt like there was a moment of calm and peace.

Leica M-A, Summilux 50 mm f/1.4, 1/60 s, Kodak Tri-X film.

votive-candles

Anthony Killeen
www.anthonykilleen.com
@akilleen

Aug 262016
 

FILM FRIDAY: Trip to Arkhangelsk, Russia

by Dierk Topp

Hi Steve and Brandon,

In 1964 I worked as a sailor before I started studying, In 1966 during the semester vacation I hade the chance to work on a trip to Arkhangelsk, Russia. The trip started in Hamburg, Germany and we went up North to the Lofoten, Norway, passed the North Cape, passed Murmansk and down South up the Dvina River to Arkhangelsk. Before we arrived Arkhangelsk to old boats came to us (old ships from the WW2 German Marin) with the controlling gang.

(Wiki: Lofoten is known for a distinctive scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, beaches and untouched lands. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.)

More links to google maps at the end (I don’t want to lose you here already :-) )

I had my Edixa Reflex with me and took slides during these once in a lifetime trip of the Lofoten and North Cape. I had been the electrician on the ship and had to stay on board most of the time while they were loading wood for Germany with or machines. There where no cranes! But they did a poor job and the captain asked me to take some documentation pictures of the loading. Taking photographs where not allowed in the harbor and when the Russians saw me taking pictures they came after me and I had to escape into the captains room. They did not come in but the next day three Russian officers came on the ship and ‘wanted’ the film (with all my images from the trip and Lofoten and North Cape!). I hade to give it to them and they told me, that I will get it back, if there was nothing forbidden on the pictures. Of corse I did not see it again :-(

This war in the middle of the Cold War! I learned from this experience to be careful when taking pictures. Outside the harbor it was permitted and I always hade my Edixa hanging round my neck in front of me. This camera had a finder like the Hasselblad and you could see and control the image by just looking down into the finder. This way it was easy to take pictures without being noticed :-)

These are 50 years old slides! I digitized them with a Sony A6000 with an Rodenstock enlarging lens on a bellows and used a Nissin TTL flash as light source.

I may have used the Agfa CT18 at that time but I am not sure and don’t want to tear the slides apart. It must have been a very early slide film, if I look at the grain.
On some images the left side is overexposed from malfunction of the shutter curtain, but I did not try to correct it. It is part of this form of documentation.

The processing was done with CS6 and LR5 and LR/Mogrify 2 for the framing and text. For the WB I tried to find some white in the images to correct the colors but they are still not perfect.

If you want to comment on specific images you find its number above the image.

Please excuse my English, I hope that you may understand what I want to describe :-)

Image 1: Let me start with a picture from the Lofoten, O made it on the way home but this was my impression on the tour to Arkhangelsk. To me it looked like the Alps under water, a landscape like a dream! google link follows at the end.

Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

Image 2: The harbor of Arkhangelsk, of corse a forbidden photograph. All the wood was transported on the water and moved with ships. This wood was not for us, we got prepared wood as you see on image14.

Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

The harbor was far outside the city and we had to use the tram to go into the city or to go to other parts of the harbor, where a sort of ‘disco’ and dancing was going on. My colleagues always knew, where it was :-) At one of these places I met two girls, how spoke German and they told me, that they would like to go to Germany with me. Impossible, when we left a gang cam on board and checked every part of the ship, where a human body could hide, that was the only thing, that interested them.

The exchange rate was 4 DM for a Rubel what made everything very expensive for us. At that time Nylon shirts where very much wanted from the Russians and some of my colleagues where wearing several shirts together when they went on land and sold them for a very good price. As far as I remember, a bottle of Krim champagne was 5 or 7 Rubel.

I was told, that one guy sold all the shirt and got a problem with the watching officer, when he got back to the ship without a shirt :-)
One Russian guy asked me in English to sell him my jeans, he did not care, how I will get back on my ship :-))

The next images are from ‘Downtown’ Arkhangelsk

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

The following images are from the harbor area, where even the streets are made out of wood It has been April and still quite cold. When I cam back to the ship before 12 PM at night the wooden street has been very slippery and I had to watch my steps not to step into one of these holes of missing wood.

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

This guy I found at many places, must have been very important there :-)

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

On our way back to Hamburg…the problem with the shutter on the left side must have been only with certain shutter speeds.

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

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Camera Edixa Reflex, slides digitized with Sony A6000, bellows, enlarging lens and Nissin TTL flash, PP: LR5

If you made it down here I promised you some links

google maps of the Lofoten

some fantastic images from the lofoten at google

and of course Arkhangelsk

My flickr album with all (these and a few more) images from this trip
Thanks for looking and I hope it was informative for you
dierk
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/

 

 

Aug 122016
 

Film Friday with a Kodak Retinette II

By Jozef Gwizdala

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

My first film camera was purchased around 3 years ago in an antique shop in Poznan, Poland. After admiring an old-fashioned camera whilst walking down a backstreet in the old city, I decided to enter the shop that was selling this camera (the shop looked as though it had been left unchanged for the past 100 years). As I entered, I was coldly greeted by an old woman who once I expressed interest in purchasing something, lightened up. I had no idea how a camera worked back then so I asked her if the camera worked, which she assured me that it did. I knew that I should probably not trust her but once I found out that it cost 40 Zł (around £8), I decided that it was worth it, even if it didn’t work, due to the beautiful aesthetics of the camera. Once I got back to the hotel room I decided to find out what this camera really was.

The internet told me that my camera was a Kodak Retinette II that was manufactured around 1939 in Germany. There was a total production run of 41,000 and cost $74 in 1939 (which the internet informs me is the equivalent of around $1300 today. 35mm film had only recently been made popular with the launch of the Leica camera in 1925 which probably explains the high cost. However, the thing that struck me the most was the rarity of this camera. I could not and still to this day can not find any record or trace of one of these cameras being sold on the internet. I’m sure that there must be a few of these camera hiding in people lofts but it is also inevitable that these leather coated cameras have largely been broken and thrown away over the years. Regardless, I decided that I needed to try out this camera.

 

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset
My parents had stopped shooting film over a decade ago but had two rolls of colorama film left. The expiry date, 2005. I realised that this combined with an ancient camera would yield interesting results so I decided to give it a go. I wouldn’t recommend a beginner using a camera that was this complex but I definitely learnt a great deal from this camera although with no meter on the camera, I am sure many of the photos I took on the roll were ruined by my optimistic guessing. Although perhaps not applying enough tape to the broken hinge on the camera, flooding the negatives with light was the bigger culprit to the ‘interesting’ image quality.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

After keeping the shot roll of film for a couple of months on my shelf I finally got round to sending it off to AG photo lab in Birmingham to be developed. The photos I got back were certainly interesting. The majority were just light leaks but there were a nice handful that came out. One in particular was a self-portrait in my bedroom using the fully mechanical (and utterly unpredictable) self timer on the camera. The light leak and the ‘off’ colours in this photo added to the overall aesthetic if anything. I also managed to get a photo of a couple of friends in there which didn’t turn out so great. Perhaps the most amazing thing for me was the photos I took in London, just over the Thames, that came out in surprising detail.

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There were still light leaks but they were less prevalent than in other photos that I had taken with the camera. From this photo I can see how this would have been a fine camera back in 1939. I cannot help wondering what photos have been taken with this camera. Undoubtably, being made in 1939, this camera would have captured the Second World War and the aftermath. The events of communist rule of Eastern Europe. The list goes on and so does this camera’s legacy. However, the camera in its current state is perhaps better suited to the lomography movement but hopefully it will still be able to continue to produce in some shape or form the art that is photography.”

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My blog is – https://brigadelab.wordpress.com
My Instagram is – https://www.instagram.com/stzef/

Jun 102016
 

Review of the Fuji TX-2

By Ibraar Hussain

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Many people are familiar with the Hasselblad X-Pan series of cameras which are unique in that they are a different sort of Panoramic format; they shoot 35mm Film with a frame which is twice the length of a regular 35mm Full Frame – making this essentially a cropped 6×7 format – giving huge amounts of detail. But how many people know that these ‘Hasselblad’ cameras and lenses aren’t Hasselblads at all, but in fact Fujifilm Professional cameras and Fujinon EBC lenses, made by Fujifilm in Japan?

The Fuji range is almost exactly the same camera as the Hasselblad bar cosmetic differences in terms of branding and colour on both the lenses, the body and accessories. The Fuji is also cheaper! If you can find one (they’re much rarer), you’ll notice that it is sold for substantially less! I bought my Fuji TX-2 in A++ condition from ffordes.com in here in Britan for £690 – boxed and complete with the 45mm f4 Fujinon Super EBC lens and the included ND centre filter and lens hood (all boxed and in great condition) – the equivalent Hasselblad X-Pan II will cost you over twice as much! That is a Huge difference in price!

The Hasselblad X-Pan has been used and reviewed here in some excellent articles by Dirk Dom amongst others, so many people will be familiar with it’s look, use and results.

Park bench. Claremont Landscape garden in Autumn. Agfa Precise 100.

fujitxcornwallagfa9233

Yellow Field of Oil Seed Rape and Farmhouse. Oxfordshire. Fuji Provia 100.

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In looks the TX-2 resembles Fuji’s Digital brethren from the XT- and X-Pro stable – The design similarities are striking and it’s obvious that Fuji has adopted the beautiful design cues from their older Film line of Range Finder cameras. In use the TX-2 is much like a Konica Hexar RF in that it is a Manual Focus RF with a big bright (and long) Finder, with Auto Load and Auto advance and Auto Wind with the Aperture and Shutter Speed visible in the VF. Konica copied the Contax G series (apart from the AF) and it’s excellent to see these famous renowned Japanese camera houses sharing a similar philosopphy – Alas Konica and Contax are no more, but at least we can see Fuji still bearing the Standard and producing excellent cameras in this Digital age (including some excellent Medium Format RF’s).

When using E6 (Slide) Film, there is some light fall off because of the wide frame size, so Fuji have included a ND Filter which is dark in the middle, with it’s lenses – I use this attached when shooting E6 (which is all I have shot using this so far). Using Film and such formats suits me fine – I am a part time photographer; in that I only go out and shoot a few times a year at the most – usually when out on vacation or visiting somewhere interesting – last year I shot a roll in my (now sold) Olympus Pen F in the Spring, followed by 1 roll and a bit in my Fuji TX-2 while on Holiday in Cornwall in August – I then shot the rest of that Roll in October/November duing a day excursion in a mist and fog laden Autumnal National Trust Garden. Now this Spring I shot a roll while traipsing round Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. So in 10 months I shot around 60 expsoures – that’s nothing in this Digital day and age of spray, pray and choose one out of thousands.

Waylands Smithy. Neolithic Barrow. Oxfordshire. Fuji Provia 100.

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At Waylands Smithy. Bright Yellow Rape field. Oxfordshire. Fujifilm Provia 100.

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Farmhouse and Horses. Hampshire. Fuji Provia 100.

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So if you’re like me and can’t be asked going out to shoot shoot shoot shed loads of pictures, and haven’t the time, then try some Film! The Panoramic format is, in my opinion, the most difficult format to shoot with and get the composition right. The Web and sites such as Flickr are full of tens of thousands of Panoramic XPan format photographs which are crap; they’re poorly composed and the Panoramic format in those cases is a hindrance, and spoils the photo. With Square or normal rectangular formats such as 35mm or 645/7×5 the composition is easier – with square being the easiest to get right.

With a normal rectangular view you have room for foreground interest and lead in lines and main subjects which have plenty of room around them to interest the viewer and to be interesting in themselves. The panoramic format seems squashed and compressed with not enough room to arrange things normally in order to make the composition right – whether it’s a still life, landscape, street shot or portrait. The Panoramic is a poor format for Portraiture, glamour and the like and can be very challenging to get right.

Sundial at Lands End. Lands End Cornwall. Agfa Precise 100.

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The Birds. Claremont. Surrey. Agfa Precise 100

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Autumnal Woodland Walk. Claremont Landscape Gardens. Surrey. Agfa Precise 100

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With normal formats one can use a landscape or vertical portrait format – whereas with the X-Pan such things are very difficult to get right- most vertical X-Pan shots simply do not work. So in effect the X-Pan format is very niche and tends to be used as a secondary camera for when the subject matter calls for or is ideally suited to the format. I was faced with these challenges when I first picked the camera up and looked through the View Finder. all of a sudden things weren’t as easy or as normal as I’d have wanted – I was forced to rethink composition and try hard to make it work. the 45mm lens has the angle of view of something like a 21mm Wide Angle lens in 35mm – but with the extra resolution and Film, plus the fact that it is cropped.

Regatta off the Roseland Peninsula. Cornwall. Agfa Precise 100

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Bales of Hay. Roseland. Cornwall. Agfa Precise 100

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St. Michael’s Mount. Marazion. Cornwall. Agfa Precisa 100

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When the format is used properly by a skilled hand, the results are spectacular. I have spent many years admiring quality X-Pan (and Fuji 617 format) photographs – especially of landscapes, and other subjects and themes. These will be difficult for me to get near let alone match – I suppose a photographer can only shoot as well as his level of skill and creativity – and mine is pretty limited.  Perhaps later this year or the next I will take the Fuji TX-2 to the Karakoram and Hindu Kush to shoot some spectacular vistas – and I look forward to that, but in the meantime I need to learn how to use it and get things right so I took the camera to Cornwall last Summer, to Claremont Landscape Garden on a foggy Autumnal day and this Spring to Oxfordshire to give it a test drive and get to grips with it’s use.

The Merry Maidens. Neolithic Stone Circle. Cornwall. Agfa Precise 100

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Foggy Walk in The Park. Claremont Landscape Gardens. Surrey. Agfa Precise 100.

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In use I think I’m fairly competent at using it, because my main and much loved Contax G2 works in a similar way – and I have also had the pleasure of using Fuji’s excellent GA645 MF Rangefinder (along with various Manual Focus RF’s) I realise that the X-Pan format is a wider sort of Cinema scope – so I took as inspiration the sort of sweeping panoramic shots of people and places seen in movies, and tried to use this along with my usual style in composition. I was quite pleased with the results as the Meter (a centre weighted one) is fairly accurate – with the shutter speed readout in the VF I could judge where to lock exposure (by pressing the shutter half way rather than a Contax G2 type lever) and the weight and feel is very ergonomic and confidence inspiring. The Fuji TX-2 is a fantastic camera, it’s a joy to own and to use and if the results are pleasing it can be very rewarding to use. Oh, and there are another two lenses available for it, plus it can also shoot in regular 35mm!

All Photographs Fujifilm Professional TX-2. Fujinon Super EBC 45mm f4. Scanned with Epsonscan Epson 4990

Jun 032016
 

Friday Film with my Canon F1n

By Peter Grumann

Hi Steve and Brandon,

I like the broad variety of Photography that you are showing on your site. Being one of the last dinos who are shooting film I would like to submit  some pictures for the Friday Film section.

My name is Peter Grumann from Germany. I live in Bavaria near Landsberg by the Lech river. My camera is a Canon F1n, heavy worn with brassing and dings and dents, here used with 50mm F 1,4 SSC lens. The location is the promenade by the river in Landsberg, where several cafes can be found. Especially on weekends there are many people making it an ideal place for street-shooting (no cars!). So we have one camera, one lens and one location.

About using film:

In every major German city we have the DM drugstores. They sell and develop film. You can get Agfa 100 precisa slide film and Kodak 200 or 400 negative color film and Agfa b+w film also. Development within 2-3 days. They also make very good prints and photo books. Prices are moderate.  I prefer to see my pictures printed as a book over seeing them on-screen. A book is great for sharing your photos with friends. And shooting film always gives you a hard copy of your work. Film may not be as sharp as digital images, but has great colour and subtle grain.

Thank you for running this great site!

Best Regards
Peter Grumann

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May 202016
 

Film Friday: Rolleiflex w/ Ilford Delta 100

By David Patris

I am from Belgium and I have been a frequent reader since a few years now. Recently I discovered my father’s Rolleifleix ( 75mm, Tessar 3.5), which was left a long time in a closet, with this camera I am enjoying to go 6×6 cm.
I use the Ilford Delta 100, a long favored film of mine, scanning them with the Epson V750 and processing the files with lightroom.

Thanks for your work with this site. I hope you will appreciate the following pictures.

David Patris

Blankenberge, Belgian coast 1.

Blankenberge, Belgian coast 2.

Colorado provencale. Lubéron, France.

Lubéron forêt des cèdres arche 2

Lubéron, forêt des cèdres. France.

Arc de Triomphe. Paris.

Congressiste, porte Maillot, Paris.

Parisan Trip.

May 062016
 

Film Fascination

By David Adams

Hello Steve and Brandon,

I thought I would send along a few images taken with a couple of different cameras and film. I am hopeful that you will find them of interest for a Friday Film feature. I appreciate your feelings and observations and the spirit of your site and writings. I was fortunate to find your site a few years ago when my interest for photography was exploding and I was looking for a new kit to help in my exploration and learning. I moved from a Canon DSLR to an Olympus OMD EM1 with a number of prime lenses and a few Pro lenses. I have been extremely happy with the gear and thank you for introducing me to the M4/3 world.

After much learning, I became interested in film photography. My lovely sister gifted me an Olympus OM1 and 50mm f1.8 lens and I immediately bought some film and set out. This first image is with this camera, which I adore, using Ilford XP2 Super ASA 400 film. I really enjoy the camera and the images have been much to my liking. Helps that my daughter is always a willing subject.

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Earlier this year my lovely wife and I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast for a little relaxing getaway. Had a great time and the icing on the cake was that the husband of the proprietor was a photography nut and a Leica camera lover. We connected immediately and I was infatuated with his 1959 Leica M3 with cold shoe light meter. I fell in love with this camera and was excited that it was manufactured the year I was born!

Our host was so gracious and let me use the camera while exploring the area. He gave me a roll of Kodak Panatomic-X 32 ASA film that expired in 1978! I had my doubts that any images would turn out very well but I had a riot using this manual camera and separate light meter. Talk about slowing down and focusing on all the little things before pressing the shutter button. It was freezing cold but I managed to keep my shutter finger warm enough to work that camera. I was pleasantly surprised by the images I captured, this is a camera I’m now dreaming of owning one day. The lens was a 35mm, Voigtlander I think. Here is one of my favourites with this camera and film.

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Once I used up the roll of B&W Kodak film my new friend gave me a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 ASA film. The combination of the Leica camera, relatively good prime lens and this film really impressed me. The colours are beautiful and the image quality is really nice. What a camera!

Here is one of the colour images I particularly like and want to share with you.

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I am happy to share my adventure in film with you and hope, if you post my images, that your followers do as well. Perhaps I will be able to share some of my Olympus EM1 images with you next. Wishing you a day full of wonder and fulfilment,

David Adams

Apr 162016
 

Friday Film on a Saturday – Leica M5 and Tri-X

by Matt Forsbacka

Hello,

You run a fun web site – your enthusiasm for photography is infectious. I recently visited Tokyo and Yokohama with my M5 and vintage 35mm Summilux during the iconic sakura season. All of the attached pix are Tri-X pushed to 1600 (developed and scanned by the folks at The Darkroom – thedarkroom.com). I really enjoyed shooting film as an added dimension to my digital picture taking.

All post processing was done in Apple Photos, and I found the scanned files to be pretty forgiving for my amateur photographer purposes. Film or digital? I say both.

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All the best,

Matt

Feb 192016
 

Friday Film – Leica M6, Summarit 35, Lincoln memorial

By Vikas

Hello Steve & Brandon,

This is the first time I am submitting pictures to your awesome website. I have been shooting casually digital format with Fuji and before that Nikon DX formats. Recently I took plunge towards film (to reminisce my father’s old Agfa). From your site I get to know Mr Ken Hansen and had extremely pleasant experience. I received nearly mint Leica M6 classic and 35 Summarit 2.5 expeditiously from him before my trip to DC this past summer.

The experience of rangefinder camera is awesome and am still getting used to it. I am submitting few pictures of Lincoln memorial shots taken around dusk, wide open. The film used is TriX 400 and was developed commercially (planning soon to start developing myself).

Thanks and love your blogs and reviews.

Best,

Vikas

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Feb 122016
 

Hasselblad Xpan, a print solution.

By Dirk Dom

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The Hasselblad Xpan is a panoramic rangefinder which makes 65 x 24mm images on 35mm Together with the Mamiya 7, this is my absolute favorite camera. A problem is: what do you do with its output? The panoramic format doesn’t lend itself to standard stuff.

Here’s a solution which works real well for me.

Scanning.

I use an Epson V750, scan at 2.700PPI. That is resolution enough for a 24 inch print.

Printing.

I used to paste two images together on a 30 x 45 cm print, and have it printed on a Fuji Frontier. But these prints were just too small, and I had no solution to present them, so it wasn’t any good.

After two trips to san Francisco, Easter and Summer 2015, I decided to go without compromise. I was going to make a real album with 24 inch prints.

Here’s how I did it:

I scanned my images and photoshopped them. I looked at them at 200% and got rid of the tiniest faults.

Printing image by image on a 24 inch roll of paper made for lots of paper loss, so in Photoshop I combined the images in huge prints of ten, with 1 centimeter of white in between. I can tell you these 2.5 meter prints look real impressive.

The prints were made on a very high quality inkjet printer with archival inks and on Permajet Oyster paper. I didn’t do this myself, but had it done by the company Kodec in Belgium, who are real masters. I have a 24 inch Eizo screen and the image on it is 100% the same as the printed result, so I don’t need to have tests made.

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I bought myself a paper cutting machine and cut out the prints.

I bought 100 grams tracing paper to put between the prints and cut that, too. The prints were 604mm long, I got two sheets out of A1 size tracing paper. All the cutting was done in two hours, I could have never done it without the paper cutting machine.

The prints came from a roll and they had a curl. I first put them under a flat board for a week, but that didn’t help. After looking on the Net, I discovered you need to reverse curl the prints. I experimented a bit. The photo shows how I did it, between rolled up drawing paper.

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You need quite a small curl radius: first I tried 6 cm, then 4, and only with 2cm it worked and the paper went flat. I used a plastic broomstick of 2 cm diameter on which to reverse curl. I rolled and held for two minutes. Of course I did all print handling with white cotton gloves.

I made front and rear covers in matte cardboard. The bridge drawing I got off the Net.

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Everything was now ready to bind.

I used a spiral (Wire-O) bind because I wanted the photo’s to open completely flat. I had a plastic cover put over it. The binding I had done at a printing shop. There are two options to bind the book: either you put the binding to the left, which makes the book open 1.2 meters, or you make the binding on the top, like a calendar. I thought the part above would interfere with appreciating the shots, so I chose a binding to the left.

This is the result:

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Although it’s very clearly visible that this is a book which is self-made, it handles perfectly. The pages turn over very smoothly, and the tracing paper stays nice and flat. To me, it’s a success.

The 24 inches are a perfect size for the Xpan photo’s. Xpan panorama’s need 24 inches for their WOW! Factor to come out. I can now take my prints anywhere, and even let people handle them. I’m thinking of converting all my portfolio’s to this bound shape.

The book is a bit too big to carry around, I’m making a cardboard box for it.

How much did it cost? Well, not cheap. The book has 36 prints. It cost about 800 dollars, of which 300 went to buying the necessary tools. These, of course, I can use again.

I researched having a panoramic album with prints this size printed commercially. There are print services for it on the Net. The price is the same as this DIY book and they look very beautifully made. They open flat, but the panorama is printed across two pages and has a fold in the middle. I was 100 % sure the print quality of my book would be outstanding, with the commercial work, you have to wait and see. So I chose the DIY option.

Well, Xpan users, this is my solution to the print problem.

If you’ve made it this far through my exposé, you deserve a little reward. Here’s some shots I made with the Xpan in S.F. All Kodak Ektar 100.

I have both the 45mm and 90mm lens, I used the 90 (equivalent to 50mm on full frame) about 80% of the time.

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Thank you,

Bye,

Dirk.

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