Oct 142014
 

Fuji GX 617 panoramic camera

by Dirk Dom

Hi, all!

I want to share some shots made with my Fuji GX617 panoramic camera.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This monster, pictured here next to a Minox, yields 6 x 17 centimeter slides or negatives on 120 film, 4 images on a roll which you can blow up to insane dimensions. It all started in my photo club, where someone showed 1 meter big prints from Schotland. These landscapes were so incredibly detailed and rich they totally overwhelmed me, they hit me like lightning. They were taken with a Linhof 6×17 panoramic camera.

I wanted to do this, too, and started researching panoramic photography. The price of the 6×17 camera’s was so high, however, that I couldn’t possible buy one. The, in a local photo shop, this Fuji for sale. With a 90mm (90° image angle) and an 180mm (45° image angle) A search on the Net confirmed that this, with its interchangeable lenses and good viewfinder, was probably the best 6×17 camera. The price was good, too, 5,000 Euro’s! Impossible. Every time I drove by there, that camera sat there, just to annoy me. I had it taken out one more time, what a piece! In the end I couldn’t bear it anymore and I took out a bank loan.

In the photo club they had told me that finding compositions in the 1 by 3 aspect ratio was extremely difficult. I didn’t dare shoot the camera. After three months of hesitation I decided it was enough and I took it for a spin. All worked fine. That day the lid was off the pot, I shot all day, went to four locations. Then the moment of truth: got my slides back.I can tell you that absolutely nothing matches the impact of a sparkling 6×17 Velvia slide on the light table. The detail was insane. I can tell you I was hooked, then.

The 1×3 aspect ratio came very natural to me and soon I began to shoot worthwhile images. I ran into another limit: The images screamed for really big printing, at least two meters, and such a print, mounted, cost about 400 Euro’s. I got a few made, which were overwhelming, but when I tried to sell them, no one wanted them. First of all, the price (everyone buys posters at the IKEA for 6 Euro’s) and second, no one could hang such a monster print. I could hang one in my small home.

So, there I was, totally frustrated, with 60 mind-blowing images I couldn’t do anything with. Should I sell the camera? I decided on a moratorium of a year.

I found out after a year that I don’t need 2 meter big prints to enjoy the camera. Half meter images also show that there’s something different going on from your regular DSLR images. The detail and colors are much richer. So I started shooting the camera again. Technically, the camera is extremely basic: distance (no rangefinder), speed, opening, transport. It requires very strict discipline to shoot it. That make it a very enjoyable experience, because you’re in total control. The lenses are very, very sharp.

Well, enough talk, let’s see some images! All shots are from Antwerp, Belgium.

This is Antwerp, with the cruise ship Europa in front of it. I read in a local magazine it ‘d be in town for just one day and I went out to shoot it. The original slide is just not sharp enough to read the licence plates of the cars parked. Because the 2 minutes exposure you see no people. At 1PM the boat’s horn went off and a firework started. I had crossed a perimeter to do my shot, and a continuous rain of firework debris fell on me. I was afraid for my lens. I was too close to the firework to make decent images.

boot afgewerkt klein

That you make one image, complete, at exposure, is vastly advantageous to stitching in a DSLR. You can take action shots. One of my panorama’s is a flock of pigeons passing over at close distance.
This image I stood on the road, waited for a car coming to me, another coming from behind and exposed for 30 seconds.

Pano Gent.fff 001

This is the image of the fireworks of the inauguration of the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom, museum at the river) I was at the other bank of the river, used the 180mm; To my amazement I was the only one there, which makes this shot unique.

vuurwerk afgewerkt lage res

I had set up, needing 2 minutes’ worth of exposure.

While exposing, a flash went off. A guy with a point and shoot. My exposure was ruined. I waited until he was gone and started over. Another flash. The guy had come back! Started over again, a third flash. The guy had come back again. I explained that he ruined my exposures and asked him to not to flash anymore. Without a word he turned away.

lange wapper afgewerkt klein

The petrochemical industry downtown. On the slide, you clearly see a crane cable two kilometers away.

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The Antwerp cathedral. To make this shot, I went downtown five or six times to get the clear sky. Then I waited until the light was all balanced.

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This is a shot hyperfocally set. The cathedral tower could be a little sharper because of it, but still you see the cement bonding the stones together at the top.

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Bye,

Dirk.

Oct 102014
 

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1959 Rolleiflex 2.8E – Shooting family, friends, fashion and famous!

By Andy Jackson

Hi Steve,

Thanks for all your great dedication to your site bringing us all sorts of articles, new gear, digital or film and your never-ending enthusiasm! So, about four years ago you published a Daily Inspiration from myself, shots from my Leica CL. The images were mainly of my son, who was about 2 years old at the time. After reading your write up on the Rolleiflex Hy6 (which to be honest, I didn’t even know existed!) I thought I could do a User Report on my 1959 Rolleiflex 2.8E.

My friend Ludi – this was shot on Rollei Retro 400.

Ludi 02 - Rolleiflex

I’d shot film/transparency for a long time as a photographer working on a snowboard magazine and acquiring the Leica kind of reignited the idea of shooting analogue again. This time I was more interested in shooting black and white and was partly inspired by another article on your site by Max Marinucci about home processing. My late Uncle also had an influence on me from an early age, with his camera in hand, his slides and his black and white prints of me as a kid. I’d done darkroom work at my first job many moons ago at a design company in London, so I knew how it went, but had never done it at home. Having bought the necessary bit and pieces and some chemicals (totaling €80!) I started to develop the negatives from the Leica. Yup, the same grin factor as getting my transparencies back after a snowboard shoot but with the extra satisfaction of doing it myself! Now, I’m not even going to go into the practicalities or convenience factors of digital over film, as to be honest, as you said in your article “Analog is a different beast than digital in almost every way.” If I’m processing film or going through a digital shoot on the computer I like to get ‘in the zone’ – cup of tea and some decent tunes on the stereo and off I go!

Branko from Croatia, I used the Rolleinar close-up lens for this.

Branko - Rolleiflex

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My good friend Doris, a yoga teacher. We’d been for a hike on the mountain and I had the 2.8E in my bag along with a Hassy 500cm, this is from the Rolleiflex.

Doris yoga 02 - Rolleiflex

So on to the Rolleiflex! After searching around on Fleabay and websites and doing some homework I realized I was going to have to spend a decent amount of money for a good one. At the same time I bumped into a friend here in Innsbruck who’d seen some of my film shots online. He told me his mum used to be a professional photographer and that she had a few old cameras left from her working days. I asked if any had two lenses on the front, he said he seemed to remember playing with something like that when he was a kid and he’d ask his mum. Two days later he calls me and tells me she still has her old Rolleiflex. He gives me the serial number and I track it down to a 1959 2.8E. Oh yes, the Carl Zeiss Planar. He’d been online and checked out the prices, not cheap really, a good one is at least €1000. He offers to sell it to me for €250 – I can hardly contain my excitement. So, off I go to meet his mother, she’s actually thrilled to be able to sell it to someone who’s actually going to use it, it’s been doing nothing for about 40 years. As you can see from the shot, it’s in pretty good shape. I sent it in for CLA to a company in Salzburg, it needed some work, lightmeter was replaced and some bits in the shutter – €400, so in the end I still have a sweet deal and the camera stays in the area.

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Preparation and handling.

The Rolleiflex is not a heavy camera. It fits nicely into my Lowepro Event Messenger 150 bag, leaving enough room for the Leica or my FM2 or OM2, lightmeter and film in the front pocket. I’ve replaced the old leather strap with a modern one, this puppy is not gonna end up on the floor. Once you get used to it, it’s a quick camera to pull out and start to shoot with. Take a light reading, set aperture and shutter speed, flip the lid and focus. So, we have aperture from 2.8 – 22 with half stops marked. Shutter runs from 1 sec 1/500th plus B. Loading film isn’t too tricky, just remember to put the paper through the bottom rollers then close the back and start winding on with the lever. There’s a mechanism that ‘senses’ when the film goes through these rollers and then the exposure window starts to register, wind on and it will stop on the first frame. Ready to rock. I’ve also acquired a Rolleinar 1 close-up lens for it, these are rare as rocking horse pooh because of the Bayonet 3 mount and some people ask silly money for them – I paid £120 for mine, I’ve seen ‘em go for a lot more.
Looking through the viewfinder you realize everything is in reverse, this takes a bit of getting used to, especially trying to keep things level. We get twelve shots and twelve shots only, so patience and practice will pay off!

I shoot the odd landscape. Dolomites, Italy.

Dolomites - Rolleiflex

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Francois, from, er, France. My friend was looking after his Indian motorcycle that broke down on a run here in England. He came back to pick it up. How could I not shoot this portrait.

Francois - Rolleiflex

Shooting family and friends and others.

I use this camera a lot for shooting images of my son. Sure, I could use my 7D and autofocus as he runs about (and I do) but over the last few years he has learnt that when daddy points the two eyed black box thing at him, he must stay still! It’s not about getting the right camera for the child but training the child for the camera ;-) Sometimes he’s not in the mood for stillness, so I leave it for a bit. Using a TLR at the right time though, I think is the secret. When he’s focused in on something or climbing a tree, I just ask him to stop and look up. Nine times out of ten he does. Candid racing about shots are best suited to newer technology, what I want from my Rolleiflex is the more thoughtful images, maybe even posed, if you can call it that. I prefer to look at it as shots where I have his attention, where we have our connection. Having the twelve shots makes me choosy about when I hit that shutter, I really have to be sure it’s what I want. I usually take one shot of a ‘scene’ and leave it at that then move on. Sometimes I don’t even move on, a roll can sit in the camera for days or a week or two. There’s no rush with this camera, no incessant need to snap everything in sight, it’s way more about gathering some great memories for me, of my little man growing up.

Rolleicord. My son Noah on a rainy afternoon.

Noah - Rolleicord

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If any one photo sums up why I love this camera, it’s this one. I took one shot of this scene, kept my fingers crossed that I’d nailed the focus and kept the camera steady, 1/30th of a second.

Noah bamboo - Rolleiflex

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Zeiss Ikon Nettar. This camera is small when folded, very small for 6×6. Beautiful results.

Noah field - Zeiss Ikonta

Shooting friends is a little easier, they know how to sit still. The Rolleiflex instills a sense of wonder in everyone. I get the usual question – “Do they still make film for that” and the remarks about how beautiful it is. I’ve used it a lot at weddings, it’s a talking point for guests, certainly breaks the ice. Bride and Groom are always super stoked on receiving a set of hand printed images, the Rolleiflex shots are the highlight without a doubt. I’ve noticed people feel way less intimidated with the Rollei than they are with a DSLR.

Like the Leica, the Roleiflex has it’s own brand of magic dust it sprinkles on your images. The awesome depth of field, that ‘otherworldly days gone by’ vibe where your natural light shots look like from another era, which in a sense they are! 6×6 analogue is affordable for nearly all of us, whereas digging into our pocket-money for a digi Hasselblad or Leica S2 isn’t such a do-able proposition (well not for me at least!) I love the 2.8E, I love to photograph people with it, I love the results and I love the fact that I have a fixed lens (with option of close-up). It takes 25 minutes to develop a roll of film, then about half hour to hang up and dry. Scanning is painless on my Canon flatbed 9000f and results are ok – it’s no Nikon Coolscan but I get 50cm by 50cm scans out of it. My favourite shots I print in my darkbathroom ;-) but that’s another story.

Stephen Bartels, gallery owner of the same name, London.

Stephen Bartels - Rolleiflex

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Sir David Rodiagn, MBE (left) and his agent Ricky McKay (right). David is a living legend Reggae DJ, radio DJ (BBC), famous throughout the world. Ricky presented him with a 50cm x 50cm framed print of this shot for his 60th birthday. Proud moment indeed.

Rodigan and Ricky 16bit

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Terje Haakonsen, one of the world’s most famous snowboarders. This is part of a series I made of Snowboard Legends in 2013 and was published in a couple of magazines. This is one of my few flashed shots with the Rollei.

Terje Haakensen - Rolleiflx

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Tomi Toiminnen, ex pro snowbaorder, shwoing his tattoos ‘Never Forget’ one for an old friend of his who died too young, the other for a friend of ours who lost his life in an avalanche.

Tomi Toiminnen - Rolleiflex

If any readers have ever thought about getting into analogue medium format photography but are put off by the hassle of processing their own films, don’t be! It’s way easier than you think and once you’ve successfully hang up your first roll to dry you’ll be hooked. As for colour. Well, that’s turning out to be a pricey business these days. Colour negative processing has just doubled in price here, about €8.99 per roll, so include the film cost and you’re looking at €18 at least for twelve shots (without scans). My friend has just started doing colour at home because of this and is really happy with the results, I will go the same route very soon.

I’d like to also mention two other cameras as a much cheaper alternative to a 2.8e or such like. I acquired a Rolleicord IV with a 75mm 3.5 Schneider Kreuznach Xenar for €120, see attached images for comparison. The other camera that really surprised me is the Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/16 with a 75mm 3.5 Novar-Anastigmat – I picked this up from a local flea market for €35 in fully working order! This is a zone focus camera so I got my hand on a Voigtländer rangefinder that attaches to the cold shoe, this helps loads. The images form this camera are also sublime though a bit slower to use than the Rolleiflex, the output is worth it.

Lisa Marie, test shot for her model agency. Available light coming in through a window.

Lisa Marie - Rolleiflex

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Ludi again.

Ludi 01 - Rolleiflex

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Viktoria. Test shot for her agency when she was starting out two years ago. She’s all over the planet now.

Viktoria - Rolleiflex

So, in conclusion, I use my 2.8e for just about anything and everything as long as it’s not running. It’s light and very, very quiet. It can be discreet as you can just stand in the street looking down and press the shutter and no one really knows (I guess this is how Vivian Maier took a lot of her shots). There’s still plenty of specialists servicing and repairing them and has a strong enthusiast following and collectors worldwide. Shoot one roll of film on this and I’m sure you’ll be hooked. At the end of the day it’s just another tool for us to realize the images we want to create and like each of us has our own favourite bits of kit to do the job we all end up in that ‘special realtionship’ with one or two cameras. Happy shooting people

All the best,

Andy Jackson

Shoe repair dude, Goodge Street underground station, London. It was very dark.

Shoe repair dude - Rolleiflex

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Paul Clements, photo journalist, Beatles and Dylan fan, guitar and sitar player at Stephen Bartels Gallery, London (with our 3 Leicas huddled together)

Paul Clements - Rolleiflex

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Feeding the duck and goose on a rainy afternoon in the Lake District, Cumbria, England on a visit to my mum this year.

Noah goose - Rolleiflex

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Reflection in a pond.

Noah pond - Rolleiflex

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Ice cream on a Sunday.

Noah ice cream hut - Rolleiflex

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Rolleicord. Kayla, my Siberian Husky and test model, never to be trusted off the line in a forest, or anywhere for that matter. Highly successful hunter.

Kayla - Rolleicord

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Ingemar Backman, Swedish snowboard legend shot at the Air & Style contest here in Innsbruck. Google him for insanely high backside air shots!

Ingemar ©andyjackson

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A friend of mine asked me to shoot a wedding shower for her friend. Grandma showed up and watched the proceedings from this chair. One of my favorite shots ever despite the light leak.

Grandma - Roleliflex

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This is Glenn, I used to work with him on the snowboard magazine. He works in Thredbo Ski Resort in the Aussie winter then travels around Europe to visit his adoring friends. The man is a legend.

Glenn - Rolleiflex

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Rolleicord. Forest scene. A much cheaper alternative but not the build or lens quality of the 2.8. Still not bad at all!

Forest - Rolleicord

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. Gabrille du Ploy shot in her gallery, Zebra One, that specializes in music photography amongst other things. That’s part of the complete set of original images shot for Beatles Abbey Road sleeve on the wall. And you thought a Leica was expensive…

Gabrielle Du Ploy - Rolleiflex

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Sort of street photography shot in Charlie’s mens hairdresser in Camden, London.

Charlies Camden - Rolleiflex

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Alex, a yoga teacher friend of mine, we did some shots in the forest near me. A reflector was used to light the face.

Alex yoga - Rolleiflex

Sep 172014
 

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The Fuji Monochrom

By James Conley

A major impediment most new photographers face is that color is the default mode of expression. Not only are we inundated by color images in every possible medium, but digital cameras presume color as the chosen palette. The tragic fact of these defaults is that it interferes with the development of seeing subjects and places emphasis on the impossible task of trying to capture a color reality which makes little natural sense in two dimensions. The result is a great deal of frustration when the captured image doesn’t match the experience of color.

Few cameras are available that address this problem. The Leica Monochrom is one of few. The Monochrom only records in black and white, and only displays its menus and previews in black and white. It’s the gold standard for capturing black and white—after film. However, the Monochrom body alone costs about $8k. That’s a lot of money to get rid of color. There are cheaper ways.

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The cheapest way to shoot black and white, of course, is to switch to film. Using a film rangefinder is one of the fastest routes to improving the composition and content of images, and you don’t even need a darkroom if you shoot Ilford’s excellent XP2 C-41 process film.

But I’m unable to buy into a Leica Monochrom. The next best thing is the Fuji X100s. The X100s contains all the elements needed to work strictly in black and white. To wit:

• A rangefinder, with an electronic viewfinder which can be set to display only in black and white.
• A fixed lens with a 35mm field of view.
• Small and light.
• Silent. (More silent than my Leica M6.)
• Monochrome JPEG modes with yellow and red filters.

All the images in this post are JPEGs shot on the X100s.

Learning to see in black and white is the process of evaluating the luminance of an object instead of its color. Simplistically, luminance is how much light is reflected from an object. People are often surprised when converting a color image to black and white because a bright color often has more or less luminance than expected and doesn’t appear as one would expect. Through the practice of reviewing the monochrome images you make, you’ll develop your luminance sense and start to better anticipate how a tone will translate into black and white.

A way to speed up that process is by using a monochrome viewfinder. When set to capture monochrome JPEGs, the Fuji X100s will switch its LCD back and EVF displays to black and white. This makes evaluating the scene much easier, and will helps to quickly adapt and recognize luminance values.

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Photographers are blessed with a nearly infinite variety of camera bodies and lenses, which can be shuffled into various combinations to address very specific needs. Photographers are likewise cursed with all those options. Options are choices, and choices are decisions. Having to make decisions is an active process in the consciousness, and it leads to a lot of distraction from the subject. In discussing the thought process behind a “decisive moment,” Henri Cartier-Bresson said:

It’s a question of concentration. Concentrate, think, watch, look and, ah, like this, you are ready. But you never know the culminative point of something. So you’re shooting. You say, “Yes. Yes. Maybe. Yes.” But you shouldn’t overshoot. It’s like overeating, overdrinking. You have to eat, you have to drink. But over is too much.

Making choices about lenses is just as distracting as making choices about color. One lens is enough, and your body can be the zoom. Having to move within space and time to frame your subject makes for far better pictures than standing in one place and letting a variety of lenses do the work of seeing for you.

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The X100s’s f/2 Fujinon lens would be fantastic on any camera. Fuji has a storied history in making high-end lenses for a variety of camera makers, and Fuji glass is world-class. The X100s can use autofocus, or a very smooth manual focus. It also has an excellent macro mode.

Having a small camera means you’ll have it with you, which is the most important ingredient in making any photograph. The smaller and lighter a camera is, the more likely it will be with you. The X100s is smaller and lighter than my Leica M6.

Other than opera or a royal wedding, the best way to do things in life tend to be subtle. That’s especially true for photographers, who are dependent upon other people living their lives so that an image may be made. Unless you’re shooting in a studio, pay respect to your subject by being unobtrusive. Being silent is part of that respect, and an X100s shutter is quieter than my M6.

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Photography is about capturing a moment and then capturing the next . . . and the next . . . and the next. Spending time tweaking and playing with images is decidedly not photography—modifying an image is working with software. The goal of any tool should be to do work so you don’t have to. As my dad always advises about using a saw, “Don’t push so hard. Let the saw do the cutting.” If your camera is making you spend more time post-processing than you do taking pictures, it’s either not a good tool, or you’re pushing too hard. Since we can’t get Adobe to make decent software, however, we can use the tool better by putting the work back into the camera and let it produce quality JPEGs that we merely need to review. This not only speeds up the process of selecting good images, but it also lets you learn the capabilities of the camera just the way you would learn about the qualities of a particular film. This is vital knowledge that helps you see better when you’re out taking pictures, meaning you get better results, which sets up a lovely, positive feedback loop.

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With Fuji already announcing new X-Series cameras, ifyou don’t already have an X100s, you should be able to pick one up for a good price.

Once you get it, go to Shooting Menu 1 and select Film Simulation B with a yellow filter. (Red is another option, and will result in more contrast. Start with yellow.) Scroll down to Shooting Menu 2, and change Highlight Tone to +1, and Shadow Tone to +1. This will give you a decent starting place for your JPEG’s. They should require minimal development work after you import them into a computer. (**You can set the camera to shoot both RAW and JPEG files. This is a good crutch to get you comfortable with the idea of shooting only in monochrome. However, you’ll quickly discover that the Fuji’s JPEGS are very high quality and the RAW files are just a crutch.)

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Use the EVF. It will display in black and white and get you started on seeing the world that way. (Later, you’ll be able to take advantage of the X100s’s rangefinder.)

As you’re taking pictures, keep your thumb on the Exposure Compensation dial and ride it like you stole it. You’re shooting JPEGs, so work at getting the final product the way you want while you’re shooting.

With a few camera setting tweaks, you’re off to a better world in black and white! You’ll now:

• See luminance instead of color
• See shapes, forms, and shadows
• Cut down on development
• Spend more time working on your ideas and making stories

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The purpose of taking a photograph is to capture an image which conveys your impression of an event and tells the story. The purpose is decidedly not about tweaking, playing, collaging, and otherwise twisting the image into something unnatural. So, if you want to become a better photographer, you have to practice seeing what matters. Seeing what matters happens easiest with a rangefinder shooting monochrome images. Long live the X100s. (At least until those Leica Monochrom prices come down!)

website: fjamesconley.com
twitter: @Philatawgrapher

Sep 092014
 

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Shooting with Film: My Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod 2 Experience

By Steve Huff

I will admit it right up front. I never ever shoot film anymore. As more time goes on, digital technology for imaging is getting better and better. Companies like Sony, Olympus and yes, EVEN LEICA are pushing the envelope in many ways from the groundbreaking Sony A7 series to the Olympus OMD series to the Leica Monochrom (A camera no other company dared to even attempt). Digital is starting to mature and we can do things today with digital technology that was not even imaginable back in the glory days of film. For example, can I shoot film at ISO 102,000 ISO and get a results I can use in a pinch? No way. Can a camera such as the Hy6, when shooting film,  give me the convenience of digital? NO WAY, never.

So then, why on earth would I even use this camera and shoot film? I call it romance, beauty, soul, and most of the things that digital usually does not get right. Analog is a different beast than digital in almost every way. The colors, the true B&W, the grain, the contrast and depth and when talking about Medium Format we are talking about a format that also has some magic associated with it.

My fave film of all time, Kodak Portra 160 – click for larger

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Even so, the Rolleiflex Hy6, with a lens and film back and finder will set you back close to $10k. Yes, $10,000. With that in mind, remember than a Leica Monochrom camera with a decent lens will also set you back about $10k and it will only shoot B&W digital in the 35mm format. The Rollei can do B&W film, color film, and even digital if you splurge for a nice digital back. Add to that the size of the film. You will get much more “soul” with the MF rig over any 35mm rig. So price wise, it is up there with the other Niche products in the imaging world. Leica S at $30k, the Leica M at $8k, the Leica MM at $8k, all without lenses. So taking that into consideration, the price of the Rolleiflex Hy6 is about right. Especially considering that it is probably the most versatile Medium Format film/Digital camera made to date. It’s a true beauty in use and with its auto focus capabilities it was shooting faster than the Sigma DP Quattro I had on hand at the same time.

Using Ilford HP5 film with the Rolleiflex – click for larger 

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In Use

This write-up is meant to be a short article about my time with the camera, not in any way a tech review. I find most of those boring anyway so instead I just want to chat about how I felt using the camera, the costs involved with it and the experience of shooting film again. The Hy6 Mod 2 is a large camera, especially when coming from 35mm cameras such as the Sony’s, the Leica’s and the Olympus’s of the world. The Hy6 is not a camera you will casually just carry around. It has a purpose, a meaning, a job to do. A camera such as this with the 80mm lens is really a portrait shooters dream camera. Auto Focus which is pretty fast and accurate (for MF) and a great ergonomic layout with a nice grip. The meter inside the eye level finder worked great as well. When I went out with the Hy6 I felt like I was a serious shooter and I got looks thrown at me like “what the hell is that guy shooting with”. It’s an impressive beast for sure but also a very functional beast.

The last time I shot medium format was when I reviewed the Fuji 670, and I adored that camera. It was slim, large and a true rangefinder. But for some reason, it was a totally different experience that shooting the Rolleiflex. It was lighter, and slower in use. It did not feel nearly as substantial in the build nor was it as bulletproof. The Hy6 is such a camera. It is built to a high standard, has all controls easily accessible and is a true photographers camera. It’s just large and a bit heavy, though nothing like the old school MF cameras of the 80’s which were like metal back-breaking bricks.

1st shot with HP5

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and this one was in near darkness with Delta 3200 film – I LOVE Delta 3200 and always have

delta3200debby

One thing that I thought would limit me when using this camera was LIGHT. With film, you have to use the film you have loaded and when I had Portra 160 loaded, any low light scenario was ruled out. With digital, you can go into any light and adjust your ISO settings in the camera. Easy. With film, you have to change your film when you want different sensitivity. Lucky for me, just as I finished up my roll of HP5, which is an ISO 400 film, I loaded in my Delta 3200 (which is an ISO 3200 film) and was able to shoot the image able in near darkness, even with the 2.8 aperture of the 80mm lens attached to the Hy6. The room was an old solitary confinement prison room from the old historic Yuma Territorial Prison. It smelled of urine, was creepy as hell and Debby was not too cozy inside. I asked her to kneel down and give me her serious face for a dark, moody but nice image. I thought the shot would be blurred or exposed wrong but when the scans came back from the lab I was very happy with the results from 95% of the images I shot.

Overall, when using the Hy6 I LOVED it and had a great time with it. It fit in one of my Wotancraft bags by itself and came out when I wanted a shot that I knew would be nice.

Again with Portra 160 out in Sedona (BTW, we have 2 seats left for the southwest workshop HERE and we will be in Sedona for this trip)

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The Downsides to a camera like the Hy6

There are downsides to the Hy6 but image quality is not one of them. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the camera. I was able to shoot with it for two weeks and within that time frame I shot 5 rolls of medium format film, 12 exposures each. Out of those images only two had issues that were my fault. The rests were perfect, spot on with metering and the lens performed as it should. But with medium format film one has to consider the costs involved of using it. For me, 5 rolls of film (purchased from Amazon), processing at my local lab as well as scans from my local lab (low res) cost me around $106. So basically, for 60 images it cost me over $100. Sure, many will say “I process my own film” and others will say “I scan my own film”. Even so, processing color film is not something many people do these days. Even if you do your own, you still have to buy the film and buy the chemicals and materials needed to process your own. Then you need to buy a nice scanner. Then you need the hours upon hours it takes to scan and do your own tweaks. It’s expensive and time-consuming.

So for anyone considering film these days, think about the costs involved is using a lab, or the time involved if doing it yourself. As for me, I have NO spare time these days to do any processing or scanning so a lab was my only choice. Shooting 60 images on my digital would cost me nothing so when really looking at it in this light, digital is a bargain :) You still will not get that Analog tangible quality..the old school richness and feel, the reach out and touch it tonality and oh so delicious color. You will get close, and in many case you will get sharper and more details with digital but nothing can replicate the look of Medium Format film.

I see the Hy6 as a camera I would use a few times per year, for special occasions or when I wanted the 6X6 square format MF look. If this camera was $15k with a digital back, I would be all over it and would give up a Leica set to get it. But adding a digital back to this bad big will set you back around $30k and up. This is in addition to the camera cost itself!

So while there are loads of upsides to a camera like this, there are also downsides, depending on what you want to do with it and how much you would want to shoot. There is also no instant gratification with film. It took my lab a week to process and scan.

HP5 ISO 400 film

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ISO 160 Portra

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Wrapping it up

I sent back the Hy6 to Rolleiflex last week and wish I had it for one more week as I am going to shoot some Senior portraits next week. Would have been cool to do some creative shots with some nice film but I did not fink of it at the time. That right there is one of the occasions I would have loved to use this kind of camera for. They are few and far between for me but after browsing my images with this camera, on film, I have to say there is something special about them, even with silly subjects such as broken glass or an old abandoned building. I am a sucker for the square format and when I use it on digital as my aspect ratio it is never the same as a frame of Medium Format 6X6 film.

I really enjoyed the Rolleiflex and if it came inat $3500 I would buy one. At $10k, for me, it is a no go as I would not use it enough but for many this may be just what the doctor ordered. If you want medium format quality in a very versatile camera body that can do film or digital, that can shoot with autofocus and act like any modern-day camera and you do not mind shooting film with its costs and time involved, then the Hy6 may be just what you are looking for. For me, I would buy this over something like a Leica S camera because it is more versatile and I like the design better. With the Hy6 I can do film or digital and with a name like Rolleiflex, I would be shooting with a legend. The Hy6 also acts like any modern-day camera in regards to controls, settings, etc. It is all there on the side of the camera. Super easy to pick up and shoot. I did not even need the manual> i just loaded it, shot it, and it was all super easy without any confusion whatsoever. No long digital menus to drag through, just set it, forget it! Awesome.

You can buy the camera without a lens for $7900 at B&H Photo. They also have the accessories and digital backs for the camera. 

I have shot with only four medium format cameras in my life but this is my hands down favorite to date. If I was buying a MF camera today, this would be it.

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PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREEE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 5 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple. 

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

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Sep 052014
 

Film Friday from Liverpool England

By Steve Lloyd

Hi Brandon/Steve,

Like most posters on here, I’ve been a reader of your site for a few years now and it’s still the only review site I visit on a regular basis. I’ve been shooting primarily digital for the last 8 years and have shot most subjects from portraits, weddings, landscapes and adventure races but have started to shoot more film over the last 18 months. What started off as the usual photographer trying some new kit has developed into a passion to the point where I now reach for a roll of Acros 100 before my NEX! As a result, I’d like to share some of my most recent images with you and your readers. I only shoot medium format film and use a Mamiya M645 with 35mm/3.5 and 80mm/2.8 lenses as well as developing my own black and white negatives at home before scanning them on an Epson V500.

Due to work and life, it had felt like a long time since I’d had the opportunity to just walk and shoot so when the chance came I’d packed my Mamiya kit and a pocketful of Acros 100 in a matter of minutes! Although my family moved across the River Mersey when I was 10, Liverpool will always be my home city and the first place I head for when I want to shoot a variety of cityscapes and classic landmarks.

Over the last 6 years, since Liverpool was proudly named as the “Capital of Culture 2008”, it has seen a revival as a vibrant and welcoming city where tourists and residents alike share cobbled streets and ultra-modern architecture sits alongside 100 year old riverside buildings. The city is also foot-friendly in the sense that many of the favourite landmarks are within walking distance from the centre which is easily accessible by car or train. Once the home of an overhead railway system and trams running the length of the city and its outskirts, Liverpool now shares this heritage within its newest Museum, opened in July 2011, “The Museum of Liverpool”

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/index.aspx

 

The Museum of Liverpool hosts a varied collection of art, installations and historical items that make Liverpool what it is today. These range from the tourist-friendly Beatles, family activities and devices for independent living. However, the first installation that caught my eye was the 1975 MK1 Ford Escort sitting proudly inside the entrance door. During his 30 years in the Merseyside Police Force, my dad spent many of those flying around Liverpool in MK1 Ford Escort ‘Mexico’s so it’s nice to see an iconic car preserved in the Museum.

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Once past the Ford Escort, the Museums’ central atrium opens up with its impressive spiral staircase which feeds 2 floors of exhibitions and learning. Whenever I’ve been to the museum, this has always been the busiest part with most people wandering around looking up to the glass roof and generally getting in the way of my shot! On this day I was lucky and caught it during a quiet period so could take my time composing the shot exactly as I wanted it. The scale of the staircase means that even using a 35mm lens on medium format it’s difficult to fit it in.

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Looking down from the first floor of the staircase also give an excellent viewpoint. The all white design of the building makes even small details like the stair rails and edges stand out from the brightest of shots

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Once on the second floor, the angular external design of the building provides an amazing viewpoint towards the iconic ‘Three Graces”. These are the three traditional buildings that make up Liverpool’s stunning waterfront.

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Moving on from the museum, Liverpool waterfront is also home to the Albert Dock. A former trading dock during Liverpool’s trading history, the buildings were converted to residential and commercial space 20 years ago and now draw thousands of visitors each year.

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The final stop on my brief walk around my home city was at one of the two iconic cathedrals in Liverpool. This is the Roman Catholic cathedral that is affectionately known as “Paddy’s Wigwam” due to its’ striking design

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I hope these photographs offer an insight to the history and heritage of Liverpool as well as sharing my passion for analogue photography. Whilst I still continue to shoot digital, film certainly feels more ‘alive’ to me :0)

I have more images from my M645 in my Flickr set here;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevelloyd/sets/72157641950751945/

Thanks

Steve

Aug 022014
 

A special Hasselblad 503CW on E-Bay..beautiful!

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Hey! Hope everyone is having a GREAT Saturday! I am going to head out today and shoot some but had to share this e-bay listing with you guys…it’s gorgeous.

Back when Hasselblad really MADE beautiful and meaningful cameras they also would release special editions, much like Leica. I remember seeing one special edition, limited to 500 pieces worldwide many years ago and I lusted after that camera in a big time way. Just no way I could have afforded it then, and at the prices this piece commands today, it’s the same story.

Since I can not own it, maybe there is someone out there who also lusts after this model, and if so, there is an amazing one on e-bay right now. It is the Hasselblad 503CW limited edition Gold Supreme with 80 2.8 and all accessories, new in box, never used and get this..#500 of 500. This #500 was never sold, but given away back in the day and it was never used. So now it sits in its box waiting for a new owner.

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Sure it is flashy, sure it will even be a bit gaudy to some, but to others…they will see the beauty in it. The 503Cw is a GORGEOUS camera in its black or black/silver versions but this one is over the top. A true collectible that also begs to be used. If I bought it, I would use it on occasion for special portrait sessions. The Hasselblad 503CW is one of those rare cameras that has it all..beauty, build, feel and performance. Yes it is film, but remember..you can even add the new digital back to this guy as well ;) Also know that you can buy a 503CW in its standard configuration for much less, around $2500-$3500 for a kit.

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But this one is a special piece and I knew there would be a few out there who felt the same as me. You can see the listing HERE.  The seller has over 2100 100% feedback.

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 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

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Here is the Epson open with transparency unit exposed

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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

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Contax T2 same photo Epson V600 4800 DPI

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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

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Holga Epson V600 4800 DPI

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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

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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
 

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.

Jul 082014
 

Neko Case

Taming the Nokton 50 1.1

By Manikarnika Kanjilal

My name is Manikarnika Kanjilal. I am a doctoral student and I devote my almost my entire (lately dwindling) free time in pursuit of photography. I was always interested in photography but started being seriously into it for the last couple of years – after I found a Digilux 2 on ebay. It was Steve and Thorsten Overgaard’s reviews that made me acquire the camera and thus start exploring my photographic vision. This post is however not meant to wax poetic about that cult camera but on another “controversial” lens about which the photographic community seems to be divided.

Last summer I acquired a second-hand Nokton 50 1.1 in a moment of insanity and went on to use it in a one-lens-one camera challenge to myself. What was even more insane was that I did this while covering a four-day music festival in my city.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival is quite the religious experience for a huge number of music lovers in this town. People queue up at the gates for a chance to place their tarp as close to the main stage since 3 am or some ghastly time like that. The main stage is at the bottom of a hill and people sit on the hill as a natural amphitheater. For four days tarps and their placements become an extension of the private space and ego for many of the audience members. For someone like me that attends the festival alone and spends most of it standing or walking or crouching to not get in the way of other photographers, tarp politics is fascinating. There are six side stages that hold simultaneous workshops during the day and the main stage performance starts at around 7 in the evening when audience from all these side stages come back to their tarps and settle down for the evening like homing pigeons.

My motivation for choosing a Leica film body and the Nokton f1.1 came from the fact that carrying a backpack full of stuff up and down a hill very soon starts to feel like I am carrying a backpack full of sins from all my past lives. In short, I wanted to travel light and be able to capture decent photos on stage after dark. I did carry my Digilux 2 as a backup but I liked the images from the film set-up way more. It was at times disconcerting because I had no immediate feedback like that in digital. I was being extremely cautious with achieving focus as well as not shooting too much and wasting film. It was quite the lesson in constrained optimization. I had a couple of rolls of Portra 400 in my pocket along with a 4-stop ND filter for when the sun was too strong. This was pretty much it. I ended up using a total of 4 rolls of Portra over four days. I shot everything either wide open or at f1.4. A huge advantage of working with such a constrained/minimalist set up is that this year I had a lot of time to enjoy the music instead of being glued to the camera viewfinder. Often I pre-focused and waited for the musicians to hit the spot instead of trying to track them in their movement. The other advantage of shooting a film rangefinder is that the photographer doesn’t hide behind the camera. With a little practice one shoots with both eyes open and it does wonders when actually connecting with the subject – be it musicians on stage or people on the street.

I ended my nokton-festival challenge with the portrait of a very young music-lover and her mom holding the Forever Folkfest candles in the dark. Nokton 50/1.1 is a beast that needs to be tamed. Using it on a film rangefinder feels almost like writing with a brush pen blindfolded and the challenge could be a source of constant excitement for any photographer.

Cheers!

Manikarnika

Website: http://kanjilalmanikarnika.com/

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chhayanat/

Havana d'Primera

Avett Brothers

Portrait by the candlelight

Neko Case

Neko Case

John Butler Trio

John Butler Trio

John Butler Trio

Forever, Folkfest

Fatoumata Diawara

LP

Delhi to Dublin

Delhi to Dublin

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones with Vioux Farka Toure and Amos Garrett

Jun 272014
 

Shooting expired film with a Rolleiflex

By Huss Hardan

Many of us die-hard film shooters have been there. Browsing the classifieds looking for film bargains. Which means looking for expired film. Expired film can last for years as long as it has been in cold storage, and I’ve had some pretty good luck using it.
But this last time, the seller DID say that he did not know how it was stored. A bit of a red flag, no? It was cheap though…

So, I got a bunch of Kodak Portra NC 160 in 120 format for my Rolleiflex 2.8E. What could possibly go wrong?

#1 – apparently Kodak produced sample short rolls (for trade shows). While I merrily rattled off 12 exposures, there was only actually film for 6 shots on the roll! The way the Rolleiflex advances film, you cannot tell that you have got to the end of the roll until the film counter hits 12. Then it allows the advance mechanism to free wheel. Those last six shots, that could have been, could have been the best work I’ve ever done.
;)

#2 – the film was trashed,done, really expired. When I got the negatives back they were really soft, really low in contrast, really low in colour.
A bit of a bummer to be sure.

Normally that would have been that, and the only way to remedy the situation would have been to mess with development times to see if that would help. But we do not live in normal times my friends! We live in the future and have tools at our disposal like computers and editing programs. Lightroom to the rescue!
All the attached images were from the same roll. All edited in Lightroom by doing two things – adding maximum saturation and maximum contrast.
The shot of the beach also had clarity added. Colours are as they came out, green skies and all!

Peace out
Huss

husshardan.com

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Jun 062014
 

Film Friday; One year with film

By Rikard Landberg

Hi! I would like to share my experience of one year with only film photography with you and your readers. My first rolls I shoot was poster on your blog about a year ago, ”How a 51 Year old Leica made me leave the digital world”.

In a month it has been a year since I sold the last of my digital cameras and went over completely to film photography. The change went surprisingly easy. It was almost as if I ‘ve never photographed with digital cameras at all. I felt the same joy as when I as a teenager switched from film to digital. I rediscovered photography!

What I like shooting with film is the slower pace. It may sound like a cliché but it’s true. Now i focus on the picture and what works, I wait out the right moment. I know I can’t take 10 frames per second (as I could with my digital canon ) which means that I have to learn to see patterns of the objects i photograph and predict what will happen. This way of thinking has not only (in my opinion) resulted in better pictures , but I have also begun to take in more of what I am experiencing while photographing. With a digital camera, I missed so much since I put a lot of time trying different exposures or retaking an image 100 times for not looking right on the small screen on the back of the camera. With my Leica M5 I do not have that option which allows me to see what’s going on around me instead of wasting time staring into a screen. I’ve learned to trust my eyes and my camera in a whole new way. In short, it’s simply more fun to shoot right now!

The equipment I use is a Leica M5 with a Zeiss 35/2.8 BIOGON. When it ‘s been a year so I will reward myself with a M6, M4-P or a Zeiss Ikon. I will continue using film and rangefinders for a long time!

Rikard Landberg , Sweden

My websites
www.rikardlandberg.se
www.flickr.com / Landberg

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19092013-underjordsgubbe

Brooklyn Bridge MAnTOYP

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sthlm_hip (2)TOYP-6

testTOYP-3

Liseberg_vattentjej-RedigeraTOYP-6

Raggare 3TOYP

May 302014
 

Friday Film ‘Death of an M2′

By John Tuckey

Hi All.

My M2 just died, but it died as it lived – in action.

On my last shoot I decided to indulge in a bit of an experiment. Rather than shooting with the Nocti and MM and leaving the ‘Lux 50 on the film body for inbetweeners, I decided to invest a little time in a set of comparison shots between the ‘Lux 50, Sonnar 50 and the Noctilux f1. All three lenses on digital and then on film. My own chief interest was comparing the Nocti at 1.4 to the 1.4/1.5 rendering from the Lux and Sonnar. Why? Well I love the Noctilux f1 for that romantic glow it kicks out wide open, but I’m usually at its 1m minimum distance where f/1 is a hard aperture to shoot. So I was interested in how much of that glow would still be there at 1.4 and 2, and how that would compare to the 1.4 kings? If enough of that glow survived at 1.4… that’d be like having the cake and eating it. I brought the M2 as I wanted to see the film DoF compared to the digi on the same shots – and I figured the film comparison would interest folks on here too.

So I packed the M-mono, an M2, and the three fifties in my kit bag along with a pen and a clapper board. With some assistance from the extremely patient Iris FitzGerald (who never wants to tie another bow in her life), I set out making my comparisons. Same model, same light, same scene, same distance – you get the picture. (I’ll gloss over the digital experiment for now, the files are here http://media.jrtvintage.co.uk/public/files/25wq-a2h325n3 for those who want to see the comparison and draw their own conclusions).

So, I shot all three lenses on the M2 loaded with some Ilford Delta 100, but part way through some sonnar shots it seems that it developed a shutter problem. From there in I got a few frames of odd exposure banded shots and then a steadily increasing series of over exposures. By the time I got to my second set most frames where unusable :(

Thankfully some of the early exposures where very nice, in fact I think the Noctilux images from the camera’s early death throes are my favourites from the whole set! Much nicer than a comparable overexpose from a digi would have been, and a bonus in so far as it was something I wouldn’t have set out to do intentionally, but will certainly play with going forwards.

Finally be forewarned, these are home developed in perceptol and scanned on the epson v750 with all the authentic dust and crud included, that’s part of the fun after all ;-)

I think that although it’s nice to be able to shoot at 0.7 when you only have one lens, the reality is that if you’re shooting a 50mm at 0.7 you should probably be shooting a 90mm, Summilux 50mm ASPH f/1.4 at 0.7m

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Summilux 50mm f/1.4 at 1m

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I’m assuming the odd banding is a shutter issue, which would tie in with what happened after, but happy to be corrected if anyone has a different explanation from past experience, Sonnar C at f2 – The moment of failure

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We’re on the downward spiral now – so a bit more exposure than I intended, but this is probably my favourite image from the set, Noctilux f/1 at 1m

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Back to the Sonnar at 1.5, but we’re closer to the end now, much brighter than expected (compared to the digital shot taken at same EV). After these shots it starts to white out :-(
Sonnar C 50mm

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Maybe melodramatic as I’m pretty sure it’s fixable, but I will have to see what the cost will be. I suspect it’s a write-off and it might just be time to go for an MP instead!

R.I.P

Finally, before I sign off, I have a plug for everyone. This year I’m a nominee in the UK’s ‘National Vintage Awards‘ under the Best Photographer category, it’s a voting contest and if you enjoy my work every vote for JRT Vintage Photography ‘here‘ is very much appreciated. Thank you!

Best regards

John Tuckey

May 302014
 

Zeiss love

By Brendan Gara

Good to see the site going from strength to strength. It’s been nearly a year since you published my report of my travels in South East Asia with my M6 and Fuji X100 (www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/05/29/three-months-in-south-east-asia-with-a-leica-m6-and-the-fuji-x100-by-brendan-gara/). Since then I’ve been mostly shooting with my M6 and the Zeiss ZM 50mm C Sonnar T 1.5 lens.

I’ve always loved 50mm as a lens, probably because when I first started shooting the 50mm was the “standard lens” and the field of view just feels right on the M6. The sonnar is a fantastic lens; it can be crisp, sharp and contrasty when stopped down or soft, subtle and dreamy when shot wide open.

I’ve used it a lot in the studio where I love combining the softness to create intimate daylight portraits such as Rebecca reclining and portraits of Ariel. It is equally at home however, stopped down and shot in full sunlight outside as my normal lens. I have been shooting a series about the British seaside for a couple of years now, and the birds, dog and beach shots are from this series. The water lilies were shot at the National Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

The black and white photos were shot on Tri-X exposed at 250 iso and developed either in HC-110 or D76, and the colour photographs were shot on Portra 400 (also exposed at 250 iso).

Thanks Brendan

My blog: http://brendangaraphotography.wordpress.com

My flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/brendangara

Surf Beach

Rebecca Reclining

Rhossili Dog

Rhossili Martin

Lily

Jonathan and friend

Ilfracombe gulls

Ariel 1

Ariel 2

Ariel 3

May 302014
 

The Western Himalaya and Nanga Parbat

By Ibraar Hussain

Dear Steve,

I hope thou rarest well along with stevehuffphoto which has as usual been full of wonderful stuff!

I’d like to write to you about my recent trip which would be an interesting thing to share with you and the viewers at stevehuffphoto.
I spent about 18 days in the Western Himalaya, Karakoram and then a few days in The Punjab (I arrived back in England last week Tuesday 13th May)

Needless to say, the trip was fantastic; it never ceases to excite and amaze me whenever I see high mountains and the wilderness. One of my ambitions or dreams as some people may describe it had been to one day gaze upon Nanga Parbat; that most beautiful of mountains and I’d go so far as to say probably one of the most wondrous sights in the natural world.

It is a 26,660 ft Giant, the 9th highest mountain in the world and what it lacks in height it more than makes up for it in terms of beauty and grace, and the fact that the Rupal face is the highest most sheer mountain face in the world, that it is only one of two (with K2 being the other) Mountains over 26,000 feet or “Eight-Thousanders” which has never been summited in Winter, and which has claimed many lives and which has been called the Killer Mountain amongst other names.

Nanga Parbat is the guardian of the Western end of the Himalaya, and it’s an anomaly as it lies to the north of the main range and beyond both west and north the Himalaya dwindles to nothing.
She rules over the Western Himalaya, and faces the Karakoram giants of the Rakaposhi range over a green Alpine country which is still typically Himalayan.
Beyond that the Rakaposhi and Haramosh ranges dominate, yet are nothing more than Demi-Gods under the gaze of Nanga Parbat.

The Karakoram is very different from the Himalaya; different rock, different country and climate. The Karakoram then expands both north and eastwards and towers into vast cities of towering ice and rock with massive glaciers and here can be found the Snow lake, The Ogre and Latok Peaks and Eastwards to The Baltoro, Broad peak, The Gasherbrums and K2.

Photographs cannot do it a justice, and any photograph ever made is but a rough echo and photostat of the reality of viewing this masterpiece of nature at close quarters, so my photographs are merely reflections.

Anyway, I digress, I was meant to give a rough outline of my trip and my gear and what I photographed, and to let you know that this huge area is a photographers paradise, as here can be found vast mountain scenery, glacial lakes and waterfalls, pine woods and forests, quaint villages and valleys and brilliant lovely people.

After a night in Rawal-Pindi I flew to Skardu from where I made my way to Gilgit. I should’ve lingered in Skardu as that’s where expeditions to K2, The Baltoro Glacier and the massed iced towers of the Karakoram begin and the scope for trekking and photography is limitless…next time though as I went to Gilgit to hook up with a couple of friends and to explore the mountains and of course, to see Nanga Parbat.

My trip took me to Raikot, then by a lairy butt clenching jeep up to 8000 feet then a 3 hour trek up tp 11,500 feet and Fairy Meadows, then along the Raikot Glacier to Beyal Camp and finally to the German Base Camp at over 13,000 feet. TI then went to The Nagar Valley and Minapin amongst the Apricot trees with views of Rakaposhi, Diran, Spantik and Ultar of the Karakoram. On to Hunza and Karimabad followed by Passu and Gojal then back to Gilgit. I then flew back to Rawal-Pindi and spent 3 days in the Western Punjab valley of the Jhelum River.

I left armed with my trusty Contax G2 – veteran of almost 10 years of rough trips and exploration and bearing the scars, dints and dents of many a fall and bash and trip. It works like a dream and the optics and mechanisms are clear and smooth all being a testament to how good this camera is.

I was supposed to take along with Rolleiflex 6008i with lenses and backs, but on my departure date I had a change of heart and opted for my Rolleiflex 3.5F with the 75mm Planar instead. The thought of being without electricity to charge batteries for a couple of weeks somewhat put me off from lugging the beast around and I am so glad of the decision as the 3.5F is utterly simple and once you get the hang of it; quick and easy to use.

I also had a Kodak Z990 bridge camera I used to photograph birdlife and to use as a Video camera, plus a canon Camcorder and my iPhone 5 for Video too (I shot a LOT of video).

I shot 5 rolls of Agfa Ultra 50 with the Rolleiflex, (I had another 5 rolls of the Agfa plus 5 rolls of Velvia 100 too, but I take my time with shooting, and don’t waste frames)

I decided to stick with the Agfa Ultra 50 as it’s easy to expose (I was using a Minolta Autometer IV incident meter), forgiving, has excellent latitude and dynamic range, it is also very interesting in terms of it’s palette and grain and I wanted a different look, feel and mood hence I didn’t shoot any Velvia with my Rolleiflex.

I shot 2 rolls of Fuji Velvia 100, 2 rolls of Kodak Ektachrome e100vs and 1 roll of Agfa Ultra 100 with my Contax G2 which makes it a grand total of 55 Medium Format Agfa Ultra 50 photographs, and 180 35mm Photographs – 235 Frames: pretty meagre amount for a 3 week trip in this day and age, and apart from the one roll of Velvia at Nanga Parbat (see below) which was a mixed bag, the rest were pretty good by my modest standards.

Slide film AND Digital (my friend had his Canon 40D which couldn’t cope) was at a massive disadvantage at Nanga Parbat, the mountain is HUGE and white and photographing it pushes everything to it’s limit.
Fuji Velvia 100 simply could not handle the exposure – the glaring white of the mountain relegated everything else to black – I expected this so only shot one roll of Velvia in the Contax, and instead focussed upon shooting the one roll of Agfa Ultra 100 in it, and a couple of rolls of Agfa Ultra 50 in the Rolleiflex.

The Agfa Ultra managed to handle the exposure latitude admirably, and I was very pleased with the results as the latitude is extreme!

We stayed in a wooden chalet in Fairy Meadows, over looked by Nanga Parbat, and everything about it was magic and unreal. At night the mountains glowed silver under moon and starlight and reports from Avalanches rumbled all around us.

Thanks to Mr Sabir and Mujahid of Fairy Meadows View Point for keeping their Chalet open for us and cooking our meals, as we were the only people there! Bliss!

It was a great trip, saw some wonderful sights and met some brilliant people, and I think this will be divided into 3 parts even though I can only include a small selection of snaps here (the rest can be found on my Flickr)
The first part is mostly attempts trying to capture the beauty and feel of this magnificent Mountain, plus a few of my friends there which I hope you enjoy. I thought I’d include most of the Rolleiflex squares as I like them.

These are only snaps, and the film IS grainy, and these are but Lab scans so I don’t want to get in to the Film vs Digital debate, yeah yeah, Digital is sharper and cleaner and this can be done with Digital, but as my Jamaican friends like to put it “..me no cyare about dat maan!…”

PART ONE. THE WESTERN HIMALAYA, AND NANGA PARBAT

View Point – where three Mountain ranges meet.

Looking at the line of hills, on the far Right, the Himalayas come to an end. They’re over lapped by The Hindu Kush range coming in from the left and to the rear, dark, grim and flanked by ice peaks is the Karakoram and in between snakes The River Indus. Contax G2, 21mm Carl Zeiss Biogon T*, Agfa Ultra 100.

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Sylph Clouds above Nanga Parbat with The Raikot Glacier

Contax G2, 21mm Carl Zeiss Biogon T*, Agfa Ultra 100

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The Naked Mountain

Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

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View of The Raikot Face of Nanga Parbat from Fairy Meadows.
Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

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Nanga Parbat, reflected, with Alpine forests and a Chalet.
Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

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Mr Sabir and Mr Mujahid, of Fairy Meadows View Point.
Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

I was very pleased with this top photograph as I could never expect anything to handle the exposure. (The print of this is very smooth) Thank you Minolta Autometer IV!

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Mr Mujahid.
Contax G2, 45mm Planar T*, Fuji Velvia 100.

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Mr Sabir and his Cock :) Poor thing was later turned into Cock Soup and Chicken Curry.
Contax G2, 45mm Planar T*, Agfa Ultra 100.

Mujahid

Mr Habib, by The Raikot Glacier. A Friend and Alpine Guide.
Contax G2, 21mm Biogon T*. Agfa Ultra 100.

Habib

Amongst the Forests and Snow Melt Lakes, below Nanga Parbat.
Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

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Shepherds Huts, Western Himalaya, below Nanga Parbat.
Rolleiflex 3.5 F, 75mm Carl Zeiss Planar, Agfa Ultra 50.

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