Jul 162014
 

Epson Perfection V600 scanner

by Brandon Huff

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

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

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

Here is the Epson closed

DSC_4546

Here is the Epson open with transparency unit exposed

DSC_4541

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

Contax T2 old way with the Nikon V1

mom

Contax T2 same photo Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto008

-

Contax T2 old way with the V1

Brother

Contax T2 Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto009

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

Holga old way with V1

Asian man

-

Holga Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto020

-

Holga old way with V1

10448449_805616526136136_674731575960830179_o

-

Holga Epson V600 4800 DPI

Film auto021

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”

DSC_4297

DSC_4296

-

Same images but with the Epson v600 9600 DPI

Film auto035

Film auto034

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

Mamiya 645

Selife

Moped man

Momma

Grafwall

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

http://brandonhuffphotography.com

Jul 112014
 

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

Faded 1

Faded 2

Faded 3

Faded 4

Faded 5

Faded 6

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

Hund1TOYP

19092013-underjordsgubbe

Brooklyn Bridge MAnTOYP

Liseberg_kissTOYP

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

jrt_m2-lux-2

Summilux 50mm f/1.4 at 1m

jrt_m2-lux-3

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

jrt_m2-sonnar-death

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

jrt_m2-nocti-1

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

jrt_m2-sonnar-4

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.

CNV00015\

Sylph Clouds above Nanga Parbat with The Raikot Glacier

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

Nanga6

The Naked Mountain

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

CNV000371 CNV000571

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

CNV000591 CNV000601

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

CNV000631

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!

CNV000191 CNV000201

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

Scan-140518-00081

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.

CNV000441 CNV000431

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

CNV000421

May 292014
 

Digitizing slides and negatives on the cheap

By Dierk Topp

what is this about?

A fast, easy and cheap solution for digitizing slides and negatives

The main idea is, to use the light of a tablet as a neutral white light source and solve the (my) main problem with the light.
The rest can be done in many different ways.

Many of us have tons of analog photographs in form of slides and/or negatives at home. I think, most of us don’t even look at these pictures any more, as it is just too much effort for showing slides compared to the great show of our digital images, stored on a stick and shown on our large TV screen. Even worse with all the negatives, that where never seen as positive print.

Since many years I was looking for a solution to digitize at least my slides with all the old pictures of the family, vacations and many other events, that I like to remember and give copies to my family. I used my DSLR with macro lenses and my Photo scanner but have been always very disappointed.

The problem with the DSLR was the light and the resolution (at that time 12 MPix) and the problem with the scanner was the boring time per scan, and also the resolution of only 2400 DPI!

Some time ago I noticed, that my tablet can be used as an ideal light source.
The light is very neutral (I checked it with the Colorchecker). And I came up with the following quick and “not so dirty” solution, of course not for professional work.

What do you need?

1. a camera, that gives you 1:1 close up images (the Sony E-mount Macro 30mm does it, many compact cameras as well)
2. your tablet (a smart phone may do it as well) as light source
3. a tripod or better a copy stand to mount the camera
4. clear glass pane (I use the glass of a cheap photo frame)
5. a bubble level to align the base and camera horizontally and/or a small mirror

optional:

6. a remote trigger for the camera to avoid vibrations
7. a transparent etched glass pane (or a milky glass pane, but that absorbs much light)
8. a negative holder from a photo scanner
9. a good blower to clean the glass and the slides or film
10. dark paper or card board to protect the lens from direct light from the tablet with a matching whole in it for your picture
11. cotton gloves for the handling of your negatives and slides

The set up:

(sorry for my English, I hope, I can make it clear enough)

* For first tests I used the Sony NEX-6 and the Sony E-mount Macro lens 30mm/3.5 with the IR remote control. After a few test shots I found, that the Sony Macro is very soft in the corners, but it offers AF! This could be very convenient, if you copy different slides with different thickness.
After that I decided to try the excellent Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 2.8/60mm with the Leica Macro-Adapter-R for 1:1 with very good results. BTW you get the used Leica lens for about the same price as the new Sony Macro lens. Plus a Leica-R adapter of course.

* The copy stand (mine is from B.I.G.) for about 30€, for small cameras. I cut a hole into the base plate and put the etched glass pane under it and below this the tablet

* On the base of the copy stand I put the glass of a picture frame

* You have to make sure, that the film and the sensor are parallel! I did it with a mirror, that I put on the glass and aligned the camera till I could see the reflection of the lens exactly in the middle of the screen. A bubble level on the glass (to control, how horizontal the table is) and on the camera display will help as well.

* Before you start, like in the good old days or nights in the darkroom you have to clean the glass and of course the slides or negatives carefully!

* On the tablet you need a neutral white image. I made one by taking a screen shot of an email with very little text and enlarged the screen so much that I had only the white background and then did another screen shot.
Of course there are many other ways for a white screen.

Try to focus on the grain with the focus magnification of the camera, as we used to do in the darkroom. With original lenses you do not have to take care but on adapted lenses like my Leica lens in this case open the aperture and focus with the magnification – and don’t forget to stop down again! I used f/11 to compensate for any misalignment. With the Sony Macro lens the AF worked as well. But with AF you definitely need an etched or milky glass pane, otherwise your camera will focus at the contrast of the LED of your tablet most of the times! This will be the same with other AF cameras.
What resolution do you get?

any, only limited by the grain!!

If you do the whole film with one shot, you get the resolution of your camera. If you need more resolution, you have to get closer and shoot multiple images and stitch. In that case of course with manual exposure.
With 35mm film this does not make much sense, as you may get beyond the resolution of the film grain.
With larger formats is makes a lot of sense.
I have 24×56 negatives from my Horizon 202 panorama camera and shoot two images (left and right) and stitch.
With 6×6 negatives I did 4 shots (2×2) with the NEX-6 and stitch. After I tried the Sony A7R with 36 MPix I decided to do only one shot and crop the sides to the 1:1 format. If I need higher resolution for a really good photograph, I always can do it again later with multiple shots and get higher resolution.
With my 4×5 negatives I did 6 shots (2×3) and stitched. Again I can do one shot now and do multiple shots for more resolution later, if I want.
How long does it take?

If everything is aligned and cleaned, I shoot 10 negatives in 15 minutes or even faster.
For comparison: I scanned a 6×6 negative with my old Epson 2450 Photo with 2400 dpi resolution and it took 10 minutes and I got less resolution!

Post processing

I import the RAW files into Light Room and use Photoshop for the conversion from negative to positive and do basic exposure and contrast corrections. Back in Lightroom on color images I try to find a more or less white or gray spot as a reference for the white balance and do the final processing.

A picture is better than many words, here is my set up:

The Sony Macro 30mm in 1:1 position for slides and 35mm negatives
a dark paper mask protects the lens from the light source, the paper on the left protects against the light from the window or you shoot in a dark room you see the mate glass pane and under it the tablet with the white image on the display.

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

-

you see the whole in the copy stand for the light from the tablet
the NEX-6 with the Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 60mm with 1:1 Macro-Adapter-R on a Metabones adapter

Mail Attachment

-

a 6×6 negative, I used the negative holder of my scanner

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

-

The alignment with a mirror
see the image of the mirror in the center of the display of the camera!

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

-

And here are first results :-)

the color images are here on my flickr
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644569983692/

35mm slides

digital photograph of color slide 24x36

-

I don’t remember the film, but it was a high speed film with Vaseline on the filter for the soft focus
focus on the grain was a must on this one

digital photograph of color slide 24x36

-

This example is very special, I made it 1970 in New York City
you see the World Trade Towers during construction with my at that time new 17mm/4 Fish-Eye-Takumar
the quality of the slides is very poor

Mail Attachment

-

These are stitched images from 24x56mm negatives of the Russian Horizon 202
images on flickr are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644195467248/

digital photograph of Horizon 202 (24x56) B&W film

Horizon 202 (24x56) B&W film

6×6 images made with the DDR made Pentacon Six

are here on flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644569983672/

6×6 color negative Agfa Ultra 100
color negative is not easy, you would need a profile to compensate the color mask of the film

digital photograph of 6x6 color negativ film, stitched of 6 imag

and B&W from Agfa APX 100

digital photograph of 6x6 B&W film

Pentacon Six 6x6, Zeiss Flektogon 4/50mm, Agfa APX 100

-

this one is from a 4×5″ B&W negative, made with Gandolfi Variant II
6 stitched image parts (2×3)

analog 4x5 B&W, stitch of 4 image parts, Sony A7R with Leica Mak

Last but not least panorama images from a time, when stitching images was not jet invented.

My plan for these images has been, to mount the printed images together as a panorama – but it never came out good enough.
Now with the simple to use software it worked great to my surprise :-)

4 images 6×6 from the Pentacon Six on Agfa Ultra color negative film (1992), stitched with PTGui
the image with this resolution is about 17.000 pixel wide. Compared to the possibilities from today this does not sound much. I just did a panorama with 7 images from the Sony A7R hand held, resulting in 37.000 pixel – o.k. just in case I want to print it 5m wide :-))

Pentacon Six 6x6, Zeiss Flektogon 4/50mm, Agfa Ultra 100 color n

A last one, I made with the Gandolfi Variant 4×5″ field camera

This is the most complicated panorama, I ever made :-)

It is made out of two 4×5″ shots from Gandolfi Variant.
First image with shifted front standard to one side and back standard to the opposite and the second image with shifts the other way around.
Lens was Rodenstock Sironar-N 150mm/5.6 MC
and the usual darkroom chemistry ….

PP:
digitized both images with Sony A7R and Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 60mm
each image with 4 shots (2×2)
each image processed with LR5 and exported as TIFF
stitched with PTGui 9
the negative converted with CS6 and base contrast alignments
final processing with Nik Silver Efex Pro2
the result is about 7.600×17.200 pixel = 130 Mpix.

La Palma, Canary Islands, view from El Time

analog 4x5 B&W, stitch of 8 image parts from two photographs, So

this is a crop of this image

Mail Attachment

I hope, you got the idea and start checking all your slides and negatives and wake them alive again

dierk

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

 —————————————————————————-

 

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.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

May 232014
 

Testing the real Zeiss Ikon, part two

By Huss Hardan

Hey Brandon and Steve, thanks for posting my Zeiss Ikon Contessa review a short while back.
I had been receiving messages from readers asking me to post some more pics, to show what a compact camera from 1953 can do. So here goes, with a second Contessa that I bought for myself. This one works perfectly at all speeds, does not scratch the negatives, and has a clearer viewfinder.

Film used was Fuji Pro 160S, metering by Sunny F16 rule, 1 hour scan & dev by Costco.
The first shots were taken in Venice and Santa Monica, on the way up to Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica mountains. This is a movie/tv set where Little House on the Prairie, Dr.Quinn and other shows were filmed. It is open to the public and well worth the visit for some fun location shooting.
The second to last shot got hit by some lens flare. I have a lens shade on order to prevent that in the future!

Best regards
Huss

husshardan.com

Contessa 1

Contessa 2

Contessa 3

Contessa 4

Contessa 5

Contessa 6

Contessa 7

May 092014
 

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

ll85

ll115

ll119

ll123

ll124

May 092014
 

Film Friday: Incredible India

by fiftyasa

Dear Brandon,

after having sold my last digital equipment (a beautiful Fuji x100), I left for a trip to India, more precisely to the state of Rajasthan, together with several rolls of film, my Zeiss Ikon, my girlfriend and her Nikon FM2 (the camera with which Steve McCurry supposedly shot the Afghan girl). I think Rajasthan is one of the most vibrant and inspiring places in the world for a photographer (or amateur like myself) and, talking about Steve McCurry, I suggest everyone, if not done already, to watch the National Geographic documentary where Steve shoots the last roll of Kodachrome in Rajasthan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUL6MBVKVLI

and each frame of such a roll on his website – his pictures make my attempt to take photos in the same region ridiculous…

Anyway, I would like to share with you some of the pictures I took back home. Hope you like them. I am happy to receiving comments and suggestions from the readers of this helpful and informative blog.

The films have been scanned by a film-specialized lab in UK. These guys did an amazing job with Kodak Ektar 100, Gold 200, ProFoto XL 100 (a Kodak professional film type I bought in India when we were running out of film).

I selected a few pictures for this post. The rest is available on my website for those interested: http://fiftyasa.wordpress.com

Holy Festival in Jaipur. Nikon FM2 with 50mm f/1.4, Kodak ProFoto XL 100. Photo by Paola.

IND14_201403_R04F02_NikonFM2_ProPhoto100_LR

Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R02F38_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R03F05_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

Nikon FM2 with 50mm f/1.4, Kodak ProFoto XL 100. Photo by Paola.

IND14_201403_R04F16_NikonFM2_ProPhoto100_LR

On the train. Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R01F18_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R02F22_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R02F15_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

Jodhpur, the blue city. Zeiss Ikon ZM with Planar 50mm f/2.0 and Kodak Ektar 100. Photo by Marco.

IND14_201404_R05F18_IkonZM_Planar50_Ektar100_LR

May 052014
 

TITLE IMG

An engaging Leica M3

by Dave Lewis

Hi Steve,

I’ve been a long time reader of your site, but I’ve not as yet taken the opportunity to contribute. My name is Dave Lewis, I’m 27 years old and I’m a keen photography obsessive with a growing pile of gear (GAS attack) and an even larger mountain of unedited images! Work for my company (I’m a miniatures designer, sculptor and photographer for tabletop games) has taken up most of my time for the last 5 years.
However, this week my life took a major (awesome!) turn and I thought you might be interested in a different sort of story for your blog. To cut a long story short, a little while ago I hatched this crazy plan to propose to my girlfriend of 7 years by hiding the ring inside the film chamber of a Leica M3.

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron collapsible at f2, 1/15th, Fuji Acros 100

IMG_1

Why an M3 you might ask? Well, I’ve been fortunate enough to own and use a ridiculous number of cameras in the 9 years I’ve been what you might call a ‘serious’ photographer. The laundry list is a bit disgraceful really, but here it goes: Canon 400D, 40D, 5DMkII, Zeiss Contax IIIa, Super Ikonta C, Super Ikonta IV, Contarex Bullseye, Contax-T, Leica 1A, iiif, iiib, M3, M4-2, M9-P, Kiev IV, FED-1, Zorki 4k, Minolta SRT-101b, Minox B, Rolleiflex Old Standard (two of these), Rolleiflex 2.8E, Fuji G690BL, Ensign Selfix 820, Sinar F and a home-made 4×5. Worryingly, this isn’t the full list and I won’t even get into lenses!
Having used all these cameras and more, I have to say that in my opinion, nothing can really hold a torch to the mighty M3 for the purpose I had in mind. The M3 is wonderfully simple, eternal in both life and design and somehow ‘zen’ in a way that few cameras can match. Out of all those tools I’ve been lucky enough to own, it’s always the M3 that makes me smile most. I think it will never be beaten as a film camera for what it’s good at (obviously it’s a bit of a non-starter for action and wildlife). The viewfinder is wonderfully large and utterly clean, the build quality easily surpassing even today’s MP (whatever Leica will try to tell you), the smoothness of operation and connection with the user is something every photographer should experience. An all-time classic which the world will not see the like of again, modern economics being what they are.
Digital was instantly ignored in my selection process. I love my M9-P (having put over 35,000 frames through it), but it will almost certainly not last the next 5 years, let alone a lifetime. It’s a wonderful workhorse and has more soul than any other digital camera I’ve used. However, digital rot kills anything with a screen and even today a 60-year-old M3 can be serviced and used like it has just left the showroom. I intended this camera to be an eternal companion for the love of my life in the same way that a diamond ring is, going with us whenever we get some time to escape work and experience the world.
So, having decided on the M3, what would I do next? My first thought is that I didn’t want this to be just any M3. It had to be her M3 and unique, with more than just my choice of object shaping it. I’d always been interested in doing a custom job on a camera and this seemed the perfect moment to try it. I build and design intricate miniatures for a living and I’ve been obsessed with making things my entire life, so this seemed do-able to me. My plan was to re-cover the camera with purple kid leather. Bex (that’s her, by the way) has always been a fan of purple (it was even her nickname at one stage), so it was the obvious choice.
My first port of call was Camera Leather. It’s a site I’d been aware of for years, although online reports were mixed. I thought I’d try them out on one of my own cameras first to test the waters. A red Kiev-4 seemed like it would be fun, and my Leica iiib needs a new covering anyway, so I ordered both. After almost 100 days and numerous emails I’m still waiting for them, so needless to say I abandoned this route. I gather that the guy who runs the site is somewhat overwhelmed – just don’t order from them if you’re in a hurry!
In the end (and with purple being such an unusual colour) I realised I’d need to do the job myself. No matter, I’d enjoy it and it would be much more romantic this way! I did a lot of reading online about leather types; a perilous quest since it’s very easy to buy the wrong thing. It needs to be full-grain (not composite) leather, top-grain and properly treated to ensure longevity. It also needs to be pared down to a maximum of 0.8mm thick for a Leica – any thicker and it would protrude, disrupting mechanisms such as the self-timer and catching on things. Sourcing the right shade of purple goat skin was a real nightmare and in the end I bought an entire hide from J Hewit and Sons – we can use the rest for other projects in future.

IMG_2

So, I now needed to get the camera! I wanted the camera to be as clean and unblemished as possible. This presents a major difficulty with the M3, as in its time it was NOT the shelf queen that many modern Leicas (sadly) are. It was a peerless professional workhorse of a camera that practically defined photojournalism for 10 years. This means that of all post-war (non-collector) Leicas, the M3 is the hardest to find in good condition, despite it being their most popular ever M series model. I’d been watching the stock lists of local dealers for months (London is privileged to have many good ones). I eventually found what I was looking for at Red Dot Cameras. I’ve bought things from them before and they’ve never let me down. The shop is the most extensive Leica treasure trove I know of in the UK – well worth a visit for fans of the brand!
I left the shop with a clean 1959 single-stroke M3 and a 50mm Summicron collapsible lens. I have one of these myself and I think it’s the perfect companion to the M3. It matches the camera in build quality and finish and can be collapsed when not in use. This is important for a camera that’s supposed to be compact – it will fit into many more cases and bags with a collapsible lens! While not the sharpest optic in the world for digital, it’s superb on film and wide open lends an appealing glow and excellent bokeh – great for portraits!
I got the camera back to the workshop and got started. The first stage in the job was to remove the original vulcanite covering. This M3 had a few covering chips already, which made me feel slightly better about what I was about to do (I don’t think I could have done it with a pristine example!) A lot of information can be found online about how to do this. Some paint strippers will help with careful application, although here in the UK it’s hard to get the strong stuff needed, and perhaps it’s best avoided anyway. I opted for the painstaking, slow but sure-fire method of chipping it away with a scalpel. Once all the vulcanite had been removed, I scraped off most of the residue under the covering, leaving a smooth surface for the new one to adhere to.

IMG_3

The next stage was to make a pattern (guide) for the cutting for the new cover. The best way to do this is with paper and a certain amount of measured guesswork. It may take a few attempts, but the aim in the end is to achieve a perfect fit with paper before moving to the leather.

IMG_4

Once I’d done this, it was time to attack the hide. The best leather is to be found either side of the spine at the back, so that’s where I cut the parts from. It also leaves a large unblemished area to use for other projects at another time. Although Hewit’s did their best, I needed to pare (thin) down the leather a little more to get it to the desired thickness. Emery cloth and more elbow grease did the business here.
Once done, I used the paper guide and a VERY sharp scalpel to cut the panels. The M3 needs one for the rear door and two for the sides. You could do the sides as a single piece, but it’s much easier to do it with two and small join under the lens. Getting the exact fit with the leather required a lot of trial and adjustment. I needed to re-cut a whole panel at one stage as I didn’t take into account the radius of the curved side (since the leather is thicker than the paper it will lose a mm or so as it curves round – best cut it too large and work down!). The last part was to use a black permanent marker to darken the edges of the suede – they were a light blue here and didn’t look good where they showed a bit.

IMG_5

Once I’d got the fit right it was time to glue on the panels. Contact glue works well for this (Evo Stik Timebond is good in the UK). I took my time and was exceedingly careful – you can’t afford to make a mistake with contact glue! Once adhered, I worked on the edges with super glue (generally to be avoided but seals frayed edges well when used VERY sparingly). After a total of over 10 hours work, the M3 was done!

IMG_6

IMG_7

Lastly, I needed to give some thought to accessories. A Billingham Airline Stowaway bag in black, a small mountain of film (Acros 100, Ektar 100, Tri-X 400 and Portra 400) and custom-made box fitted the bill. I also managed to trace a matching purple strap from Artisan and Artist. This was a special edition and I could only find one in Spain and Miami. I ordered it from Spain and it dispatched promptly although the Spanish postal service let me down (it arrived today, a little too late). No matter, hardly the most crucial thing! Lastly, I gave the camera a full clean and got the lens serviced so it would focus like new.

IMG_8

I won’t go into the other details (like the ring, obviously – a whole different minefield!), this is a photography website so I’ll confine myself to camera stuff. Suffice to say I got a beautiful diamond solitaire ring from Hatton Garden (THE place to go in London) and placed it in a leather pouch in the film chamber of the M3 before sealing the box. I cooked Bex the best meal I could manage and presented her with my gift. I’d been utterly top-secret through this whole escapade and she had absolutely no idea! In short, she found the ring, I proposed and she said YES!
Next week, we’re off the US for our first holiday as fiancé and fiancée and the purple M3, my own M3 and M9-P will be coming with us. I’m a very happy man indeed, and lucky to have such a wonderful soul mate who will (no small thing!) put up with my photography obsessions!

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron collapsible at f2, 1/1000th, Fuji Acros 100

IMG_9

Thanks for reading, and good luck in love and life to you all.

- Dave Lewis (a very happy man from England!)

If you’d like to see any of my commercial work, it can be found on my company website (all the imagery is my work – both the designs and the photography) www.hawkwargames.com

If you’d like to see any of my personal work, it can be found on my photography website (most images here are a few years old – I’ve been too busy to update it recently but there’s lots on there!) www.aperture2image.co.uk

 

May 022014
 

Testing the real Zeiss Ikon

By Huss Hardan

Leica and Zeiss-1

Many people lust over the Zeiss Ikon ZM – the sadly recently discontinued 35mm rangefinder made by Cosina. This camera always piqued my curiosity but things went the way they did, and I ended up with a brace of Leica M3s.
Of course, I am always on the look out for a bargain, but my searches always turned up another Zeiss Ikon. The Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35.

This was a ‘real’ Zeiss Ikon rangefinder, in as much as it was built-in Stuttgart, Germany in the early 1950s. An incredibly well made camera, really over-built for its use, with a Zeiss Tessar 45mm f 2.8 lens. The lens hid behind a draw bridge style panel, which allowed it to collapse into the body. A nifty design that is all metal, without rubber or fabric bellows that can be quite delicate.

As luck would have it, my girlfriend’s sister came across one and asked me to test it. I first checked it empty with the back open to see if it worked at all. This is when I discovered that the only shutter speeds that functioned were B and anything higher than 1/50. Which would be fine as I would be using it in daylight. To be fair, every old camera that I have bought has needed a clean/lube/adjust before it worked properly. It is just a matter of age and dried out lubricants. But I digress… I loaded the Zeiss with some expired (but refrigerated) Fuji Pro 160S and gave it a shot…

It took a little getting used to, as advancing the film was performed by a dial on the base. Once that was done you had to cock the shutter with a lever that was separate from the shooting lever/button that is next to the lens. Shutter speeds (B-1/500), aperture settings (2.8-22) and focus (linked rangefinder) are all adjusted using dials on the lens. The camera has a built-in light meter, but it has long since expired so I just estimated based on experience.

The upside to the Zeiss Ikon Contessa – it is nice and compact, really fun to use, and people go nuts when you pull it out. They cannot believe that you are using such an antique! The down side is that I compared it to my Leica M3. I picked the dual stroke version as it was built at about the same time. The M3 really has a ‘modern’ film camera lay out, if you know how to use pretty much any modern 35mm camera, you’ll know how to use an M3. But the most glaring difference is the viewfinder. It is tiny and dark on the Zeiss, with no frame lines. So the composition of many of my shots were a bit off.

The M3 has, still, the best viewfinder I have ever used. If you ever get the chance, you really need to take a peak through one.

Back to the Contessa. I shot the test roll in a day down at the beach, dropped it off at Costco for their one hour develop and scan ($4.86!), loaded the jpegs into Lightroom and what you see is what I got. I adjusted a bit for contrast and exposure but nothing major. The camera did do one bad thing, it apparently scratched a bunch of horizontal lines across the negatives. This is what happens when someone hands you a camera from the 1950s and asks you to check it out!

As always, all comments are welcome as long as they are complimentary..
;)

Best regards
Huss
husshardan.com

Pic 1, local VW Bug with a bit of lens flare at the top

Zeiss Ikon Contessa-1
Pic 2, back side of a performing arts building

Zeiss Ikon Contessa-2
Pic 3, beach scene in Santa Monica, CA

Zeiss Ikon Contessa-3
Pic 4, stairs and sandals, Annenberg Beach House, Santa Monica, CA.

Zeiss Ikon Contessa-4

May 022014
 

Hello to all!

Songkran is a festive time in Thailand, celebration of New Year. The shots attached show only one side of it – washing out all the bad things with water. Lots of water. Water games last for 3 days, all day (and usually night) long. There is lots of fun, music and dancing. Parades and special events, like filling whole streets with foam to play in. If anyone has some time mid of April, this could be great adventure to join water festival.

There are also other parts of the celebration, not included in this series.

One of them, blessing of the elders for which I was also invited, was incredible experience. Soon some shots from it will be available on my new page, http://where-were-we.com

Best regards
Darek

pic1

pic2

pic3

pic4

pic5

pic6

pic7

pic8

© 2009-2014 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
21