The MPP Microcord TLR by Ibraar Hussain

The MPP Microcord TLR by Ibraar Hussain

Dear Steve, I thought I’d send you this article and a sort of inspiration too for those (like me) turning their noses up at the punitive and extortionate prices Leica want to charge us for their Leica M Monochrome. Sure it’s a great camera, but

Photography is about the Photograph, not gear….

….but I admit I do like old vintage camera’s, and their quirks, use and enjoyment is part and parcel of the whole process.

Why spend 1000’s when you can spend peanuts?

The 1950ies, a time when Britain was still an ailing Super Power, The Suez Crisis and The Malay Campaign were testament to this.

It was a time when the E-Type Jaguar was first designed, probably the most beautiful car ever to grace tarmac, The English Electric Lightning was first flown, in my opinion the most beautiful aeroplane ever to have reached for the skies, it was a time when Britain still had a manufacturing industry and in a small workshop in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey just outside London, Micro Precision products engineered their Microcord and Microflex TLR camera’s.

MPP were famous for their Micro press Camera’s, based on Linhof designs and they also took inspiration from Franke & Heidecke with their TLR (Twin lens Reflex) designed Rolleicord and Rolleiflex.

I’m not going to go into the rise and fall of MPP, its history or relate the story of the Microcord and Microflex TLR cameras – this information is readily available from the Internet.

The week before last I was passing by a Camera shop behind the British Museum near Russell Square and decided to pop in.

My gaze instinctively fell upon the TLR’s the chap had in a glass cabinet, a Rolleiflex and a Rolleicord – they gleamed like jewels, the twin glass lenses twinkled and reflected the daylight from the shop window and they looked gorgeous, much smaller than I at first thought (I had never really seen a TLR before close up, and I had assumed they were probably the same size as a Medium Format SLR such as the Hasselblad or a Bronica) and I knew then I had to get one for certain!

I, being a Rollei lover was on the lookout for a Rolleiflex TLR, and seeing the expensive prices for these I sort of lowered my expectations and sought out a nice Rolleicord, at the same time I was also (and still am) on the look out for a nice 5×4 Press Camera to get me started in 5×4 Large Format photography, and that’s when I struck upon MPP. Upon further investigation I discovered that MPP also had a Rollei TLR ‘clone’, and that’s when I first read about and came to admire the Microcord TLR.

I then decided to, after reading some reviews of the Microcord (the Microflex is extremely rare) treat myself to one, I found a lovely example at ffordes and bought it!

My MPP Microcord is a mk II with a working and fairly accurate Prontor SVS shutter, and a super fast top shutter speed of 1/300 😉 It has a 4 element Ross Express f3.5 77.5mm lens (which I have read is said to be of higher quality than the comparable Tessar in a Rolleicord)

It has its Microcord brown leather ever-ready case with neck strap, and a twin lens cap (a Minolta one) but the ground glass is clean as a whistle, relatively bright, with crystal clean optics and it all has been well oiled CLA’d and looked after.

It’s easy to load, by opening the hinged (removable) back ‘lid’ and simply winding a roll of 120 Film in, the cover is then replaced and secured.

You then have to wind the film on by depressing the button on the film wind knob, until the window shows ‘1’ and then have to do the same for every frame – press the button, wind the knob, focus using the forward knob, and then cock the shutter (located under the Ross Express) – press the shutter release and the shutter depresses with a snick – very quiet!

The Microcord is like a Rolleiflex ‘lite’ rather than a full blown Rolleicord type – as Aperture and Shutter speed are changed using the Rolleiflex type wheels (and the values are viewed in a small window on top of the viewing lens).

Anyway, the camera is beautifully made, everything about it is of very high workmanship, Rollei makes no junk, and neither did MPP.

The camera takes standard Bay I Rolleicord Filters and is very cheap to buy.

I spent £120 on the camera (from ffordes with a year warranty), £10 on two rolls of Rollei Retro 80s and £10 on a Rollei Gelb Hell Yellow Filter.

I then, (with my Missus) on Thursday (6th October) took the Tube to Embankment, forded the Thames by crossing the Golden Jubilee Bridge, made my way to The South Bank, turned left, walked past Gabriel’s Wharf, Festival Pier, and The Tate Modern, walked past The Millennium Bridge and towards Borough, past The Shakespeare Globe Theatre, the many Thame’s bridges, Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, around Southwark Cathedral, then over London Bridge toThe Monument and then the Tube home again. All the while I was under the watchful eye of St. Paul’s Cathedral – iconic landmark and Wren’s masterpiece; a building which is the most beautiful in England and the views of it are spoiled by ugly modern eye sores such as ‘The Shard’ and ‘The Gherkin’ and other sky scraping office block monstrosities.

I took along two rolls of a Film I have never tried before – Rollei Retro 80s, an asa 80 super-panchromatic sensitised Film, with high Red sensitivity all the way to 750nm. It comes on a clear base which makes it almost Agfa Scala like, but as i discovered it is also very E6 like when it comes to exposure and can be very unforgiving in regards latitude and highlights. It is a very contrasty Film, very fine grained and smooth but it’s a case of you’ll either love it or hate it. Shadow detail isn’t great and even with a Yellow Filter the photo’s look ‘Infrared – ish’.

I loved it, I shot using a Rollei Yellow Filter (as always, Don McCullin shoots with a Yellow permanently attached and he’s the Don) I metered the light using my Minolta Autometer III (Incident) and on the odd occasion I used the excellent spot meter on my iPhone ‘Light Meter’ app.

I had a great few hours, the camera is a real head turned, most people walking past noticed it, people looked and stared and quite a few people made friendly comments, a few photographers stopped and chatted about the ancient contraption around my neck.

Forget about being inconspicuous, everyone notices this baby – but I did notice that the nature of the camera, with the Waist level viewing, people aren’t too concerned about it, I’m no street shooter so my Street Photography and Reportage is at a minimum. I do however like the sights of London and love the Bankside of the Thames.

Anyway, I shot two rolls, and luckily most of the shots were keepers, I include a selection here – these were scanned with an Epson 4990 as Jpegs using Epson Scan – quick no nonsense scanning. The negative was developed in Rodinal 1+50.

The only Post Process I used was to clone a few spots of dust off and resized in Photoshop – ok, they’re hardly Leica Monochrome shots, a 60 year old camera is ultimately a 60 year old camera, but I wouldn’t get any better results with the Leica, I can only photograph as much as my capabilities and creativity dictates, (not very good) and I reckon it is the same for everyone else.


Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast, viewed from London Bridge. 
Southwark Cathedral
Pier at Gabriel’s Wharf. With St. Paul’s Cathedral. South Bank.
From the Golden Jubilee bridge, Eastwards towards St. Pauls. Embankment.
The Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul’s.
Buskers, South Bank. Out of Focus, but I quite like it.
Jazz Band. Under Blackfriars Bridge.
Outside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Band on the Millennium Bridge, by The Tate Modern.
Self Portrait, St Paul’s.
Under the Millennium Bridge. Tate Modern, Towards St. Paul’s.
Another one of the many Pier’s.


  1. Very interesting shots. I loved using my 1933 model Rollieflex for many many years until I dropped it. I gave it away and a relative now has it on display. As I was keen on 6 X 6cm I bought a Hasselblad 500CM circa 1979. However, I’ve resisted the temptation to buy extra lenses for it. Like the Rollei and Microcord, my lens is 80mm and gives me the same angle of view/viewpoint as our eyesight. That’s what stands out from your shots. The essential ‘naturalness’ is evident in your shots and that’s what I like to see.

  2. These are beautiful photographs. I have just this past fortnight got myself a MPP Microcord MkII off Evilbay for £95 inc the leather case and free shipping after playing with a Coronet Conway Popular Model medium format point and click camera last summer. One only gets 8 shots out of a roll of film with it, and it is a bit hit and miss. I wanted something that I could focus manually and the Microcord was well within my budget.

    I love the tones you get out of old cameras and medium format film, and with some of the photos I did last summer on the Popular Model I took great care to exclude modern artifacts from the frame so they look like they were taken in the 40s and 50s. Medium Format is great for gothicky grave yard shots, too.

    No matter how good digital cameras get (and I love my Nikon D3200 BTW), there is just something special about film. I have also inherited my dad’s old Minolta x300 SLR and have ordered infrared film and a folodiox red filter for it, so I cannot wait for long summer days to come.

    Meanwhile, the negative exposure size on a Microcord is 6×6, right? The Popular Model is 6×9, hence why you only get the 8 shots out of a roll. Just checking for when I send films to Ag Photolab…

  3. Hi Ibraar,

    Now I remember why, once upon a time, I had a darkroom.

    Great set…..Bravo

    Bruce from BC

  4. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the encouraging comments, and if I’ve inspired, in any way shape or form, anyone to go and grab an old TLR and enjoy it – then job done.

    And I wanted to thank, especially, Steve Huff for publishing this and my other articles on his excellent site!

    Thank you Steve for publishing my articles this year – from the Contax G to this TLR one.

    My next photo trip wont be until next Spring – so bar one snowy day this winter (when it arrives) where i’ll most definitely be trying to copy my Hero Don McCullin with dark moody bleak winter landscapes in the Somerset leves (see DM’s book “Open Skies” for a taster of the best B&W landscapes I have ever seen), no more photography until then, and in the Autumn next year I’ll be taking the Contax G2 and Rolleiflex 6008i to The Karakoram Mountains!

    Have a nice Autumn and Winter everyone!

  5. I’d like to complain about the nonsensical, childish and ignorant people who have given their opinions here, your comments are not constructive and totally unrelated to the post.
    This is a review of a 60 year old camera, if you’re not interested, don’t read it, don’t click and kindly do us all a favour and look elsewhere

    This is not some sort of exhibition of my photographs, I do NOT consider myself David. Bailey or Don McCullin, I have always stated as such. the photographs merely represent sample images from the camera and film. I don’t give a monkeys toss about the quality of my photography. This is a camera and photography site hence in my posts I have reviewed cameras and photo locations in order to encourage OTHERS to go out and try different stuff and locations.

    If you don’t like it, kindly go forth and multiply.


    • Let’s hope they don’t multiply. There are enough troglodyte knuckle dragger, I hate my life, so I will take it out on other types out there. I love the images from Ibraars post here, more than anything I have seen out of the MM. People here are mostly beautiful people working on their craft and enjoying the history and passion of photography as well as the modern advances in technology. There is so much to learn from others here and it’s a shame to have a wonderful post of images hijacked by a few ill intentioned ***holes.

      • George, just because the oppinion is not what you like or agree with does not necessarily mean it is invalid. This as a comment section, not a ” let all praise and kiss each others bottoms” section. As blunt as some comments may be, sometimes the truth hurts. Im not saying what is said is right or not, but we must always guard against the knee jerk reaction of dismissing other views just because you disagree. After all, what happens god forbid , if you someday “disagree” with someone elses oppinion? How do you know he hates his life? Why are you for instance not a “troll” for pooh poohing on someone else who has an opinnion? If i don’t agree with your oppinion, does that mean that you are a troll?

        Think big for a second, for if every comment here on this site were the same, wouldn’t that be a tad bit boring? Look at all the imbeciles in the world who believe that two thin aluminum planes went straight through two metal towers, defying science, and brought it down in free fall after metal and concrete evaporated into dust, where would we be if people were not allowed a dissenting view? We are close to that now in the world and creeping closer to that here, where the thing to do is to go along to get along. It is funny how you mentioned hijacked, but what if the hijackers are not the minority but the majority? Should i too agree with you and the poster now before I get labled as a “troll” ?

        • Sandy, I agree with the point’s you are trying to get across here. However, the poster known as JJ who started this with CLEARLY a condesending moronic and meant to provoke comment should not be considered in this instance. Do ya think someone like Ibraar is unaware that their are digital cameras out there that he could purchase? Please. Do you think he could of asked Ibraar why he would want to go through the trouble to tinker with a old camera that shoots film? No, he tells him,do this man and that man, don’t ya get it man kind of crapola…..I don’t mind snarkyness at all when they at least are making an effort to have a point to it, other then just looking to offend right out of the gate.

          • Sandy wrote;
            “…Look at all the imbeciles in the world who believe that two thin aluminum planes went straight through two metal towers, defying science, and brought it down in free fall after metal and concrete evaporated into dust…”

            I’m an imbecile!
            Enough said.

          • George, What is clearly condesending to you may not be condesending to others. My point is who decides? Who decides what is rude and what is not? A dissenting view is not necessarily a bad thing. I read the posts, and given how ibraar has chosen to conduct himself in response to my replies, it’s clear that ibraar does not have a higher ground to stand on.It clear the man does not take well to any criticism and his true colors appear. It’s hard to call someone else childish when the caller acts more childish, isn’t it, George?

    • “if you don’t like it, kindly go forth and multiply.” and “if you’re not interested, don’t read it, don’t click and kindly do us all a favour and look elsewhere ” are statements that may not be helping your cause, ibraar.

      As blunt as some of the comments here may be there may be a hint of truthfulness to them sometimes. After all, isn’t nice of Steve to allow you to post your photos and oppinions here? So who are you to tell people to basically take a hike when they have a differing or opposing view? Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? After all, is every viewer of comes on here supposed to ” love” your work in order to comment?

      I find it disconcerting that you are allowed to post your photos and views here on Steve’s site yet you take offense to others who post their “views” on your work? Don’t you think that’s a bit hippocritical? Just because jj’s views are a bit brash or blunt doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be said for the sake of how you feel. Should we all be scratching each others ares and egos? Remember, there isn’t an oppinion if there are one sides comments.You say you don’t post your work here for others but you seem to concern yourself with comments you don’t deem as “constructive” Well, what is constructive you you? Maybe you should make a post about how you would like others to comment on the things you post on Steve’s site.

      It seems that you don’t take kindly to citicism at all, and calling someone else childish while using childish slogans of your own such as ” go forth and multiply” does not make you look any better. Should we all tell ppl to go forth and multiply when someone tells us something we don’t like to hear. I certainly wouldn’t like someone to sugar coat their views about photos, how else is one going to learn? People seem to like to call others trolls when they dont want to hear a view which they dont like, just like when “nex5guy” made a comment in some other post and got nothing but a backhanded smug reply from another viewr. This site is becomming like those leica forums where everyone is kissing everyone elses backside because of folks who cant take an opposing view. Believe me, it’s not esy to take when someone tells me I cant do what da vinci did, but it’s the truth, better i be humbled than to live a lie for the rest of my life.

      There is an old saying” if you cant take the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Ibraar, if you post photos and oppinions about whatever here, be prepared to recieve opinnions on them, sometimes it may not be what you prefer, but that’s how it rolls. Think… Steve is nice enough to let you post “your” oppions and photos” here and yet you have an issue with what others post about your posts? It seems rather, how can i say it nicely..” two faced”. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe I’m wrong, but this is the comment section, I didn’t realize it was the ” dont comment if you dont say things like, i love your work, ” or” your work is GREAT!” comments. Should I tell you that your works are “great” before I get labeled as a troll from you or like minded individulas here?

      • Sandy, you too fail at grasping the fact that this was a camera review, not a photographic exhibition, I’ve explained already and it’s explained in my post too.
        I shan’t bother explaining everything to you again as I can’t be asked.
        Run along and join jj and co.

        • For the benefit of ALL, and before I forget to mention, jj is a twat, and the ‘criticism’ is rather crude and bitter.
          Crude, as it’s pathetic and misguided, bitter as I suppose not many of your lot have the knackers to post anything here.
          I’ve never and do not consider myself to be an Alberto Korda, in fact i think I’m rather boring and rubbish in regards creativity – thus criticisms mean nothing to me as I don’t give a toss.
          I pride myself on enjoying what I do and enjoying using old gear and writing, and I think it makes for an interesting site, rather than the same old same old.

          • Childish, absolutely childish. So help mankind, narrow old fashioned folks like you don’t multiply as well. Isn’t it great Steve gives you a platform to write your posts whie you shun others using Steves platform? Get on your knees and thank Steve for the free speech, speech you clearly despise, judge ibraar.

            Do you need more people to massage your ego? Is that why you care about the comments you get? The fact that someone dared not to praise you, and then your true colors come out? Oh, you’re only doing a review so how dare anyone write what they think right? You don’t care about what people say yet you respond like a 7 year old petty child.

            You are petty and childish, get over yourself,If you DON’T care about what others say, than WHY ARE YOU REPLYING TO THE COMMENTS, HMM? IT’S APPARENT YOU DO CARE, ESPECIALLY WHEN SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE.

            Go forth and do not multiply please.We don’t need more manchildren like yourself in the world. Oh, don’t be mad I said that, geuss who I learned that phrase from? Let me give you a clue, it’s from a hippocrite who posts stuff on this site, and then gets all bent out of shape when someone has a view he doesn’t like. Then his true colors come out and we all see what he really is, just a bitter manchild who can’t take criticism.

            Oh don’t forget to run along and get on your knees to thank Steve for giving you a platform you try and deny others of.

    • Beside the beautiful pictures did anyone mention the excellent writing? A real joy to read. Great post Ibraar, enjoy using this camera!



    • Hey Ibraar,

      I would just like to compliment you on the images which I was able to view this morning, not only this but the way you put the words together gave depth and meaning to the images. I think when it comes to the usage of film, you either get it or you don’t.
      I have shot film for most of my life, the love of my life was an Olympus OM4Ti but when it failed on me on my travels abroad. I upgraded to modern technology… A canon EOS 1v (Autofocus). I recently (not so recently) purchased an Olympus OMD and it’s a great camera but the idea of me giving up my love of film… I guess you have to experience it to know it.

      People will always have their opinions and this is the wonderful thing about democracy and all that, but I really enjoyed looking at your images. I recognise that I have a long way to go when it comes to my craft. I also believe that one thing about having a 36 roll, it makes you somewhat more disciplined as opposed to having an attitude of pray and spray…

      God bless


  6. JJ: Troll.

    Is it just me who finds this kind of comment on this forum offensive?

    Wasn’t it but a few weeks back when Steve reiterated his forum policy that comments be constructive and passionate but not abusive etc.

    Am I missing something here regarding JJ’s posts? Perhaps he intends ‘troll’ and his other inane comments to to be humurous.

    I’m no grumpy, sensitive killjoy, but sorry, but I feel ‘troll’ has any place here. It raises the discussion to the level of the gutter.

    • Just because someone does not go along to get along does not mean they should not be heard. Although I know this is steve’s site, my view is that popular speech never needs to be proteced, it is unpopular speech that needs to be protected. I read jj’s comments and as blunt as they may be, he wasn’t cussing or anything like that, hey, the person had a strong view, and such he stood by his views, why should he sugar coat them with ” compassion This is a comment are, not a hospital ward for the severely ill.

      If i had a dollar for everytime i heard” that’s great” or ” leica great this or that” I wouldn;t have to work anymore. I thought this was a comment are about photos and cameras, I didn’t know this was a ” feel good therapy “session.It does say “Steve Huff Photo’ right on top, not ” Let’s all hold hands and praise each other with compassion” I always find it amazing how Steve, through his generosity allows others to post “their” photos and views on his site YET the posters have an issue with anyone who doesn’t post a comment to their liking. I must be blunt and say it is totally ” two faced” and hippocritical to the highest degree.

      If there were no unpopular views here someday, when all the comments are the typical, “hey your work is great” views, what a sad state of affairs it will be. If that is the case, than I would urge Steve to change this section to the ” dont comment unless you think the posters work is great”
      Maybe that’s what most of the viewers here want..seeing as how the the leica fanboys are always eager to bash anyone who posts a blurry photo taken with a leica here yet they aren,t the trolls, the anti film people, the non leica fans, the slrs users, I geuss only they are the “trolls”. Take a look at the post of the guys who posted those blurry pics taken with the new leica and you can see for yourself the amount of “leica trolls” there are here.

      I’m just rying to be fair, when it comes to speech. If you dont protect opposing views than you yourself as an individual should never be allowed to have an opposing view of any sort.

  7. I really like your images. Just some days ago I got a Rolleiflex gx and I love the design and user interface.
    The only thing I find hard is focusing -the screen is kind of dim. Maybe I can find a brighter screen.
    Anyways-I am looking forward to shoot some film again.

  8. The point here is that you might as well enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Digital cameras are good but anyone can press a button. With old film cameras you have to think what you’re doing and understand a process.

    I am, therefore I think.

  9. Bravo.
    Any idiot with a mediocre digital camera can take pictures but not everybody can do what you did the way you did it, your work is masterful and these tonality and dynamic range can not be achieved in digital world cheaply or easily.
    I loved all the pictures in your post especially the “Southwark Cathedral” and “Under the Millennium Bridge. Tate Modern, Towards St. Paul’s.” they are superb. Keep going my friend and remember the road to the destination is as important as the destination. Working with these old cameras and getting that kind of result can be so rewording, but not everybody can understand or appreciate it.

  10. I think using a camera like this one has much less to do with the image quality than the experience of using it, and the pride in its mastery.
    Just as a Chevrolet will produce the desired results of getting you to the grocery store and the kids to soccer practice just as well as a Bentley, and with much less expense, the Bentley is a much more rewarding experience to drive. Just as a dollar-store hammer will pound a nail just as well as an $80 one, the feel of the grip, weight and balance of the more expensive choice will be better. So it is with cameras.
    While any modern DSLR will produce excellent image quality, it will not reward its user in the same way a camera like this one will. This one must have all its adjustments made manually, which requires some mastery. It is the feel of the camera in your hands, the pressure of the shutter button, the sound of the shutter that makes the difference. It is the mastery of selecting the right shutter speed, the right aperture, often without a light meter built-in, and even viewing the subject at waste-level, and upside-down that brings the pride of achievement to the photographer.
    If you cannot understand this difference, ask yourself this: do you always buy the cheapest of everything you buy? The cheapest camera? The cheapest car? The cheapest tools? The cheapest sports equipment? If not, why not? I believe you will find it is because you enjoy using it, not because of the results they produce.
    I thank you, Ibraar for posting your words and images, and kind of curse you too for reminding me of the delightful Mamiya C330 I did not buy so many years ago – because it I thought it would be too inconvenient to use!

  11. Ibraar,

    I enjoyed looking at your photos before, when we discussed the MPP Microcord, and I enjoyed them all over again here on Steve’s blog. You really milked the most out of the Rollie 80S. For those reading here, I highly recommend you try Rollei films. They are a bit temperamental with exposure, but if you’re careful they can provide really amazing results. I recently shot a roll of 400S (@ 200)in my Hasselblad, and was blown away by the look of it. 80S is great for 35mm. I guess I should try the 80S in 120, too.

    • Thanks Mike, have you ever tried Rollei Pan 25?
      Or the aforementioned Rollei Blackbird with Rollei HC high contrast developer?

      • I haven’t tried either of those films. I need to shoot the dozens of rolls of what is in my freezer and fridge, then I may experiment a bit :-). Would love to see your results, though!

    • Rollei IR400 is pretty neat too. It doesn’t have that dreamy glowing look that Kodak HIE used to have, but because it has an anti-halation layer you can load it under normal conditions, so you don’t need to fiddle around in a changing bag to change film!
      Really must get some more next year when conditions are more conducive to IR photography!

  12. Great images, proof that you dont need an expensive camera to create stunning pictures. I am currently using my “new” Yashica Mat G TLR that I bought for usd300 with Fuji Acros Film. Love the look of this combination!

  13. Lovely photos!

    But jeez, ‘extortionate’ Leica prices? You don’t want to pay, you can’t afford it, just don’t buy it. I laud the fact that Leica alone of all the camera makers has the chutzpah to produce something like the MM. I can’t afford it either, but I don’t blame them for that.

    Back to the positive, though: I love 6×6. Had Rolleiflexes for years. Lately, I’ve gotten more into 6×6 folders for the convenience in carrying them… A Balda Baldix or Voigtländer Perkeo II is often in my bag. Wonderful, simple cameras, beautiful photos. There’s something about this format that just inspires me.

    I do have an M9, would love an MM or the new M. They’re entirely different from 6×6, and viva la difference!

  14. Thanks for the comments guys, more than anything it’s great fun to shoot with a TLR, part of the enjoyment is in the taking, the use, especially the pleasure and joy of owning a classic camera such as this, which some like jj probably wouldn’t understand.

    jj is probably the type of person who’d knock down St.Pauls Cathedral to make way for a block of flats – as Cathedrals and Classic architecture is out man, it’s dead man, long live modern eye sores!

    Anyway, Rollei Retro 80s – I was skeptical about this film at first as I had been using and loving Agfa APX 100, and also like APX 400 and Tri X – but the results here were very pleasing – so nice in fact that this will now be my standard film replacing ISO 100 APX.

    The Film is easy to print, and the prints come out sharp, beautiful with inky blacks and subtle tones!
    (on both RC and FB paper – especially FB) – also very easy to scan, with no Post processing involved! it’s that good!

    Next I think I’m going to try Rollei Blackbird with Rollei HC High contrast developer – apparently the results are wow!
    I’ve also got some rolls of Rollei Pan 25 which is something to play around with!

    it’s all great fun, and part of the fun is in the trying, and when you get pleasing results, they mean that much more than click – view on LCD, delete if no good – click again….

  15. I did the same run as you Ibraar with my M6 a month or so ago, really looking forward to seeing the negs now.

    Nice stuff and you prove even a cheapo 6×6 film camera can do the job no problem. It’s a buyers market out there right now, I bought a mint Rolleiflex T from a dealer for £300 a while back and almost cried when I saw the same excellent Mamiya 645 Pro TL system I also use on sale from a dealer last week for a tiny £249.00.

    For portraiture work there is no way on earth I would consider using a digital camera for best results compared to my Pro TL & 150mm f/3.5 + Portra 160. The side by side results when compared to the 645 negs show there is no real comparison between the two as regards quality & colour, tone rendition. As someone else noted above though the file sizes can get crazy huge. lol

  16. I’ve never got on well with square format – I mean with shooting with it; looking at it’s OK! ..And your “Under the Millennium Bridge” is just terrific ..the angles and the lines, and then straight lines of the bridge reaching towards the curved dome of St Paul’s ..and the dome and the other distant buildings disappearing into the fluffy sky ..that’s just great!

    The sky is the picture, with those man-made lines taking us to the cathedral..

    I could never do anything like that, because I just can’t “see” in square format. But “Under the Millennium Bridge” is an absolute cracker!

    And the tones match Steve’s Monochrom any day: $8000 of camera for just £120, plus the cost of a yellow filter ..excellent. Ctrl-click: there, I’ve just put it on my Desktop ..that’ll be my inspiration for the next few weeks. Thanks!

  17. Good images, Ibraar. You have controlled the tonal range really well without allowing the present curse of ultra-high contrast reducing everything and anything to black and white patches (sooty clouds seem popular right now). In other words, there is that lovely luminescence present which is a hallmark of understanding and directing the process.

    There is a great range of medium format TLRs now on the 2nd hand market and even the less expensive Tessar type lens models can have breathtaking sharpness. I use an uncoupled rangefinder Voigtlander Perkeo E (6×6) folder from time to time (Color Skopar 80mm) – 60 Mp in your pocket! And of course, best used standing alongside someone with a D4 or M9..

    • Aye, you’re right there James about the scanned images & tonal range. I don’t know how Ibraar scanned these but for anyone that is interested by far the very best articles I’ve ever read on BW scanning technique are the ones here by Ken Lee –

      Especially relevant for BW MF scans and getting a full tonal range from BW MF negs and the knowledge there can be applied to any software/scanner combo and not just the Epson scanners. Really interesting what Ken has to say about using the green channel only for achieving the sharpest possible scan.

      • Thanks, cider, I’ll have a longer look (just checked it then) at Ken’s article, particularly about using just one channel. I guess the channel to choose may vary with the predominance of different colours, but I haven’t studied it properly yet.

  18. Beautiful photos. Thanks to this site and Prosophos (Peter), I have started experimenting with film again. First with Holga and now with a M6 bought from site sponsor Ken Hansen. My first roll from the M6 is in the mail from the developer/scanner. The anticipation is killing me.

  19. Every time I read an article like this, I get the fever and start plotting how to convince my wife that I really NEED an old film camera, and how I can shop for one by hitting the used camera shop downtown while on a long lunch break, and then pay for it by Craigslisting some junk… and then I hear Gold Five in my mind saying “Stay on target! Stay on target!” and I know that what I really DO NEED is to upgrade my old NEX-5 to a new 5R or 6, so that I can take advantage of the phase-detection to shoot better pics of my 2-year-old running around. Thank you, Gold Five.

    • The only thing a digital camera cant do what a film camera can do is have you spend money on film and development of the negative. Being able to drive a car around without gas would be a wonderful thing, so why would people go back to film to do the same thing as what digital can do is nothing short of short sightedness. it’s photography, not printmaking. Camera, click, done. Why waste time and resources with film, lab, ink, chemicals? Film is going to be so cost prohibitive that only rich folks in small niches places will still use them. Even the cameras have remained mostly the same, and this whole film look thing is way way overblown. From glass plates to film emulsion to the electronic sensor, its a natural tecnological progression, why some people choose to remain in the past for the sake of the past is beyond me. The only difference is the thing that is used to capture light, from the film to the sensor, what else has changed? Skill or no skill, composition, timing, etc, the camera, they have all remained the same.

      • orko, you’ve obviously failed to actually READ the post, it seems all you’ve done is look at the pictures.

        Film is CHEAP, it’s worthwhile, much cheaper for me.

        Why should I waste £1000’s on a digital camera when I only go out to take photographs perhaps once every couple of months – and even then only shoot a roll or two?

        Rich folks blow £1000’s on a digital camera every year or so.

        Besides, Film is REAL, it exists, unlike lines of code in a computer processor.
        My Casio is more accurate than my mechanical watch, does that mean I should ditch the mechanical watch?
        I don’t take pictures for the reasons YOU do, this style and equipment suits me, and I love using it, the pleasure of using and ownership is something you cannot understand.


        • Film is cheaper for you? Why not use digital, cause it’s free.What, you get free film from Life magazine for your work? Fraid, not, man.

          Film is real, unlike lines in a computer? Well, isn;t a computer what you use to upload your mundane photos? I suppose your comments and photos you uploaded here are not real seeing as how they’re on a computer, right?

          Folks dont blow a grand on cameras a year, they use a camera until it dies or sell it to buya new one, but think of the thousands you blew on film and development .

          You don’t take pics for me? Never said you do, you don’t love photography , i think you love using old obsolete equipment and medium cause somehow you think it makes you different, but you are not different than what granpas did a half century ago.You use film but film came after glass plates, now you shun digital becuase it came after film? why? It seems a bit convoluted and pretentious to me.Film is no different to the sensor, the sensor does the same thing, which is make a picture. Take the lesn off a digital camera and look at the sensor dude, it’s there, it’s no in your imagination, it’s as real as your nose on your face. Don’t forsake modern technology just cause you have a closed mind, you are using technology too, except it was new…60 years ago. It’s time to move on, gramps. i bet you won’t though, I bet you will be here a week later and upload more mundane photos taking with yet another old obsolete camera and film.

          • Thanks orko, ill continue to enjoy my obsolete equipment and outdated gear, and I will for sure post some more mundane photos up for you.

          • Orko’s offensive boorishness is the most striking feature of his post.

            Some asinine and grade school comparison of film with a sensor is hardly a revelation to anyone. Who would have thought. “Thanks for sharing!”, as they say.

            Then it’s the underclass language; let’s take a few specimens: man (always a giveaway), right?, dude (oh, cool plus, circa 1980), gramps (this class usually call their babies “bubs”),..the expression (I don’t think Orko has been shaded by the dreaming spires! )).

            Then comes the ill-mannered attempts at belittlement; because it makes you different, closed mind, mundane photos, more mundane photographs..
            Mm, most of us thought they were rather good.

            Next, erect a few strawmen so there’s something to dishonestly criticise; you get free film from Life magazine (oh, the exquisite sarcasm, Orko, still thy rapier tongue!), the thousands you blew on film.., you don’t love photography, you have a closed mind,..

            Well, it’s rather pitiful and a little funny. There’s obviously a cut-off date for our friend Orko; perhaps he’d better let photographers know exactly when a camera is obsolete – does a Sony Mavica qualify or the model after..or what about the one after that? Is there a certain number of megapixels marking the cut-off line? Please, please, Orko, lest we run the gauntlet of your withering scorn someday in public. The gear policeman.

            And those (film) prints from Ansel and Walker and Alfred and Edward and Margaret Julia and … out the window, Orko? Remember, they were taken on those obsolete cameras ? Aaaaaaaaagh!

            We’re waiting for these fascinating insights from Orko. I have a feeling Ibraar might be living rent-free in Orko’s head (and sub-letting the considerable extra space left over).

      • orko,

        ‘so why would people go back to film to do the same thing as what digital can do…’

        For fun? For enjoyment? For education? For the challenge? For the experience?

        Using film is not wrongheaded or obtuse. Digital isn’t the be-all and end-all of the photographic experience.

        Believe it or not there’s a whole out there that doesn’t involve loading an SD card in camera, transferring it to a computer and using software to produce an image, which in all probability won’t be printed.

      • Grain looks different than noise!
        The rolloff between sharp/focused plane and background looks different as well (since film is thicker than digital sensors)!
        Besides the fact that film images look different than digital, there is a whole lot more than just technical IQ. Different workflow, different feeling, different pace.
        The fact that you pay per image when using film can be even an advantage for some people, because they are forced to not just shoot away.

        Besides this – can you name me one digital camera with a viewfinder in the size of a TLR?

    • 🙂 get one! You wont be disappointed! Just make sure the camera has clean optics, has been cleaned lubricated adjusted (CLA’d) and the shutter works at the correct time!
      And just use the iPhone light meter app which is brilliant!

      • Using a iphone as a light meter to use an old out of date camera? I thought folks like yourself hate technology? Don’t you find it a bit..comical? That’s like using steam powered clocks while having to get the power to boil water to get steam from your modern stove. LOL

  20. Wonderful photos! Shooting B/W with a vintage TLR camera is such a rewarding experience. I purchased a 1957 Yashica Mat TLR for $95 and recently took it rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I had so much fun photographing the Grand Canyon with that old camera it was like traveling back in time.

    • Rob, have fun! I was about to get one of those, but I was lured away by something made in England – which is pretty rare these days!

  21. Very Cool! Thank you for sharing these wonderful images.

    I have a special place in my heart for vintage TLR’s. When I was in High School the cameras available to students to check out were always Yashica TLR’s and I grew very comfortable with their design as a result. These days a Rolleiflex Automat is my camera of choice when it comes to TLR’s but they are all lovely tools in their own right.

  22. Finished large prints ~ Yes you may be able to do it with digital ! An Alpa XY using multiple exposure and cropped to 4″ x 4″ or even a TC with 65mp back, but the file size is enormous. I suppose a Nikon D800 using the square crop and post production. But… what we have been shown here are straight scans from the negatives and sorry there is something about a negative image, especially 6×6 plus, that gives them a quality you don’t get with digital (which I do use).
    For my MA in documentary photography I presented my work in a book form with digital prints from Linhoff 6×12 and aluminium mounted negative c41 prints. My first attempt at a scan exceeded the file size my Apple could cope with and I had to reduce it to 1.3GB!
    And yes although the Linhoff, Hasselblads and Arca have long gone I still retain a Mamiya RB67 and shoot an occasional out of date polaroid just for fun… and this is what Ibraar has clearly been doing – having fun… so keep on doing this please.

    • The file sizes do get big! I scan Mamiya 7 film and the TIFFs are on either side of a gig. When you start working in CS on the file, they get HUGE. Drum scans from TMax 100 on a Mamiya 7 become 100 megapixel files, and the detail is mindblowing. I agree a medium format file gives more than any commercially available digital camera.

    • Thanks Martin, appreciate the comments and encouragement.
      All I do is have fun, and not take anything seriously, thanks again!

  23. Great work, Ibraar!

    Living near to London I know the Thames area well – your chosen spot in this post is a favourite haunt of mine, the light on days like you were there is something special… and of course I know the camera shops around the BM you refer to. Venture in at your peril, indeed; I guarantee one won’t emerge without purchasing something!

    When I worked in advertising photography in the 70s to late 80s my weapon of choice was the MPP 5×4 loaded with B&W film: with a Schneider Kreuznach lens solid it was rugged and reliable, and its varied vertical and horizontal adjustments just wonderful to behold – and a complete puzzle to the uninitiated!

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Brian, I’m on the look out for an MPP Microtechnical, or failing that an MPP Press camera – I feel 5×4 calling!

      • Hello! 2012 is calling, you dont hav to torture yourself with old outdated equipment, man! . Come to the light of modern technology, it’s ok man, it’s never too late, man.

      • rolleiflexed,

        If you’re thinking this way (5×4) don’t forget to factor in the cost of developing tanks and their stainless steel film holders, and of course, film holders and film for the camera and a heavy duty tripod (mine was a wooden MPP)… and unless you are going the scan the negs a 5×4 enlarger and lens, which will take up some serious room 🙂

        For example the 1980s De Vere enlarger I used with its couter-balanced cold cathode head was 40×30 inches at its base and about 8ft high and weighed a ton… but fun!

        There is a dedicated website for all things MPP:

        Trust this helps.

        • Thanks Brian, I have large trays and tanks capable of 5×4
          And to be honest enlargers are going cheap on the fleabay.
          It’s a long term thing, as I’ve said elsewhere, I only go out to photograph stuff once every few months or so, and mostly when out on a trip or abroad, so no rush!

          I have sent my membership form off to MPPusers – it’s pretty good value and you get a fantastic magazine (I’ve also joined Club Rollei).

          Thanks again, and if I do get myself a 5×4 I’ll definitely be sending Steve some stuff!

  24. I seriously don’t know how you could not have done all these pics with a digital camera, man. Get a digital camera man and save some good money, man. Film is dead, man.

    • Yes he probably could have – but he chose to make them this way. That said, the style, texture, and look of real film is what digital tries to emulate. Why not, sometimes, use the real thing? Everyone does things the way that suites them, and these came out great.

    • What a dumb reply. Film is a small, small corner of photography now, but it certainly isn’t dead at all. First of all, even scanned at a moderate resolution, medium format fim (shot at a reasonable speed) has incredible resolution. Print film also has huge exposure latitude, and well exposed print film still exceeds digital in dynamic range.

      It’s certainly more work, but when I shoot 6×7 from a Mamiya 7 and scan it well, the results are astounding, well ahead of anything I have ever shot with digital in terms of absolute image quality.

      JJ, they are simply different media, with different capabilities and different results. If careful photography that requires a bit of labor to produce a stunning result is “dead”, then I suppose we should all hang up our cameras.

      For the minimal investment it takes, you should pick up an old TLR and spend a few days shooting it. Send you film to North Coast Photographic Services for fairly high resolution scans. Tell me you don’t enjoy the results.

      Jay Mueller

      • Jay,

        So it is….. Photography has many technologies, some recently, some more than 100 years old. It’s up to everybody what to choose for their creative goals.

        When TV came…some people say …Radio is dead…
        Lastly I met a Photographer in Siem Reap Cambodia, maken pictures of Angkor with a technique based on Silver Bromide on Glassplates and so on….
        It was amazing to see what you can achieve with a NON digital prices… It certainly never became or will become a mainstream thing, but that’s what Photography is making interesting, all those techniques to support any creative prices

      • Woah, man, take it easy, man. I’m only trying to help you save some bread, man. Unlless you;re getting paid big ol bucks by some big company, man, I don’t see a point, man. Digital, click, done. Film is so much time and money for something that’s the same, man.The future is here, and there’s no point in going back to grandpas way of doing things, man. Look, man, even rock decay, and so will film, man. Be in the moment, not in the past,man.

      • Genius? I wouldn’t go THAT far. Where do you see genius here? If you see genius , I would be highly concerned if I were you.

          • Glad you find it funny, man. I find it funny you call yourself Rollieflexed. We are in 2012 man, film is dead man, and so is the romanticism you cling to like a pillow, man.

          • Kiss your rolleiflex? No thanks, man, If i did that, I might turn into one of your pictures…sheer boredom.

          • You just don’t get it, JJ. But of course, you can always speak for yourself, as long as you don’t impose your opinion to everybody else. In religion, such an attitude is called fundamentalism and it’s the reason why people go to war. So please, just speak for yourself. You’ll make a lot of friends doing so. Now, on the other hand, you only seam to make a lot of enimies.
            Film means a lot to a whole lot of people. And it keeps on doing that. This single fact keeps it alive and kicking. There’s really noting else to it.
            BTW those pics are wonderfull! Really great stuff. As far as I’m concerned (partly) thanks to the film, and as always, mainly thanks to the photographer.

  25. That’s a lovely find, and some great pictures.
    I do quite like Rollei Retro 80S film, must get hold of some more, although I do find that it (like the other Rollei films I’ve tried) tends to curl up tightly when you cut it into lengths, so getting it flat in the scanner tray and clamping it down can sometimes make me wish for a third hand!

  26. Hi Ibraar….

    You understand what it’s all about….Love your shot and 6×6

    I use a 1955 Rolleiflex TLR 3.5/75 … (585 euro) and Tmax100 or 400….

    It’s about Making an Image not …Taking

  27. Better pictures than many I’ve seen taken on here with $6k cameras. Good work!

    Oh, and those camera shops around the British Museum are deadly. For those who don’t know, there are numerous small independent camera shops, many selling second hand gear, as well as some high end Leica retailers, within a small area. Venture in at your peril!

    • Thanks Andrew, I didn’t buy from the camera shop there, as some are way over priced and in others the Assistants are pretty rude and ignorant!

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