Sunday, December 4, 2016

30+ Year Old Kodak Tri-X Pan

I was going through an old box of photography "stuff" that I inherited from my Dad.  I found a bunch of reusable film canisters and what appears to be almost a full 100' roll of Kodak Tri-X Pan.  I have no clue how much film is still in the roll, but I figured I'd give it a go.

I rolled several short rolls (12'ish exposures) to give them a try. Using the bulk film roller was very straight forward. OK, rolled one backwards which was a bit of a learning experience. The cassettes were a bit stiff to open, but I think that's needed to keep them from popping open. 

I put tape at the end of the film, but after shooting a couple of rolls, I'll need to tape them better.  One roll had the film come off the spool after I shot it.

How do you like my labels. Very professional, NOT.  Hey, not a biggie.  Anyway, for the first roll I shot it with a camera I know was good to go.  A Canon Sure Shot which I've used several times previously.  I then sent it off to The Darkroom to take home developing possible issues out of the equation.  

Well, got them back and hey, it works!!  OK, it has very minimum contrast (this photo was taken on a sunny day), but I like the fact that I can use a 30+ year old film that my Dad owned.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Yashica 44 - A Mini TLR

I was given this really cool Yashica-44 earlier in the year.  I looked in pretty good shape.  All the moving parts moved, the shutter seemed to be smooth and the glass clear.  The only issue was that the film advance and focus dials are very loose.  Not fall off loose, but not tight.  No problems.  I was happy to add it to my collection.  The only challenge...yep, it shoots an odd sized film, 127.  While the film is still available, it's somewhat hit or miss to find and kind of pricey.

About a month ago I tried to figure out how to shoot 35mm spockets with it, so at least I could give it a go.  No joy, couldn't figure out how to get it set up.

OK, I decided to break down and buy a couple of Rera Pan 100-127 rolls from Freestyle Photo in LA. Each roll was $12, so I bought 2.   I hadn't shot the camera before, so I wasn't sure if it was going to work or a dud.  For this reason I decided to only shoot one roll, have it developed and see if it worked.  If it didn't then I'd have a spare roll of 127 to shoot in any other camera I came upon that needed it.

A few weeks ago I was NYC so I decided to give it a try.  Guess what, it worked!!  Easy to load, and everything seemed to go smoothly.  I metered the camera using a Luma-Pro that I had.  Loading was straight forward, just like any TLR.  

I'll definitely use it again, and this time I'm going to also investigate how / if I can roll my own 127 film.  A few of the shots in NYC.  I love the old-skoolie look of the film, the massive amount of grain and the soft focus.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Model Photos with a Yashica EZS Zoom 70

I picked up this Yashica EZS Zoom 70 at a Goodwill store.  A fairly straight forward, limited feature 35mm film point & shoot.  It's got a cool look and fits easily into my hand.  A bit bulky for my taste for a point & shoot, but I wanted to give it a go.  I've always had good luck with Yashicas.

The camera was super clean when I got it.  Battery compartment completely clean, lens clean and operated smoothly.  I probably paid less than $3.

I decided to take it to a recent model test studio shoot.  I've gotten into the habit of bringing a film camera during my test, fashion and model shoots and popping off a few frames.  I've started a series on my Facebook page called "Girls On Film".  Get it, the Duran Duran song...??

Anyway, I shot about 1/2 roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 film during my shoot with model Anastasiya Finogenova with LModelz Model Management.  I just had her pose casually against various backgrounds.  In all cases the flash fired (set to auto) which gave it a somewhat blown-out look which was cool.

I developed the film myself and scanned it using my cheapo Epsom V370 scanner.  I REALLY like the results.  Totally surprised at the quality and vibe from the film camera.  I'll definitely use it again (this weekend maybe??).

A couple of photos of Anastasiya...just cropped in Lightroom and a touch of Clarity added.

Friday, October 28, 2016

NYC Street Photography

I'm in NYC attending to some family matters, and guess what?  I have all day Saturday free.  Hmm, what to do? What to do?  I know, street photography.  I came prepared.  I'm primarily going to shoot film, but am bringing digital too.

I was going to take a small kit, but I decided to bring 4 cameras.  Here's what I brought.  One note, I did switch out one camera from the photo at the last minute.  The kit

  • Nikon D810 with a Nikon MB-D14 vertical battery grip
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 & Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lenses or the D810
  • A bunch of 32GB memory cards
  • Olympus MJU-1 point & shoot film camera
  • Pentax K1000 film camera (I was originally going to bring my Yashica Electro 35 GSN but wanted an SLR without a light meter (my K1000 meter is dead)
  • Yashica 44 TLR
  • Luna-Pro light meter (for the K1000)
  • 2 rolls of Rera Pan 100 127 film for the Yashica 44
  • 9 rolls of various Ilford B&W film including 1 roll of Lomography 400 color film
I know it's a lot.  Most people will bring only one camera / one lens, but I wanted to play with film with an SLR, a point & shoot and a TLR.  I also wanted to bring a workhorse digital camera (that I use in the studio)

I plan to spend about 10 hours just walking through the city.  Once I run out of film, I'll switch to digital....

Here we go!  I'll report back with pictures.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Another Try At Sprockets - My Thoughts on the Setup

My first go at shooting with sprockets on a Holga 120N was "quasi" successful.  It was a good test, but the quality was just OK.  Do I give up and hold my head low you ask?  Why no, lets give this another go.  Why you might ask?  Just like everything with my film's just for giggles.

OK, this time I've decided to use a Yashica 44.  I was given this camera by a friend and I've never shot it before.  The problem is that it uses 127 film.  Since I don't have any 127 film (medium format), I figured it would be a good candidate for SPROCKETS.  Right on.

OK, here's what I'm going to do based on a test I did tonight with some dead film.  It's probably more complicated than it's worth, but like I said above, it's just for fun.  Note, this is all going to be in a large black changing bag.  First, I'm going to open a cartridge of 35mm film & unwind it.  Next, I'll tape the film ends on both sides of a 127 spool (I bought one on eBay).  Next I'm going to roll one side onto the spool and while holding it in place put it in the camera and load the other spool in the receiver side.  Then I'll close it up.  Out of the bag I'm going to tape up all up to minimize light leaks.

OK, we'll see how this goes.  Once (if) done I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

35mm Sprockets & A Holga

I've wanted to shoot 35mm film with sprockets in a 120 film camera for some time.  Finally, got around to it.  I like the look and had seen it done several times.  After researching how to do it, I decided to temporarily hack my Holga 120N.  Here is an earlier blog post on my DIY hack

I think I did it right, so I went out to shoot a roll of FujiColor Superia 400.  I shot in the daylight outdoors after a studio digital model test shoot.

Everything seemed to work A-OK.  I rerolled the film into the canister in a dark bag.  I then processed the film using C-41 chemistry purchased from the Film Photography Podcast Store. At the same time I developed a roll of C-41 shot in a normal 35mm film camera that I trusted as a development control.

Basically, it didn't work (the control did).  All of my shots were super soft (beyond normal Holga soft), and all were way under exposed.  I didn't get images on about 1/2 the 14 photos.  The others were dark and had colors hard to extract.  

My normal flatbed scanner used for 35mm film wouldn't work.  Therefore, I used a small light box with a DIY template and photographed the negatives with a Nikon D810 using a Nikkor 60mm Macro f/2.8 lens.  That part was fairly straight forward.  Here's the scanner bed hack

I then brought 3 images into Adobe Photoshop, reversed the image and played with the colors using curves & levels.  Each image was different with it's own unique look.  

Here are a couple more of the photos from around the studio.  One of model Gracie Be leaving the studio and one of a train passing by the back of my studio.

Come on, honestly, these images are sh*t, but you know what they are kind of cool.  It was a super fun experiment. I'm definitely going to give it a go again with a different camera.  Anyway, playing with / experimenting with film is a good Yin to my digital studio Yang.  Dig it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buying Second Hand Has It's Perils

I posted a blog post a few weeks ago about tips when buying used film cameras.  I use these tips all the time.  However, even when you "know" what you are doing there are still issues.  

Last weekend I purchased 2 SLR's from a "flea market" seller I've used before.  Generally the quality is good, but I've occasionally had minor issues.  I purchased a Pentax ZX-M that I've wanted to get and a Chinon CM-4 which I'm not 100% familiar with.  Both looked clean and from my on sight inspection they looked good to go.

I loaded the Pentax tonight with a roll of FujiColor Superia X-TRA 400.  Loaded A-OK.  However, as soon as I pushed the shutter release button the film rerolled into the canister.  Weird.  OK, I opened the camera and using a trick I learned I retrieved the film leader.  Reloaded the camera, pushed the shutter release and same thing happened.  Either the film was jammed enough that the camera thought the film was at the end, or there is an electrical glitch.  I'll have to deal with it later.

On the positive side, I retrieved the film leader again and loaded it into the Chinon.  Loaded well, light meter seemed to work and I took a few shots.  Batting 500 with this purchase.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Have A Need, A Need For Sprockets

Recently I got the itch to shoot a roll of 35mm film with exposure all the way into the sprockets. Kind of a cool look, and I've never done it before.  Online I went to see how it could be done.  After reading a few blog posts, checking with Twitter friends, & watching a few videos I decided to give it a try by slightly hacking my Holga 120.

The Holga is a 120 sized film camera with limited / no controls.  It's simple so it's easy to mode & there were plenty of blog posts and videos on using one for sprockets.  OK, here we go I said.

My technique is to cut a plastic screw-top bottle cap in 1/2 and use it as the stabilizer for my 35mm roll, tape up the red window, and mode the receiving reel so the 35mm film doesn't slip around.  I also read up on how to advance the film using the Holga "clicks".

Here is what I finished last night in pictures

First, my camera and the split cap

Back open, and receiving spool removed

Gaffer tape handy and ready to tape over the red window so I don't get light leaks.  This is important since the 35mm film doesn't have backing paper like 120 film

Once side taped up

Inside too, why?  Well, why not

I didn't see this requirement on any of the blogs or videos (the recommendation is just to tape the film leader onto the spool).  However, I wanted to make a small channel the the film could wind in to keep film somewhat stable.

Bottle-cap jammed in.  The top one has the closed side facing down. The bottom side of the cap has the cut side facing out with the closed side down.  I taped the bottom side down, but didn't need to on the top 1/2.  It was snug.

The film fit perfectly between the 2 halves of the bottle-cap, and I cranked the film onto the receiving spool.  I closed the back, taped it shut (mainly because I had some gaffer's tape already cut off the roll) and cranked the film 42 clicks for the first shot.

 I've got a model shoot tomorrow in the studio and will bring this Sprocket Rocket with me.  After the shoot I play around with the roll.  I'll probably develop it pretty quickly and will followup.  The only challenge at this point is to figure out how to scan the film.  I'll deal with that later.

Camera fun

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Film in Frig

I was reaching into my garage refrigerator this evening after working in the yard to get a cold beverage. These lovely blue & yellow boxes caught my eye. Reminded me that I have about 25 packs of Kodak slide film ready for use. 

I think this weekend I'll grab a box & give it a go. It's been YEARS since I've shot slide film, but I do have an E-6 chemistry kit. Therefore I can develop the film at home. Could be fun. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Girls On Film - Location Fashion Shoot

I did a fashion shoot on location in an abandoned building recently with model Katie Allen.  I was joined by local fashion photographer Wil Foster.   Lots of interesting architecture and natural light to work with.  Of course, I used my digital kit for the main shoot.  However, I also brought this little cutie to the shoot.  A super compact Canon SureShot 80u 35mm point & shoot.  

This was another Goodwill find some time ago.  Not sure when I got it, but it's completely clean.  The camera packs a 38-80mm zoom lens and a groovy art deco vibe to the body.  I loaded it with a roll of Ilford XP2 400 B&W film and put it in my camera bag.

During the shoot I pulled out the SureShot and popped off a few shots during each clothing & location change. Since this was a "real" shoot there was also studio lighting equipment involved. Because the lighting in the building was somewhat low, the SureShot's flash went off on every shot. After a few shots I realized the camera's flash was triggering the slave mode on the Profoto lights and setting them off as well.  No wonder a few of the shots were completely blown out.  The struggle is real.

On all the shots I kept the zoom at 38mm.  Everything was automatic.  The parallax framing in the optical viewfinder was a bit hard to see in the environment so some of the pictures were not framed like I wanted, but seriously, this is minor.

I dig the camera.  Really easy to use and I am surprised at the quality of the prints.   BTW, I developed the film myself and scanned the negatives using my low end Epson V370.

A few of the shots.  No post processing except to straighten / crop & apply a bit of sharpening.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Expired Polaroid 600 Film Funness

This past Friday, a photography friend of mine gave me a 4 pack of Polaroid 600 Instant Film. Without hesitation I say, "why yes, I'll take this off your hands".   I checked the back and it was dated 2004.  Hmmm, might not be very good.  I've used 10+ year old Polaroid film before with little if no success.  Either the chemistry is dried up, leaked or the pack batteries are dead.  Oh well, really what do I have to loose.

I brought it home and loaded a pack in one of my Polaroid cameras.  I picked one that I knew worked well.  I used one of my Polaroid OneStep Closeup.  I've used this camera a few times before with Impossible Project film and it works great.  I wanted to eliminate the poor camera element.

I opened my first pack to see if any of the chemistry had leaked or there was anything that looked wonky.  So far, so good.

OK, here we go.  I wanted to just shoot some snapshots around the house.  I took a selfie, some flowers, and yard and my cat.  At first I was concerned because the chemistry didn't seem to spread very evenly, but the batteries were strong and most of the shots spread the chemistry to cover between 90-95% of the film.  That was better than I expected.

It worked groovy.  Yes the chemistry has broken down so there are extreme color shifts, the images don't have enough contrast, and they are washed out.  You know what?  Who cares, it is fun and cool.  Thats what I like, very experimental and weird effect.  Not much different than trying a Lomography camera.

Bottomline, you need to be careful buying original Polaroid expired film online.  The chances are high that the film won't work.  But if you get the film for little or no money, or they give it to you...then do it!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Polaroid Impulse AF

I purchased a Polaroid Impulse AF a few weeks ago at a local Goodwill Outlet.  I go there a couple of times a month and just dig through the blue bins to see if anyone has donated old film cameras. Occasionally I'll find something.  If I do, then it's normally just old film point and shoots.  On a good day I'll find a Polaroid like this Impulse.  

The Impulse is cool because it has an autofocus function.  I used the Impulse AF during my last 2 model shoots.  I used a pack of The Impossible Project 600 Color during the 2 shoots.  The quality is OK for an old Polaroid.  On both shoots the lighting in the studio was somewhat poor / low so the images were a bit dark.  Not 100% sure the flash fired, but I'm guessing it did.  I just need to learn how to balance the lighting in the studio with the light slider under the lens.

Here is a shot from yesterday's maternity shoot with a model Cecilia Hernandez who I've worked with several times.  A bit darker than I'd like but still cool.

Next time with this camera I'm going to use it outside.  I'll see how it it works.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

FujiFilm QuickSnap Flash - You Still See Them

While cleaning out my older son's kitchen "junk drawer" a few years ago (he's been out on his own for about 7 years) I found this one time use Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash.  This is one of those disposable, 1-time use cameras.  Well, I put it in my camera equipment closet and forgot about it.

The other day I was looking for a piece of kit I needed for a fashion shoot and I found it again.  I flipped it over and it had been fully used.  It had Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film that could be developed with C-41 chemistry.  I had no clue what was on it nor did he, so I figured, WTH, might as well try to develop it.

Understand, I have zero clue how to properly take one of these apart, so I basically put it in my black bag with a can opener and big pair of scissors.  Well, after fumbling around in the dark for about 10 minutes I hacked it open and out popped a roll of film into my hand.  I put it on the developing reel and developed it tonight.

After a quickie inspection it looks like all the images are underexposed.  This is surprising since it's 800 ASA film.  My guess he shot it in a room or during a party and didn't use the optional flash.  I can make out about 10 of 27 images, so once the film dries I'll put it on the light table and see if there are any photos worth scanning.

It would be super cool to get a shot that my son took about 7-10 years ago.  I'll check back, of course as long as they are not NSFW type photos....yikes, hadn't thought about that.

The aftermath.  No wonder it's one time use.  I might try to salvage the lens & flash to see if I can do any hacks with them.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Cool Misfire

I was photographing an editorial fashion shoot last month for a fashion magazine last month.  For giggles, and hey, why not, I shot a roll of 35mm film between look changes for my model.  I was shooting a Canon EOS Elan II with a roll of 100 TMax with a Canon f/2.8 40mm pancake lens.

Because I was shooting in studio I simply used an Elinchrom SkyPort trigger to fire my Elinchrom studio lights.  I metered my lights & set them to get an f/9 aperture with the 100 ASA.  My speed was set at approximately 1/160 of a second in manual mode.  More on this later.

Well on the shot above I actually think is pretty cool.  What's strange is that it looks like a double exposure, but it's actually motion blur before the strobe fired.  Not sure if the strobe fired late, or I bumped the speed way down and the strobe misfired.  Not 100% sure and the rest of the roll came out tack sharp.  

Next time I do a test shoot and the model has maybe 15-30 minutes to kill I might try to replace the effect.  

Anyway I misread the maximum sync speed for the Canon.  It's closer to 1/125 versus 1/160.  As a result on quite a few of the photos I got the dreaded curtain closing black band effect.  I'll SLOW it down next time.

Here's what happens.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Loading a Yashica MAT-124G

I went out on Saturday to do a bit of street photography while my wife had a business meeting.  Yes, I know, I have an executive finance day job and even I DON'T have to take Saturday meetings.  So, while she was working I was doing my photography thing.

Decided to do a stop action video with my iPhone of loading my Yashica MAT-124G TLR.  I ran 2 rolls through it.  Super fun.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nikon N8008 And A Fashion Shoot

I did an editorial photoshoot for a fashion magazine recently.  During the photoshoot I decided to shoot a roll of 35mm film with my Nikon N8008 (F-801 outside of the USA) mounted with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lens between looks.  BTW, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 is an awesome manual lens I got from my Dad’s estate, but is still made…and pricey.

The Nikon N8008 is a cool camera that is super simple to use.  It can be set from full manual all the way through full automatic.  This is a perfect camera for beginners who want a film SLR and want full functionality.  A benefit is that they can be found online for less than $50 with lens.  On a Nikon film SLR timeline on Wikipedia under “Nikon SLR cameras” lists it as a late 80’s “high-end” camera. 

I don’t need to go into the specs for the camera because manuals, videos and reviews are readily available online.  Here are a couple:

I shot the N8008 in manual mode, aperture priority and full automatic.  In manual mode I set it just like I do my digital camera.  I used an Elinchrom Skyport trigger and metered my studio lights to f/9 and the film 400 ASA.  Next, I shot a few shots in full daylight in aperture priority and finally several shots outside in full automatic.  Bottomline, all worked perfectly and the camera is easy to set & shoot.  I didn’t use an automatic setting for this shoot, but I have previously and it works super.

Oh yes, one other thing I did on this roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400, I developed it myself using a C-41 chemistry kit from the Film Photography Podcast store.  This was my first developing attempt and I’m sure this impacted the quality of the images.  Also my scanner isn’t quite up to contemporary standards…so there’s that.

So if you want a solid film SLR that can be used in all modes and easy to use, then take a look at a Nikon N8008. 

A few shots from the shoot.