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Oxford: Xenotar lens test

Wednesday, December 27th, 2023

Some shots from yesterday when I was testing a Schneider Xenotar lens I recently picked up. Very overcast flat light but the results are OK.

[Tech info:] Chamonix 45F2, 135/3.5 Xenotar lens (yellow filter apart from the portrait), Fomapan 100 @ ISO 64, developed in ID-11 1+1 for 10m 30s.

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Oxford: graduation day 2023

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Graduation day, end of September. I was channeling some Diane Arbus with my C330f and fill-flash on a sunny day – a combo I haven’t tried before. The flash was a small Rollei model without any power setting. I think it worked quite well overall. The low perspective is from using a waist level finder – not an obvious choice with a wide-angle lens when photographing people but it helped to include some architecture in the background.

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Gear: Rolleiflex SL66 & 125mm f2.5 Leitz lens

Monday, September 18th, 2023

Recently I came across an interesting lens I was curious to try out – a Leitz 125mm f2.5 modified for use on a Rolleiflex SL66. The lens was originally designed for use on a 35mm format system but amazingly it covers 6×6 without any issues. The previous owner carried out the modification and it’s very nicely done. Here are the first test shots from a photowalk with a photographer mate of mine.

[Tech info]: Rolleiflex SL66, 125mm f2.5 Leitz lens, shots 1-3 Ilford FP4, the rest are Ilford HP5, developed in Adox XT-3 stock.

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Oxford: flooded meadow

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

During December 2020 the UK saw a lot of rainfall and some parts of the country were flooded. I don’t remember Oxford receiving enough rain to cause flooding but as the massive volume of water from other parts comes rushing through Oxford the rivers swell which in turn causes some areas to flood, especially a local meadow. I made the most of the flooding and did some photography with a large format camera I’ve been wanting to try out for a while. It’s custom made with a 75mm Schneider lens which is fitted to a helicoid for focussing and the back rotates – something I found out by accident which was a nice bonus. There is no branding on it but it’s extremely well designed and made.

I wanted to fill the frame with sky and the reflection in the water so I had to stand in the water because a 75mm on 5×4 film gives an extremely wide angle of view. The Benbo Mk 2 tripod is perfect for this because the legs extend upwards from inside the bottom part of the legs and is designed to stand in water. What a didn’t realise was how easily one of the feet would end up coming off in the mud because it had a split in it, something I only noticed once I got back home. Fortunately Paterson in the UK still sell spares and supply them in a pack of 3. I’ve included some behind the scenes pictures below.

[Tech info:] Custom red dot 5×4 camera, 75mm Schneider lens, FP4 film (expired), developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 (-1 minute to prevent the highlights blowing out).

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A walk in the woods

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

I’ve borrowed a Contax T2 point and shoot camera from a kind friend of mine and have been taking it with me on a few walks recently to see if it lives up to its reputation. So far I can’t say it has. Below are some examples from a recent walk and you can see in three of them only the centre of the frame is in focus and the outer edge of the frame looks so distorted I wonder if there’s an alignment problem with the lens. Surely it can’t be down to a shallow depth of field. The strange thing is in the shot of the moss covered branch (second image) the blurry edges aren’t there so maybe it’s more to do with focussing at infinity? Maybe this is normal for this camera but no one has mentioned it in any reviews? Not sure.

[Tech info:] Contax T2, Eastman Double X film, developed in FPP D96 for 7mins 30secs. Pakon scans.

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Oxford: lunch break photo walk around Worcester College

Saturday, December 21st, 2019

First test roll with a 40mm wide-angle lens I recently picked up for my Bronica SQ-A. I’ve had the lens for a while but I needed some dry weather during my lunch break to test it out. The lens is very wide and allows close focusing which I like. The interior shot of Worcester College chapel was an 8 second exposure which is the slowest shutter speed on the camera. I can see that being very useful in some situations. The roll of Ilford Pan F I used expired in 2007 so I rated it at ISO 25. Even though slow films are meant to lose sensitivity over time slower than faster emulsions Pan F tends to suffer quite badly for a film with a box speed of ISO 50. Not a problem on this occasion because I wanted to use the 40mm lens fairly wide open. I’m pleased with the results from this lens and it’s a keeper.

[Tech info:] Bronica SQ-A, 40mm Zenzanon lens, Ilford Pan F (expired), developed in XTOL 1+1.

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Test: Rolleiflex SL66 with Polaroid Land Camera lens

Friday, April 20th, 2018

For the past few years I’ve have had a lens sitting around that I wanted to make use of but never quite got around to it, until now. The lens originally came off of the Polaroid 110B Land Camera that I had modified to a 5×4 large format camera and I didn’t see much point in mounting it to a lens board to use on a different 5×4 camera so it’s been sitting around doing nothing. I wanted to adapt it to work on my Rolleiflex SL66 but the only place I knew of that made an adapter was asking around $80 which is more than I wanted to pay but fortunately a friend mentioned RAF Camera where an adapter cost just under half the price.

After modifying the adapter slightly (two small holes need to be drilled so that small screws on the back of the lens can stop it from twisting) it was ready for testing. Below are some test shots from the first roll. A few things to mention are firstly the focal length is a surprise if you’re mostly used to using the 80mm standard lens as I am and I frequently found myself taking a few steps back from where I thought I would need to stand to a given composition. Secondly, the depth of focus is extremely shallow even at f8 and because the image through the viewfinder gets darker as you stop down it’s difficult to get precise focus without a bright focussing screen in your camera – something that affected my hit rate of sharp shots on this roll. I’ll use a tripod for the next roll I use with this setup to see the difference. All shots made during my lunch break.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66, Enna Werk München 127mm f4.7 lens, Ilford Delta 100 (expired), developed in Tetenal Ultrafin T-Plus.

 

Oxford: Kodak HIE high speed infrared film test

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Here are some test shots from a roll of Kodak HIE high speed b&w infrared film that expired in 1990. I think it’s been frozen since purchase but I can’t be sure so I bracketed my exposures widely erring on the overexposure side which turned out not to be necessary. I rated the film at ISO 10 and used a B+W 093 filter which is around 5 stops in density which is too dense to look through so for that reason I decided to use a rangefinder camera which meant I wouldn’t need to keep removing the filter to compose my shots. Out came my M2.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Voigtlander 35/1.2 Nokton, Kodak HIE high speed infrared b&w film developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6mins. Pakon scans.

Gear: Lubitel 166U test

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Here are some test shots from a Lubitel 166U camera that I got in a job lot of stuff that I bought on eBay. For a twin-lens medium format camera it’s very light and similar in styling to the Yashica 124 cameras. I found the viewfinder tricky to use because the image in the viewfinder doesn’t quite cover from corner to corner so you have to move your head around while holding the camera still if you’re to stand any chance of a decent composition. I found it tricky to hold level because it’s light weight but overall I did enjoy using it in a toy camera kind of way.

[Tech info:] Lubitel 166U, Ilford HP5 film, developed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Lubitel test shots

Lubitel test shots

 

Gear: testing large format brass lenses

Friday, May 5th, 2017

I’ve recently been testing some very old brass camera lenses that I’ve had for a while and by old I mean over one hundred years old. Some have the manufacturer engraved on them, some don’t. Some of them have aperture blades inside, some don’t and none of them have built in shutters which is why I was testing them on a Sinar monorail camera (below) with a Sinar behind the lens shutter. The downside is the maximum shutter speed is 1/60th which makes it difficult on a sunny day. More testing to come with more detailed results.

[Tech info:] Sinar P 5×4 camera, Watson & Sons No. 3 portrait lens, Ilford Delta 100 film developed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

portraits

 

film drying and 5x4 camera

 

Large format film test

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I recently bought a batch of expired large format 5×4 sheet film that I’m unfamiliar with so I made some test shots during my lunch break to see what they would look like. The film expired in 2005 and as I have no idea of how it’s been stored since then I decided to rate the film at ISO64 instead of 100. The camera I used is my smallest and most portable 5×4 camera which is a Polaroid 110B that I had converted by Randy at holgamods.com. It’s a thing of beauty and a joy to use.

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B, Mac 100 UP b&w film (expired 2005), rated at ISO64 and developed in Rodinal 1+25 for 8mins in a Jobo.

Gear: Kodak Retina test with colour film

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

I’ve enjoyed using my Kodak Retina camera since I got it recently and I wanted to test it with some colour film to see what the lens is like. This is the first test roll which was expired Kodak Color Plus 200 film which I bought in the Oxford Poundland shop when it first opened. The film expired in 2012 but I don’t think it’s too bad at all. These shots were made on a short walk around Sutton Courtney so don’t be surprised if this doesn’t look anything like Oxford.

[Tech info:] Kodak Retina loaded with Kodak Color Plus 200 (expired) film. Developed in Fuji Xpress C41 kit, Pakon scans.