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Gear: Olympus OM1 test

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

A generous friend of mine (thanks Clive) gave me an Olympus OM1 that he had been given over 10 years ago but never got around to using it. I was very pleased to accept it as I’ve been curious about the Olympus OM1 for a long time. I keep hearing so many positive things about it but I don’t have any experience of Olympus SLR cameras having been a lifelong Nikon user. It turned out that the light meter doesn’t work in this OM1 but fortunately it’s a manual mechanical camera and still works fine without the light meter or batteries. These shots are from the first test roll I put through it during my lunch break.

[Tech info:] Olympus OM1, Zuiko 50/1.8 lens, Kodak TMAX 1oo developed in Kodak HC110 1+31. Pakon scans.

Gear: Pentacon Six TL

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Here are some images from the first test roll through a medium format camera that I picked up recently. The Pentacon Six TL has been on my radar for the last couple of years because of one particular lens, the Carl Zeiss Jena 180/2.8. As luck would have it I came across a nice condition setup for sale last weekend for a reasonable price so I decided it was time to give it a go.

The first thing that struck me was the size of the front element of the 180/2.8 lens, it’s huge! My largest filters are 77mm but this lens requires 86mm filters. The camera is very nice to use, especially with a prism instead of a waist level finder which makes it easier to balance the big lens. The only camera I have that is similar in size and design is a Pentax 6×7 but two immediate differences struck me about the Pentacon Six TL – it’s a 6×6 format camera so you use it in landscape orientation the whole time, also the mirror in it is a lot quieter than the Pentax 6×7 and doesn’t cause as much camera shake. One thing I didn’t realise about the prism is that the viewfinder is not 100%. I’ve got a lot more image in the frame on the film than I remember seeing through the lens. I’m not sure if this is down to the prism or whether you get the same with the waist level finder (which I don’t have).

So far I’ve enjoyed using this camera and lens combo and look forward to seeing more results from it.

[Tech info:] Pentacon Six TL, Carl Zeiss Jena 180/2.8, Kodak Tri-X (expired 2002) developed in Kodak HC110 1+47 for 8 mins.

Camera test: Contax G1

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

These shots were made during my lunch break yesterday, all from the same roll of film that I used to test a Contax G1 camera I recently bought. The weather has been very wet the past two days but fortunately there was a break in the rain just long enough for me to shoot this roll. In a few of the shots I was also testing an external flash (TLA 200) that I got with the camera body. It’s very simple to use as it only has two modes, manual and TTL. I left it on TTL. The light from it seems nice and balanced and it’s small enough to keep in the camera case without noticing it. One thing I did notice is the AF doesn’t seem to lock on very well if you try to focus on something that is low contrast or backlit. Some of the shots on the roll were slightly out of focus. So far I’ve been enjoying using the G1 as a point and shoot camera.

[Tech info:] Contax G1, 45/2 Carl Zeiss lens, Ilford FP4 film (expired) developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 9mins. Pakon scans.

 

Oxford Beard Festival 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of shaving and usually go a few weeks between shaves whenever possible. When I found out about the Oxford Beard Festival my first thought wasn’t about entering, it was to make portraits of some of the competitors in a formal portrait kind of way. It took me a while to decide on which camera to take and in the end I opted for my Graflex Super D which is a large format SLR allowing me to shoot 5×4 inch sheet film. For this event I packed 12 sheets of film and used one sheet on each person below so making mistakes wasn’t an option. After arriving at the venue (The James Street Tavern) I scoped out a place to set up that would be both out of the way and would also give me consistent lighting during the afternoon and managed to find a nice shady spot in the corner of the beer garden. It was a fun event and I enjoyed photographing such a variety of beards but this was more than just about beards, I could appreciate the thought that had also gone into the clothes and styling for a lot of these guys and that made for better pictures in the end. My thanks go out to all of these guys for being so patient and for sitting very still for me.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4, Pentac 8inch f2.9 lens, Ilford HP5 film processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 6 mins.

Behind the scenes shots of the camera I used and some of the sheet film hanging up to dry.

Oxford: St Giles’ Fair 2015 – part 1

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

St Giles’ Fair rolled into town last week and this is the first of what will probably be quite a few blog posts of pictures shot over the three days (including setting up). This year I only used black & white film for a change. It was nice to see some familiar faces again and as usual there was lots going on and plenty to photograph. I missed the fair last year so I was crossing my fingers for nice weather this time which we were fortunate to have. In the second shot down you can see Tommy Noyce who has been visiting St Giles’ Fair since he was 6 years old. He is now 73. The well known galloping horses carousel has been in his family for three generations and takes five trucks to transport. Sadly it no longer comes to St Giles’ Fair. The last frame below was made on the way back to my office during my lunch time visit to the fair – two of the tailors from Clements & Church on Little Clarendon Street.

[Tech info:] Fuji 6×9, Neopan Acros 100 developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 14 mins.

Oxford: Voigtlander Bessa 6×9

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

This set of images were made with what I think is the oldest camera I currently own – a Voigtlander Bessa I 6×9 folder from 1936. It works incredibly well for its age but it is a little quirky (it has separate viewfinder windows for focussing and composing) and it’s not particularly fast to use in a hurry but I do enjoy the size of the frames on the film and it folds down to a very compact size which makes it perfect for carrying around. I’ve only put three rolls through it so far and I think I’ll try a roll with this camera mounted on a tripod to see how much sharper the images become.

[Tech info]: Voigtlander Bessa I 6×9 folder, 105mm Skopar lens, Fuji Acros 100 film, developed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 5:30.

 

Lunchtime photography session with Ella

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Here are some images from a recent lunchtime photography session with Ella. I wanted to practice a little with this camera and lens combination because while I really like the results I get from them, I’m not happy with the shutter release on the camera and how far you need to press before it will activate the shutter. I have a power-winder for it that came as part of the kit but I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe it’s about time I did. Ella was very easy to work with and hopefully there will be more opportunities to do some photography together.

[Tech info:] Mamiya 645 Pro TL, 80/1.9 lens, Fuji Acros 100 (expired) film, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 5:30.

 

Large format lunchtime session – Alice

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Some of the results from my large format lunchtime session with Alice using a 1940’s press camera. For this session I wanted to test out some Fomapan 100 film that I’ve had laying around for over a year and recently discovered. So far so good. I like these results. I’m hoping to do more large format photography in my lunch break because I really enjoy composing my shots on a large ground glass screen – often times upside down – and also having a limited amount of shots as well as the slower pace compared to other kinds of photography.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4, Pentac 8inch f2.9 (bottom left), Kodak Ektar 190/5.6 lens, Fomapan 100 (expired), processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Film hanging up to dry

Oxford: Lunch time session – Xinlan

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Here are two Fujiroids that I made at the end of my lunch break photography session with Xinlan yesterday. The sunlight was bouncing off the side of a white building which is one of my favourite kinds of light to photograph portraits in. Prior to these I finished a roll of Fuji Acros 100 in my Mamiya RZ67 and some of those shots will follow soon.

[Tech info:] Polaroid Land Camera 180, Fuji FP-100C instant pack film (expired).

Oxford: Lunch time session – Alice

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

These two shots were made during my lunch break today on Fuji FP-100C instant pack film (just like Polaroid) and are as they came out of the camera. The shot on the right was accidentally over-exposed but I decided to post it here as a comparison because I quite like it. To me it looks like expired Polaroid. Usually I under-expose Fuji pack film because I like to bleach the neg which gives 2 extra stops of detail in the shadows but as there wasn’t much detail in the shadows on this shot I decided not to under-expose. I also used some b&w film on this shoot and those shots will follow at a later time after I’ve developed them.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4 camera, Pentac f2.9 lens (from WWII), Fuji FP-100C (expired) instant pack film

Oxford: New College on large format

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Yesterday I taught a landscape photography workshop at New College with Anthony (the current Oxford University Photographic Society President) and after a classroom session we all went out into the New College grounds to do some photography. The sky was very clear which made for quite contrasty light with nice shadows. I decided to take my Polaroid 110B to do some large format photography on Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film to test out how it handled contrast. Overall I think the film handled the contrast very well, especially in this first image below. I only took six sheets of film with me and to save time I bracketed the first two shots and then used my last two on Anthony (we couldn’t decide on jacket on or off so we shot both).

[Tech info:] Polaroid 110B, Kodak Plus-X Aerographic film, processed in Kodak HC110 (1+31) for 5 mins.

Behind-the-scenes – film drying in the darkroom

Oxford Tailors on Kodak Vision 3 film

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Whenever I want to test out any tungsten balanced film I tend to either head for the Ashmolean Museum or to Clements & Church – the tailor’s on Little Clarendon Street and sometimes I will visit both places during the same lunch break as I did last week when I wanted to test out some Kodak Vision 3 500T motion picture film. This is the exact same film that is used by movie studios in Hollywood and around the world. I really like the colours you get with this film and although it takes longer to develop than regular colour film (because you have to remove the black remjet coating from the non-emulsion side of the film), with extra time and care it can be done with just hot water and a sponge which is what I used on this roll.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton, Kodak Vision 3 500T, Rollei Digibase C41 kit, Pakon scan.