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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: around and about during lunch time

Friday, November 21st, 2014

In between lots of wet weather over the past couple of weeks we’ve had some nice dry spells and I managed to finish off a roll of film in my M2 during my lunch time photo walks. A bit of a mixed bag here including a shot of me from the generous photographer with the Polaroid camera. I spotted him crossing beaumont street while loading in a fresh pack of Impossible b&w film so I stopped him to ask if I could make a quick portrait of him and he was happy to oblige (picture at the bottom of this post). I don’t know what caused the bright white patch in the middle of the picture but it does make it a bit more mysterious.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Summicron 50/2 (rigid), Ilford FP4 (expired 12/99), processed in D76 stock for 8.30.

Oxford: Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 lens test

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

These shots were made during my lunch break to test a wide-angle lens I picked up for my Leica M2, it’s a Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 II. A couple of years ago my friend Benedict Campbell bought this same lens and the first place he went to test it out was the Natural History Museum in Oxford so I thought it appropriate that I should do the same. Not only are the light levels inside perfect to test out such a fast lens but there are also lots of interesting things to photograph as well as lots of people. The film I used was an expired roll of Ilford FP4 but there was no box with it so I don’t know how old it was. The grain seems heavier than I would expect so perhaps it was quite old. On my way back to my office I stopped off at Clements & Church tailors on Little Clarendon Street to use up the last few frames with Ian who is always obliging.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, Voightlander Nokton 35/1.2, Ilford FP4 (expired), processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Oxford: first roll through Leica M2

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Never say never! That’s probably the best way to describe this post because there was a time when I swore I would never own a Leica. That was when time and time again I would notice people carrying them around as some sort of display of wealth when clearly they had no idea about how to best use it. But not all Leica’s are the same and while the digital models can set you back more than a Rolex watch, there are plenty of old film models that are cheaper than a lot of DSLR’s and built to last much longer too. After I started to enjoy using my Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder camera more and more I began to look for something that would give me more options such as interchangeable lenses and full manual control and when it comes to rangefinders it’s hard to ignore the king of the hill. I ended up getting an M2 from 1964 which seems to have been looked after and is a pleasure to use. This is a 100% mechanical camera – no batteries required. This set of pictures are from the first roll I put through it in my lunch break last week. It started to rain on my way into town so I spent most of my time in the Ashmolean Museum.

[Tech info:] Leica M2, 50/2 Summicron rigid, Ilford FP4 (expired Dec/1999), processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Oxford: Expired FP4 film test

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Some test shots from a roll of Ilford FP4+ that expired 20 years ago (1994). I picked up a box of this film as part of a mixed lot of expired rolls and I’ve been waiting for some sunny weather to test it out. Spring seems to have finally sprung so this is the first test roll that I used on my lunch break photo walk around town in very sunny and contrasty light. The contrast of this film seems to have gone way down which is perfect for using on a very sunny day. I bumped up the contrast in post by an unusually high amount to achieve the results below. Overall I’m very surprised and pleased with the results.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66, 80/2.8 Zeiss Planar, loaded with Ilford FP4 (expired 1994), rated at ISO 100, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 12mins.

Oxford: Testament of Youth – part 1

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Last week a movie crew were in town filming a period drama called Testament of Youth which is based on the memoirs of Vera Brittain. It was wonderful to see a large scale production crew transform parts of Oxford to how it would have looked 100 years ago with the use of various props, old cars, horses, carriages, people dressed in period costumes and lots of grit to cover modern day tarmac and double yellow lines. There was a lot of interest from  tourists and locals so there was plenty of security on hand to keep things under control with the use of barriers which made it difficult to move around for photography. While most people concentrated on photographing the main actors, I’m always drawn to photographing the crew, the unsung heroes who are usually the first ones to arrive on set in the morning and the last ones to leave at the end of the day.

Below you’ll find pictures of one of the lighting trucks, a 20K fresnel light waiting to be deployed, the Gaffer (Julian) with his ND filters at the ready, the lighting crew during their lunch break in the sun, Security guards (Neil and Duncan), stills photographer (Laurie) and old bicycles used as props in Radcliffe Square. It was very nice chatting with some of the crew members especially Julian and Laurie who have previously worked on some great projects.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex SL66, 80/2.8 Zeiss Planar, loaded with Ilford FP4 (expired 1994), rated at ISO 100, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 12mins.

testament of youth

Oxford: Pancake sale

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Helen and Pascale were raising money for a good cause outside Hertford College a few weeks ago with a pancake sale. I’ve never seen Catte Street so busy at lunch time. I managed to make a few pictures on my lunch break photo walk. Thanks for the pancake girls, it was very tasty.

[Tech info:] Bronica ETRSi, 75/2.8, loaded with expired Ilford FP4, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 (dilution b).

 

Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity 2014 – swimming & water polo

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

These portraits were all made during the swimming and water polo events at the Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity 2014. I was struggling to find enough space to set these shots up and it was also difficult to find competitors that had spare time to stop but in the end I’m pleased with how these turned out.

[Tech info:] Bronica ETRSi, 75/2.8, Ilford FP4 (expired). Processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

Oxford: lunch hour session

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Just before Christmas last year I sent my Rolleiflex 2.8F away to be serviced because the aperture and shutter speed dials were beginning to stiffen up and I felt that it lacked the smoothness that Rolleiflex’s are renowned for. I also wanted to replace the focussing screen in it so I sent a Maxwell Hi-Lux screen with it for the service technician to install for me. The camera has returned now so I was keen to take it out on the streets of Oxford to put some film through it. These shots are from the second roll through it (the first got sadly ruined when I processed it but I still don’t know exactly what caused the problem). I must say that the camera is a joy to use now and the Maxwell screen is amazing and a HUGE improvement over the stock screen which is very dark in comparison. I opted for a completely clear screen with no grid lines so there’s nothing to interfere with the image.

[Tech info:] Rolleiflex 2.8F, 80/2.8 Planar lens loaded with Ilford FP4 (expired 2004), processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.

oxford

 

Oxford: Thursday market

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Some images I made at the Thursday Gloucester Green market to test out my Rolleiflex twin-lens camera. I don’t often go to this market but I think I might change that because there are lots of interesting stalls and people there. My Rolleiflex seemed to attract a lot of attention, I’m not sure if that’s because of the name written on the front in large letters or because it’s a twin-lens but I don’t mind chatting to people about it. The lady in the bottom images was very nice to chat with and I think she has great style, she used to work with photographers as a stylist and it was her stall of vintage goodies that caught my eye because it was so well laid out (the two middle images). Regular visitors to my blog might recognise Martin in the top two images, he features in quite a few of my blog posts when I have a camera, lens or film to test out. He used to play in a local rock band named Targa who were big in the 1980’s and a little known fact is they were the first band to play live on the opening night of Oxford’s ice-rink. The word around the camp fire is there could be a new band forming with a few of the original Targa band members but that’s just a rumour at this stage.

[Technical info:] Rolleiflex 2.8F Planar, 80mm lens, Ilford FP4 (expired) processed in Kodak Xtol.

Oxford: St Giles’ fair 2013 – day 2

Monday, September 16th, 2013

On day 2 of St Giles’ fair there was less rain than the previous day but the sky was a lot more overcast which made the light level quite dark and dull for photography. Here’s a selection of my shots from day 2, there will be others to follow that I made with 35mm once I receive them from the lab (aka Asda). You can probably tell that the Rotor is one of my favourite rides to photograph and I think it looks great in both black & white and colour.

[Technical info:] Pentax 6×7, 55mm and 105mm lenses, loaded with Ilford FP4 (expired), processed in Kodak Xtol.

st giles' fair oxford

Photo shoot: Imogen

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Here are some images from a photo shoot I had with Imogen recently. I took along two cameras that were completely opposite in size, a 5×4 large format SLR (Super D) and a 35mm rangefinder (Yashica Electro). I’m not a fan of rangefinder cameras (despite owning a few) and whenever I use them it’s not a very enjoyable experience mainly because I much prefer to see the viewfinder image go in and out of focus but I do like the results I got from my Yashica in this session.

I was keen to try out my Super D with an old lens I had adapted to fit but after the first test Fujiroid I noticed the focus was a little bit off – when the image in the viewfinder was in focus the image in the final print was focused slightly in front of the point that I had focused on. As a result of this I had to do a bit of guess work with the rest of the shots so they’re not as sharply focussed as I wanted. Later when I got home I figured out the problem is that the mirror doesn’t rest as low as it should so now I have to manually twist and hold a lever to push the mirror down while I am focussing. It’s a bit of a faff so I need to find an alternate method.

[Tech info:] Graflex Super D 5×4, Pentac f2.9 lens @ f4, Ilford FP4 film processed in Kodak HC110 1+31. Yashica Electro 35 loaded with Kodak TMAX 400, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31.