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Friday, September 4

Sharpness loss in scanning



Scanner technology has improved a lot in the ten years since I bought my old Epson Perfection 3200 Photo machine. It was quite good in its day as far as flat bed scanners with transparency hoods were concerned.

I often wonder, though, whether it's working to spec given the inevitable bumping and shoogling it's had as it was moved from house to house and room to room. When I scan 6x6 negs I'm always amazed at how sharp the results are - much, much sharper than 35mm. Obviously, the bigger negative plays a large part in that but there are occasions when I look at 35mm scans and worry if the negs were actually sharp to begin with.

Wednesday, September 2

Another few from the Rolleiflex


Rolleiflex take on the Leica bins

Back in June, I posted a pic of litter bins outside a public convenience in an Arbroath cemetery where we often walk the dogs. We were there again recently but this time I had the Rolleiflex hanging from my shoulder rather than the Leica M2.

Since the Leica shot was so well-received, I thought I'd give it the square treatment (like the other ones in this post, it's a big scan so make sure you view it at full size. All were taken on Tmax 400 developed in Firstcall Superfine)). I like it but it's a completely different shot to the 35mm format. The inclusion of the windows give the photograph the appearance of a face. It's not just about the bins but the whole toilet block.

Monday, August 31

Thinking about colour



You'll know well enough by now that this isn't the most colourful photography blog around. There was a time when I went out with two camera bodies, one loaded with black and white and the other with colour slide film, but that was more than a few years ago.

During my digital phase, the one camera served well enough for both and since returning to film I've been exclusively a black and white man. Speaking with Phil "Turncoat" Rogers recently, I've started wondering if I should load up some colour print film and have another bash.

A while back, I scanned a colour negative and produced a black and white photo that I always thought was quite atmospheric. That's it below. With colour on my mind, I dug out the negative and re-scanned it - only to find that it has even more atmosphere than the black and white version.


It's a Fuji Reala shot from the Konica Hexar AF - a brilliant combination but not one I'll be able to use again since Fuji discontinued what many photographers considered a unique film. I've been away from the colour scene for so long that I haven't a clue if there's anything out there that would be a reasonable substitute for Reala so if you have any suggestions then please leave them in the comments below.

The two photographs were scanned and processed a few years apart and really haven't had a lot done to them in Lightroom. The colour one doesn't seem too sharp for some reason - perhaps it was just a bad scan.

That got me wondering what my tenement close photographs and the misty country shots I do from time to time would look like in colour. Not in your face, Ken Rockwell colour but nice, tasteful, muted tones and hues.

Just out of interest, I took a quick shot with the D700 and Tokina 19-35mm zoom at its widest setting in a tenement to see how it looked. I like this image, too! The colours have a pleasing pastel look to them and there seems to be some sort of spiral composition going on in it. My eye tends to follow an anti-clockwise circle around the image. 


Here's another example of the kind of thing I fancy having a stab at. These are iPhone pics but many old buildings have a colour palette like this and I'd like to explore it.



The two pics immediately above have been shown on this blog before. I went to track them down to repost here and found, by a strange coincidence, that they featured in a post I wrote almost exactly a year ago that is not unlike this one. The urge to do some colour must be something that strikes me at this time of year for some reason. It's obviously an itch that keeps recurring and is always lurking in the background.

So perhaps there might be some point to me getting a few rolls of colour print and being selective about the subjects I choose. With autumn coming up and the mists sure to follow I might have something a little more colourful to show you in the months ahead.

Sunday, August 30

The Right Tool for the Job


MAXXI, Rome's Museum of XXI Century Arts by Helene Binet

Here's an interesting interview with an architecture photographer who refuses to use digital cameras, shooting all her commissioned work on film.

Helene Binet photographs some of the most iconic buildings in the world on her 5x4 Arca Swiss camera. She says she finds that digital photographs of buildings can be "disturbing", sometimes looking more like computer renderings than photographs.

The Swiss-French photographer said, "There's something more absolute in analogue than in digital, because the digital you can go back to it and you can modify it. Even if you make as little modification as possible you still have a different relationship with what you are doing in that moment.

"I'm more interested in limitations. So if something is a bit strange, a bit rough, you work with that. You're not thinking, 'I'm going to take it away'. The film is a real testimony, and you're using the difficulty to make a good image.

"I've always worked with film. I've never done anything professionally with digital. This is the way I work. I like to handle things with my hands – to print and to have a physical relation to the product I make."

The interview is in Dezeen magazine, a "showcase of architecture, design and interior projects from around the world" - and a publication that seems to know little about film photography. If you read the first half dozen comments you'll see that the article writer originally thought Helene used a dark cloth with her Arca Swiss to "protect the film from overexposure". You couldn't make it up. They seem to have corrected that one - just as well! You can read the article here.

Saturday, August 29

Film Table Mk. 3


We're zeroing in on the definitive table charting the availability of black and white films - or, at least, so I like to think. As the title suggests, this is the third version and I'm sure it won't be the last. Some people have pointed out that certain films I've listed are no longer being made but as long as they're available then I've decided they should be there.

Reader Gert-Jan provided some excellent info about the Bergger films from France which I've included. He also mentioned a French company who were coating Japanese paper with a film emulsion in medium and large format sizes. However, they seem to have run into problems finding a supplier for the emulsion and have stopped selling the products in the meantime. If you want to check them out, they're at www.lomig.fr. Very interesting.

Get-Jan also suggested it might be an idea to colour code the table according to manufacturer rather than just on an alternate row system. I tried it and I think he's right so unless there's a mass rebellion, we'll stick with that.


Brand Product Name Format ISO*
ADOX Silvermax 35mm 100
ADOX CHS 100 II 35mm, 120, 5x4, 12cmx9cm 100
ADOX CMS 20 35mm, 120, 5x4 20
ADOX Pan 25 120 25
AGFA APX 100 35mm 100
AGFA APX 400 35mm 400
AGFA Scala 35mm 200
ARISTA EDU Ultra 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8, 2.25x3.25" 100
ARISTA EDU Ultra 200 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8 100
ARISTA EDU Ultra 400 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8, 2.25x3.25" 100
BERGGER BRF400 Plus 35mm 400
BERGGER Pancro 400 5x4, 7x5, 10x8, 18cmx13cm 400
EASTMAN 5222/7222 (Double X) 35mm 250
FILMOTECH** DP3 35mm 12-25
FOMA Fomapan 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8 100
FOMA Fomapan 200 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8 200
FOMA Fomapan 400 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7 10x8 400
FOMA Fomapan R100 (reversal) 35mm 100
FOMA Retropan Soft 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8, 9x12cm 320
FUJI Acros 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
FUJI Neopan 400 35mm 400
ILFORD Delta 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 3.5"x4.75" 100
ILFORD Delta 400 35mm, 120 400
ILFORD Delta 3200 35mm, 120 3200
ILFORD Pan F+ 35mm, 120, 5x4 50
ILFORD FP4+ 35mm, 120, 5x4, other sheet 125
ILFORD HP5+ 35mm, 120, 5x4, other sheet 400
ILFORD XP2 Super 35mm, 120 400
ILFORD Ortho+ 5x4, 10x8, other sheet 80
ILFORD Pan 100 35mm 100
ILFORD Pan 400 35mm 400
ILFORD SFX 200 35mm, 120 200
KENTMERE 400 35mm 400
KENTMERE 100 35mm 100
KODAK Tmax 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
KODAK Tmax 400 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 400
KODAK Tri X 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
KODAK Tri X 320 5x4 320
KODAK BW 400CN 35mm 400
LOMOGRAPHY Earl Grey 35mm, 120 100
LOMOGRAPHY Lady Grey 35mm, 120 400
LOMOGRAPHY Orca 110 100
LUCKY BW200 35mm 200
LUCKY SHD 100 35mm, 120 100
LUCKY SHD 400 35mm 400
LUCKY SHD 400 CN 35mm 400
NIK & TRICK** FT12 35mm 50
ORWO UN54 35mm 100
ORWO N74 35mm 400
RERA Pan 100 127 100
ROLLEI Retro 80S 35mm, 120 80
ROLLEI Retro 400S 35mm, 120 400
ROLLEI Infrared 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ROLLEI Ortho 25 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 25
ROLLEI ATP 1.1 120 32
ROLLEI ATO 2.1 120, 5x4, 16.5cmx20cm 15-25
ROLLEI Blackbird 35mm 25
ROLLEI RPX 25 35mm, 120, 5x4 25
ROLLEI RPX 100 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
ROLLEI RPX 400 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ROLLEI Superpan 35mm, 120 200
SHANGHAI GP3 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
SPUR DSX 35mm 32-64
SVEMA Foto 200 35mm, 120 100
SVEMA FN64 35mm, 120 400

* Manufacturer's box speed. You may wish to rate the film differently for best results.

** Available from www.NTphotoworks.com

Friday, August 28

Updated Film Table


Updated again at 22:55, August 28, to reflect info from Kenny Wood - see comments. Another few amendments will be made tomorrow when I'm feeling more alert. :)

Thanks for all the input re the black and white films. I've amended the table to reflect some of the information. The Lucky films section is incomplete as it's difficult getting the required information about it.

I've added Foma Retropan Soft, the two Orwo films and those from Shanghai and Spur. I've added additional formats for a few films as well.

If you have some information about films, it would be great if you could supply it in the same format that it appears in the table: maker, brand, format and ISO. That would make it a lot easier for me to update the information.

Searching the net for some of the lesser known films in overseas markets is a bit of a nightmare. Also, some films are no longer being made but are still available for the time being so I've included them.


Manufacturer Brand Format ISO*
ADOX Silvermax 35mm 100
ADOX CHS 100 II 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
ADOX CMS 20 35mm, 120, 5x4 20
AGFA APX 100 35mm 100
AGFA APX 400 35mm 400
FOMA Fomapan 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5X7, 10x8 100
FOMA Fomapan 200 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5X7, 10x8 200
FOMA Fomapan 400 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7 10x8 400
FOMA Fomapan Reversal 35mm 100
FOMA Retropan 320 Soft 35mm, 120, 5x4, 5x7, 10x8, 9x12cm 320
ILFORD Delta 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 3.5"x4.75" 100
ILFORD Delta 400 35mm, 120 400
ILFORD Delta 3200 35mm, 120 3200
ILFORD Pan F+ 35mm, 120, 5x4 50
ILFORD FP4+ 35mm, 120, 5x4, other sheet 125
ILFORD HP5+ 35mm, 120, 5x4, other sheet 400
ILFORD XP2 Super 35mm, 120 400
ILFORD Ortho+ 5x4, 10x8, other sheet 80
ILFORD Pan 100 35mm 100
ILFORD Pan 400 35mm 400
ILFORD SFX 200 35mm, 120 200
FUJI Acros 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
FUJI Neopan 400 35mm 400
FUJI Neopan 400 CN 35mm 400
LUCKY Pan 100 35mm 100
LUCKY Pan 100 35mm 100
KENTMERE 400 35mm 400
KENTMERE 100 35mm 100
KODAK Tmax 100 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
KODAK Tmax 400 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
KODAK Tri X 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
KODAK BW 400CN 35mm 400
ORWO UN54 35mm 100
ORWO N74 35mm 400
ROLLEI Retro 80S 35mm, 120 80
ROLLEI Retro 400S 35mm, 120 400
ROLLEI Infrared 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ROLLEI Ortho 25 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 25
ROLLEI ATP 1.1 120 32
ROLLEI Blackbird 35mm 25
ROLLEI RPX 25 35mm, 120 25
ROLLEI RPX 100 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
ROLLEI RPX 400 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ROLLEI Superpan 35mm, 120 200
SHANGHAI GP3 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
SPUR DSX 35mm 32-64

Larger Enlarger



If you ever wondered why the vast majority of ultra large format photographers make contact prints, here's the answer. Maybe if you lived in a converted church or had a custom made, two-storey shed with a six-inch concrete base you'd get away with it. For the rest of us, forget it!

The machine above does up to 11x14 but even 10x8 enlargers are monsters. Your 5x4 floor-mounted De Vere would look pretty puny by comparison.

Thanks to David M. for emailing me the advert above. It's from the back cover of the current View Camera magazine. David reckons a Leitz Focomat for 35mm would fit in the bellows.

If you click on the jpeg, you'll see the various features of the enlarger such as motorised negative stage, focusing and baseboard. Durst also say they will build one for negatives up to 20x24". One can only imagine - but David M. would probably fit in the bellows...

Wednesday, August 26

Available B&W Films



I've had another go at updating the list of black and white films available on the UK/European market. It's a bit of an undertaking trying to keep track of all these emulsions: there's a lot of incestuous behaviour still going on. Do Ilford and Kentmere have a thing going? As for Rollei, that dirty stop-out will go with anybody. Or so it would seem: I could be well off the mark.

Below is the table I've come up with. I've also posted it under the "What Films Are Available" page in the right sidebar under Resources where it will be more easily found. It took me half the night to compile between checking the availability of films and working out how to do a table using the Blogger software platform. Did you notice the colour co-ordinated table cells that match some of the colours found around the blog? They didn't teach Phil Rogers that at art school, you know. I think I've ended up with a thing of beauty. Well, almost.

Anyway, please have a look at it and point out any mistakes with film speeds or whatever that I've made. I've probably missed out a few films as well that are on sale in Kazakhstan or Belize. If so, an email to that effect would be good and I'll update the update.

Manufacturer Brand Format ISO*
ADOX Silvermax 35mm 100
ADOX CHS 100 II 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
ADOX CMS 20 35mm, 120, 5x4 20
AGFA APX 100 35mm 100
AGFA APX 400 35mm 400
FOMA Fomapan 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
FOMA Fomapan 200 35mm, 120, 200
FOMA Fomapan 400 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 400
FOMA Fomapan Reversal 35mm 100
ILFORD Delta 100 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
ILFORD Delta 400 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ILFORD Delta 3200 35mm, 120, 5x4 3200
ILFORD Pan F+ 35mm, 120, 5x4 32
ILFORD FP4+ 35mm, 120, 5x4 125
ILFORD HP5+ 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ILFORD XP2 Super 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
ILFORD Ortho+ 5x4, 10x8 80
ILFORD Pan 100 35mm 100
ILFORD Pan 400 35mm 400
KENTMERE 400 35mm 100
KENTMERE 100 35mm 400
KODAK Tmax 100 35mm, 120, 5x4 100
KODAK Tmax 400 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
KODAK Tri X 35mm, 120, 5x4 400
KODAK BW 400CN 35mm 400
FUJI Acros 100 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 100
FUJI Neopan 400 35mm 400
FUJI Neopan 400 CN 35mm 400
ROLLEI Retro 80S 35mm, 120 80
ROLLEI Retro 400S 35mm, 120 400
ROLLEI Infrared 35mm, 120 400
ROLLEI Ortho 25 35mm, 120, 5x4, 10x8 25
ROLLEI ATP 1.1 120 32
ROLLEI Blackbird 35mm 25
ROLLEI RPX 25 35mm, 120 25
ROLLEI RPX 100 35mm, 120 100
ROLLEI RPX 400 35mm, 120 400
ROLLEI Superpan 35mm, 120 200

Tuesday, August 25

Landscapes with a 300mm lens



A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the problems I've been having with the film transport mechanism of my beloved OM2. I'd been out taking a few landscape-type shots with a rarely used 300mm f5.6 Tamron SP lens but didn't know if the camera would be winding on properly.

Regular reader Steve Barnett commented after that post, "Oh no! It's like reading a book only to find out the last page has been ripped out! Come on, get the film shot and us out of our misery ;-)"

Monday, August 24

The World's Greatest Ever Camera


My favourite shot off the roll. 

There's nothing like going out on a limb, is there? When something is clearly as subjective as a photographer's favourite camera there are bound to be disagreements but I'm more than happy to accommodate these in the comments so if you don't agree with me then please feel encouraged to tell me where I've gone wrong. I've got a thick skin. :)

So bearing that in mind and without further ado, here's my pick as the greatest ever: