The Online Darkroom Store

Tuesday, February 14

Some answers...

There were a few questions in the comments to my last post about "one-lensing" but rather than respond to them there, which can get a bit messy, I'll answer them here if that's OK.

First up was my pal Phil Rogers (Herman Sheephouse) who wondered whether it might be the weight of my Benbo tripod that was putting me off carrying a lot of gear. Should I not be thinking about hand-holding the Rollei SL66 if the tripod is too much of a back killer? He said, "Remember the quality of those Zeiss lenses is such that you could shoot wide open and still get superb results -it's worth thinking about." He also wondered if a lighter tripod such as a Gitzo or a Chinese copy might help matters.

Yes, the Benbo, fantastic though it is, is definitely on the heavy side. Rumour has it that when Benbo discovered they were over-stocked, their surplus tripod tubes were bought up by a Middle Eastern concern and used for the foundation piles in the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. I have a lighter tripod with no quick release plate so I might either get one for it or buy a ball head to save a little weight.

Hand-holding the SL66 isn't much fun. Maybe I'd get away with it if I had a waist level finder but it's the 45 degree prism finder on the camera and that has to be held up to eye level - not so easy with a heavy camera.

Steve Weston asked if I considered using a zoom lens. I've nothing against zooms really apart from the fact that, all things being equal, a prime lens is likely to be better. The shot at the top of this post was taken a couple of weeks ago on a Nikkor AF 70-210 zoom which isn't too bad at all. The one below was done with the Nikkor AF 28-105 which I like a lot.

I don't think any zooms were made for the SL66 and they'd be huge if there were any around but certainly for 35mm SLRs it's an option. I've got what's reputedly the best zoom made for the OM system - the 35-80 f2.8 Zuiko - but it has some fungus issues so I haven't used it. Maybe if it cleaned up well it would be a possibility.

War-time building at Errol Airfield

Nasir asked about the D76 250ml stock "rule" that I touched on in the post. Specifically, "By following the 250ml of D76 stock rule, what do you do if you only want to develop one roll of 35mm? Mix up 500ml working solution if you want to use 1+1 dilution? My stainless tanks only require 250ml of solution to cover a 35mm spiral. Am I just better off using 250ml stock and going with a shorter dev time?"

I'm afraid that's the way it is, Nasir. It's wasteful but I don't see what else can be done. You could try mixing just 250ml at 1+1 on a test film and see how it works out. There are plenty of people on the forums who don't bother with the rule who say their films come out fine. It might be worth trying it yourself.

I can't be bothered with test films so I just stick to the rule but I think I'll go back to Firstcall's Superfine, otherwise known as Rollei RHS, when my D76 has been used up. It would still work out a little more expensive but there wouldn't be a lot in it and the consistency I got with Superfine was great. It works really well with Tmax 400 and that's all I'm using now.

My only slight concern is that I haven't actually made any prints from Superfine/Tmax 400 negatives. They look nice but they might be grainier than the D76/Tmax 400 combination. Whether that proves to be the case and whether or not it's something that would bother me remains to be seen. From the scans I've made from both combinations, they look pretty much the same to me.

Thanks to everyone else who left comments and suggestions. It's amazing how small the percentage of commenters is relative to the number of readers I have and I appreciate you all. :)


John Carter said...

I don't use zooms, I guess I just never ventured into them. My Pentax 6x7 is a big and heavy camera, and I do use it without a tripod. But I always feel better when I use one.

Herman Sheephouse said...

I didn't realise you only had the prism for the SL 66, or else I wouldn't have suggested it, though one of those generic 'flash bracket' things might work out quite well, as would, dare I say it a Mamiya 645. The quality/weight thing is difficult isn't it. You have probably the ultimate in your Rollei TLRs, but then no lens selection. A Mamiya 7 would certainly do the trick, but look at the price of it, as would a Pentax 67, which though a total beast, can be managed hand-held with its wooden handle. Strangely a Koni might be an answer and you're always welcome to use mine and see how you get on. It is definitely built for hand-holding rather than tripod and the results are very good, though I would say it was more a people camera than a landscape camera.

You're right about the Benbo, superb though it is, for 35mm landscape, in awful conditions it is probably perfect, but married to a heavy MF camera, I think I'd give up and stay in the car and let the construction workers nick it for scaffolding.

I wouldn't rush into anything though Bruce - you obviously enjoy the SL 66, and why not, it's a beautiful machine -you'll get there - have you considered a decent rucksack for carrying your kit around in? Then you could easily carry it to where you need to get to, and try and base yourself around where you dump the rucksack . . maybe not so easy in urban areas, but not too bad in the country.

morris 1800 said...

Hi Bruce been catching up on our posts. Nice to see you,ve got your "mojo" back. I too in recent times have been trying to cut down on the gear carried. As I shoot all formats I try to carry complimentary cameras and lenses Ie 5x4 + standard lens , 35 mm with wide and telephoto options. Or medium format with wide standard and tele but just a small 35mm with standard ( leica IIIf or Minox 35gt). Here's a shot from the past of me carrying 22kg of kit into the Yorkshire dales. You will notice from this That I left my arse at home so as not to carry unnecessary weight :)

Bruce Robbins said...

Bloody hell, Andy. That's a lot of gear! Don't know if I'd fancy an outing in the Dales with the equivalent of a sack of coal on my back...