Tag: Canada

This FP4Party is Off the Hook

This FP4Party is Off the Hook

A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.

Not to say I’m a wizard or anything, but in the midst of work, paint preparation, and general pandemonium right now I genuinely forgot that there is an FP4Party still going on. Serves me right but a single roll of the stuff sitting on my film to be shot shelf taunted me on the third-to-the-end day of shoot week. Thankfully my original plans for the weekend fell through and I found myself with a free Saturday morning to get out and shoot! Not to mention I had access to a stunning Fuji GSW690ii on loan for a camera review (it’ll be up in March) so it only made sense to use something new and frankly a fun camera to work with. Way back now, when I was just starting to get seriously into Photography one of the places I cut my teeth in learning the more technical aspects of photography was in abandoned buildings and what better city to do this in is Hamilton, Ontario. While the city has seen a major upswing of late in revival I decided what better place to go back and shoot on a grey Saturday morning. Not to mention I had to visit a Disney Store to get some gifts for my wife, and I didn’t want to spend a day in Toronto and Mississauga is…boring.

Twice a LadyEmpire TimesA Hotel for RoyaltyTrain DreamsFacade DreamsCentral PublicTV City

The GSW690ii is an amazing camera, and I won’t get into why until the review is published (it is however written), but the results they speak for themselves! Until next time, fellow partiers!

Technical Details:
All Photos were taken in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Fuji GSW690ii – EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125
Blazinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 05 – Ilford FP4+

CCR:FRB – Review 05 – Ilford FP4+

When I first discovered Kodak Plus-X I was hooked, instantly. But sadly Plus-X went away and while I still scramble to find old stock whenever I can, I can always go to Ilford FP4. Now that’s not to say FP4+ plays second fiddle to Plus-X in my book. In FP4+ I found probably the most versatile film that maintains a level of consistency across the board and formats within in the mid-speed range. Fine grain, sharp, and a contrast to die for. Not to mention a legacy that goes back to when Ilford first started producing flexible films.

CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-125, Latitude: 50-400
Formats Available: 135, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-76
It’s not often that I find FP4+ boring, but in the case of D-76, it is. It’s not a bad combination, there’s just so much more you can do with FP4+ than let it soup in a standard developer. But it still produces a decent negative and everything you like about FP4+ can be found in the negatives I just find the contrast off my just a hair. I actually prefer to soup my FP4+ in the older slower cousin, D-23 with a slight pull to ASA-100 to really show off what the film can do!

HandpaintedA TowerA simple doorA Touch of Modern

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 8:30 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak HC-110
Probably one of my favourite ways to develop FP4+ despite not using the combination often. HC-110 really ramps up the contrast to a pleasing level without anything over the top. You still get the fine grain and sharpness. And the developer does really play to the film’s strengths. While there are some out there who don’t enjoy HC-110 with FP4+ it certainly does work when you don’t have anything else laying around.

Project:1812 - Path To VictoryProject:1812 - Brock's Monument(s)Project:1812 - Fort MississaugaProject:1812 - Brock's Dead House

Technical Details:
Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-PS 65mm 1:4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125
HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Rodinal
What do you pair a classic film with? A classic developer of course! One of my favourite combos for FP4+ is Rodinal, it brings out everything you like about the film and more. Not only does it make for extremely printable negatives but they scan like a dream with little needing to be done when you’re post-processing the scans. Negatives are sharp, the tone and contrast are dead on the money and while you may find an uptick in the grain in 35mm it’s hardly noticeable in 120 and large format. The film also responds well to stand developing with the tones becoming more like butter and the grain near non-exsistant.

A Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse Saturday

Techincal Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125
Blazinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak Tmax Developer
While I knew of the pushing capabilities of Ilford FP4+, I never thought that TMax developer would be a good choice. But I was kind of forced into it, yet as I pulled the film out I was seriously impressed with the results. Of course, when I mentioned this to fellow podcast host Mike, he laughed and told me that TMax developer is a compensating developer so of course, it would work great for pushing. Well push or no push, TMax does a fantastic job on the film stock.

CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+ - Roll 04 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+ - Roll 04 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+ - Roll 04 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+ - Roll 04 (TMax Developer)

Technical Details:
Nikon FE – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-200
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 9:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
When it comes to film that can take anything you can throw at it and turn around and give you exactly the results you want, then FP4+ certainly ranks among those films. A bullet proof stock that likes every developer you throw at it. While D-76, HC-110, Rodinal, and TMax developer are all solid options. I’ve also souped the stuff in Pyrocat-HD, D-23, SPUR HRX and a wide range of Ilford developers (Microphen, Perceptol, DD-X, Ilfosol 3) and it loves everyone and provides the same consistent results no matter what developer and format you get it in. No questions, no troubles, just amazing photos, that’s FP4+.

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

CCR Review 82 – Mamiya 645AF-D III

It only makes sense that the iconic Mamiya m645 grew up, and ended up being a perfect camera that blends the traditional film and modern digital photographic market. I am of course talking about the Mamiya 645 AF-D III. The AF-D III is by far the newest and most advanced camera I’ve had a chance to review in these blogs and well worth the wait. The camera is the medium format camera for the 21st-Century hybrid shooter as it can accept both traditional medium format film and digital backs. The penultimate iteration of the classic wedding photographer workhorse that will pay for itself if you care to invest in the system and a joy to work with. Thanks to James Lee for loaning this beauty out.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Dirt
Make: Mamiya
Model: 645 AF-D III
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Medium Format (120/220), 6×4.5
Lens: Interchangeable, Mamiya 645 AF Mount
Year of Manufacture: Post-2001

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Good
Like the Nikon F4 bridging the divide between auto-focus and manual focus professional 35mm SLRs, the 645 AF-D III bridges the divide between film and digital in the professional medium format market. The camera features few menus, opting for buttons or dials operations of all the major functions and the camera controls are well laid out and easy to figure out what does what without too much referencing the manual. The camera has an amazing metering system and autofocus that is snappier than I expected. While the optics aren’t anything special, they are decent for the job. And the camera is well balanced and fits well in hand and handles well; I could shoot the camera all day at a wedding and not get tired. But the one thing that sells me on the camera is that it uses proper magazines, you can swap out mid-roll, you could even go right from shooting film to shooting a digital back without blinking. Plus when shooting film, you get the full 16-shots on a roll unlike the m645, and the magazines accept both 120 and 220 film with just switching around the pressure plate. And a final bonus feature is the imprinting of the exposure data in the rebate area of the film, you can also find this on newer Pentax 645 cameras.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Bad
I always try to come up with a couple of poorer points of a camera but in this case, I can only a few little tiny annoying feature. First is setting the ISO settings on the film magazines it a bit fiddly with the small buttons that you need to use a fingernail to operate and the fact that the film back requires a battery as well it a bit annoying. I also think the placement of the strap lugs could be moved to be parallel to the darkslide so that the camera hangs on the chest with the bottom flush instead of having the back fo the film magazine against the chest with the camera sticking out awkwardly. But if that’s all I can come up with, then you have what I like to call a near perfect camera.

CCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D IIICCR Review 82 - Mamiya 645 AF-D III

The Lowdown
If I did a lot more professional work, or photography was my primary source of income, then this camera system would be one that I would certainly invest in. First off the system is still supported by Mamiya/Leaf/PhaseOne and a 22 megapixel digital back is more than enough for anything you need to do these days, plus the option to still shoot film makes the camera very attractive. While rare on the used market, when you do come across them, the price is reasonable, a kit might set you back about two grand, which is certainly cheaper than a Hasselblad digital system. Which makes it a camera system that will last you for a while and keep on pumping out quality images with the right person behind it.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Mamiya 645AF-D III – Mamiya 645 AF 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 04 – Kodak TMax 400

CCR:FRB – Review 04 – Kodak TMax 400

When it comes to T-Grained (modern films like TMax and Delta) I can be fairly picky, the 100-speed ones I tend to like while the faster 400-speed ones I can be overly critical about. That being said I’ve found that recently I’ve been warming up to these faster emulsions the more I experiment with them. As with Delta 400, I’ve warmed up a little to TMax 400. Oddly, TMax 400 was the first roll of film I processed on my own under the watchful eye of Julie Douglas back in 2010.

CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W, T-Grain
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 50-3200
Formats Avaliable: 135, 120, 4×5, 8×10

Roll 01 – Kodak TMax Developer
It’s only fair that we start the film off right using the native TMax developer. And when it comes to TMax 400 whether you’re using the strong 1+4 dilution or the 1+9 dilution you’ll get excellent results from this film. You can get the upper side of the film’s latitude with the developer and show off the fine grain and sharpness of the film with this developer. And even in 1+9, there’s no real loss of contrast, you get smooth tones across the board without any loss of blacks or whites. Of course, in 1+4, you’ll find a greater level of contrast but it won’t affect grain or sharpness.

Project:1812 - Fort OntarioProject:1812 - Fort OntarioProject:1812 - Fort OntarioProject:1812 - Fort Ontario

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 22:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak HC-110
You would think that a high contrast developer would be able to pull out some level of contrast in a film, well here in lies my main issue with TMax 400, in certain developers you just can’t get contrast. Sure I could do this in post-processing but that would be cheating in my mind. That being said, HC-110 and TMax 400 is not a bad combination, you still get the sharpness and fine grain nature of the film, and even with Dilution B, you can still push to film to the top of its latitude with amazing results.

TFSM - Spring '17TFSM - Spring '17TFSM - Spring '17TFSM - Spring '17

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Pyrocat-HD
When it comes to developers, if you have talked to me, Pyro developers are a magic bullet. I tend to use it when I what sharpness but desire some grain control so it makes perfect sense for me to use it with TMax 400. Sadly this roll got developed in the dregs of a bottle and was a little underdeveloped. But thankfully due to the power of TMax 400, I could still pull decent images out of the negatives. I found that it produced a very classic look, bright and crispy, and sure enough I actually enjoyed the results while it’s a good option I feel it would be better suited to larger formats (medium and large).

CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400 - Roll 03 (Pyrocat-HD)CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400 - Roll 03 (Pyrocat-HD)CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400 - Roll 03 (Pyrocat-HD)CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400 - Roll 03 (Pyrocat-HD)

Techincal Details:
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (Yellow-15) – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-200
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak D-76
Is there nothing D-76 cannot do? Well, I’m sure there is, but when it comes to TMax films this developer is king because you can push and pull the film to your heart’s content and just dilute to 1+1 and go. My first experience with TMax 400 was souping it in D-76 and I can say you get everything you want out of the film with this developer. I would even hazard saying the film responds better in D-76 than TMax Developer.

CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1CCR - Season 4 - Recording Session 1

Technical Details:
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
While TMax 400 does not remain a favourite film of mine, I really don’t mind it as much as I think I do. I know that sounds weird, but in the end, it just comes down to personal preference. And my preference is for classic/traditional grained films like Tri-X and HP5+ but it’s not a bad film. It’s still sharp, and the grain is super fine even for sharp developers. It works the best for the native TMax developer and does well with the basic as well D-76. While I haven’t developed the film in Pyrocat-HD or D-23 two more present chemicals in my toolkit, I’m sure it would do just fine. But if you want a film you can push to the limit like Tri-X but you want a more modern feel, then TMax 400 is your film.

CCR Review 81 – Leitz Leicaflex SL2

CCR Review 81 – Leitz Leicaflex SL2

In the past, I’ve described the Bronica SQ-Am as the camera used by Darth Vader, I’d like to revise that statement, the Leicaflex SL2 is the camera of choice for the Dark Lord of the Sith. While my previous experience with Leica SLRs has been lacklustre, the SL2 makes up for that experience without question. The camera is a mechanical beast and shows off exactly what makes a Leica, a Leica. From amazing optics to precision mechanics. And yet of all the Leica cameras, I’ve used the SL2 is the first one I’ve picked up that felt instantly familiar I didn’t even have to check out the manual to know how to use it. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty.

CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2

The Dirt
Make: Leitz
Model: Leicaflex SL2
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Leica R-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1964-1976

CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2

The Good
The number one thing that the SL2 has going for it is the fact that it’s all mechanical, battery or no the camera will operate and will probably operate in any weather condition. And if you’ve used any mechanical camera from this era then the SL2 will be instantly familiar from the Nikon F2 series into the early FM and FE cameras, with the meter being powered on by flipped out the film advance lever. Metering is fairly accurate and with a match needle system and a full readout in the viewfinder, you get instant feedback and know where all your settings are without having to take your eye out of the finder. While a heavy camera, the weight isn’t too much of an issue even on extended use, and the camera controls are well laid out and easy to pick out without having to look too hard. But you don’t buy a Leica just for the camera, you get one for the optics. And the R-Mount lenses stand up to the iconic M-Mount lenses as both are built to the same exacting standards. And while for the review I had to shoot mostly wide open, I took the opportunity to shoot a second roll in better conditions and both wide open and stopped down the optics are tack sharp and produce incredible results.

CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2

The Bad
There are still a few issues with the SL2, the first being the size of it. As much as the Retina was cramped U-Boat, the SL2 seems like a Battleship in comparison. And it doesn’t have to be, everything on the camera could have been combined into a smaller package without compromising build quality. While the camera can be carried the whole day, it wouldn’t be too comfortable by the end of it. The second issue I have with the camera is the film advance. Now, film advances are something I’ve been critical about from the beginning but the film advance is fairly funky on this one. First off the draw is too long and the sudden spring return threw me and while I did get into the habit of putting the brakes on the advance I also found that it sprung back to the off position, meaning I’d have to pull it out before getting the next shot metered. While I know this might be to conserve the battery it just seems over-engineered. And finally I couldn’t talk about a Leica without covering price, while the SLR cameras from Leica are generally pushed aside in favour of their rangefinder counterparts the R-Mount lenses and even the SLR bodies still go for a premium price on the used market.

CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2CCR Review 81 - Leicaflex SL2

The Lowdown
Of the few Leica cameras I’ve reviewed, the SL2 is probably the only one that I’d actually go out and buy for myself, but again the price will keep me at bay. But don’t let the price scare you, if you have the money and want one of the best mechanical SLRs out there in the premium category then the SL2 should be your choice. From start to finish the camera outputs quality images and in the right hands with the right strap will take care of all your photography needs. In fact, if it had been at an affordable price point the SL2 might be among the choice system cameras with the Nikon F2 and Canon F-1, and it like these two iconic cameras show what an SLR should be, simple, quality, robust, and optically sound.

All Photos Taken at the Terra Winter Market in Milton, Ontario, Canada
Letiz Leicaflex SL2 – Leitz Wetzlar Summicron-R 1:2/50 – Rollei Retro 400s @ ASA-200
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 14:00 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 03 – Film Ferrania P30

CCR:FRB – Review 03 – Film Ferrania P30

As happy accidents go, when you’re trying to come up with a new slide film, and you reinvent a classic film from the past, there’s nothing wrong with that now is there? P30 is, at its heart a motion picture film and probably make a great reversal film. While I would have loved to try a roll through Dr.5, the expense of the process and a possibility of it not working makes it hard to decide to send it to them. P30 is Rollei Retro 80s on steroids with a touch of Eastman 5363 thrown in for good measure. The images have a deep chrome feel like you are looking at the world through a red filter.

CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30
The Lowdown
Type: B&W Panchromatic
Film Base:
Film Speed: ASA-80, Latitude:
Formats Available: 135 (35mm)

Roll One – Kodak HC-110
For a first impression, I was initially disappointed, the negatives were very thin, there were images, but I would have to push myself in post-processing to pull them out. But when I did, wow, I’m a big fan of a well-developed roll of Eastman 5363. And the results I pulled out were exactly on point. But they also had the quality and feel of images shot through an orange filter, maybe even a red. And the image quality, sharp as a knife, beautiful separation of tones and next to no grain. Personally, I would add an extra 30 seconds to the developing time that might help clean up the negatives.

CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 01 (HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 01 (HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 01 (HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 01 (HC-110)

Technical Details:
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Ferrania P30 @ ASA-80
Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 7:30 @ 20C

Roll Two – Kodak D-76
When a company says that a developer is ideal for their film stock, listen to them, I am rather impressed with the way P30 handled D-76, the tonality was dead on the money. But I did notice the loss of the orthochromatic feel that I had with HC-110, but it doesn’t affect my view of the film stock. The film retained its fine grain and sharp resolution even in a rather boring developer.

CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)

Technical Details:
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Ferrania P30 @ ASA-80
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Roll Three – Rodinal
While not my favourite, P30 does respond to Rodinal rather well. In fact, I find it knocks back the contrast inherent in the film. It shows off the sharpness and resolution of the film stock, however, it doesn’t make the film sing. I think it would do better with less time maybe drop it back to thirteen minutes rather than the given fourteen. There was something lost in this roll of film.

CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 03 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 03 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 03 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 03 - Film Ferrania P30 - Roll 03 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Ferrania P30 @ ASA-80
Blazinal (1+50) 14:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
I like this film, Ferrania P30 combines everything I like about Rollei Retro 80s and Eastman 5363. Rich contrast, sharp images, and a touch of orthochromatic response in the blues. I hope that the fine folks at Film Ferrania don’t stop producing this film and move it beyond an Alpha release and into full production along with their long-awaited slide film and maybe even a return of Solaris. But if you’re a fan of Retro 80s but can’t stand that polyester base, then P30 is the film for you. And in good news, P30 is once again available directly through the Film Ferrania store, you can pick up max orders of 10 rolls. Currently, only the US/Canada shop is open, but the European and Asian shops will open in 2-6 weeks, Europe first (2-3 weeks after North America) and then Asian (2-3 weeks after Europe)

CCR Review 80 – Minolta SR-T 101

CCR Review 80 – Minolta SR-T 101

I’ll be the first to admit I have a soft spot for match needle mechanical SLRs. And the camera that created that soft spot is not the SR-T 101, but rather it’s cousin the SR-T 102, but it’s the 101 on the review block today, and with little between the two, it seems only fair to apply the same level of familiarity. The SR-T line is the cameras that made me love photography, simple in their design and operation the cameras are near perfect for students and those who are learning photography. And despite being decades separated from the camera, going back to them is like revisiting a friend and a welcome respite from the more advanced gear in my collection.

CCR Review 80 - Minolta SRT-101
The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: SR-T 101
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: Miniature Format, 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta MD Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1966-75, this model is post-1970

CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101

The Good
The SR-T is one of many different cameras produced through the 1960s and 1970s designed to offer simple single-lens reflex cameras to the masses. The K1000, FTb, OM-1, FM all come to mind. From the match needle metering where you simply adjust your shutter speed and aperture to move one need to intersect with the metering needle to get your exposure. The full mechanical operation means the camera will function perfectly without a battery. And since the camera’s meter relies on a mercury cell finding one that has a dead battery should be of no concern. While the camera is heavy and bulky, it isn’t that heavy in general. The controls are well laid out from the heavy shutter speed dial and shot throw and the well laid out design. Not to mention the camera can take several hits and keep on shooting. Also, an on/off switch means you can conserve battery power. But the thing that makes the SR-T standout is the metering; it uses dual photocells. One in the prism that meters through the lens in a centre weighted model and a second cell mounted on the external body just above the lens mount. Marketed as the Contrast-Light-Compensator (CLC) it gives the camera an early form of average or matrix metering we enjoy today and gives the camera with a functioning meter accurate exposure!

CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101

The Bad
Some cameras I had a hard time even talking about the poorer aspects, and the SR-T is one of them. My biggest concern is the lack of an aperture display in the viewfinder. Adding in such an item would have been helpful back when I was first learning how to shoot, and even today having a visual display is a big help still. The addition of an on/off switch is great, but being on the bottom plate, you’re more likely to leave it on by accident and drain the battery and having to use the pad of your finger to twist it makes it a bit awkward to operate. And as always, these cameras are starting to get old, so it is important to try before you buy and should get a service job done on them. But if you get one in good shape or get a CLA done, they will not let you down.

CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101CCR Review 80 - Minolta SR-T 101

The Lowdown
As a student camera, the SR-T line is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank. K1000s and FMs still maintain a strong price point on the used market, but like many Minolta cameras the SR-T often goes unnoticed so you can get a body with a lens for around 100$, and extra lenses will cost less even the good ones! And the Rokkor optics are amazing, especially the modern Rokkor-X line. And while the battery it takes is mercury there are many modern alternatives to power the camera meter, the one I use has a Wyne cell installed, and the exposure is accurate. But I rather prefer shooting the camera with Sunny-16 just because it’s an easier way to run things for me.

All Photos Taken in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Minolta SRT-101 – Minolta Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=55mm – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 5:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 79 – Kodak Retina IIIC

CCR Review 79 – Kodak Retina IIIC

Before Apple picked up the name Retina, it attached itself to a line of folding German Kodak cameras. Wait, isn’t Kodak an American camera brand you may be asking. And yes, you’re right but their German branch, Kodak AG, had a rather strong reputation in bringing inexpensive but solid performance cameras to market, and their iconic line, Retina. And while the camera is classified as a folder, it lacks the distinctive bellows that prove to be a weak spot in these cameras. Armed with German rather than American optics the cameras are solid performers if a bit fickle in their operation. A note to the reader, this review is for the Retina IIIC, not the older IIIc; there is a difference. Thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning the camera out for review.

CCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIIc

The Dirt
Make: Kodak AG
Model: Retina IIIC (028)
Type: Rangefinder
Format: Miniature Format, 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable (Front Element), Retina Bayonet
Year of Manufacture: 1957-60

CCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIICCCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIIC

The Good
There are a couple of items that make the Retina IIIC a strong camera. First and most important is the lack of bellows. This fact right off the marks clears off a major weak point for many of these cameras a solid all-metal construction from top to bottom, front to back means that is one less thing you need to worry about when picking up the camera. The second is that the camera has German optics, while many during this time clamoured for Kodak Ektar lenses, Germany was started to show off its optical prowess outside of Zeiss and Leica. And the Rodenstock Heligon lens is no underachiever, sharp and a f/2 max aperture is no slouch on a camera aimed at the consumer market. I would have prefered something a bit wider (say 35mm or 45mm), but I can’t complain. In hand the camera is small, and while I’m not too impressed with the general layout, the one part that makes sense to me is the placement of the film advance. It’s on the bottom of the body and if you hold the camera properly the placement makes a lot of sense. Not to mention it’s a short throw that also cocks the shutter, just be careful in managing the film counter, one wrong press and you’ll jam the whole thing up, but it’s easily fixed. You have a bright viewfinder with an integrated rangefinder and the all-important framing guide, so composing images is a no-brainer.

CCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIICCCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIIC

The Bad
Despite all the praise, the Retina IIIC is a camera well past it’s prime even when it was new. First, the style, making this camera a folder was a mistake in my view, the giant side open front door and folding option on the camera takes away from the compact design. Sure when you fold it up it’s sleek and compact, but when you open it up, you’re no longer a compact camera. The Retina could have maintained a compact design without folding up. Also, you have to put the lens back to infinity focus to close up the front section. As I mentioned this camera is small, everything is small on it from the exposure controls on the front of the lens, the shutter release, the exposure counter release, and even trying to find the focus knob is fairly tough. I mean I’d take the size and controls of the Olympus XA over those of the Retina IIIC. It’s just a rather cramped experience overall, and not in a good way, in an I’ve been stuck on a German U-Boat at the bottom of the ocean for several weeks. Watch Das Boot, and you’ll get it.

CCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIICCCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIIC

The Lowdown
I had high hopes for the Retina, I honestly did. I found a cramped camera that really should have been designed differently. The small size and finicky nature of the camera made for a rather unpleasant shooting experience. Despite so many things going for this camera, you really should try it first before you go out and buy it. I believe much of this has to do with the fact it was built by the German branch rather than Rochester (North America), the design philosophies are different and seen. I think the Retina would have been a stronger camera that lasted far longer had Rochester taken a heavier hand in its design. If you like one, you’ll get a nearly indestructible camera with a strong optical performance that will last you until the cows come home.

All Photos Taken at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario
Kodak Retina IIIc – Rodenstock Retina-Heligon C 1:2/50mm – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-800
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:45 @ 20C

FP4Party – Redeux

FP4Party – Redeux

Finally, we have snow here in Southern Ontario which for me is wonderful! The cold weather is only made bearable by the presence of the white stuff. It also makes it more fun to go out tromping in the snow! But I shot most of my FP4 back in December, and with a deep freeze settled into the area after Christmas I really didn’t want to take any chances. But the arrival of the Secret Santa gift from the Emulsive gift exchange included a roll of FP4+ in 120 and with five sheets of 4×5 I was ready to go, on a much-reduced scale.

Group One – Erchless – I love shooting around downtown Oakville, and the pastoral setting around the home of the town’s founder William Chisholm was the backdrop of the sheets for this month’s FP4Party. Erchless is one local museum I have yet to visit but certainly will for my history project this year (Project:1867), as Chisholm played a bit part in the rocky road that led up to Confederation, from radical to tory, Chisholm’s effort to build an empire ultimately was his undoing as he died deep in debt and destitute. His family, however, continued to live at his grand home until 1910.

The HuntedThe AlphaKeep Pumping!Erchless

Technical Details:
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-64
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Group Two – Niagara – Finally the cold weather broke on Sunday, the final day to shoot for the party. And having already planned to head down to the Niagara region I brought along the Hasselblad and the Minolta SR-T (shooting for review later this month). Niagara-On-The-Lake has been one of two towns that show up often in my photography. Destroyed in the Anglo-American War of 1812, and risen from the ashes. It was the first capital of Upper Canada, established by only by the need for space for Loyalist troops during the American Revolution and today is a tourist attraction, but in the recent cold weather, the streets were fairly empty which was nice for shooting.

Prince of WalesSanta Shaw?Drugs Galore!A Tower

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 8:30 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 01 – Kosmo Foto Mono 100

CCR:FRB – Review 01 – Kosmo Foto Mono 100

At your first glance, you see this Soviet Styled space-age packaging, and you know you’re in for a treat. Mono 100 is the new player on the block, a Panchromatic ASA-100 speed B&W Film. When I first learned that Kosmo Foto was working towards releasing a brand new film I jumped. While the Soviet-styled look will draw you in, the contents of the film itself will make you want to shoot more and more of the film stock.

CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100

The Lowdown
Type: B&W Panchromatic
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-100, Latitude: ASA-50 to ASA-400
Formats Avaliable: 135 (35mm)

Roll 1 – Rodinal
Before I start, I’ll have to confess I went completely off spec for this first roll of film. The trouble, at least for me was, it’s been drummed into my head that you get poor results for developing times less than five minutes (well I did soup Tri-X in HC-110 Dil. B for 4.5 minutes for many years before switching). So when the chart for Mono 100 noted the Rodinal time was 3.5 minutes for 1+25 dilution my brain screamed at me. I then sat down, did a bit of math, looked at another ASA-100 film and decided to use a 1+50 dilution, double the time and add thirty seconds. I honestly did not expect it to work, but it did. As for the results, well they speak for themselves. Mono 100 has rich tones across the spectrum, incredibly fine grain, something I wasn’t expecting.

CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 01 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 01 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 01 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 01 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 01 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kosmo Foto Mono 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll 2 – Kodak D-76
I never thought I would say this, but Mono 100 sings in D-76, I was again surprised at the short time for a diluted D-76, but in this case, the time is spot on. Not to mention D-76 shows off exactly what Mono 100 can do, smooth beautiful tones, and makes the world look right, the perfect monochromatic image. Especially with a deep yellow filter in front of the lens. There is some noticeable grain, but nothing that isn’t too bad.

CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 02 (Kodak D-76)

Technical Details:
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (Yellow-15) – Kosmo Foto Mono 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 3 – Kodak TMax Developer
And the hits just keep on coming, Mono 100 responded perfectly to TMax Developer. As a developer, TMax and I have a hit-and-miss relationship. When I like it, I like it, when I don’t, I sort of use up the rest of the bottle reluctantly and then let it be for months. But in light of doing all these film reviews, it seemed only fair to give it a go. While I noticed a drop in contrast and a bit more of an uptick in grain it really is not a bad pairing.

CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 01 - Kosmo Foto Mono 100 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)

Techincal Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kosmo Foto Mono 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 5:30 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
When it comes to new films these days I am a bit wary. When I first learned about Mono 100 I figured we’d get a polyester base grain fest. Of course, that is not the case, I’m not knocking polyester based films they just can be a bit hard to handle. The film reminds me of how Svema Foto 200 handles, with smooth realistic tones, excellent response to contrast filters and just makes the world look right. While I’m still not sold on a 3.5 minute time in Rodinal 1+25, I’m sure it turns out fine, just be ready with that stop bath! But for me the one thing I see as a problem is the lack of HC-110 times, in fact, you are dissuaded from using HC-110 with the film. Of course, if I had a couple more rolls I’d be souping it in Dilution B just to see what happens. But if I were to give two solid developers for Mono 100 I would say Rodinal and D-76 are the clear winners. Currently, the only way to get Mono 100 is to directly order it from Kosmo Foto, kosmofoto.com/product/kosmo-foto-mono-film/ current they’re out of stock but we hope to see some fresh product soon!