Tag: Canada

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Oh Emulsive, I think through your little contests you’re going to keep film alive ensuring that everyone goes out and buys the stuff to join in these fun little games. After joining in on the Summer Film Parties, the next step is the Delta Def Jam. Wait What? Like the TMax Party, Delta Def Jam celebrates Ilford’s tabular grained film, known as Delta. Also of note, the Delta series of film comes in 100, 400, and 3200.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Now when it comes to the Delta series I really only like one of the film stocks, Delta 100, although I may play with Delta 400 see if I can’t get it bent to my will. Thankfully I had a single roll of Delta 100 in 35mm left in my stock of film to load up and roll with for September. Recently through a review of the Bronica GS-1, I realized that Delta 100 also looks amazing when pulled just slightly to ASA-80 and then developed in SPUR HRX. If you haven’t heard of SPUR HRX that’s fine, it is a rare developer that I only just heard about also.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Having a beautiful holiday long weekend right at the start my wife and I headed into Toronto for the Art Fest in the Distillery District. A wiser choice as it was the final day for the CNE, and the trains into the city became packed the further east we travelled. Thankfully they all disembarked before Union Station. The city always makes for a good solid walk and the Distillery District is not that far for us.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

In Medium Format, Delta 100 in HRX has amazing results, but in 35mm with a bit of filtering, sure a deep yellow, it just sings! Looking forward to next month’s Jam! The film is being purchased this week, the camera and location are already chosen. Stay tuned October!

All Photos taken in the Distillery District – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (Yellow-15) – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+) @ 20C

Amy & Jeremy – Moving Right Along

Amy & Jeremy – Moving Right Along

It’s been a while since I’ve had a wedding to write about, and this wedding is one that has been in the works for some time now. And the longest I’ve ever been on retainer for a job. But in this case, it was well worth the wait. I am of course talking about the wedding between Amy and Jeremy.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

The trouble with weddings is how do you go about photographing them? I say this because a wedding is a job that is many jobs. You’re a portrait photographer, event photographer, counsellor, valet, gopher, and many other jobs on top of everything else.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

So this time around I made a point to approach this wedding how I do weddings best, as a photojournalist. Because, while a wedding is an event, it’s also a story, the story of the day. So when I arrived, I started to work to tell the story of Amy and Jeremy’s wedding.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

And you know, I hit my groove, I just moved along taking things as they came. I also found out that I can be in two places at once especially during the ceremony. Having the small, lightweight a6000 and sticking to only three lenses for the camera allowed me to capture the ceremony (and edit out all the crying photos) along with my trusty F5 (first time shooting it at a wedding) with only the 50mm lens. An outdoor wedding gave me all the space I needed to move around and eliminated the need to have the heavy 70-200mm lens I had lugged along; the classic AI-S Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 gave me all the reach I needed.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

For portraits, I wanted something a little bigger to work with so out came the Hasselblad, again the first time the Hassy has been used at a wedding along with the Gossen Lunasix F. It sang as well as we moved throughout the village. Having never been to the Kawartha Settler’s Village I had settled to scout the place using their website and Flickr to come up with the buildings I wanted to us. And what made the whole thing a fantastic job to shoot, is how smoothly I worked with the people and how well they responded.

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

Amy & Jeremy - 12th August 2017

As for the film stock, of course, I went with Kodak Tri-X 400. When you’re out shooting something important, you have to go with a film stock you know and trust and what better way to shooting a wedding as a photojournalist than with the go-to film for photojournalism. The only difference is that instead of using Pyrocat-HD for the portraits I decided to try something different and developed the medium format Tri-X in Blazinal (Rodinal) and the results they speak for themselves. I wish nothing but happiness for these two, it’s been a long time coming, and it was well worth the wait.

Technical Details:
Colour Digitals: Sony A6000 + Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS, AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D, AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5, KMZ Helios 44M-2
B&W Film (Rectangular): Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C
B&W Film (Square): Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 7:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

When it comes to folding cameras, not all cameras are created equal. Many are simply box cameras dressed up with some bellows, while others have full on rangefinders and exposure control. While the Voigtländer Bessa is not top dog, it certainly is a little more usable than a simple box. The Bessa is a step up from a simple box but lacks a rangefinder to couple the manual focus. Couple this with a solid lens, with a full range of aperture and shutter speeds, makes this a solid choice if you’re looking for a folder. The Bessa is a long line of folding cameras that began in 1929 and lasted until 1949 with several changes over the course of product manufacture. This particular model dates between 1935 and 1937. It came into my collection through my Uncle Harvey, brother-in-law to my mother, it belonged to his father who used it well into the 1950s before switching to motion picture film to capture family memories. Special thanks to Uncle Harvey for trusting me with a family camera.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

  • Make: Voigtländer
  • Model: Bessa
  • Type: Folder
  • Format: Medium, 120/620, 6×4.5/6×9
  • Lens: Fixed, Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm
  • Year of Manufacture: 1935-1937

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Good
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past reviews is that age doesn’t always mean poor performance. In fact, I’ve had successfully quality images from cameras far older than the Bessa. And the Bessa certainly delivers, the Voigtar lens, based on the Anastigmat design, provides quality sharp images at any aperture, I mostly shot these at f/11 or f/8, the reason will come in the next paragraph. While not exactly the fastest lens on the block at only f/4.5 I only found this to be a problem once and only because I was shooting the film at ASA-50. When it comes to handling, the Bessa is a decent shooter. Probably top on my list is that there’s a shutter release on the lens door, makes it nice and easy to shoot either landscape or portrait. By default the camera shoots in the big and beautiful 6×9 format and produces fantastic images as such, the 11cm (110mm) lens is perfect for the format with no vignetting or fall-off in any corner. But you will only get eight frames per roll. However, you can add a mask to the camera and use the second frame counter window and produce 6×4.5 format images that double the number of exposures per roll to 16. Of course, you need to add a mask to the camera, a mask I don’t have but can be produced I have yet to create such a mask. And finally, the camera is designed to accept both 120 and 620 film rolls, while less of an issue today such compatibility between Kodak Films and everyone else certainly helped the average photographer.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Bad
The Bessas are old cameras, with the earliest models being 88 years old and the youngest dating to 68, not exactly spring chickens. I was lucky that this particular camera is in great working shape. The first thing is that the bellows can get damaged. While some might let in just a bit of light and give a distressed look to the images, others might leak like a sieve and ruin any film run through the camera. Lenses haze over, shutter stick, so if you are looking at one, try and sort out the general shooting capacity of the camera before purchase. Let’s move on, there are two serious issues and two minor issues I have with this particular camera. The first and most severe in my mind is the film winder. Being a dual 120/620, it’s a pretty substantial piece of metal, and I found that it chewed through the plastic take up reel. Thankfully I was able to run through the eight frames before it stopped advancing and I was able to extract the film with a change bag. But for future use, I’ll probably want to stick to either a 120 or 620 spool that is metal. The second issue I have with the camera I eluded to in the previous paragraph, and that has to do with focus. The camera is a manual focus lens without a rangefinder, so you have to give a rough guess on the focus or use an external rangefinder, realising this I made a point to shoot mostly to infinity and stop it down to at least f/11 to get a decent depth of field. The only shot I made at f/8, I missed focus by a touch. If I take this camera out again, I’ll be sure to pack the external rangefinder; it worked great with the Pony 135. The two remaining issues are minor, first is that the lens is uncoated, so you only want to shoot black & white film through the camera to get decent results. And secondly, the shutter speed maxes out at 1/125 of a second. So you don’t want to go shooting Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5+ through the camera unless you plan on seriously pulling the film in development and exposure.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Lowdown
When it comes to folding cameras this one, despite the issue with focusing, is a real winner. Certainly would be a good choice if you frequent World War II reenactments, even if it’s just a prop but kudos if you use it to shoot. And if you do find a camera in good working order, it certainly won’t let you down. If you do shoot with the camera, remember when this camera came out Ilford had just released HP (the great-grand daddy of HP5+) and rated at ASA-160. You’ll mostly want to stick to Ilford FP4+, Kodak TMax 100, Ilford Pan F+, Fomapan 100, Ultrafine Xtreme 100, or Rollei RPX 25 to get the best results out of this camera. And the best part is shutter speeds are perfect for Sunny-16 style metering (1/125 to 1/25) and if you’re lucky enough you might even find one with an original metal reel inside. Just remember to save the reel or simply remind you lab to return it.

All Photos Taken In The Distillery District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Voigtländer Bessa – Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm – Ultrafine Xtreme 100 @ ASA-50
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Ottawa on Film

Ottawa on Film

One of my favourite cities in Ontario to photograph is Ottawa, Ontario, also the Capital City of Canada. While not as grandiose in planning as Washington DC, this city has plenty of offer the photographer. A recent week’s holiday there with my wife gave me a chance to exersize several cameras from my toolkit and having plenty of my pro gear having shot a weekend before hand I was loaded for bear both in gear and film stock.

Alexandra Bridge
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Eastman 5363 @ ASA-25
Kodak HC-110 Dil. F 5:00 @ 20C

End of Line
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – ORWO UN54 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C

Day One found us going to the newly renovated Museum of Canadian History in Gatineau then across the river for lunch. Having been blessed with a sunny week I decided to keep most of my film stocks on the slower side, most rating no more than ASA-100. It also saw a return of Eastman 5363 a favourite motion picture stock that I did extensive tests with the first time it came to the still photography market through the Film Photography Project.

Spike in Blue Sky
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 9:00 @ 20C

More Old Hydro Systems
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 9:00 @ 20C

Another film that I gave a try with, and only the second time shooting in 120 is Bergger Pancro 400, a new film stock out of France from a company better known for their traditional photo paper I was fairly pleased with the stock. This time around I shot it at the full speed of ASA-400 just so that shooting at waist level I could get some deep depth of field and fast shutter speeds. While a little more grainy than I was expecting from a 400-speed film in medium format I am fairly pleased with the results.

MosaïCanada 150
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Orange-22) – ORWO UN54 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C

MosaïCanada 150
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Orange-22) – ORWO UN54 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C

While if you’re a following of this blog, you’ve already seen some of the film shots from Day Four through my review of the Holga 120N. But after the National Gallery, which has a beautiful photography exhibit at the moment, I swung up my trusty Nikon F2 Photomic. With blue skies and white clouds, it was time to get some filtering on the camera. While the MosaïCanada 150 display was begging for some Infrared work, I was rather pleased with the results of the Orange-22 filter.

The Victoria Bell
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

The Bank of Canada
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

The final day saw us kicking around Parliament Hill. Sadly I had to check my bag and Nikon F5 for the tour of Parliament and the Changing of the guard, I made a point to head back with the ultra-wide lens and some Fomapan 100, a beautiful film that I had yet to shoot in 35mm, to capture the seat of power for Canada. When I’ve run a project I like to keep the film stocks fairly consistent. And while I did make sure to bring multiples of two (mostly), I use vacations as a time to play around with new/odd film stocks, sometimes it turned out great. Other times not so much.

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

When you think of toy cameras, certain models come to mind almost instantly. Names like Diana, Debonair, Lomography, and of course Holga. I have in the past reviewed the FPP Debonair, a solid toy camera but the first toy camera and the one that stuck the most is the Holga. Sadly my camera broke several years back, and I never bothered to replace it. While I did mean to replace the Holga with another one, the sad fact is that in 2015 Holga nearly vanished if not for the quick actions by Freestyle and the Sunrise company. The two managed to recover one mould and restarted production. The Holga is the iconic toy camera if you’re looking for any high-quality performance you’ll want to look elsewhere but if you want something fun, this is your camera.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Dirt

  • Make: Sunrise
  • Model: Holga 120N
  • Type: Point-And-Shoot
  • Format: Medium, 120, 6×6/6×4.5
  • Lens: Fixed, Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm
  • Year of Manufacture: 2003 – Present

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Good
As toy cameras go, the Holga is incredibly accessible; you don’t need much to start shooting and enjoying this camera. It’s fun, easy to use, and produces a unique image that I’ve only seen in one other camera, the FPP Debonair. Far from perfect, the soft plastic lens has a fixed 60mm focal length with several zone focus options, and two aperture (f/8 and f/11) means if you’re close, your photo will be in focus. And the slightly wider than the normal focal length and smaller than required image circle produces a heavy vignette. All these things make for a unique image quality. The 6×6 negative size gives you plenty to work within regards to cropping or just leaving it as a square format. The camera does come with a second mask and slider to shoot in the 6×4.5 negative size, but you’ll be forced to shoot portrait orientation rather than landscape. I prefer landscape, but that’s just me, so I tend to leave the 6×6 mask in place. And having it take the standard 120 film makes for easy loading and shooting, just point, guess, and shoot!

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Bad
When I first started using toy cameras, I had to give myself a bit of a mind-shift. I knew I was not going to get perfect exposures, tack sharp images, or even in focus images. You don’t even have much control over this camera, focus, aperture, and flash. If you can’t handle that much guess work, then this is not your camera. The cameras have a poor build quality, light leaks even out of the box will be standard. At least you know you can repair it quickly with duct tape or gaffer tape. Another option is just to leave it and embrace the unknown.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Lowdown
For the sake of transparency this is a review of the new Holga 120N, and from what I’ve found is that in my particular model the new maker has taken all the quirks of the old Holga and cranked them up 50%. Toy cameras are not every photographer’s cup of tea; even I have to be in the right mood to work with them. But if you find yourself in the right mindset you can produce art. Photography doesn’t have to be about perfection in any sense of the word. All the rules can be thrown out the window and in the end, if you produce an image that you love, then you’ve done it. Sure if I need high quality I’ll go to my Rolleiflex or Hasselblad, but if I want fun, I’ll grab the Holga. Remember, life isn’t perfect, sharp, or in focus, sometimes just let your photos reflect that.

All Photos Taken in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Holga 120N – Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

Summer Film Party – Part III (August)

Summer Film Party – Part III (August)

Some time back I came across a sponsored post on Facebook. Now usually when I see these I tend to scroll past them, but the title grabbed my attention, 14 Towns In Ontario To Visit If You’re Too Broke To Go To Europe. While many of the sites mentioned in the article I had heard of and visited there were a couple that caught my eye, the one that I decided would be worth a visit is Almonte, Ontario.

Rushing Waters

Building on the Old

Having done a weekend wedding in Bobcaygeon, Ontario and the wife and I heading to a week’s vacation in Ottawa it was the perfect chance to visit this small historic town. It turns out the man behind Basketball, Dr. James Naismith, so my wife, who is a big fan of basketball. While Polypan F is no longer produced, I still had a roll left waiting for something special. So, why not use it for the final month of the Summer Film Party!

Water Power

Historic Town Hall

For some reason, the telltale glow that comes with the film wasn’t too present in this roll; maybe it was a combination of things. The pull to ASA-25, the yellow filter, or the Rodinal for developing. Heck, it could have even been the high-noon sun I was shooting in. Either way, the results are great in my mind.

Hydro

Tail Race

Wow, this is the last post for the Summer Film Party, I managed to get in all three months of this wonderful little project for Emulsive, of course, now you can stay tuned for their next project the #DeltaDefJam, and I already have a lovely roll of Delta 100 in 35mm waiting! Until next time film shooters, keep those shutter firing!

All Photos Shot in Almonte, Ontario
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Polypan F @ ASA-25
Blazinal (1+50) 8:30 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.

Kew

In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

A Day Trip to Elora

A Day Trip to Elora

A few weekends back I had a chance to visit the lovely village of Elora, Ontario with my beautiful wife who I am grateful loves such adventures on free weekends. The small village is located just northwest of Guelph and offers a little taste of Europe in Ontario. I’ve had the chance to visit Elora twice in the past, once for my 52-Roll project in 2013 and again to go camping with a group of friends in 2015. But I had always planned to go back yet it never seemed to fit into plans. While the Elora gorge is one of the towns biggest draw, I’m a creature of the urban environment, so the historic downtown is my favourite place to visit in towns like this one. Often filled with fun little shops, a pub, even a brewery. But enough of me talking, let’s get to some of the photos from the day! Of course, if you ever find yourself in Elora, Ontario I do recommend visiting the Elora Brewing Company and stay for a meal and if you’re into it a beer. I recommend the Lady Friend IPA; it’s the way an IPA is supposed to taste and fellow photographer and craft beer enthusiast, Bill Smith, agrees.

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

All Photos Taken in Elora and Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Kodak Verichrome Pan @ ASA-125
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

If you’ve used any of the modern Bronica cameras, you’ve mostly used them all. And that is the beauty of them because of they all act, behave and feel the same in both operation and general, cosmetic details. The only difference is the size of the negative. And while I’ve reviewed the smaller of the three, the ETRS earlier this year, I now switch up to the largest of the three the GS-1. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of Bronica cameras, but I like the GS-1 and would easily rate it higher than the Mamiya as it stands up easier on field work when comparing similar bodies, the Pentax 67 out strips both for ease of use in the field. Sadly the camera is a rare beast to find these days even on the used market, but if you can find a full setup, you have a keeper. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out the beast.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1
The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza
  • Model: Bronica GS-1
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium, 120/220, 6×7
  • Lens: Interchangeable, PG-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1983-2002

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Good
Despite being a 6×7 camera the GS-1 if properly equipped with a good neck strap and action grip is designed for use in the field, when compared to a camera like the RB/RZ67, even with a waist level finder the action grip makes the camera easy to use. While this is no Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 I found that even the weight is acceptable for walking around, it actually would be a difficult camera to use in the studio. If you’ve used other Bronica cameras of the same period you’ll instantly know how to operate the GS-1 with all the same controls; even the accessories mount in the same fashion as the smaller cameras. And the camera is designed for speed, a familiar crank or double-stroke will advance the film and cock the shutter, and return the mirror. The GS-1 is also a fully modular system so you can customise it to however you need it from finders, backs, grips, and lenses. It also impressed me how quiet it was, of its size and weight I expected a mirror slap that would wake the dead and rattle even the steadiest photographer at 1/60 of a second. And finally, having the large 6×7 negative makes the camera ideal for wedding, travel, landscape, and other situations where the print is king, and you don’t want to lug along a 4×5 large format camera. But my favourite part, the camera has a functioning built in, on/off switch, helps to save that battery, and that battery is pretty standard and can easily be purchased online or at a camera/electronics shop.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Bad
The camera does have the trouble with weight, while less than an RB/RZ, and with a good strap it is not much of an issue, but if you have back troubles this might not want to be a camera of choice. Now I’ve handled cameras with hair triggers before, the Olympus XA comes to mind, and so does the GS-1. I had barely laid my finger on the action grip shutter release and bam; I had taken the shot. I was just glad I hadn’t changed the frame composition. Then when it comes to changing the camera to portrait orentation, you have to hall the whole thing 90 degrees, with the action grip and eye-level finder it’s not too bad, but if you have the waist-level finder, good luck buttercup. However, the biggest trouble with this camera is the rarity of it. I had not even heard of the system until Mike first mentioned he was collecting the parts to make one up. And I find that odd given the near twenty-year life of the GS-1. So why is this a bad thing, well the trouble is that if something breaks or goes wrong, it makes it hard to find replacement parts or accessories and being an electronic camera from the 1980s something will break eventually? And given this rarity and lack of gear on the used market, anything you do find will be relatively costly.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Lowdown
Like any other 6×7 camera I’ve reviewed, the GS-1 is certainly a winner, but as a 4×5 shooter, it just doesn’t fill a need in my toolkit. Also, two frames into my second roll, it stopped working for me, it must know of my loathing of Bronicas. When it went back to its owner, Mike, started working again. If I ever stopped shooting the 4×5 format, I would probably go for a 6×7 camera, but given the rarity and cost attached to a GS-1 and my general distrust of Bronica cameras, my two 6×7 cameras of choice would be a Pentax 67 or Mamiya 7. While I would hazzard reccomending the GS-1, it’s not a bad camera, it’s just there are better options for 6×7 shooting out there. Heck, I’d even run with an RB/RZ67 over a GS-1. Worth the massive back damage if it provides a little more reliablity.

All Photos Taken in The Beach, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bronica GS-1 – Zenzanon-PG 1:3.5 f=100mm – Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Ah the dog days of summer, and yet there’s still the draw to get out, no matter the weather, and just enjoy shooting. This summer meeting saw me visit two areas of the city for some shooting. The first part of the meet was in a part of the city that I don’t often explore, the Riverside neighbourhood on the eastern side of the Don Valley. Fellow film shooter, Bill Smith, did the heavy lifting in planning out the meet. The day started with coffee at the lovely Rooster Coffee Shop. The whole area is a hidden gem in the city with lots to see and photograph. I decided that I would shoot with something a little different than I normally do at these meets, an 85mm lens, look for detail rather than the big picture.

Who the ... Uses a Payphone

Lost Shoe

The Riverdale Cannon

The Jupiter-9 lens is one that I had meant to shoot a little more often, but just never mounted it because it’s somewhat tricky with the double bayonet mount, unlike the standard 50mm lenses (Jupiter-8 and CZ Sonnar). But man it certainly is fun to get away from my usual fare of shooting wide, allowing me a little extra reach and being able to exploit creamy out of focus elements that the lens is known to produce and focus in on details rather than the big picture. Sadly the trouble with the Jupiter-9 is that it suffers from a bit of a focus issue and some shots that I was looking forward to were out. But such is life.

Meet at the Sign of the Rooster

Justice

PVBLIC

We made a point to stop by the Old Don Jail, now part of Bridgepoint Health and then it was east along Gerard Street. A visit, of course, was in order as we walked south on Carlaw to another shop that is close to a few folks in the group, WonderPens! WonderPens is a lovely mum & pop shop that specialises in fine writing. Ink, Pens, and Paper. With a trip to Disney and a historical photography project in the works for next year, it gave me a chance to pick up a couple of new notebooks. Because as you know, every new project needs a new notebook, right?

Wheeled Transport

Film & Fountain Pens

Finally Lunch

Back west we headed along Queen Street almost to where we started at Broadview, sadly the initial stop; Eastbound Brewery opens at 4 pm, so we were a little early to stop in for a taste of some of their beers. But Prohibition Gastro Pub provides a fantastic selection of beers from around Ontario and the world, even some of my favourite from Europe. After lunch, it was a change of pace.

Hot Dog Vendor

Resistance is Futile

But I had swapped out my Contax IIIa that I had been shooting with earlier in the day with the Crown Graphic. However, I was shooting it a little differently than I normally do. I decided to use the Crown as it historically been shot, handheld. Armed with eight sheets of Rollei RPX 400 film, I headed back out into the downtown core with the aim to make it out to the Distillery District.

The First Post Office

Always Watching

I never made it that far as I had shot all eight sheets when I hit the end of King Street where it merges onto Queen. My legs tired I hit up Eastbound Brewing to pick up their two offerings that are for sale before going back to the 3 Brewers for Dinner at Yonge/Dundas Square. A long day? Absolutely, worth it? Totally.

Eastbound

Technical Details:
Contax IIIa – ЮПИТЕР-9 85mm f/2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C
Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenar 135mm f/4,7 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C