Tag: Canada

CCR:FRB – Review 17 – Rollei RPX 100

CCR:FRB – Review 17 – Rollei RPX 100

The middle-of-the-road film stock in the RPX line and another fantastic entry. Like RPX 25, RPX 100 is the spiritual successor to Agfa APX 100. While I don’t have much experience with APX 100 (I have about 50 sheets of the stuff in 4×5), the film is similar in look to Kodak TMax 100. And actually, you can use some of the TMax 100 times with RPX 100. While it’s no FP4+, I actually think RPX 100 is slightly better than Kodak TMax 100 mostly because of the huge latitude on the film, in fact, you can even do the Panatomic-X trick and shoot the film at ASA-32 and amazing results!

CCR:FRB - Review 17 - Rollei RPX 100

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic Black & White
Film Base: Polyester (PE)
Film Speed: ASA-100, Latitude: 25-800
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, 4×5

Roll 01 – Rollei RPX-D
Like Kodak’s TMax developer, Rollei released their RPX-D developer for the RPX 100 and RPX 400 films. And while using the developer will cost you, as it’s not available in every store, it provides amazing results with the film. From the smooth tones and fine grain, and like TMax films in TMax developer I honestly feel RPX-D is made perfectly for RPX 100, more so than RPX 400. Of course, the biggest issue is that you do need to purchase the developer from speciality online stores and the bottle isn’t that big.

52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak D-76
Like it’s position in the RPX line, RPX 100 is my second favourite film from the lineup. And you know, D-76 only solidifies that place you get a beautiful image that is far from boring, the contrast is there, the tonal range is there and you know you get a decently sharp image on top of all that. While in the sky areas you see a bit more grain, it isn’t anything to worry about it actually looks decent. And while you could tone down the contrast by going 1+1 or using Kodak D-23. I think the stock looks better.

CCR:FRB - Review 17 - Rollei RPX 100 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 17 - Rollei RPX 100 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 17 - Rollei RPX 100 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 17 - Rollei RPX 100 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 8:30 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Rodinal
Another win for RPX 100, and along the same lines of RPX-D, Rodinal does right by RPX 100. You get the same fine grain smooth tones and contrast. And well I think, RPX 100 responds far better to Rodinal than TMax 100. Another interesting point is that it doesn’t matter if you use 1+25 or 1+50 there’s very little difference between them in how the film responds, it again depends on how much time you have. Though I do think, the 1+25 will give you a slightly sharper image.

52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred

Techincal Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Ziess Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak HC-110
Out of all the developers I used with RPX 100, personally, HC-110 remains my personal favourite. A well-rounded film needs a well-rounded developer, and while HC-110 is known to bump up the contrast in most films, it isn’t too bad on RPX 100, rather you get the same results as you would in any other developer. Not to mention the same smooth tones and fine grain images. While the sharpness is a bit less, it’s far from noticeable, but you do get an uptick in grain.

52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 9:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
When it comes to RPX 100, I have so many other films on the same time that I love shooting, Ilford FP4+, of course, being top of the list, but if I had to pick a film to replace say Kodak TMax 100 or even Delta 100 I would go with RPX 100. It’s readily available in physical stores and easily obtained online. Plus it carries on that spirit of the APX line of films. I actually have 50 sheets of APX 100 in 4×5 waiting to be shot hopefully this summer. Not to mention RPX 100 does really well if you use TMax 100 times, even the Panatomic-X trick.

CCR:FRB – Review 16 – Rollei RPX 25

CCR:FRB – Review 16 – Rollei RPX 25

Through 2016 I did a 52-Roll project where I shot the Rollei RPX films for each week, out of the three flavours available my personal favourite remained RPX 25, a spiritual successor to the iconic Agfa APX 25. These days in film photography there aren’t many offerings below ASA-100, Pan F+ is a solid choice, but sometimes you want something sharp, fine-grained, and slow. And for that, you have Rollei RPX 25. While the thin polyester base might make it hard to handle in the bag and widely thin in sheet formats, the results are worth the trouble.

CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester (PE)
Film Speed: ASA-25, Latitude: 12-50
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, 4×5

Roll 01 – Rodinal
Where best to start with a slow film known for its sharpness is Rodinal. And honestly, it doesn’t matter which dilution you use, 1+25 or 1+50 it depends on how much time you have to develop it. You see clearly the fine-grained nature of the film and the sharpness. I mean the negatives are sharp enough to cut yourself on. Plus you see a touch of the extended red-sensitivity in the film as you get the darkened blue skies.

52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak D-76
Sometimes you want a film to be sharp, sometimes you want it to be soft. For the most part, RPX 25 is a sharp film, yet in D-76 it tones down the razor sharp edge, but don’t think this is a bad thing. The film itself is fairly high-contrast, not so much here, the contrast is toned down to a pleasing level but you don’t lose the tonal range at the same time. In generally I rather like RPX 25 in D-76 if I’m looking for a more normal look rather than a deathly sharp contrasty punch in the face you tend to get. If I had to pick a word, smooth comes to mind.

CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 16 - Rollei RPX 25 - Roll 2 (D-76)

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 8:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak HC-110
When you have a film stock this fine, you really don’t need to be concerned about the developer, and honestly, think HC-110 works well on the film. While I used the B dilution, looking back I think the film would look even better with E or even H. You do get a crank up on the contrast you don’t lose the fine-grain or sharpness with the film and as an everyday developer for the film, you cannot beat HC-110.

52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground

Techincal Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Pyrocat-HD
So when working with slow, fine-grained films, there are some developers that you just know are going to make the film sing, and with RPX 25 the one developer I knew I had to try with the large format version of the film, Pyrocat-HD remained developer number one. And the wait was well worth it. Any grain that even showed up earlier is gone, I mean I don’t even want to try and print this film as I don’t know how well I could get it in focus. You have insanely sharp images that will blow you away. Not to mention a tonal range to die for.

Mill Water FallsThe Leftovers7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 neuer ArtThe Prison Yard

Technical Details:
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Multiple Lenses – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
I honestly say, having RPX 25 available these days is wonderful, as I never got to shoot APX 25 in anything other than 35mm, and now that I can shoot it in 120 and 4×5 if I need that slow speed in the summer or to get that rich velvet of running water I can. While the film’s latitude isn’t the best, you don’t really expect much from a slow film. If I want latitude I’ll shoot 100 or even 400 films before a slow film. And the best part is that the RPX line is available through most brick-and-mortar photography stores and online through Maco Direct or Argentix.

CCR Review 90 – Canon EOS Elan 7NE

CCR Review 90 – Canon EOS Elan 7NE

I’m a Nikon shooter and have shot a lot of Nikon Cameras, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a fine Canon. Of the modern Canon EOS cameras, I’ve shot the Elan 7ne is probably the best camera, I mean I’d take this over an EOS-1. But the Elan 7n/7ne are unique cameras in my view, one of a few the others being the Canon T90 and Nikon F90. These cameras have the specs and could very well be professional models but often are left aside. But if the three, the Elan 7ne would get the most publicity, but to be honest, if I had one land in my lap, I wouldn’t say no to keep it. Thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning this beauty out!

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Dirt
Make: Canon
Model: EOS Elan 7NE (EOS 30V/EOS 7S)
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Canon EF Mount
Year of Manufacture: 2004

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Good
The first frame I shot on the camera my first instinct said, man, this is a smooth operating camera. Everything just works and works well. From loading the film to turning it on and operating the camera. The size, weight, and general feel of the camera make it ideal for shooting on a regular and daily basis, one thing that I had an issue with more consumer-oriented Canon cameras was the handgrip, far too narrow, but on the Elan 7ne, it’s perfect and reminds me of my old Nikon D70s or Nikon D300. The control layout is decent, with the main command dial right by the shutter release and the thumb wheel nicely placed so you can operate the camera, even in manual mode single-handed.

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Bad
There’s really only a couple things that I don’t really like on this camera. First off is where the on/off control is as part of the mode dial. Honestly, I don’t know why they did that. Having to not only turn on the camera but then remember to return to your mode is a bit odd to me. I personally would have preferred a separate on/off switch. While not a major dig at the camera, I find it more of an annoyance. The second annoyance is the eye-control, I ended up having to turn the feature off, which I’m glad you can. I can understand why such a system would be nice being able to look and have the camera focus, but honestly, I tried to get it to work and it didn’t. Not sure if I was doing it wrong or the system itself is flawed. As I said, at least you can turn it off and manually set the focus points.

CCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NECCR Review 90 - Canon EOS Elan 7NE

The Lowdown
You don’t need to jump on an Elan 7ne, the original Elan 7n will do you just fine. As I said in the introduction the Elan 7n/ne is a camera that occupies a unique section of SLRs, when you started to see more advanced cameras that aren’t aimed at the professional but more the advanced amateur those who love photography and desire that higher-end camera but don’t have the budget. Now if you’re looking for a good spot to start in 35mm film cameras and already have the EF (not EF-S) than an Elan 7n would be a solid camera to start with as it does have a very similar look and feel to most digital SLRs offered up from Canon. Plus, even on the used market, they can be had for a fair price.

All Photos Taken along the Historic Welland Canal, Ontario, Canada
Canon EOS Elan 7NE – Canon Zoom Lens EF 28-90mm 1:4-5.6 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:30 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Spring 2018

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Spring 2018

It’s been just under a year since the gang visited the Riverdale/Leslieville areas of Toronto. And again I found myself as a participant in the walk rather than the organiser. For that, I left it up to Bill Smith who knows the area like the back of his hand, though this time around we took a much different route. There’s something about getting started early as we gathered at the Rooster Coffee House for our start, after an Atomic Rooster Brew and some discussion. And of course, snapping photos with our cups of coffee and our cameras we started off.

Bill and the FLeicamanUp in SmokeJohn

The day had promised to be a scorcher, thankfully the humidity was not as bad as predicted, which made life easier especially lugging around camera gear. We didn’t even blink at the Old Don Jail that had a massive lineup outside it already for a Doors Open Tour, we were more interested in moving rather than jockeying for shots inside the old jail. Across the Don Valley and into a rather odd feature of the city, Riverdale Farm. A strange little pocket of history that Toronto makes Toronto rather unique, from there it was into the beautiful areas of Cabbage Town with grand old homes that still carried some of their historic charms.

Riverdale TunnelGoats?The Grand HouseCatholic

The group remained fairly elastic often trailing across maybe half a kilometre each person seeing something different in the area to capture or just sticking to the social aspects of the meetup. I went a bit bigger on gear than I usually do, bringing the Nikon F5 along with the standard lens trio, 35, 50, and 105. Giving me a bit more range to capture wide to close. The day was bright, and I really should have just stuck to the slower films I had packed and left the FP4+ for another day.

Row Upon RowHam!Didn't See AnythingYing & Yang

Despite the late departure, we made a good time, being able to poke our head into an area of the city that I haven’t always visited before ended at the Stout Irish Pub (great food, great beer). And while some decided to head back to the Rooster I needed to get to Saulter Street in a far quicker manner before heading into the Downtown for chemistry at Downtown Camera and be home in time to make up dinner! If you want to join the Toronto Film Shooters, our next photo walk takes place on the 21st of July at 3 pm, meeting at the Exchange Brewery (7 Queen Street, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario) more details can be found on the Facebook Event.

Doors Open Hamilton – A Return

Doors Open Hamilton – A Return

My first experience with a Doors Open event took place in 2007 in Hamilton, wow, I’ve been doing these for over ten years now. I learned of it through the Urban Exploration community. And really there’s no surprise there, explorers do love getting a view of places we normally can’t. And frankly, there’s no better way to do that than legal tours. And while these days I don’t go with a big group, I still enjoy getting out to the Toronto or Hamilton event. Sometimes even both if I can work it. There was even a year I went to Guelph’s and I helped run a Doors Open location for my home church during the Milton event. But Hamilton has always held a special place for me, mostly because it always lands on my birthday weekend. Unlike last year where the weather was awful, this year the weather on Saturday was perfect and at my wife’s idea, I took my father-in-law along for the ride. All but one location were new to me, and most featured the theme of restoration and reuse. Eucharist Church is a new congregation that is bringing new life to the 1893 First Romanian Baptist Church, reviving a sanctuary that had not seen use in twenty years. Gibson School and Cannon Knitting Mills are both centuries-old buildings that are being given new leases on life as Condos and Event space, much to the anger of many in the surrounding communities, but that is a discussion not for this blog. The old Customs House saved from demolition and now celebrates Hamilton’s industrial history, and of course, the beautiful art deco Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Station that continues to serve as a GO station and a museum to the city’s rail history.

DO:H 2018 - Eucharist ChurchDO:H 2018 - Gibson SchoolDO:H 2018 - Cannon Knitting MillDO:H 2018 - Customs HouseDO:H 2018 - Hamilton GO Centre

While I also visited three additional locations, the Hamilton Port Authority, Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, and an old Maintenance Warehouse they really didn’t fit and were more bonus locations. If you want to see all the images, you can check them out over on my Flickr collection!

All Photos taken with:
Sony a6000 + Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

CCR:FRB – Review 15 – Fomapan 400

CCR:FRB – Review 15 – Fomapan 400

Fomapan 400, the big mystery, at least to me. I’ve never once shot this film, mostly because I had heard some terrible things about it. Now I am set in my ways when it comes to the faster films, sticking to the ones I know and enjoy. Tri-X, HP5+, and JCH StreetPan. Yet, through shooting and developing the film and seeing the work Bill Smith has been doing with the stock in 35mm I am plesently surprised. There’s a certain classic look and feel well before the days when films were touted as “Finest Grain” or “Sharpest 400-Speed Film” the days where you wanted fine grain you shot Panatomic-X and if you wanted speed you shot Tri-X. Grain is good.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 100-3200
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-23
Surprisingly this was exactly how I was expecting to see my Fomapan 400 images, contrasty, grainy, sharp, but not overly so. A very classic look, like the Kodak films of the middle of the 20th century. Films that don’t claim to be super sharp and fine-grained, but produce amazing images! It’s almost as if these were shot in the 1960s or 1970s. Yet the grain is not that bad to be honest. Sure you see it in the skies, but honestly, you still have a sharp clear image with some decent tonal range to work with. So maybe, Fomapan 400 isn’t as bad as people think.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 01 (Kodak D-23)

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-250
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Rodinal
So I guess this is where Fomapan 400 get’s it’s ill reputation. Usually, I don’t mind even the faster films souped in Rodinal, Pancro 400, Tri-X, StreetPan. But with Fomapan 400, even giving it every possible chance, pulling it one stop, using a dilute developer. It’s doesn’t look bad, it’s just it could look better. While you have the tone, contrast, and sharpness in the images the grain gets all muddied up! It reminds me of what Fomapan 200 looked like in Xtol. Well I mean, I had a feeling it could happen, while not a bad developer, it wouldn’t be my first choice with Foma 400.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 02 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Ziess Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak HC-110
Out of all the developers, I didn’t expect the worst to come out of HC-110, I actually expected it out of Rodinal. Yet here we are, a solid performer yes and there is actually less grain on these images that I was originally expecting for shooting it at full box speed. Am I disappointed, not really, actually I feel fairly vindicated that I could get some heavy grained images out of the film. But just because they’re grainy, doesn’t make them bad. I actually like the shots, the tones and contrast are rich and the images clean and Fomapan 400 doesn’t claim to be a fine-grained film. There’s almost a classic pushed look to these, which in the right situation would work wonderfully!

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 03 (Kodak HC-110)

Techincal Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 35mm 1:3.5 N – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 13:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak Tmax Developer
Now, this is a pleasant surprise. Maybe it’s the compensating nature of the developer, or maybe the film isn’t that bad at box speed. But no matter what it is, TMax Developer and Fomapan 400 is a wonderful combination. Is there grain, sure, but no more or less than from Bergger Pancro 400. Not to mention, you have a pretty sharp image, amazing tonal range. And nothing of what I would have expected from Fomapan 400.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 400 - Roll 04 (Kodak TMax Developer)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 8:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
So, maybe I was wrong about Fomapan 400. The film itself has surprised me, with how good it is. It actually reminds me of old school Tri-X in its tonality and contrast. Is there grain, of course, but nothing that looks terrible. I mean, the grain patterns that I see remind me of what I saw with Pancro 400, and I rather liked that film when it was developed right. Is Fomapan 400 a film for every day, of course not, but if you are shooting at a Korea or Vietnam era reenactment camp, the images could look like they were taken during the war if you shoot the right camera and develop it right. For me, the developers of choice would be Kodak D-23 and I’m sure D-76 does just as fine a job, also TMax Developer and HC-110. And don’t be afraid to shoot the film at full box speed, I just wouldn’t push it too far past.

CCR Review 89 – Minolta XG-M

CCR Review 89 – Minolta XG-M

The first time I picked up the Minolta XG-M, it felt as if I were coming home. If you’ve been following along with these reviews for some time, you’ll know that my first real camera system came from Minolta, first with the SR-T 102 and then the X-7a. When I had the chance to get back into the Minolta cameras, I had no qualms about getting an XG series as they have plenty of good options, but out of all the XG line from Minolta, the XG-M is the one that suited me the best. A real camera of the 1980s yet carries on the legacy of both Rokkor lenses and Minolta quality before they joined up with Konica. Thanks to Trevor Black for this camera.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: XG-M
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta MC Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1981

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Good
First and foremost the XG-M is small, but not in a bad way, I should rather call it compact for an SLR, along with the same lines as a Nikon FA and Olympus OM-1. Combine the size with an equally compact weight you have the perfect camera to carry around no matter if you’re travelling light or attending a moving photo walk. While the XG-M lacks the full auto-exposure shooting of the X-700 or Nikon FA, the aperture priority is perfect and the fact the camera has the full manual mode which sets it apart from the rest of the XG series. The camera’s viewfinder is big and bright and has feedback on both your shutter speed as indicated with lights and your aperture through an under-prism window. Though in low light it is difficult to see both. Operation wise the shutter release is a soft touch one but doesn’t take away the mechanical release, which Minolta could have easily done. The release is located just by the lens mount. The film advance is short and allows for quick operation. Or you can add the Motor Drive 1, which I had with my X-7a but had no desire to add to my XG-M, if I need that, I have the FA. There’s a dedicated on/off button (more on that later), and everything is well laid out on the camera body. And I do have to make a mention of the sharp line of underrated Rokkor lenses available for the camera, though I do recommend sticking to the modern Rokkor-X models.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Bad
There are some things that I do dislike about the camera. First of all is the placement of the on/off switch, more specifically where the indicator on if your camera is on or off. That is covered up by the film advance lever when it’s placed flush into the body. You can pull it out part way (like turning on a Nikon FM/FE/FA), and then you can see it. At least the actual switch unit is on the opposite side. I feel it could be better placed for more feedback. The second item is the restrictive ISO/ASA ratings for the camera meter, running from ASA-25 at the low end and ASA-1600 at the high-end. It’s not so much the low-end rating it’s that the camera tops out at 1600. Sure I could use the EV adjustment (+2/-2) to adjust it higher and lower, but I tend to avoid using it as I often will forget to adjust it back and mess up the next roll of film.

CCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-MCCR Review 89 - Minolta XG-M

The Lowdown
The XG-M is certainly a camera I would recommend; they are inexpensive on the used market as are the lenses which makes it an easy way to get into manual focus, semi-automatic film photography without too much out of pocket. You could get a camera and lens for about 100$ and still have lots left over to get lots of films to run through the camera. Personally, I’m looking forward to using this camera at plenty of Toronto Film Shooters meetups when we’re moving as I can bring plenty of lenses along for the ride and still have space/weight for a medium format camera in the bag.

All Photos Taken in Milton, Ontario
Minolta XG-M – Minolta Rokkor-X 45mm 1:2 – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 14 – Fomapan 200

CCR:FRB – Review 14 – Fomapan 200

Fomapan 200 is a film stock that like TMax 400 and Delta 400 I’ve struggled with. I find it far too grainy for 200-speed film stock, often rather soft on the edges and can be rather fickle about lighting conditions. But it’s not a bad film; I think it needs to be handled with little extra care. Fomapan 200, was the first of the Fomapan films that I tried, and while initially disappointed in it, I quickly learned to like the film, for certain applications.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-200, Latitude: 64-800
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak HC-110
You know, there’s something about a little bit of imperfection that makes you enjoy a film and developer combination. And that’s HC-110 and Fomapan 200, it just gives a classic look, that depression era dustbowl tone, contrast, a little soft around the edges, a bit of grain to set it all off. Far from perfectly sharp, toned, and fine grain, but in situations, it works rather well.

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 01 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 01 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 01 (Kodak HC-110)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 01 (Kodak HC-110)

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Fomapan 200 @ ASA-200
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Rodinal
It’s strange to describe a film as being ‘soft’ when developed in Rodinal. Normally whenever I soup a film, it’s sharp and has an uptick in grain. On Fomapan 200, I found the negatives underdeveloped, and rather soft. And while the grain is rather noticeable on the images, I don’t find it pleasing in any way. It just doesn’t look good for me. But I wouldn’t stop you from using Rodinal and Foma 200, use the 1+50 dilution and the 9 minute time, the results from what I’ve seen on Flickr are far superior. But if you insist on using the 1+25 dilution, add an extra 30 seconds. The top two images were done at 5 minutes the bottom two at 5.5 minutes; the difference is pretty clear!

Stone & MortarLong SealedPresbyterianThe Bridge

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 200 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C & Blazinal (1+25) 5:30 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak D-76
If you want a classic look, then look no further than Fomapan 200 in D-76. But it’s not an unpleasant softness, but a classic one. The edges are smooth along with the contrast and the tones. Then there’s a grain, while D-76 is not known for reducing grain, it generates a fairly pleasing grain pattern, similar to that you’d see on Fomapan 400 pulled to ASA-200. It still makes for an exciting film!

CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 14 - Fomapan 200 - Roll 03 (Kodak D-76)

Techincal Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Fomapan 200 @ ASA-200
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak Xtol
I have to say, after developing Fomapan 200 in Xtol, I nearly gave up on both Xtol and Fomapan 200. While described as a fine grain developer, it did little to help out with the grain on Fomapan 200. Not to say the grain is terrible on the stock, I was expecting something a little more, clean than what I got. But don’t let the result discourage you, I think if developed for a shorter time, or a slight pull given to the film, the results would be a bit different.

Sydney Harbor Defenses - Stubbert's PointSydney Harbor Defenses - Chapel Point BatterySydney Harbor Defenses - Stubbert's PointSydney Harbor Defenses - Stubbert's Point

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 200 @ ASA-200
Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
There’s no denying it, Fomapan 200 is a soft film, no matter what you develop it in! Now, there is a variant of Fomapan 200 that I don’t represent here, a motion picture surveillance variant that is a touch sharper and has a finer grain. However, that is only available in 35mm. There is nothing wrong with the common consumer variant of Fomapan 200; I did give it the benefit of shooting all these in medium format as well. But it’s a classic look, soft all around, there’s some grain, but it’s a classic pleasing grain. It reminds you of the film of yesterday, so something for me to try at reenactment events. If you’re looking to pick some up, I find Fomapan 200 hard to find in physical stores, however online retailers like Argentix.ca or Freestyle Photographic. If you want to try the surveillance variant, you can pick it up at FPP B&W 200 through the Film Photography Project.

CCR:FRB – Review 13 – Fomapan 100

CCR:FRB – Review 13 – Fomapan 100

The Fomapan series of films are ones that I only recently discovered in the past couple years. It actually was in 2015 when I visited Europe for the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo and popped into a camera shop in the old city of Amsterdam. And there was the whole range of Foma products from paper to film. Well, when I returned I made a point to start checking out this Foma product line. While Fomapan 100 wasn’t my first experience with the product line, it is my favourite of the three film stocks.

CCR:FRB - Review 13 - Fomapan 100

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-100, Latitude: 40-400
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak TMax Developer
I’m not sure if it was the lighting or the developer on this one, but not exactly my favourite combination. Yet, it’s not a bad choice of developer, you get the resolving power that you have with Fomapan 100, fine grain, the tones, but the image is just flat. Sure you have the blacks and the whites, but even those are a little off for my taste. If there was a time for 1+4 you might see an improved contrast. But still, if you want this low contrast look, then yes, a solid choice.

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

Technical Details:
Mamiya 645 AF-D III – Mamiya 645 AF 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 8:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak HC-110
One of my favourite developers for Fomapan 100 is HC-110, because not only do you get a good contrast even with low dilutions like H and F, you maintain amazing tonality across the spectrum and a sharp look and fine grain. Sure you may need to develop it a bit longer than usual or use a different agitation pattern. But trust me this gives you that classic look that you have come to expect from the Foma line of films without losing sharpness or increasing the grain.

ParatrooperA Quick Way Around CampUS ForcesLittle bit of Conversation

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. F 7:45 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Rodinal
If you want contrast on the nose, then Rodinal is your choice for developers with Fomapan 100. You also get to see how sharp the film is, but you do get far more noticeable grain especially when you shoot in 35mm, but far less noticeable in 120. Rodinal is by far my primary developer with Fomapan 100 because it’s a classic looking film, it should always be paired with a classic developer.

LUiNA StationOpposing DoorsWater from the RockLittle India

Techincal Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak D-23
For a slow working developer you get a whole lotta contrast out of Fomapan 100, and like Rodinal it gives a strong look to the film. Smooth tones, great contrast, and fine grain. Now you do lose a bit of sharpness but not enough to be overly concerned about it. Of course the downside is that you do have a ten minute developing time, but it’s worth the time.

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

Technical Details:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for a classic emulsion that feels like a film you’d have shot in the mid-twentieth century then Fomapan 100 is for you. While you do need to purchase the stock through more speciality film stores Freestyle, Argentix, Maco Direct, B&H, it’s well worth the effort because it is slightly less expensive than mainstream films from Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford. But to get the best results for the film, stick to classic developers, HC-110, Rodinal, and D-23. While I haven’t tried the film with D-76 yet, I’m sure that it would do just as good a job.

CCR Review 88 – Wirgin Edixa II

CCR Review 88 – Wirgin Edixa II

When it comes to exciting cameras, there are plenty out there that I have never heard of before starting to review them. And I’ve come across some that are awesome and others that it came as no surprise why I had never come across them before. The Wirgin name is one that isn’t well known in North America; yet have produced a wide range of cameras that sold in the German Market. I first heard the name on an episode of the Film Photography Project where Leslie reviewed the older Edinex. So when I had a chance to try out the Edixa II, I figured it would be a decent camera. Well, I think I was wrong on that one. At least it has a rangefinder. Thanks to Mike Bitaxi for the camera!

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Dirt
Make: Wirgin
Model: Edixa II
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
Lens: Fixed, Isco-Gottingen Isconar 1:2.8/43 C
Year of Manufacture: 1953-7

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Good
For a camera the size and construction of the Edixa II you’d think I’d be lugging around a bit of a paperweight, but surprisingly it carries rather well and doesn’t add too much to one’s pocket. And unlike the original model, the Edixa II has a rangefinder which does ensure quality in focus images. The viewfinder is bright and well in line with the lens, so no parallax error creeps into your image composition. The lens is a happy medium and is decently fast for the age, a f/2.8 lens you do pretty much everything. And the lack of a meter isn’t too bad as you can shoot sunny-16. Sadly the camera I have you’re stuck on single shutter speed, 1/100th which isn’t the end of the world but might be something I can look into fixing on my own. If there was one thing that surprised me about the cameras were the optics, for a lens brand and style I had never heard of before I found the images sharp, while having a pleasant organic softness to them, especially at wider f-stops.

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Bad
It’s been some time since I’ve reviewed a camera that I could yell about for a bit and the Edixa II is one of them. There are several things on this camera that made me scratch my head going “what were they thinking” let’s start first with the focusing, rather than use a typical barrel. It’s a small lever at the bottom of the lens that you turn to focus, sadly the focusing lever feels a lot like, and is near the self-timer. There were a couple of times where I would go to focus and start the self-timer instead. The rangefinder, while nice to have, the way its setup is something I’ve never seen before. First, there are two windows, one for the viewfinder, the other for the rangefinder, which is tiny. An in the rangefinder window there are two other windows, in a T shape. You have the line up the images, which would not be too much of an issue if there wasn’t a black piece, rather thick for space, which made it rather difficult actually to locate a spot to make your focus. And finally we have the film advance, it’s a 1.5 stroke, I mean pick one, either go for a full double stroke like some Leica models, or do a proper one stroke, but the whole one and a half business is nonsense. And the size of the advance lever and construction left my thumb smarting a few times.

CCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa IICCR Review 88 - Wirgin Edixa II

The Lowdown
Thankfully this camera can sit as a shelf queen, it does look pleasing enough, and I can, as I mention see if I can run a CLA on it and maybe get it cleaned up a bit. And if I end up breaking everything and turning it into a pile of parts I don’t think I’ll be too let down. Another odd thing I noted on the camera was the negative frames; they were not sharp and well defined again a more organic feel to each frame. So unless you’re a big fan of West German cameras from the mid-century, then I would say pass on the Edixa II.

All Photos Taken at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario
Wirgin Edixa II – Isco-Gottingen Isconar 1:2.8/43 C – Kodak TMax 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C