Tag: ilford

Engagement at the Bradley

Engagement at the Bradley

There’s a fun nature for an event that is total fiction rather than historical. It gives us a chance to play and provides us with a view of other historic sites within our province. Until this event, I had never even heard of the Bradley House. But as I took the gentle curve along Orr Road in the village of Clarkson on the border of Oakville and Mississauga I was pleasantly surprised at the industrial fences of a Suncor Petroleum plant melted away into a forest alight with fall colours.

The CampThe Log CabinToo Early for This...

As I chatted with folks around the site, it turned out that Clarkson has a bit of lore related to the War of 1812 surrounding a wife of a local farmer who enjoyed taking pot shots at American ships on the Lake as they sailed past with her husband’s musket. The site is a small scale living history museum consisting of three buildings that moved to the location. The first two formed the core arrived in the early 1960s when the museum first opened. The site’s name comes from the Bradley House, built in the 1830s a Salt Box styled Farmhouse that stayed in the Bradley Family until the late 1840s. It passed through several more hands before the whole farm fell until the eye of Suncor who planned to demolish the house in 1959.

Join the Crew!And that American Frigate...Just Singing on a Log

The second home, an 1820 Regency cottage known as The Anchorage coming either from when the Jarvis family lived in it and merchantmen anchored on a sandbar just off the lakeshore or from a letter written by a retired Royal Navy Commander who took up residence in 1838 calling it his anchorage in his retirement. It too faced demolition when Suncor moved in. A local newspaper publisher seeing the historical significance of both homes purchased them to donate them to the Mississauga Heritage Foundation. The third and final building, a log cabin dating to the early 19th-Century coming from Mono Mills and moved into Clarkson as a clubhouse for a Cub/Rover Scouts band. As it fell into disrepair, the cabin moved to the museum in 2002 and fully restored.

Bruce!The Story TellerHung out to Dry

Probably the most fun I’ve had at an event in a while, mostly because of the small number of reenactors and a large battlefield there was plenty of room for us in the 60th to show off our skill and light infantry tactics which often cannot happen at larger events with many other light infantry units on the field and general static nature of the pitched battle. But certainly this would be an event I will gladly return to.

All Photos Taken at the Bradley House Museum – Mississauga, Ontario
Nikon FE – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Delta Def Jam – Part II

Delta Def Jam – Part II

When it comes to the Delta line of films from Ilford, my least favourite is Delta 400; I don’t know why. I just never got the results I honestly liked out of it. So with Delta Def Jam in full swing, I figured why not give it another go!

The New Post Office

The Old Post Office

Downtown Cambridge, or rather the historical name for this part of the city, Galt has always been on my radar as a place to take a camera and have some fun. While I have tried in the past to do some shooting here, the camera I had with me just didn’t behave. I grabbed my Rolleiflex, two rolls of Delta 400 and hit the road. I also had along my Nikon F90 loaded with Kodak Ektachrome E100G along with three final sheets of RPX25 for my Crown Graphic.

Great Little Pub

A Bit of a Mess

However, I miscalculated just a bit, and the sun didn’t start to show up until after I had left the city and well into developing the film I shot. But a 400-Speed film provided me with enough reach speed wise, and I just made sure to shoot flat compositions or put the f/2.8 lens to use. One of the more exciting interactions I had was when I went into a church in search of a washroom. One of the gentlemen running their pie table asked if I had a Hasselblad. I replied that it was a Rolleiflex, and I had left the Hasselblad at home. As it turned out, he is a fan of the Film Photography Podcast.

Basic + Person

Centering

While I had plans to develop the film in Pyrocat-HD, but I’ll save that until next month. I decided to try another one of my magic bullets, Kodak D-23. And I am pretty happy with the results. Maybe I just don’t like Ilford DD-X. I’ll see you next month for the final Delta Def Jam. Until then keep Jamming folks!

All Photos Taken In Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Five Rolls – A Journey of HP5+

Five Rolls – A Journey of HP5+

If you’ve ever listened to me talk about film, you’ll know there are some films I have a strong view. I love my Kodak Tri-X and JCH Streetpan 400; then there are the ones I’m not too happy with, that is Ilford HP5+ in 35mm and Delta 400 in general. But what if I could change my mind on just one? Would it give me another tool in the kit to use to get a specific look? Could I shoot four rolls of a film stock and come to like it, even go as far as recommending it? Challenge Accepted.

That film isn’t Delta 400, I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like the stock actually I just developed Delta 400 in Kodak D-23 and it turns out it’s not a bad film stock either, but I feel HP5+ can be one that I just might be able to. So I’ll give it a shot, get five rolls of the stock, load it up into trusted cameras, visit suitable locations, and then pick developers I’ve never used with 35mm HP5+ and go to town.

Roll One: SPUR HRX
I got the idea of using SPUR HRX after looking on Flickr after Tony posted a question on the Toronto Film Shooters Group. Tony had asked for developer recommendations for HP5+ and Mike suggested SPUR HRX. To be fair in this case, I also pushed the film a little bit more than an average day of shooting. I shot the roll indoors in a sort of abandoned, or rather closed campus of Sheridan College. I figured, if I’m going to learn to like the film, I might as well take it into a familiar situation for me.

Registrar

Bravo Six

Leftovers

The Moody Darkness

The results they speak for themselves, the images are dark, moody, and the contrast is rich. Not surprising given the lighting conditions. I did note that there a more substantial grain pattern, but using a sharp developer on a 400-speed film will do that, but it isn’t anything worth complaining.

Roll Two: Pyrocat-HD
When in doubt just run with a Pyro developer. I started working with Pyro based developers after seeing some of the amazing work Mat Marrash has been doing with HP5+ in 8×10 and this developer. Having some early morning light in Toronto, I loaded up the roll into my trusty Contax G2 and went to town!

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

Toronto - September 2017

When I pulled the negatives out of the tank, I noticed something different, something I had only seen with Kodachrome. Yes, the layers of exposure on the film had a relief to them, as if the silver had been hand etched onto the film base itself. And then into the scanner and you saw this clean three-dimensional image, smooth tones and no grain at all.

Roll Three: Kodak D-23
One of the first developers I ever used was Kodak D-76, it was at the time the preferred developer of my teacher Julie Douglas. While I have only used a single jug of the stuff since, I have latched onto its cousin, the slower acting D-23. I’ve souped plenty of film stocks in it and like how it makes Tri-X look, so I figured it would be a good candidate.

Nature Trail...

Roughing It

Taking on the CRAIG

Take a Seat

I really liked D-23, it performed as I expected it would give the usual smooth tones all the way through the grayscale. Indeed an excellent choice for the film. I’m now hankering to try this with medium and large format versions of HP5+.

Roll Four: Kodak Microdol-X
I happened across this developer completely by accident during my 52-sheet project and came to enjoy using it. While an older Kodak developer again, and not available under the Kodak name, but Legacy Pro has their Mic-X which is the same. Microdol is a fine grain soft developer so it should be able to work a bit of magic.

The Masons

Back to the War

Lighting the Way

Pick Me Up

I honestly don’t know what went wrong with these photos. They all seemed overexposed. The camera, my Nikon F5 has a solid meter, the ASA/ISO setting was correct. Maybe it was the Orange-22 filter I used or the harsh sunlight. I had to work some post-processing magic on these. I think that I need to reduce the developing times by 1 minute or give the film a slight pull to make Microdol-X work.

Roll Five: Kodak HC-110
When you’re having trouble with something, how about going back to an old friend. Kodak HC-110 is one of two developers I have not stopped using since I started developing my own black & white film. The other is Rodinal, but not wanting to give the film one hell of a pull, I figured HC-110 in the standard Dilution B would be a good way to help out.

Blown Open

Eroded Away

Follow the Rails

Sun Dappled

HP5 sings with HC-110, you get to see how sharp the film stock is with this Kodak developer, and the contrast is dead on point even in the strange lighting conditions that are a sun-dappled forest at high-noon. While not exactly the best time to be out shooting it provides a real test for what a film and developer can do, and HC-110 is a sure winner in this case.

When I first set out to shoot these five rolls of HP5+ I went into it thinking I didn’t like the film stock in 35mm, however, upon shooting these five rolls I realised that I did like the film, I had just had some bad encounters with it in the past. In the end, it’s a solid film stock one that I will use in the future because I won’t always be able to find Kodak Tri-X, and now I have several developing options. I also plan on trying to perfect that Microdol-X time/speed issue.

Technical Data:
Roll One: Sheridan College, Skilled Trades Centre, Oakville, Ontario
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll Two: Toronto, Ontario
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll Three: Rattlesnake Point, Milton, Ontario
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-12) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll Four: Ancaster, Ontario
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Orange-22) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak Microdol-X (Stock) 11:00 @ 20C

Roll Five: McCraney Valley Park, Oakville, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

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

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

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

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

One of the best parts of being a historical reenactor is that you often get a chance to visit and stay in some of Canada’s historic sites, and many find their home in some of the beautiful towns in the province. And while it can be hit and miss along the Niagara River, Fort George in the picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario is certainly one such site. Having an event there during the July edition of the Summer Film Party offered me a chance to shoot in the historic walls of Fort George, a site deep in military history.

Heavy Motar

The Small Block House

Both the fort and the town have a long history in Ontario. The town has its beginnings in 1781 as Butlersburg, named for the men of a loyalist irregular unit, Butler’s Rangers from the American War of Independence. And the Butler family would continue to live in the town well into the 19th-Century, their farm seeing a small action during the Anglo-American War of 1812. It would soon take on the name West Niagara. When General John Graves Simcoe assumed the role of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, he established West Niagara as the capital of the new colony in 1792, renaming the settlement to Newark. The small town would soon find itself home to the headquarters of the British Army of the Center at Fort George. The Upper Canada Parliament would meet at Newark until 1796 when Simcoe moved the capital to York (now Toronto, Ontario).

A Spring in his Step

Brock's First Resting Place

While my days at the fort filled with musketry, cleaning, drill, and lazing about as a good British soldier would do (when ordered to of course). It left the mornings to take out the Hasselblad and shoot, the soft morning light providing fantastic light to one of the largest 1812-era forts in Ontario. From the historic buildings (mostly rebuilt in the 1930s) to the original powder magazine that survived these 200 years, and of course, the flurry of morning activity as the reenactors cleaned up their brass and muskets from the night before, getting things ready for the pomp and battle for the day to come.

Getting the Polish On

Taking the Polish

The small town continued to grow and was the preferred town for Major General Isaac Brock during his time as the commander of the British Regular forces during the period leading up to the Anglo-American War of 1812 until his death in October 1812. Brock would even be buried at Fort George before his reinterment at Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights. The town and fort would see capture in May 1813, and the American occupation lasted until December of that year and saw the destruction of the fort and the town. This would lead to the retaliatory capture of Fort Niagara and the destruction of many small villages and Buffalo before the new year arrived. When the town rebuilt, they shifted the location ever so slightly to ensure it was out of range of the American guns across the river.

1st (Royal Scots) Lights

Bass Drummer's Shako

The name, Niagara-On-The-Lake would be formally adopted in 1880, and would slowly become known as a popular tourist destination both for wine and theater aficionados. The surrounding wine country offers some familiar Ontario wineries and now has an active craft beer brewing industry. And the town has many theaters to perform plays during the Shaw Festival. If you ever find yourself in the town, be sure to visit the Angel Inn, a fantastic pub, a walking tour of downtown and be sure to visit both Fort George and Fort Mississauga on opposite ends of the downtown. That was July, but there’s still one more month to get on the Summer Film Party Bus! It’s going to take my lovely wife and I out to the National Capital area and the Ottawa River Valley and the small town of Almonte, Ontario and some of my favourite motion picture stocks, Eastman 5363!

All Photos Taken at Fort George National Historic Site
Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

Doors Open: Hamilton

Doors Open: Hamilton

One of my favourite photographic events to attend are the Doors Open tours we have in Ontario. Two cities pull out the stops the first being Hamilton the second being Toronto. While of late, Hamilton has been sort of disappointing, but it has also been the one that I have attended the most. But my attendance is a little bit of a Birthday tradition for me as it always falls on the weekend closest to my birthday. Sadly this year’s event was soured a little with rain, so I only managed to get to four locations, of which I’ll be sharing three here today as I shot them on film.

St. Lawrence the Martyr – While I have visited this parish at past Door’s Open events, I wanted to return as it is one of the more beautiful parishes in the city of Hamilton. From the outside, this Norman Romanesque church looks rather bland, until you walk into the sanctuary and come into full view of the sky blue walls, beautiful murals and at the center the Carrera marble altar. In an odd twist, this year’s door’s open marked the anniversary of the cornerstone laying of the building back in 1890.

DO:H - St. Lawrence the Martyr

DO:H - St. Lawrence the Martyr

DO:H - St. Lawrence the Martyr

Christ’s Church Cathedral – Christ’s Church is a unique church in Hamilton, holding the record as the second oldest Anglican parish in Canada and a unique construction history. The original structure, a pure wood, and stucco building opened in 1835, but over the next decade, the Robert Charles Wetherall building had a startling transformation under the watchful eye of William Thomas, going from Baroque to Gothic Styling. Despite its imposing presence on James Street, the church is active in the community hosting the local arts scene with its community gallery.

DO:H - Christ's Church Cathedral

DO:H - Christ's Church Cathedral

DO:H - Christ's Church Cathedral

New Vision United Church – One of the new locations this year, New Vision United Church is a new congregation in an old building. The church building itself dates back to 1866 known then as the McCallum Chapel. Sadly the history of this Albert Harvey Hills is scarce, at some point in the church’s history it became known as Centenary United Church, and that is the sanctuary that was open to me at Doors Open. It soon became apparent to me that many congregations would soon gather here as church’s shrank, and even today New Vision chooses to worship in the lower hall. Thankfully, there is the word that the building and sanctuary will see reuse as a theater and community space.

DO:H - New Vision United Church

DO:H - New Vision United Church

DO:H - New Vision United Church

For the first time around using film, I took steps to compensate for reciprocity failure. To put it simply the more a film stock is exposed to light, the less sensitive to light it becomes. The trouble is this reciprocity failure different for every film stock. One of the worst films out there for this is my much enjoyed Kodak Tri-X, one of the best is Fuji Neopan Acros 100. But I didn’t shoot either of these stocks, but rather Ilford Delta 100. Delta 100 is a film stock I don’t shoot that much, preferring either Kodak TMax 100 or Ilford FP4+. Thankfully, I used an application on my phone that has a built-in data for most film stocks out there. Oddly enough Delta 100 and Delta 400 share the same reciprocity failure.

Photo Data:
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Disagon 50mm 1:4 – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 63 – Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 – Ricoh 500 G

I have and always will have a soft spot for compact fixed lens rangefinders since my first camera was one such camera. The Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. But the Ricoh 500 G is not a Hi-Matic, released at the end of the craze of that style of camera; it is an underdog for its time going up against the cult classic Canon QL17 GIII. And while the 500 G does not share the same spotlight at its Canon counterpart, the 500 G is a strong camera that fills the role of compact rangefinder that packs a punch but won’t break the bank. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning this beauty out.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Dirt

  • Make: Ricoh
  • Model: 500 G
  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36×24
  • Len: Fixed, Rikenon Lens f=40mm 1:2.8
  • Year of Manufacture: 1972

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Good
If you’re into compact rangefinders, this camera is certainly worth a second glance. This camera is small; I mean tiny. Easily fits in your pocket but I wouldn’t recommend it. When it comes to using the camera, it’s a natural fit for anyone with any experience with Minolta, Olympus, or Canon cameras of the same style. Good layout, short throw on the film advance, and an aperture priority meter to boot. But you don’t need to power this camera to get it to work and runs well as a mechanical camera, but I would still stick to aperture priority, set your aperture and run the shutter speed around it. I’ll go into that more in the next section. Optically the camera stands well on its own with the Rikenon Lens pulling off sharp images that suit the focal length perfectly. Add to this the compact size of the camera you have very little in the way of parallax error when composing your images, out of my whole roll shot I only missed the composition on one image and it was out of focus also so it was not a big deal.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Bad
The main issue I had with this camera is that all the controls along the lens barrel are too close together! The aperture control is narrow and tight to the body, and you need two hands to control it. The shutter speed dial is a little better but feels too much like the focus control with the extra grips. The focusing is smooth, but again you’d think it was the shutter speed control at first as it lacks the usual grip pieces. As an automatic aperture priority camera, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I did not have the proper battery for the camera, so I was running it full manual, as you guessed it the camera uses a mercury cell to operate. And finally, there’s the issue of light seals. The entire back door of the camera is one big light seal, every square centimeter of it is covered. Thankfully it’s easy to replace with craft foam, but it makes for a very messy job.

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

CCR Review 63 - Ricoh 500 G

The Lowdown
If you’re looking for a camera to work as a compact low-profile street photography camera but don’t want to spend the cash on a camera give the 500 G a solid look. If you find one in good condition, you’ll be laughing. While I’m one to stick with cult cameras, it seems odd that this camera didn’t acquire one. It’s a real sleeper like the Minolta Hi-Matics, and they often don’t command a higher price like Canon or Olympus but quickly give you the same performance of the well known shooters.

All Photos taken in New York, New York
Ricoh 500 G – Rikenon Lens f=40mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C