Tag: Oakville

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

CCR Review 86 – Yashica YF

CCR Review 86 – Yashica YF

The iconic Leica camera, often cloned and duplicated by many, the Russians with their Fed line, and the Japanese by Canon, Nikon, and Yashica. Wait, Yashica? Meet the Yashica YF, a camera that I didn’t even know existed until fellow photographer and friend James Lee showed it off. The YF, based on the Nicca 3L, which Yashica bought up the whole company, is a wonderful combination of the Barnack Leicas and the M-Series. Combined in such a way to produced a spectacular camera that shows off exactly how a rangefinder of the era should look and behave. Big thanks to James Lee for loaning out this rare beauty for a review.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Dirt
Make: Yashica
Model: YF
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 35mm, 36x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Leica Thread Mount (LTM/M39)
Year of Manufacture: 1959

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Good
One of the biggest issues I have with the Barnack Leicas is film loading, it’s difficult to put it mildly. From having to trim the film, and load it up just right for everything to catch. Even in the M-Series, you have the same song and dance, but have a window to help you actually see if the film got loaded correctly. On the YF, you still have the bottom load, but this time around I nailed it on the first try without any trimming. Now the YF also has the backdoor to help ensure you have it loaded correctly. For advancing the film, gone is the knob and the long traditional leaver, instead, there’s a small thumb advance located between the top plate and main body, well placed to easily operate. The viewfinder is big and bright with a large rangefinder patch and bright lines for the 50mm and 90mm focal lengths. Take these items, the YF offers an enjoyable user experience, even for those who don’t have a fond view of the older Leica experience. And finally, you have the M39/Leica Thread Mount (LTM), this gives you a wide range of lenses including Leica, Canon, Nikon, Russian, and Yashica giving you a powerful camera that can be moulded to exactly how you want. And I wouldn’t look down on the native Yashica glass, the results I got out of the Yashinon 50mm f/1.8 are spectacular.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Bad
The two biggest complaints I have about the YF are actually two rather small features, both in what they are, and their physical size. The first is the shutter speed dial, in addition to having two shutter speed dials (normal and slow), which is something you see often with cameras of this era, and it a minor annoyance. The dial is rather small given the area on the top of the camera. You could easily have put a single shutter speed dial on top, and make it a little more normal size. The second is the rewind release, it’s a tiny button on the top, if it wasn’t for the red dot, I would’ve missed it, and I nearly had to use the point of my pocket knife blade to depress it. At least it doesn’t need to be held down to allow for rewinding. And speaking of rewinding, it ended up being a rather awkward method as you can’t lift up the rewind knob for easy turning. I ended up having to spin the camera body like a noise maker for an effective rewind. And finally, there’s the PC socket, I got a couple small jolts from it as it sits rather close to where I put my finger when shooting.

CCR Review 86 - Yashica YFCCR Review 86 - Yashica YF

The Lowdown
If you can find a YF in working order, you’re in for a treat. Of course, you’ll also have to shell out a great deal of money for it at the same time. Unless you are lucky and come across one that needs a great deal of TLC to get it up and running and is being sold at a deep discount. But no matter how you get your YF, it would be worth the effort. This is a photographer’s camera, well designed, and well made. If you can find one with the original Yashinon lens, all the better, but I think, no matter what glass it on the front, it will give you a solid performance.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Yashica YF – Yashinon f=5cm 1:1.8 – Kentmere 100 @ ASA-50
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 10 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

CCR:FRB – Review 10 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

In the early days of Photography, most photographic stocks were Orthochromatic, which means they didn’t see a certain colour on the spectrum, mostly this meant the film stock could not see red light, other times it meant the film didn’t see blue light. And while today Panchromatic stocks are the norm, there is still a need for technical films. While shooting Ortho 25, I worked under the assumption that it didn’t see red light. However, I’m not sure of which colour the film is not sensitive to. But it doesn’t matter now; Ortho 25 is an amazing slow black & white film that is deadly sharp and so fine-grained I don’t think it has any.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus

Film Specs
Type: Orthochromatic B&W, Spectral Sensitivity to 380 – 610nm
Film Base: Polyester
Film Speed: ASA-25, Latitude: 12-50
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-76
When you have a film that’s rated to ASA-25, I think it is impossible to get any heavy grain pattern. And while D-76 is a fairly common developer, it still produces amazing images with Ortho 25. You do see a bit more of darkening of the reds in the images, mainly brickwork in the buildings. But nothing seriously heavy. Sadly there’s no 1+1 time available at the moment, but I would love to see what a more dilute image would look like.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 01 (Kodak D-76)

Technical Details:
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Rodinal
I was expecting a little more drama, reds that were coming out black, something exciting. And it pains me to say it, but these images look normal, sure you get next to no grain, images sharp enough to cut yourself on. But still, I was expecting something a little bit more out of this film, to be honest. Now, it’s not to say Rodinal is a poor choice for this film; it works well you get a full panchromatic image which is unexpected, but still a pleasing look all the same. Very low on the contrast however in many of the shots. I only really noticed the darker rendering of the reds in the brick detail shot.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 02 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Blazinal (1+50) 6:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – TMax Developer
I wasn’t too sure about TMax Developer, but I think Ortho 25 responded well to it. While the Massive Developer Chart calls for a 6 minute time in 24C water, I didn’t realise that until after I had prepared the developer in 20C, thankfully I was able to calculate the time and just gave it about three fewer seconds to make it a common time. I continued to be amazed here at the quality of the images, and you even see a greater darkening of the reds here than with D-76. But you do lose some of that razor sharp images that you get with Rodinal, while no surprise, even in D-76 Ortho 25 is super-sharp, but in TMax Developer, they’re a little softer, not by much but enough to make them rather pleasing.

CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 10 - Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Roll 03 (Kodak TMax Developer)

Techincal Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Rollei Ortho 25 Plus @ ASA-25
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 8:15 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
While it’s impossible to get any grain with a film this slow, I still think your best bet for developing to show off the sharpness and fine-grain nature you want to use Rodinal. I also enjoy the fact that many of the developing times for Ortho 25 are in the six-minute range which isn’t something you see in many films this slow. I’m mostly thinking RPX 25 here. While I can’t see much use for the film myself, it does give another slow film option other than RPX 25 or Ilford Pan F+ something we don’t see that often these days with most companies producing films rated at ASA-100. Ortho 25 is readily available, but only in online shops, Argentix, FreeStyle and Maco Direct.

CCR:FRB – Review 08 – Ilford HP5+

CCR:FRB – Review 08 – Ilford HP5+

When it comes to iconic films, Ilford HP5+ rates as one of the big ones, with a history as old as Ilford FP4+ and dates back to 1935. And while it only got its ASA-400 speed rating in 1960 is certainly is a film that can take amazing images. While many see HP5+ as a direct competitor to Kodak Tri-X, I do see two separate films each responding differently to the range of developers out there. And while I’ve had a rocky time with the 35mm version of the film, I’ve come to accept HP5+ is certainly an amazing film!

CCR:FRB - Review 08 - Ilford HP5+

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 100-6400
Formats Available: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-76
You usually cannot go wrong with D-76, however, in this case, I cannot recommend the developer as I feel it doesn’t show off the film as well as I’ve come to know the product. Which is strange because the film does better in the slower D-23. The biggest issue here is that they produce a rather boring image, the tones are too close together and a bit more grainy that I have come to expect from the film stock. While not a bad combination, I do think there are better choices.

CCR:FRB - Review 08 - Ilford HP5+ - Roll 01 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 08 - Ilford HP5+ - Roll 01 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 08 - Ilford HP5+ - Roll 01 (D-76)CCR:FRB - Review 08 - Ilford HP5+ - Roll 01 (D-76)

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Pyrocat-HD
I remember the first time seeing Mat Marrash’s work with Ilford HP5+ and Pyrocat-HD and decided that is the look I want out of my HP5+. And while you lose a stop of speed, the loss is well worth it. You get amazing tones across the board, fine grain (even in 35mm), and sharp images. Great for when you’re shooting in any light as you have a compensating developer to back you up. Not to mention as a fun little note, if you look at the actual negatives, you have a 3D relief similar to what you have with Kodachrome slides.

The Old Mission ChurchAmong the CrossesThe Old 31The Ore Dock -- From Above

Technical Details:
Intrepid 4×5 – SK Symmar-S 210/5.6, Fujinon-W 125/5.6 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200
Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 03 – Kodak HC-110
When I was exploring how to develop HP5+ in 35mm better, one of my obvious choices was HC-110. It’s always done well in most films I’ve developed in it, and HP5+ is no exception. Rich tones, smooth grain, and sharpness all in one package in no matter what format you shoot it in. You can easily shoot the film in mixed light with this developer and find all your details right there and makes the film easy to print!

A Space between ThemMaking an ExitLow LevelsA Mere Trickle

Techincal Details:
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Kodak TMax Developer
Sadly, in this case, TMax developer and HP5+ do not play well together. And I’m honestly not surprised because the beginning of reviewing cameras I used HP5+ in Ilford DD-X and wasn’t too pleased with the results. The resulting images I found were muddy, grainier than normal and just plain boring in the long run! I certainly would not be using a T-Grain developer with this film.

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

Technical Details:
Fuji GSW690ii – EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 6:30 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
While I only came up with two solid options for developing this film in this blog post that doesn’t make the film a bad option. In fact, HP5+ is a wonderful film that if you want something different than Tri-X is certainly worth a purchase. And there are plenty of other amazing developers that work well with the film. While I haven’t developed it in Rodinal, I really should give it a pull to ASA-100 and give it a go, also several other Ilford Developers such as Perceptol and Microphen allow you to push to film to the top of its latitude of ASA-6400. While it’s not Tri-X, nor should it be compared to it, HP5+ stands tall on its very own as a good choice for a fast film.

CCR Review 83 – Fuji GSW690II

CCR Review 83 – Fuji GSW690II

The Fuji GSW690ii is not a camera you need, but it sure is fun to have. That being said, a lot is going for the camera and if you’re like me, and are a wide-angle junky who loves to shoot big and wide than a GSW690 is certainly a camera that will make you very happy. There’s a reason they have the nickname Texas Leica because everything’s bigger in Texas, and what’s better than a superb rangefinder, a magnificent rangefinder that shoots 6×9 and a wide angle lens that covers everything. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty!

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Dirt
Make: Fuji
Model: GSW690II
Type: Rangefinder
Format: Medium Format, 120/220, 6×9
Lens: Fixed, EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6
Year of Manufacture: 1985

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Good
There are several points about the camera that stand out as being the number one reason this camera is awesome. But honestly, given the size of the camera, I’m amazed at how light the beast is and how easily it fits in hand. You could easily spend a whole day shooting with the camera and not have it weigh on your neck at all. And along the same lines how easy is to operate, I didn’t even have to read the manual, and I had it mostly figured out. Not to mention on a cold winter’s day, the camera works great when your hands are in gloves. Another factor that helps the camera out on a cold day is the fact it’s mechanical, no batteries at all in this camera. The viewfinder is big and bright, with clear framing lines to help with image composition. And finally, the optics are superb. I’ve shot Fujinon optics on my 4×5 almost since I started working with Large Format and have never complained about it. And while the lens is only rated to f/5.6 at wide open, trust me, this isn’t a problem as even wide open and given the 65mm focal length everything in the frame will be in focus.

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Bad
There are of course a few small items that do detract from this fantastic camera. The first being the rangefinder patch, given the size of the viewfinder the patch itself is rather small for the size and can easily be lost in low light or complex scenes, but it does have good contrast. Secondly, there’s the film loading, while easy given the camera’s size and style, and the film loads quickly, it is, however, the alignment of the starting line of the film that is hard to determine. I mean, if you’ve read the manual you can get it right, but in the camera itself, there’s no indication on where to put that line. Now if you mis-load the film you can still operate the camera, and shoot all eight frames on your 120 rolls, you do however lose that first frame. And finally, there are the exposure controls. While I can see the wisdom in making the controls for aperture and shutter different, the aperture control have two nice handles making it rather easy to adjust, the shutter control is recessed into the lens barrel and can be troublesome to operate.

CCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690IICCR Review 83 - Fuji GSW690II

The Lowdown
Now, the camera doesn’t do anything automatically, so you will need to either use the Sunny-16 rule or carry around a meter, and if you’re shooting landscapes, a tripod might help also. I really should have used a tripod the two days I was out so I could see what the camera could do beyond f/5.6 (and I should take it out for one more spin). But the camera also handles wonderfully hand-held! Fuji did release three versions of the GSW690 cameras each of them would make an excellent choice, although some out there will say the original and the ii version are your best choices.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Fuji GSW690II – EBC Fujinon-W f=65mm 1:5.6 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Dev (1+4) 6:30 @ 20C

CCR:FRB – Review 07 – Bergger Pancro 400

CCR:FRB – Review 07 – Bergger Pancro 400

The name Bergger has been until recently been relatively unknown here in North America (at least to me) until recently when I learned that they were planning on introducing a new film stock, Pancro 400. While, Pancro 400 is the only offering from the company, and while you might still find their older BRF400+ film stock, Pancro 400 is a beautiful classic film emulsion. When I heard about the film through the Film Photography Project when they were just releasing the stock, I made a point to pick it up. I found a surprisingly beautiful film, despite the increased amount of grain. I would wager to say, Pancro 400 has the look of the early HP and Tri-X emulsions from Ilford and Kodak respectively.

CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400

Film Specs
Type: Panchromatic B&W
Film Base: Acetate
Film Speed: ASA-400, Latitude: 200-1600
Formats Avaliable: 35mm, 120, Sheets

Roll 01 – Kodak D-76
What better way to develop a classic film than with a classic developer and D-76 does the film justice. You can see the full range of tones and the beautiful grain. While you can see a definite increase the grain for a 400-speed film in medium format, but it’s not as bad as it could be. While I did notice the film is a little more contrasty than it can be, you could probably tame that by cutting to dilution 1+1 or using the slower working D-23.

CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645CCR Review 78 - Mamiya m645

Technical Details:
Mamiya m645 – Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm 1:2.8 N – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak D-76 (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 02 – Kodak HC-110
You can see the increased amount of grain that Pancro 400 has when souped in HC-110, but don’t let that scare you because it’s a beautiful grain pattern again. Oddly enough, you don’t see any increase, in contrast, using HC-110, but you do see an increase in the film’s sharpness. I also noticed that you see a darkening in the skies as if I had a yellow filter on the lens, which is a nice touch.

Spike in Blue SkyA Peaceful SceneThe Ultimate BankThe Falls!

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

Roll 03 – Kodak TMax Developer
I’m going to come right out and say it, TMax Developer and Pancro 400 is not the best combination. While shooting it in 35mm didn’t help, but the grain is fairly out of control, and the contrast is way too strong, and that’s with using a 1+9 dilution which should tame the contrast in the film. And while I’ve seen TMax do good jobs with classic grained films, it certainly does not do that job with Pancro 400.

CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 03 (TMax Developer)

Techincal Details:
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak TMax Developer (1+9) 9:00 @ 20C

Roll 04 – Rodinal
You’d think I was crazy for putting a one-stop push and developing in Rodinal, but hey, when you’re reviewing a film, you have to take the good and the bad. But you know, Pancro 400 is a surprising film, even when shot indoors under less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Is the film grainy, yes, but not as much as I would have expected! The tones are rich, the contrast is deep, but the shots are amazing! And they actually look better than the TMax developer and that was shot at box speed.

CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 04 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 04 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 04 (Rodinal)CCR:FRB - Review 07 - Bergger Pancro 400 - Roll 04 (Rodinal)

Technical Details:
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Bergger Pancro 400 @ ASA-800
Blazinal (1+25) 13:00 @ 20C

Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for a solid option for a classic film that looks like the high-speed films of the mid-twentieth century. Rich tones, contrast and grain, but all in a good way. You get a look at your images like those from the photography of the Second World War. While grainier than most modern films such as HP5+ and Tri-X, it still is a solid option for most photography out there. But I would avoid using TMax developer, especially in the 35mm format and stick with more classic developers like D-76, HC-110, Pyrocat-HD and Rodinal even with a push.

CCR:FRB – Review 05 – Ilford FP4+

CCR:FRB – Review 05 – Ilford FP4+

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

CCR:FRB - Review 05 - Ilford FP4+

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

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

HandpaintedA TowerA simple doorA Touch of Modern

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

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

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

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

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

A Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse SaturdayA Limehouse Saturday

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

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

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

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

CCR:FRB – Review 04 – Kodak TMax 400

CCR:FRB – Review 04 – Kodak TMax 400

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

CCR:FRB - Review 04 - Kodak TMax 400

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCR:FRB – Review 03 – Film Ferrania P30

CCR:FRB – Review 03 – Film Ferrania P30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCR Review 79 – Kodak Retina IIIC

CCR Review 79 – Kodak Retina IIIC

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

CCR Review 79 - Kodak Retina IIIc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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