Tag Archives: medium format

Film Review – Fomapan 100

With my film photography, I have had limited experience with the Fomapan products. I’ve shot Fomapan 200 with okay results and the surveillance variant of Fomapan 200 available through the Film Photography Project with much better results. I’ve tried Fomapan 400 in sheet film and got no results. But after seeing some amazing work with Fomapan 100, I decided to pick up four rolls in 120 from Argentix.ca to give it a try. I certainly found the film pleasing to work with, a classic response with the four different developers I worked with over the course of shooting the film in several different situations.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic Black & White Film
  • Base: Format Dependent (120/4×5 – Clear Polyester (PE), 135 – Cellilous Triacetate)
  • Film Speed: ASA-100, with a latitude between ASA-50 to ASA-400
  • Formats Avaliable: 135, 120, and Large Format

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

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

The number one good thing about Fomapan films is the cost; these are very inexpensive films to shoot which makes them a great film to start with if you’re learning to develop your own black & white film. But if you want the best bang for your buck, Fomapan 100 is the film of choice. And don’t think you’re getting a cheap film, Foma 100 is one of the nicest mid-speed films I’ve ever used. It has almost a classic look and film, like the films of the mid-twentieth century, great if you want to shoot World War Two reenactments on film.

Summit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

Grab a Pint?
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 12:00 @ 20C

The developers I used for the review are as follows, Rodinal, Kodak D-23, Pyrocat-HD, and Kodak HC-110. It was Rodinal that brought out that classic look and feel, while slightly more grain than you’d expect in an ASA-100 film, but nothing too serious. I saw a reduction in grain using Pyrocat-HD, but I felt that the film came out of the tank slightly under-developed, so it either needs about thirty seconds more in the developer or slightly warmer water, maybe 1-2 degrees hotter. Kodak D-23 is another winner, a bit grainer but brought out the tonality of the film and continues that same classic look that you get with Rodinal. I was also fairly pleased with the results of HC-110 Dilution H, kept the contrast on mark, and surprisingly the grain was hardly noticeable. My final say is that Rodinal is the best developer for this film as it gives you the shortest standard developing times with the best results and can easily be done in the field as you can just use water for your stop bath. I say standard developing times as Dilution B and A of HC-110 has shorter developing times but requires constant agitation.

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Spring '17
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 10:00 @ 20C

Of course, no film is without fault. While many may target the film’s polyester base, it is not much of an issue. In Medium format, the PE base handles well and easily mounted onto the plastic reels of the Patterson system and will probably handle just as well on steel. No the biggest issue I have with Foma 100 is the long developing time. Most times are around the 10-minute mark, while not much of a slight against the product just a minor annoyance. Thankfully the Rodinal time is under the 10-minute mark. I mostly say this because often we do marathon developing sessions and working late into the night is tough because as you get tired, you’re more likely to make a mistake.

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

A Walk In the Park
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 10:00 @ 20C

My final word on the film, it’s certainly worth a shot if you’re on a budget or just learning. You can pick this up for under six dollars a roll (Canadian). And if you’re shooting the film in 4×5, you’re looking at a buck a sheet, only Arista.EDU and X-Ray film is cheaper. It’s also good if you want that classic look-and-feel that you often saw with Adox and Efke films, it works well in daylight and shadow and just sings in the right developer. I hope to pick up some of the 35mm version and see if there’s any difference between the two formats.

CCR Review 55 – Shanghai Camera Seagull 4A-103

Most of my experiences with communist built cameras have been gear from the failed Soviet Bloc, which is all well and good, but those cameras were not exactly known for their quality control, offset by the ease of repair by the layperson. However, there is still another communist state still producing cameras even today, and that’s China. The Shanghai Camera Factory started production of their Seagull 4A line in 1968, and by the 1970s the Seagull 4A-103 came into being. At first glance, you’d probably think that the camera in question is a German Rolleicord and you would be partially right. The 4A-103 is a direct copy of the Franke & Heidecke Rolleicord. But the Seagull is not a Rolleicord, not by a longshot. A big thanks to Donna Bitaxi for loaning out this camera for a review!

CCR Review 56 - Seagull 4A-103

The Dirt

  • Make: Shanghai Camera Factory
  • Model: Seagull 4A-103
  • Type: Twin Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium (120), 6cm x 6cm
  • Len: Fixed, Haiou SA-85 1:3.5/75
  • Year of Manufacture: 1970s

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Good
As lower-grade TLRs go, the Seagull has a lot going for it. First off the viewing screen is bright thanks to a full f/2.8 viewing lens, shame they couldn’t put the same lens on the taking side as well. The exposure controls are easy to operate and are close at hand. Film loading is easy and pretty fast, but it based on cranks rather than an internal mechanism so that it can seem a bit weird at first. This feeling could very well just be my personal stance having never shot a Rolleicord. The optics on the camera are surprisingly decent, with no sign of any vignetting, or poor quality.

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Bad
Despite the metal construction, this camera feels flimsy, and not in it’s a light-weight camera sort of way just doesn’t feel as stable as I would expect from such a camera. The most trouble I have is the film door, while it is light tight, the locking wheel just spins, not sure why. The exposure controls while easy to access can be a bit stiff. The first time I took the camera out was in the cold weather, and they tended to complain a little. And continuing on the cold weather topic, the shutter seemed to freeze resulting in a blank roll of film first time around. It also could be due to age combined with the cold. However, when I tested it out a second time, the shutter did fire. I was also indoors. Now, before I continue, let’s talk focus. I honestly don’t know what happened here; everything was in focus when I was looking through the ground glass, even using the loupe. And when I pulled the negatives from the tank there were some obvious out of focus ones or shaky. But every single image is soft and out of focus, and I’m not sure what caused it!

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Lowdown
In general, this isn’t a bad camera, some good things are going for it, but sadly in the 4A-103 the bad in this case outweigh them. The number one issue is the focus; it could be caused by the back not closing properly, so the film wasn’t aligned properly. Then there was the issue of the shutter; it was completely frozen when out in the cold, and even inside is stuck open at the 1/2 second mark. Of course, that can be solved with a clean, lube, and adjust. So while I really cannot recommend the 4A-103, I certainly would suggest a newer model which you can still purchase new!

All Photos Taken at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Seagull 4A-103 – Haiou SA-85 1:3.5/75 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 54 – Zenza Bronica ETRS

I have a love/hate relationship with Bronica cameras. If you listen to the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, I railed against the Bronica SQ-Am in episode 22, and I gave away my SQ-Ai because of ergonomic issues I had with the camera. But putting all that aside I went into shooting the ETRS with an open mind and discovered a rather fun camera. When it comes to 645 cameras, the ETRS is the real underdog while the Mamiya m645 and to a lesser extent the Pentax 645 get most of the glory. Which to people looking to crack into medium format the ETR line of cameras offers you the most bang for your buck if you’re just getting started. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza Bronica
  • Model: ETRS
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Multiple (Back Dependent), 6cm x 4.5cm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Bronica ETR Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1979

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Good
The strongest aspect of this camera is that it is a system camera, you can change, adapt, and modify the camera into whatever configuration is most comfortable for you and your shooting style. Another plus to it being a system camera if a part breaks, you just have to buy that one section and put all your parts back on it. The configuration I was shooting in was one that was most familiar to me, with an eye-level finder and grip. Of course, the camera operates just as well with no grip and a waist level finder if you’re used to shooting with the SQ-A or Hasselblad cameras. And for volume shooting the camera is great, you get 15 shots per roll, and interchangeable magazines allow you to load up a handful of magazines in the morning and go out shooting without needing to sit down and reload after each roll. And don’t sneeze at the optical quality either the ETR line of lenses are beautiful. Combine all these with being an often unnoticed camera line means you can build up a decent kit without having to break the bank.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Bad
The trouble with being an underdog system is getting the system repaired. When Roger (may he rest in peace) was operating his storefront in Hamilton, you couldn’t even darken his doorstep with a Bronica. These cameras are hard to get fixed and do rely on electronics to operate and battery power. At least in the case of the ETRS the battery door is better designed that the SQ line of cameras, but the battery is not a common one. Best bet is to carry some spares if you’re out on a big trip in an area where there aren’t any specialty stores.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Lowdown
While Bronica does not remain my first choice overall, I can see the draw of the ETR line of cameras. These are inexpensive cameras and if all you want is to shoot in the 6×4.5 format go for it. Just make sure like any electronic based vintage camera that you know it works before you pay for it. Just know that with the ETR line you will be stuck with the 6×4.5 format, if you want more image versatility, pick up an SQ-A body. You get the same quality of optics, and with appropriate backs, you can shoot 6×6 and 6×4.5 with ease. If you do go with the ETR line of cameras, make sure that you get a kit that is setup the way you like it. System cameras are unique creatures, they are amazing with no grip and a waist level finder or eye-level finder and a grip, but start swapping stuff out and you’ll run into ergonomic problems.

All Photos taken in Downtown Milton, Ontario, Canada
Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenanon-PE 1:2.8 f=75mm – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (stock) 9:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 31 – Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

If you ever wondered how the average consumer took photos 100 years ago look no further. This is the oldest camera in my collection with a manufacturing date of 1916 but despite the age it still works perfectly! Mostly because it takes a still available film size! And even more impressive is that it still works like a charm. Oddly enough for the longest time I thought that this camera was some weird Canadian version of a No. 2 Brownie and had continued to all it as such it was only recently that I learned the actual name for the camera, the No.2 Hawk-Eye Model C, a simplified version of the No. 2 Hawk-Eye.

CCR - Review 31 - Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

The Dirt
Make: Kodak
Model: No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C
Type: Point and Shoot
Format: Medium Format (120), 6×9
Lens: Fixed, Kodak Meniscus Lens 10cm f/11
Year of Manufacture: 1913-1924, this particular model was produced 1st of February, 1916.

CCR - Review 31 - Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

The Good
For 100 years old this camera surprisingly takes some beautiful photos even with a single element lens you’re getting actual sharp images and having a beautiful 6×9 negative helps also. And for a camera made out of card stock on the exterior body it remains light tight. As for ease of use it is a point and shoot. Guess aim and pull the trigger. But it is hard to carry.

CCR - Review 31 - Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

The Bad
Probably my biggest issue with the camera is that you are pretty much limited to portrait orientation and there is no viewfinder for landscape, not that you need it anyways considering you really just aim and shoot. Despite being a native 120 camera the film take up isn’t exactly even, and you do even up with some bulging in the taken up film so watching with the unloading of the camera. And finally the construction of these cameras were pretty cheap with exterior made of a stiffened paper/cardboard/cardstock product they are very easy to damage mainly the red window to show the frame number. Most cameras I’ve seen in antique stores are in rough shape.

CCR - Review 31 - Kodak No. 2 Hawk-Eye Model C

The Lowdown
Unless you really want to get down in the mud of reenacting World War 1 this really isn’t a camera I can recommend anyone get. And even for WW1 reenacting a Kodak Vest Pocket would be a better choice historically (and yes you can still get 127 film). This camera would make a better choice for a decoration piece or photoshoot prop than an actual camera out in the field. Mostly because of the age and construction they could easily be damaged. Of interesting note this particular model camera was so popular it was re-released in the 1930s at the 50th Anniversary of Eastman Kodak.

If you want to read more about the No. 2 Hawk-Eye, check out Brian Moore’s blog on the Film Photography Project site.

All photos taken at Bronte Harbor, Oakville, Ontario
Kodak Hawk-Eye No. 2 Model C – Kodak Meniscus Lens 10cm f/11 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-50 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:45 @ 20C

The Panatomic-X Trick

Anyone who has been in photography for a long time will remember the legendary Kodak film, no, not Kodachrome, the other one…Panatomic-X. Panatomic-X was first released in 1933 and continued until 1987 this fine grain ASA-32 panchromatic black & white film produced a huge tonal range and allowed for even 35mm negatives to be printed extremely large without noticeable grain…and when there was grain is was very pleasing. These days you cannot find fresh film, or even another film on the market like it. Most of the film I’ve shot expired back in the 1970s but can still be shot at box speed (ASA-32). The idea for this came when I opened up a box of the film I purchased through the FPP store that stated that the replacement product was Kodak’s TMax 100.

Administration
From one of my last rolls of originally packaged Panatomic-X
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Kodak Panatomic-X (FX) @ ASA-32 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

So I got an idea why not shoot TMax 100 at ASA-32, or as my friend Mat puts it “that’s one hell of a pull.” Now before all you folks out there start yelling about how TMax is a T-Grained film and blah blah blah…I figured if you can get a dreamy soft contrast look out of TMax 100 by developing it in D-76 one-to-one, you can pull it to ASA-32 and achieve somewhat of a Panatomic-X look. So using the Massive Dev Chart, I settled on using Xtol one-to-one for 8 minutes and forty-five seconds. And the results nothing short of spectacular! The first time I did this was up at Photostock last year using a Pentax Spotmeter V.

Beyond Bliss

Framed In Trees

Swing,Swing

Then again in the same camera (Rolleiflex 2.8F) using the internal meter in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario.

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

While we can never have Panatomic-X back it’s nice to know you can still get somewhat of that antique look with a modern film. If you want to try out Panatomic-X yourself, the Film Photography Project still has some bulk loaded film for sale or pick up some fresh TMax 100 and try the trick out yourself!

620 Madness!

I was always iffy about shooting 620 cameras, since when I first got into film photography finding 620 film was difficult, but the cameras were everywhere and many found their way into my collection. And to make matters worse the take up spool was missing. But let’s back up a bit and discuss, exactly what is 620 film? It was a film that was first introduced by Kodak in 1932 and continued being produced until 1995. But here’s a secret, it’s the exact same film stock as 120, same size and same backing paper, but it was the spool that was different. So if you have some 620 spools laying around you could re-roll the film from one spool to the other in a darkbox or bag. I tried, and failed. But then, recently something happened, the fine folks at the Film Photography Project managed to get new, that’s right, new 620 spools manufactured, mold injected plastic spools that works as good as the original metal ones. So naturally I went and found myself a 620 camera.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

Back in September on my way to Ottawa I took the scenic route along King’s Highway 7, stopping on the way in Peterborough at an antique store just outside the city, and found in mint condition, I seriously think this camera only had one roll of film run through it, Kodak Hawkeye Flash. The Hawkeye Flash was manufactured from 1950 to 1961, a basic Bakelite construction box camera with a single-element 81mm f/15 lens with a fixed shutter speed between 1/30″ and 1/60″. And it came with a take up spool, but that wouldn’t have matter as I had a stash of these spools in my camera gear. But the one neat thing about the Hawkeye Flash is that you can use a 120 spool (but just not on the take up side). The body being light-tight, I now had a camera I could use to re-roll 120 to 620. So when I returned to Ottawa, I checked the weather, and used the camera to roll some Ilford Pan F from 120 to 620, then back onto a 620 spool for use.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

These old Kodak cameras always surprise me, sure the images have a soft almost dreamy look about them, very 1950s. But still there’s some sharpness to them. It’s weird looking at the images with modern cars and flags and such in them, especially the Canadian Maple Leaf flag, I was half joking to myself saying, maybe it’ll change the flag to the red-ensign. But there’s something oddly drawing to these images.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

Maybe it’s just the photographer in me, wanting to get away from the sharp crisp images I get out of my 4×5 and other medium format cameras like my Pentax 645 and Rolleiflex 2.8F TLR. This is something different. I don’t have to think about shutter speed, aperture, depth of field. As the old slogan for Kodak says, You Push the Button, We do the rest. It’s simplistic, and that often is needed.

Kodak Hawkeye Flash Test - Ottawa, ON

But the best was when I was leaving my hotel, another guest noticed the camera and said “I had one of those! I still have it, shame you can’t get the film anymore” I smiled and replied “But you can, here.” I scribble down the FFP’s site, tore the page from my trusty notebook and gave it to him. Made his day. Have an old, working 620 camera? Want to get it out and about again, head on over to the FPP store for the world’s largest selection of fresh 620 film, need a take up spool? They got those to!

Kodak Hawkeye Flash – Kodak Meniscus Lens f:15 81mm – Ilford Pan F+ – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Long Live Film.

Photostock Pt. 1

The first of many posts about the amazing mid-summer meetup I attended in northern Michigan. The event is called Photostock and hosted/organized by world renowned photographer Bill Schwab, who despite his world renownedness is a really cool down to earth humble guy who just wants to get other photographers inspired.

And inspire me it did, to get back into the chemicals and restart developing my own black and white film, and to print…printing will come later, but I did find a place nearby that has rentable darkrooms so I will be printing again soon!

But anyways, first, more Photostock. The event is held in the little village of Harbor Springs along the famous ‘Tunnel of Trees’ heritage route, or rather M-119. A harbor community on Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. Quaint 19th century downtown, and epic sunsets.

Downtown Clock

The Main Drag

Tower!

Ephraim Shay Home

Little Waterfall

Another B&B

The Harbor.

Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford Delta 100
Ilfosol 3 1+9 2:50 @ 28C

Toy Camera

When you use Leica, Nikon, Carl Zeiss optics the idea of plastic lenses and “toy” cameras will often scare a photographer, you really don’t know what you’re going to be getting out of your image. It certainly won’t be the sharpest image on the block, vignetting is going to be there, soft focus, light leaks, all very possible. Add Expired film into the mix and things just start getting dicy.

Something that many photographers won’t even touch, and I used to be like that…until I picked up, on a whim, a Holga from The Film Photography Project. And instantly was dragged into the wonderful world of toy camera photography. I just had to tell myself “the images won’t be perfectly exposed, they’ll be out of focus, and probably look weird” and sure enough they did.

But I was okay with this. I recently took my holga out to a small group retreat back in march but never got around to scanning the film I shot, until recently and found that I really liked these images.

Partnered

Seeing Double

Through the Woods

Golden Wastes

Come Along Pond

Holga 120N – Kodak Tmax 100 (TMX), Kodak Ektachrome Lumiere Pro (LPP)