So long old friend

Or how I parted from my Nikon D700.

My beloved and trustworthy D700 on his the day of his departure

Finally after 11years of a fulfilling relationship I am letting him go. If you read this blog regularly you probably wonder where this camera has been all that time because I don’t think it appears in a single post over the last 4 or 5 years. Actually checking my papers, I realized I had it service 5 years ago and did not used it much since.

Kolkata (50mmF1.8D)

I have carried this guy all over Asia and took so many pictures that it is difficult to pic some to illustrate what looks like a eulogy. Mind you with 42000 actuations, it has not been abused and his new owner can make a few shots with it.

How An (Angenieux 70-210 )

The D700 has been a beast of its own kind, the first and last, prosumer camera, which could handle most of Nikon lenses. It supported the road well and gives confidence that whenever you press the shutter something at least acceptable will go out.

Seoul (17-35 F2.8)

Of course I lugged around big amounts of heavy glass, this is what you get using a DSLR, and spare battery and multiple cards.

Singapore (Angenieux 75-210)

The D700 was quickly outdated though, the usable ISO range was limited to 3200, which by today’s standard is pretty low and the noise or banding in low light was not always nice. Hence the purchase of fast glass, 50mmF1.8, 85mmF1.8, and so on. Ok I must say my current digital camera has the same max ISO so that criteria has not worked much for me.

Varanassi (80-200F2.8)

So why did I stop using such a nice camera? Well first I have started shooting more film over the years, and falling in the rangefinder trap, I purchased a digital M 5 years ago and here we are. I must say I do not shoot that much with the digital M outside of travels, events or parties (so not much recently). I generally shoot film for my casual street photography. The M is in no way technically superior to the D700, they are from the same technological generation, but if you are not a pro the experience and the results are more fulfilling.

Nepal (80-200 F2.8)

So over the last period the D700 has been used only to shoot events which now are becoming fewer and fewer so I came to a point where I had the choice to let it rot in the its box or part from it.

Burma (50mmF1.8D)

So I managed to find the original box with all the cables doc and everything and even the original bag from the shop, and here in the beautiful gold box goes the D700, 2 batteries, 7 card, and the 50F1.8D in its own gold box. I have already sold last year the 80-200F1.8D, the 17-35F2.8D and the 85F1.8D, all boxed. I only have 2 gold boxes left, one for SB600 flash, that is compatible with the M and one for the 50mmF1.4AIS that I use on the Nikon F3. Don’t worry I also have some AI lenses around a F3 and F bodies, so I did not let Nikon go completely.

Udaipur Rajastan
Sri Lanka (80-200F2.8D)
So long old friend

2021 Roll#8

I know I am late, weather is not so great, it starts to be a bit boring shooting constantly the same thing and I am ashamed to say am a bit busy at mom.

Local seafood restaurant with Buddha Tooth relic temple in the background

Anyway, I this is week 12 and I am at roll8, so not too far from my usual 1 roll a week. So a couple of weeks back I loaded the good old M6 again, with a roll of manually rolled HP5+. Just 24 shots.

Street action in front of the etna

The Teas Chapter shop was already there when I first visit Singapore in 2006. I particularly like the contract of this shot and the shades of the bamboo leaves.

This stroll in Chinatown was during the end of Chinese new year period of Chinese new year, and a few autels where set-up like this one.

or this one

In Chinatown the uncles are still playing chess

Meanwhile on Orchard Road

Maids in uniform
Stunning picture of a teddy bear
The lady with the running nose

I hope you enjoyed the walk.

2021 Roll#8

More Chinese New Year spirit and a bit more

The love of the two oranges

These two auspicious oranges offered during CNY period, here at the entrance of a restaurant in Clarke Quay. As often I make associations in my mind which are quite irrelevant, why think of Serguey Prokovief Opera The Love for Three Oranges where actually I just have two? Maybe the essence of photography : showing what’s not there.

Posing for CNY the Buddha Tooth Relic temple

I started this roll in Chinatown a while back, and as we were during CNY period, people came around the Buddha Tooth Relic temple to take selfies.

A Bak Kwa shop

CNY is also about food, and the Bak Kwa (sliced barbequed port meat) shops are busy. There are queues outside some of the most famous who generally have sold all their goods by lunch time on week ends.

Traditional Cosplay

I was very happy / lucky a couple of weeks later when coming back to Chinatown I saw this group of youngsters dressing up in traditional Chinese costumes, for a fun photo shoot.

Urban sketchers at work in the shade
Caution fierce look

This is a roll of Rollei retro 80s, shot with the Leica M6 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm lens.

The lady with a fan
The lady in the shadows

The film was processed in Caffenol CM recipe at 28 degrees for 5minutes. Some shots are great, but the ones with big dark areas like above are showing some marks in the dark parts. Fingers marks? Fogging ? Effect of the expired film? I don’t really know. The effect is even more noticeable below:

Japanese restaurannt

It is not super easy to shoot indoor with 100 ISO setting and a 3.5 lens. I quite like the result, regardless of the marks.

Play

A big thank you to Louis Vuitton for this fashionistas playground giving opportunities for a few candid shots. Once again it was 7pm the light of the day was fading so the shots are taken at 1/60 or 1/40 and F3.5

More playground

A few random shots to finish

A pile of bar stools, the blacks and the contrast are really specific to the Rollei 80s, so I am happy this can be rendered in Caffenol.

Some sculpture in a back alley, I think it’s the entrance of a club or a bar.

A bit if tragedy to finish this is the place where 5 party goes met their fate when driving into coffee in the late night hours a couple of weeks back. You can still see the burned façade of the building. A few days (maybe 1 or two weeks) after the incidents, offerings were placed for the deceased.

More Chinese New Year spirit and a bit more

A nice day out

Sunday at Marina South and Marina Barrage with the Hasselblad 500 CM and a roll of Rollei 80s. I processed the roll in two or three weeks after shooting it. There is couple of problems (like the dost on the bonnet of the Beetle) but I think this is due to teh film being old and the having taken in and out of the fridge a few times

A bit more defects are visible in the shadow area. lets blame the age of the film. Also at the bottom the part of of the picture missing is due to the film starting too early, probably some adjustment to make to the back of the hassie.

Wifey with Helix bridge in the background

Hope you enjoyed.

A nice day out

CNY 2021 ON KODAK EKTAR

The Buddhist lodge on Kim Yam Road

So when I brought my last roll of Portra to the lab the uncle coaxed me into buying some Ektar 100, not wanting to look mean I bought not a roll but a box of 5 rolls. I must say this is a decent deal as it comes with five coupons of one dollar to be rebated of their processing. If I remember correctly this is 52 dollars for the 5 rolls and they do processing + super decent scanning at 11 dollars (Singapore Dollars).

Monkey God Temple in Tiong Bahru

I shot Ektar before, but mostly in 35mm, I must say it pays credit to the claim that it is the finest grain film. So I loaded the good old Hassie 500 CM with my first roll and hit the road to give it a try.

Chinese Lantern Tiong Bahru

12 shots on a 120 roll is not much, but walking through overshot areas on a Sunday afternoon, it can be quite a challenge to finish a full roll.

The ex-Majestic Hotel, now the Straight Clan asscoation

We walked from home to Tiong Bahru, then headed to Chinatown. The Straight Clan is where the Majestic hotel used to be. I spent 5 weeks in this hotel in 2006 and have some interesting shots from the construction site period, when it was converted. Maybe I’ll share this some time.

Buddha tooth relic temple

We moved to the Buddha tooth relic temple where I notice the Buddhist flags which where not there last week ( you can check the post) and I though it was a nice opportunity for color sampling and smooth grain demonstration.

A peanuts stand in Chintaown

In Chinatown every year temporary stands selling goods for the occasion the Chinese New Year appear and disappear in a mater of a few weeks. Generally they close late on the eve of the New Year day. This year everybody was masked, there were less stands as the people coming from other countries could not enter Singapore. If you want to ne picky, the focus is on the cage bars, not the seller.

Welcome to the year of the Ox

Exiting Chinatown, I took this shot of the Ox silk paper statue. This is not the best angle as it is quite busy with the traffic lights posts and cars. The best angle is diametrically opposite I think. But you can see here how nice and bright the colors are.

Substation on Armenian street

Nice mural on Substation, an art center on Armenian Street, close to the Peranakan museum. Substation used to host gigs and has a broad program, with what seems to be a focus on the street / youth culture.

Rendez-Vous Hotel

The last shot in order to finish the roll : a mundane view of the Rendez-Vous Hotel at the bottom of Orchard Road. Totally uninteresting but very nice blues.

I you missed the links in the text you can check the post CNY 2021 in Chinatown with the Hassie 500CM to compare similar shots with Portra 160.

All shots: Hasselblad 500 CM with standard 80mmF2.8
Kodak Ektar 100 shot at 100
Processing and Scanning : Whampoa Color

CNY 2021 ON KODAK EKTAR

KosmoFoto Mono

Passing my favorite photo shop the other day (Ruby Ye in Excelsior Plaza basement), I noticed a stack of an unknown (to me) boxes of film. I was told it is Kosmo Foto Mono. I heard of the brand before but never tried it. So I could not resist, parted from 14 SGD and walked home.

Next day was an unformal outing of the HUGS (Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and I brought both the Hassie (see last post) and the Leica M6 loaded with the said Kosmo Foto Mono and mounted with the 50mm Summilux v2 (My first ever Leica Lens). We met in Chinatown, to capture the Chinese New Year atmosphere.

That day was also the outing of the Urban Sketchers group, which gave us (me) plenty of pictures opportunity, I like shooting random strangers, but strangers in action is even better.

The Mono is a 100 ISO film, the weather that morning was quite ok for outdoor shots with normal speed and aperture. Except the below, inside the Chinatown complete, probably full open and 1/60 sec.

When I reached home after lunch the tricky question came : how do I process this film? Querying the Caffenol Facebook group I learned that this is some rebranded Kentmere 100, so I looked up processing time. But when I removed the label to take a nice scan of it for my collection I noticed the canister actually says Fomo.

Who to believe? Anyway checking the Massive Development Chart I noticed both the Kentmere 100 and the Foma 100 have the same development time for the same Caffenol formula. My vitamin C stock is a bit depleted but I still could find enough to process one roll with the following formula:

500 ml water. 27g Washing Soda, 8 g Vitamin C , 20g Netscafe classic

My room temperature here in Singapore is 28 Deg, so I scaled the time and processed for 6 minutes, with agitation the first 20 seconds then 3 inversions every minute.
Using Ilford method to rinse, Ilford rapid fixer and dishwashing soap in the last rinse batch.

The negative is a bit over but the scams are looking good. There is a certain softness to them which is quite pleasant. 14$ is a bit expensive for a standard 100 ISO film, but I quite like the results so I may give it another try (oh yes maybe I have to finish by 100ft roll of Ilford Delta first, I probably have the equivalent of 12 rolls left in there)

The HUGS gang that day.

KosmoFoto Mono

CNY 2021 in Chinatown with the Hassie 500CM

Saturday morning a small outing was organized by one of my friends and we met in Chinatown to capture the atmosphere of this every special Chinese New Year.

The God of fortune

I brought the Hasselblad 500CM with the standard lens (The only one I have), loaded with my last roll of Portra 160.

The Buddha tooth relic temple

The film was processed and scanned in Whampoa Color. And I am quite happy with the results once again. I think from the roll are missing picture of the bottom of my bag and a redundant picture of the Sri Mariamman Temple.

The Buddha tooth relic temple

Shooting with the Hassie is very slow, and I brought multiple films but could only shot one.

Difficult crossing
One of the many murals describing last time Singapore (Here a Chinese Opera)
The usual decorations depicting the zodiac signs hanging on South Bridge road
Chinese lanterns in from the hindu temple of South Bridge road

Singapore racial harmony (official term) finds a perfect example with the display of Chinese lanterns in front of this Hindu temple and the sign above the entrance wishing to all a Happy and prosperous Lunar New Year.

Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

I waited 15 good minutes to take this shot to finally get a mopped in the middle and miss the top of the roof.

A group of Urban Sketchers drawing Chinatown as we shoot it
Chinatown complex hawker center

CNY 2021 in Chinatown with the Hassie 500CM

Chinese New Year 2021 is upon us

Covid or not, Chinese New Year 2021 is upon us : a lot less feisty than usual, with masks and social distancing, here we go again.

CNY 2021 will be on Friday, 12 February, but for a couple of weeks now, some stalls have open in Chinatown, and people start to go do their shopping. Yes there are less stalls than usual, and Chinatown has lost quite a few businesses these last months. Also there will be no Lion dance this year

You will see more of it surely, Chinatown is always happening and picturesque. Above some shots of an aquarellist, and in the top middle an art exhibition part of SPIF (Singapore Photography International Festival).

Shots were done on Kodak 160 slightly expired, shot with a Leica IIIc and Elmar 50mmF3.5. Filem was processed and scanned at Whampoa photo. Whampoa does an excellent job as usual, but the pictures seems a bit underexposed, maybe the roll was a bit more expired that I thought.

On a more technical note, I always wonder why people use 50mm finders for the Barnack Leicas, as its suppose to be what the viewfinder window is doing. But actually I found when shooting this roll that the I missed a few shots because of framing. In the absence of framing lines using the border of the viewfinder is quite uneasy.

Chinese New Year 2021 is upon us

2020 a year in film

The weather has been very bad in Singapore recently so I did not shoot anything since the first of Jan. Good opportunity for my usual reflective post on 2020. The COVID has of course reduced the photo opportunities this year, no travels since February, less local events. Anyway, I still managed to spend some time on my hobby : burn some film.

Camera #1 : Chau Long Market Hanoi one year ago

Below is a breakdown of my 52 roll in film types:

Row LabelsCount of Film No
Fuji Across8
Ilford HP5 Plus6
Rollei Retro 80s6
Kodak TRI X5
Ilford Delta 4004
Cinestill 800T3
Shanghai GP32
Ultrafine Xtreme 4002
Kodak TMY 4002
Polypan 502
Ilford hp52
Kodak Portra 4002
Kodak Ultramax1
Kodak Colorplus1
Ilford Delta 32001
Kodak Pro Image1
Kentmere 400 pan1
Fuji Neopan 4001
Ilford Pan F1
Rollei Superpan 2001
Film brandRolls
Ilford14
Kodak12
Fuji9
Rollei7
Cinestill3
Shanghai2
Ultrafine2
Polypan2
Kentmere1
Grand Total52

I mostly shot black and white again. Mostly because I converted to Caffenol in the middle of the year, and have now processed around 20 rolls using this method. I lost 4 rolls more of less in the process, but I have a good standard procedure now. I also bought a roll of HP5+. Both steps make me shot black and white film for a lot cheaper.

Camera #2 LeicaIIIc Arab Street Singapore

Ilford in getting to the top of the list this year, surpassing the usual Kodak. I think Kodak is very close only because of the color films. In term of black and white, Fuji is this year in front of Kodak. I bought some expired Acros 100 which gives super good results in Caffenol.

Below is the breakdown of cameras I used:

CamerasRolls
Leica M618
Leica IIIc10
Hasselblad 500CM7
Leica M46
Agfa Isolette III4
Nikon F34
Nikon F1
Heineken1
Minolta Himatic 7s1

No surprise the 3 Leica bodies and the Hasselblad are still trusting the top of the list. The M6 is really a picture making machine, actually I just had the joints redone and the crank fixed.

Camera #3 Hasselbad 500CM

I did not buy any new cameras this year still I made some nice additions to my kit. I bought a new Sekonic 308-X meter as the old one died, a friend offered me a Keks EM01 light meter, which fits on the cold shoe o fthe M4 or IIIc, a very nice add on.

Camera #4: Leica M4

I tried to fix the rangefinder of the Isolette III and managed to shot a few rolls with it, making it climb to the fifth rank.

Camera #5: Agfa Isolette III

Actually I bought a second body for parts which has a few issues, so I may play to fix it or send it for service.

Curiously I digged the Nikon F3 from the Nikon box (I have a Leica box, a Nikon box and a various box). I gad very pleasant results mostly with the 50mm F1.4AIS.

Camera #6: Nikon F3

Lugging a SLR around is not longer a pleasure and this guy is so beaten up that I am a bit ashamed to carry it in the streets, but amazing results this year.

Camera #6 : Nikon F Photomnic

I only shot one roll with the Nikon F, with the 50mmF1.4 Non AI, on Polypan 50. My two photomnic meters are no longer metering or I can t be bothered to buy new batteries to use them. Using the Sekonic is just as good.

Finally two rolls with the Minolta 7S, great performer, still flimsy and the underwater Heineken Camera whose housing is leaving his last days.

Also the nice discovery of the year is the Whampoa Color photo lab which does a great job for processing and scanning color films.

The first shot of the last roll of the week (Kodak Portra 160 slightly expired shot with Leica IIIc and Elmar 50F3.5)

2020 a year in film

The last roll of 2020

The back alley

Happy new year dear friend reader! Let’s hope for everybody that 2021 will be different from 2020.

I am cheating a little bit as this is not strictly speaking the last roll of 2020, I have a roll of Portra 160 in the Leica IIIc, that I will finish soon and that technically I will call the roll 51 of 2020 ( I’ll come back to this on the next post).

I love Rock’n roll

So number 50 is a roll of Fuji Across 100 version one, expired sometime last year, shot in the Leica M4 with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.

28121

Once again I have processed the roll in Caffenol CM, scaling the recipe for 500 CL, with a certain success.

Anchor

As my regular readers have already found out, I was back to Geylang Lorong 3, with some friends. A place that will soon disappear, so no chance to see it again in 2021 rolls.

Heem

I put my favorite pictures at the top of this post, this is my third attempt at the back alley and I am quite happy with this one. And the guitar really rocks.

On most of the shots the Caffenol reveals great details and contrast. I am very happy with this roll. There was also very small dust cleaning required after scanning.

No-parking

The tiny Summaron is super sharp and easy to use. I have used the old Chinese made adapter (not my genuine Leica one) and it seems the focus is spot on even for closer shots.

CCTV ?

Is this the place where even CC TV Cameras get stolen?

Selfie in the making

Good think to tag along with friends is that they can make subjects.

The briefcase

This makes me think about one of these movies where spies or thieves exchange a big suitcase of cash. I did not dare to peak in that one, maybe I should have?

The final hour

Close up

Below a couple of unrelated pictures of the same roll, different styles with the same set-up

The old supreme court
Kid’s story
The last roll of 2020