During the last outings of the Leica User Group Singapore (LUGS) of 2019, I had the good idea to carry the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with my favorite film: the Rollei Retro 80s
I love the range of grays and the profound black that this film can produce. This is not all art but a nice walk with friends at a time when this was possible. I put the full roll, no censorship and some edition in Lightroom. Film was was processed at the usual lab (Ruby Photo) and scanned at home of Epson v800.
It seems to be a tradition to write about the F3 magically getting out for a spin (You can read the 2012 post ANOTHER OLD FELLOW BACK FROM THE MAGIC CUPBOAD – NIKON F3 ) the last picture I put on Flickr with this old fellow dates back from 2015 so it had time to gather dust inside the magic box. When I took it out the mirror foam was all gone but I have some spare foam, maybe a bit thick, so I replaced it in a 5 minutes. The 5 years old batteries were dead (not stored inside the camera), but I found some for 4$ at the convenience store of my condo. I fiddled a bit to find the correct direction for the batteries and of we go! The meter is metering and shutter is shutting. Attach the 50mm F1.4 AI-S, load a roll of H5 and lets roll.
I will start with my favorite images, above two tourists wondering the streets of Chinatown, a rare hip-shot, I have not used a SLR for years i am not sure about using it for street shots.
A friendly man in Karon (Phuket Thailand) building a new extension to the local temple (Wat Karon), he is molding cement Buddhist wheels to decorate the wall outside the building.
Russian lady with a tambourine humming to Buddha while fiddling with her instrument I say : she a Shaman.
Okay so appart from these 3 shots that I really like, the rest of the roll is pretty good as you can see there after (I spared you those of my family by the pool)
First stop was in Singapore Chinatown, a few days before flying to Phuket, one of the reasons why I stopped using the F3 was because I keep on thinking it is not focusing properly. Indeed the distance on the lens always looks off compared to the actual distance. But the shots of this roll seems to prove otherwise.
I used the original B screen (micro-prism) which is more difficult to focus than the split screen (model K on top of my head).
I have loaded a second roll now and will try to split screen on the second half of it just t try to assert where the issue is.
Also I used the A mode for aperture, so the speed adjust automatically to the aperture you select. I never use it on the Leica, as I always found the speed to be too low and result in camera shake, but again it proved to work nicely here.
Then we flew to Thailand for the week-end, which was the reason to resurrect the F3 ; I did not want to bring the M6 or the M262 to the beach. Oh but I did in Australia last year. Well OK, that’s just how it is.
A rickshaw in front of our hotel, close focusing seems to work, I am not sure I actually focused on the horn, but that sounds (ha ha) realistic.
And off to the beach .
Back light as the sunset if approaching the metering works great.
Street / beach scene, another nice action by the F3 meter.
On the next day we walk from our hotel to Katong center town, very bright light. All shots were done at F11 with 1/1000th. The shutter of the F3 is limited to 1/2000th so I could not use wider apertures with a 400 ISO film.
And we reach Wat Karon the local temple.
Inside the temple we just missed the lunch of the monks , normally no later than 11am. Pity.
From the seaside at Karon we took a taxi to visit Phuket Big Buddha, a seated Maravija Buddha.
It is big indeed, like 40 meters high.
Here as well the light was very powerful, so maximum shutter speed and min apperture.
I spent 30 minutes at the shot yesterday discussing with other photogs of the potential focusing issue of my body. This roll seems to prove me wrong, but on the other hand most shots were done at very small apertures, so the focusing may not matter much.
A quick comparison with the M6 ? The F3 is slightly bigger, but just a sexy, the weight is probably very close, actually the M6 is 200 grams heavier. Both cameras have an integrated meter, but with slightly different methods, teh F3 is 80% center weighted the M6 is roughly spot metering, I actually quite like the exposure of the shots above.
This is my third post about the Polypan 50 and thanks to my friend Felix who is always eager to feed me some more this is probably the 10th roll I have shot.
This roll is a bit old and traveled in and out of the fridge a few time, also Felix warned me about the first two frames to generally better be avoided. Finally the film is quite thin and this may result in a bit of struggle when loading the film on the reel. so one or two early
So this particular roll I decided to shoot with the Leica IIIc and the Color Skopar 21mm. I am still trying hard to love this lens and the camera looks super good with the VC finder I bought last summer.
At this point I have small problem because I am not really able to guesstimate the light and I have relied on my Sekonic 308, that i bought new in 2010 with my first Leica. The little fellow is now more dead than alive, draining batteries like hell and giving random measures. So after the first half of the film I decided to go the the shop and get a new light-meter. To cut it short I bough the same one, lets hope it last as long.
So this is a recipe for disaster, a slow film, an old camera, and a slow lens. Luckily last Saturday the weather was nice when I hit Chinatown and came across Felix of course.
I am not a big theoretician, but what i like with the 21mm is the dynamic it gives to (rather mundane) pictures where people are moving like above or below.
Chinatown is also the opportunity to catch again and again the old folks playing Chinese checkers or chess. Some slow action going on, so speed can be lessen, perfect for my set-up.
Another obvious thing with the 21 : you need to be close to your subject. How close is close? Probably all the pictures in this post are done between 2 and 4 meters ; the one below more like 1 meter.
And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.
A couple years back I participate in the kick starter campaign for the launch o the CineStill 800 medium format film. I ended up (with a slight delay) with a nice T shirt ( (I spare you the picture for the time being) and a few rolls old the said film.
I have already shot a few rolls and I must think of going through the reminder before they expire. The Hassie also did not get much action this year so I loaded a roll when I went to the Leica User Group Singapore outing to the Red Hill market area.
Above is the best shot of the roll. This lady sing sings the market for the greatest pleasure of the people around. The film was rated at 640 ISO, the day was a bit overcast but most shots were done about F11 1/250.
This is the seventh month of the Chinese year and it is the time were the dead visit the world of the livings and displays of religious artifacts as above are common over Singapore, to please them and let them go back in peace.
We also took a tour of the Red Hill close estate, a public housing estate set for redevelopment.
I did not manage to shot the whole 12 frames in the morning, so I went last week in Chinatown to finish the roll on the lantern festival. I shot the remaining frames at F4 1/60s.
The above is quite OK, the below is not. It is seems a bit difficult for me to measure the light for this kind of scene.
Shot with Hasselblad 500CM, Planar 80mmF2.8 lens, and a tripod fr the last two shots.
The film was scanned with Silverfast and Epson v800, with bit of white balance and contrast and exposure adjustment in Lightroom.
A small write up today, and I will avoid the temptation to make another complete roll review (although in fairness I was tempted).
The flea market that use to seat in Sungei Road east of the city center has been closed for building a MRT (the local term for underground). What used to be coined as the “thieves market” has slowly moved to Chinatown in the heard of the city.
I am not sure what the authorities think of it, but here is another attraction in one of the tourist hubs of the Lion-city. These guys sell mostly old junk, and it’s rare you will find anything you might want to bargain for … actually as odd as it seems I bought for 2$ a record of Industrial Music, and one of the sellers (not sure how to call them) actually has a few interesting cameras.
You will find old watches and Buddhist artifacts and amulets, and for the rest … you’ll see for yourself.
Sure this will come a popular spot for street photography.
The 4 shots above were taken in a rainy afternoon, with Ultrafine Xtreme 400 iso with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, probably 1/60 second and f3.5.
As I am here I also add as a bonus three earlier shots done on the same film with the Leica M4 and teh modern Summicron 50mm v5.
During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.
You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.
This does not look to be a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.
This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.
I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.
Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.
This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.
For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.
The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros
Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives nice gradation of grey.
Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.
All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.
JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.
So the last week-end before the start of the year of the goat I went with the family in Chinatown. I brought the Leica IIIc and a couple of lenses actually 3.
Most of the shots below are done with the infamous back focusing Jupiter 8, 50mm f2.
Quite fun anyway.
Chinatown is very busy around this time. People shop for food, decoration, or just stroll around.
These two guys selling chestnuts are here all year round
But other stalls are just temporary,
Just selling nuts
or fruits in the side of the street
Some of the sellers are coming from China just for the event, or so have I been told.
Sausages and cured meat stall.
This was the first time I use Kentmere 100 ISO film; reasonably cheap, I understand it is manufactured by Ilford now. As I rarely use Ilford product (except fro Pan 50 and Pan 400) I cannot really tel how it compares to FP4 for instance. Nothing to rave about, I’ll probably finish my stock and go back to Tmax or Rollei RPX 100.
So Saturday I woke up pretty excited and checked the dream was true and the M240 was still on my desk : yes it was. I am not a pro and no capacity of doing any technical test; all I am interested is to see how the camera feels and how it fares for my usual type of shooting. So I have planned a kind of tour of Singapore for the week-end, visiting some of the places where I often go when I am free and in shooting mood.
This morning direction Chinatown, in walking distance from my place. I still have the Summilux on the camera and I’ll keep it for the whole day.
First stop at the Tan Si Chong Su chinese temple, to take some pictures of sculptures and decorations. Here comes the first revelation of the day : the original Leitz filter of the Summilux is hazy! This beautiful peace of metal and glass that goes for a fortune on ebay is just no good. I never spotted it on film. So the filter goes in the pocket and I go on with my walk.
On the way to Chinatown if the popular area of People’s Park Comples with many eateries like the above roasted duck store. The quality in subdued light is nice and I would day the color rendering is perfect to my taste.
Getting into the Chinatown Complex, I walk to the wet market where you can find a lot of different things, including frogs and turtles. The above is quite sharp with focus on the eye of the frog on the left.
Fish stalls are the most attractive, but for vegetarians you can also find vegetables stalls. The above shot is my favorite, but as someone pointed out lacks of sharpness.
At this point I must give my second conclusion of the day: I messed up with the auto ISO and the Aperture mode. I was happy to find this mode on the M240 and the M9 because this is how like to shoot in the Nikon world, however here because of my lack of knowledge of the settings, the camera chose some ridiculous low speeds instead of cranking up the ISO. So a lot of my indoors shots are lacking crispness because of minor camera shake.
Outside of the Chinatown Complex is an area where older men are playing Chinese chess and checkers. It is always a delight to shoot the game.
The Summilux close and wide open
It is quite nice to have such a small camera, people are not afraid of it, it does not look out of place like my D700 would. All in all I look like a tourist with a retro looking compact digital camera.
Back in the Chinatown complex, I head for the food center (In Singapore life revolves around food) for a drink (Sugar Cane juice) and browse through the stalls of the hawkers. Here again my pictures suffered from the same issue with speed and ISO.
Life is not only about photography and I must go on the other side of town to have lunch with a friend and collect my bike. Cycling home, I have a nap and head for a traditional show later in the afternoon. On the way some young dudes are doing some graffiti on Somerset skate park.
The pictures of the show are useless but that’s nothing to do with the camera.
This first real day of shooting was great, this is a nice camera for what I am usually doing. There is nothing that I do not like. Some small remarks:
– yes I should have known, but this is not really a camera for close range, the minimum range for the rangefinder is about 1 meter so it is not great for shooting food or firend over the lunch table
– on the Summilux it takes a while to adjust from close to far; I much prefer the quick focus of the Elmarit or the Summicron; I will have to try a Cron 50 or 35
– unlike it has been said in some reviews I did not hit the “M” (movie) button once,
– the On-Off button is very easy to use,
– my half case however press on the live view button and this is a bit annoying