THE NIKON F3 : DOES IT FOCUS OR NOT

2020-11-F3-2-6
The Big Buddha is a work in progress

Before moving to the focusing bit, lets start by a few shots from Phuket. My eyesight for short distances is becoming quite bad so I cannot read the markings on the camera, so when I loaded this roll of Kodak Pro image 100 I put the speed selector to 1600 instead of 100. 2020-11-F3-2-4

So the pictures from Phuket are underexposed by 4 stops, but end up being quite exploitable , the colors are still pleasant. Nice job Kodak.

2020-11-F3-2-3
Inside the shrine

 

2020-11-F3-2-12
Karon football stadium
2020-11-F3-2-13
Karon football stadium
2020-11-F3-2-14
A resort in Karon
2020-11-F3-2-15
Karon beach scene
2020-11-F3-2-19
Phuket airport

I realized my mistake at Phuket airport and changes the speed. Above the colorful planes at the airport terminal; I quite like the colors of this film.

2020-11-F3-2-22
Apples in Chinatown

Back in Singapore, I had my black and white film processed and as the results were OK (See last post), so I decided to finish this roll with the F3. I changed the screen to the Split screen model K as its easier to focus, so it will give a better indication of the accuracy of the camera focusing.

2020-11-F3-2-23
Lost in Chinatown

Of course the shot above is a hip shot where distance has been guesstimated, so it does not prove much.

2020-11-F3-2-24
Taoist ceremony in Chinatown

The two following shots are related to a Taoist ceremony in the center of town, the afternoon weather was quite bright so the shots were done with a small aperture, balancing potential focusing problems.

2020-11-F3-2-25
Flags in Chinatown

I think this ceremony is held by one of temples situated in the nearby habitation block. The place were the tent is set, often hosts funeral wakes, and even a medium ceremony after Chinese new year.

2020-11-F3-2-26
Inside TWG tea shop

In TWG tea shop at raffles hotel, the lens was nearly wide open and the focusing on the letters quite easy, it looks the picture is in focus.

2020-11-F3-2-27
Yellow throat lizard

The lizard also is is focus, though small.

2020-11-F3-2-302020-11-F3-2-31

2020-11-F3-2-32
Tiong Bahru Monkey God temple

The shot above  was done probably at F4 and quite close, looks reasonably in focus as well, I really love the warn tones or the film.

2020-11-F3-2-35
Next table

So far so good until the last shot, wide open (F1.4) , the light was a bit dim, I focused on the glass at the front where it seems the actual focus is on the middle of the table (or the Asahi beer logo), so 10 to 15 cm back. So this is not very conclusive then.

  • Nikon F3
  • Nikkor AI-S 50mm F1.4
  • Kodak Pro Image 100ISO
  • Epson v800

 

THE NIKON F3 : DOES IT FOCUS OR NOT

The Nikon F3 gets out the closet

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.

2020-11-F3-1-7

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.

2020-11-F3-1-31

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.

2020-11-F3-1-36

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)

2020-11-F3-1-1

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.

2020-11-F3-1-2

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).2020-11-F3-1-8

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.

2020-11-F3-1-9

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.

2020-11-F3-1-10

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.

2020-11-F3-1-13

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 .

2020-11-F3-1-142020-11-F3-1-202020-11-F3-1-21

Back light as the sunset if approaching the metering works great.

2020-11-F3-1-22

Street / beach scene, another nice action by the F3 meter.

2020-11-F3-1-16
Speeding in speedos.

 

2020-11-F3-1-15
Back to USSR

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.

2020-11-F3-1-23
Asoline ?

And we reach Wat Karon the local temple.

2020-11-F3-1-242020-11-F3-1-252020-11-F3-1-332020-11-F3-1-34

Inside the temple we just missed the lunch of the monks , normally no later than 11am. Pity.2020-11-F3-1-262020-11-F3-1-32

From the seaside at Karon we took a taxi to visit Phuket Big Buddha,  a seated Maravija Buddha.

2020-11-F3-1-27

It is big indeed, like 40 meters high.

2020-11-F3-1-28

Here as well the light was very powerful, so maximum shutter speed and min apperture.

2020-11-F3-1-30
Family praying the Big Buddha
2020-11-F3-1-35
Another quite big statue at he back of the main one

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.

The Nikon F3 gets out the closet

You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

2019_21_M6_13_1
One George Street in Singapore CDB

This is a follow up of my first write up YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (ABOUT THE VC COLOR SKOPAR 21MM F4) For those who don’t feel like digging back in the archives (pitty, there are a couple of nice shots there and probably my best piece of text in a while), this is about picking the Voigtlander Cosina Color Skopar 21mmF4 back from the dry box and putting it back to work.

2019_21_M6_13_2
Ice cream parlor near Singapore river

Very quickly, the 21mm had two terrible defects for me: the color fringing in digital and the difficulty to frame in general. I decided in June to invest into a proper viewfinder to try to overcome the second issue : I picked a 21-25 VC metal finder.

2019_21_M6_13_3
Walk down the bridge

The viewfinder did a really good job, it very bright and accurate, well built and on top of it it is super sexy (I have to post pictures of the Leica IIIc with it).

2019_21_M6_13_11
Keong Saik road corner with Teck Lim road

All pictures here are from a single roll of Kodak Portra 400 shot with Leica M4 and VC Color Skopar 21mm F4 with the now famous 21-25 VC metal finder. Even vertical framing is accurate now.

2019_21_M6_13_12
“MY CHINATOWN HOME” by  Yip Yew Chong 30 SMITH STREET

Horizontal framing works as well. As I am a slow shooter these were probably taken over a few week ends in different areas of central Singapore.

2019_21_M6_13_19
The guitar hero

To shoot portraits the 21mm requires you to get very close to your subject, and still you will get some distracting details in your frame. Also you may get funky perspectives even if you frame correctly your subject (thanks to the perfect new viewfinder)

2019_21_M6_13_20
Tan Boon Liat Building – a commercial / industrial building

When yout wan to put a lot in the frame as the Tan Boon Liat Building, actually it goes in. Colors with the Portra are quite rich, and vignetting is limited.

2019_21_M6_13_21
The Monkey God temple in Tiong Bahru

Or when you are close to buildings and want to put them in the frame as above, this is a great ultra wide angle.

2019_21_M6_13_24
Don’t go away

I did not do many “street” shots on this roll, but the 21 gives an amazing dynamics to the shots like above.

2019_21_M6_13_28
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

I was very convinced by these first 2 or 3 rolls, and this has slightly changed my photographic practice recently. I use the M262 and M6 with the summicrons for holidays or events, the M4 and IIIc with older lenses for fun( or street, or burning film name it as you want) and recently the 21 is glued to them.

2019_21_M6_13_29
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

So expect more posts like this one, but as you know that I found love with the VC21 again, so i will have to find out new titles.

2019_21_M6_13_33
The Singapura Club – Little India

 

 

You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

You can’t hurry love (About the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

2019-12-M6-09-31

A few weeks back I was in Riceball Photography shop where our friend Leon tempted me with the new Voigtlander 21mmF3.5. This is a beautiful lens, particularly with the metal hood attached. I had a try on my M262 in the corridor of the mall (below) and also a week later on the M6 (above).

L1007386-2

I was very enthusiast about the test shots, very sharp, no distortion to my eyes, no color shift on the digital sensor, unlike the test I did of the old Super Angulon F4 a couple weeks before (see below).

L1007228

At a price of about 800USD, even when adding the hood (100USD) and the finder (200 USD for 21-25 metal finder), this is a steal for a bout a third of the price of the next Leica lens.

2019-19-M6-11-32
VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder

At this point I came back to my senses and remembered that I bought a 21mmF4 Color Skopar back in 2013, to fit the Leica IIIc. This lens did not get a lot of love for the following reasons : the plastic finder is shait and was replaced once and repaired twice, the color banding on the digital bodies is awful, more subjectively I have a bit of difficulty with the 21mm : I always end up with skewed perspectives that I don’t like very much and also, yes, 21mm is very wide.

2019-19-M6-11-29
Street shot : VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder : 21mm is wide but gives very dynamic shots

So the reasoning was that, as I have a 21mm already, why not try to address the finder issue first and if I still don’t love the 21mm then there is no point getting a new one. Of course that does not address the digital issue, but everything in its own time.

2019-19-M6-11-21
Vertical framing checked, VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder

So lets hunt for a 21mm finder. There is a bit of  choice on the market : the plastic VC, the metal 21-25 VC, the old Leica in plastic or metal version, the Leica Universal Wide Finder. Ken Rockwell vouches for the plastic version of the Leica, but I ended up with the VC metal version that Riceball provided me in two weeks.

2019-19-M6-11-03
More vertical framing checked, VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder

The VC metal finder is a nice piece of kit. It feels very good in the hand, (it better for about 200 USD), fits the cameras (IIIc, M6 and M262) and provide a nice view. I immediately tried it on the digital body and on two rolls of film. and I must say I am pleased with the results.

2019_20_M6_12_33
Horizontal framing checked, VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder
2019_20_M6_12_2
More Horizontal framing ( VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder)
2019_20_M6_12_4
More vertical and back light( VC21mmF4 on M6 with the 21-25 VC finder)

So now what about the 21mm? Well I will probably have to shoot more before I decide, but already I think going back to my VC 21F4 by buying a new finder was a smart move : shall I love the 21mm and get the new lens, I already have a finder, shall I want to sell it I have a full kit now, or maybe I can just stick with the 21F4 for a  while.

2019_20_M6_12_14

The 21 is very (very very) wide, the three street shots in this page were taken at about 2 to 3 meters from the subjects and they feel like I was miles away, so I will really need to step very close for my candid shots.

2019_20_M6_12_12

I generally shoot 28, 35 and 50 Summicrons, so I must say that F4 is not mindblowing, but this is minor. On another hand the 21F4 is very tiny and pleasant to use, so I feel very comfortable when walking around that I look inconspicuous.

On a final note about the color shifting on digital bodies, some of the Leica profiles help correct it, I think one the 28mm F2.8 profile provides better results that others, have try.

  • Film color shots done on Kodak Portra 160NC with Leica M6 Classic
  • B&W shots done on Kodak TriX with Leica M6 Classic
You can’t hurry love (About the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

Around city center with a 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s

The Himatic 7s

Beginning of the year and excitement to try the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 that I am bulk loading, I am taking the odd camera from the treasure box.

2018-3-Himatic-1-009
The painter (who is also a photographer)
2018-3-Himatic-1-011
Major checker competition
2018-3-Himatic-1-012
Back alley

2018-3-Himatic-1-020

A couple of weeks back it was the turn of the 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s. Actually the 7s was released in 1966 same year as me. The Himatic is a rangefinder camera with a sharp, fast 45mm F1.8 lens, and in-camera metering.

2018-3-Himatic-1-021

Ok I don’t quite like the the Himatic too much : it is heavy feels clunky compare to the German rangefinders; it is not that fast to operate, and also the metering died on mide during a bike tour.

2018-3-Himatic-1-015

I also the viewfinder to be not that bright and having too many signs inside; there are just three visible sides of the frame, so I always wonder how to frame the fourth.

2018-3-Himatic-1-024
Shoe locker outside Mustapha

BUT when I got the roll from the shop I must say that I am impressed by the result, the lens is fast and sharp and the 45mm give a bit of air to the shots.

2018-3-Himatic-1-025

This is my 3rd roll of the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 bulk and I quite like it. I am new to handrolling, the picture below is the last of the roll, so the first from the bulk that I attached to the canister and I think it was exposed to light. Pitty I like this shot.

2018-3-Himatic-1-028
Upside down nap

I think I like the film, it is now 3 rolls I shot this year and 2 last years, it is on the contrasty side but nothing too extreme, so it makes a good replacement for TRI-X or TMY 400. The shot below is quite smooth as I like it. Actually tones quality reminds me of a proper wet paper print.

2018-3-Himatic-1-027

Mmm also I fell the Epson v800 gives immediately better results that the v500, but this may be just because I paid so much for it.

2018-3-Himatic-1-007

 

There will be no declugging for the Minolta, it belonged to one grand uncle, so that’s a keeper even if it goes out of the box only once a year.

Around city center with a 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s

THE SECOND ROLL OF BERGGER PANCRO400

Most common activity : posing in from the Mexican style mural

Last week I went out with fellow members of the “Lets shoot film SG” group, in the area of Arab Street in Singapore. The intent was to shoot the crowd : this has became a very popular spot now and there are many opportunities for candid shots.

Second most favorite activity : show your best profile to the camera

I loaded the Agfa Isolette III with my second roll (on 3) or Pancro 400, to see how it fares with a slightly better camera. I must say this was not some precision work, the uncoupled rangefinder is not working so the distances are guestimated and I preset the exposition most of the time. I put the original yellow filter (probably 1/2 stop) in front of the Apotar 80mmF4.5 lens as well as the aluminium hood for good order.

Painting is older than film

The film was processed at the same lab as the first one, I was not told the film need pushing this time, so maybe they worked out how to process it “normally”, go figure!

Small variation : a duo in from of a plain wall

The results : as the first film, this one came fairly flat from the lab and was easy to scan. A bit of tweaking in Lightroom, et voila!

Is it the conjunction of the small aperture used and / or  the yellow filter? The results surely have more contrast that my first roll but still shows pretty smooth tones, and no hard contrasts. Highlights were easily recuperated, underlining the claim to large latitude.

Whats going on there?

Something keep on surprising me ( as I also just scanned my first roll in 35mm format) it is that this film manage to be quite grainy and still preserves an impressive amount of details even in under or over exposed shots (no shown here) or areas.

I will shot the last 120 roll with the Hassie; maybe I’ll try to do some portraits to see if in a more controlled environment something else is revealed.

 

 

THE SECOND ROLL OF BERGGER PANCRO400

St Matthew’s Church – Neil Road

Small walk to Neil Road a few weeks back  to check the intriguing architecture of the old abandoned St Matthews Church.

Flickr-1007011

Most of the information here is taken from Remember Singapore  a great site about things of the past in Singapore.

Flickr-1007007

The original church was built in the 1890’s as a place of worship for the British sailors.

Flickr-012-2

It operated though all the first half of the 20th Century, including the Japanese occupation during WWII.

Flickr-017

 

In the late fifties, St Matthew’s embarked on a re-building plan of its main church building.

Flickr-1007021

Designed with a distinctive Modern style, the new double-storey building consisted of a prayer hall on top of a large function room. It also possessed an unique vertically protruding roof that looked like a ship’s prow, and a tall concrete bell tower that was erected beside the main chapel.

Flickr-1007004

The bell was removed sometime in the 2000’s.Flickr-1006999

Flickr-1006992

Flickr-023

 

Flickr-014

Also, after the war, St Matthew’s Church carried out plans to, expand its premises, including the construction of a vicarage and a kindergarten was also built in the early fifties.

Flickr-020

The new kindergarten was designed in simple Art Deco-style; it had a sloping roof laid with terracotta Marseilles tiles and timber windows with louvers.

Flickr-1007010

 

Flickr-1007015

Flickr-019
Flickr-018
Flickr-015

 

Flickr-1007013

Color pictures Leica M262 ; B&W pictures Leica M4 with Kotak TMAX 100.

Wide angle Summicron 28mmF2 Asph ; normal lens Summicron 50mm F2 type V

St Matthew’s Church – Neil Road