2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

La mort subite
Camera n.1: Leica M6 with Rollei Vario

Happy  new year everybody, happy film shooting to all the film photogs. If I looks around me in Singapore it looks like more and more people are shooting film. I see young kids buying film at the shop and carrying around some analog point and shoots, SLRs or rangefinders. I met fellow film shooters in Japan, Laos and Thailand this year and at the big dismay of my family I (nearly) always go and talk to them, and take their picture sometime.

In my own opinion 2018 has been less exciting that 2017 in term of the film industry : Cinestill is now part of the landscape, Kodak Ektachrome is said to be available but I have not tried it yet, Film Ferania is still nowhere near the shelves. The only new film I tried is the Rollei variochrome positive film, which is quite gimmicky.

Camera N.2 : Leica IIIC with Kodak TMAX 100

 

Below is a breakdown of my film rolls:

Film Rolls
Ultrafine 400 17
Cinestill 50D 3
Rollei Retro 80s 3
Bergger Pancro400 3
Kodak Tmax 400 2
Rollei CR 200 2
Polypan PF50 2
Cinestill 800 2
Fuji Reala 800 2
Kodak Gold 200 2
Rollei Superpan 200 2
Kodak Colorplus 2
Kodak Portra 400 2
Kodak Ektar 100 1
Rollei Vario 1
Kodak Tmax 100 1
Kentmere 400 1
Ilford hp5 1
Kodak Portra 160 1
Kodak TMZ 3200 1
Agfa APX 400 1
Grand Total 52

And by Brand

Brand Rolls
Ultrafine 17
Kodak 12
Rollei 8
Cinestill 5
Bergger 3
Fuji 2
Polypan 2
Agfa 1
Ilford 1
Kentmere 1
Grand Total 52
A tough one
Camera n.3: Leica M4 with Kentmere 400

The first thing to notice is that I shot a bit less that last year (I did 63 rolls then), I think I also shot less digital, I spend some time in a couple other projects. But still I am holding the one roll per week rate.

I shot 17 rolls of Ultrafine that I hand-rolled myself : this is a first for me. This is a quite good film : I told the lab it is Kentmere 400 and had no problem. I liked the experience of hand rolling shorter rolls, but as I don’t process myself there is a balance to reach between the cost of processing and not having to throw away the last shots of a roll (or shoot meaningless pics with them).

Kodak is a mix bag of black and white and the cheap color films like Colorplus and Gold 200. I tried the new TMZ 3200 once again this year and I think a good performer.  I am a Kodak fanboy.

An angel on the wall
Camera N.4 : Hasselblad 500CM with Cinestill 50D

 

On the disappointment side are the Bergger Panchro and the Rollei Superpan, they lack contrast and have too much grain to my taste (or maybe I lack the skills to make them shine). I cannot make them out of my fridge fast enough, so I will still have some to shoot this year. I finally finished my two years expired Fuji reala 800, both shot with the Leica IIIc, I don’t really like this film (but it was so cheap) and also I have problem measuring for 800 Iso in daylight, so results were not great.

Finally the Rollei Vario ( you can read the full review here ) : it is very gimmicky so one roll is enough. I think if you are a pro and shoot a wedding, you can have a nice couple of pictures with a very different look, but apart from this the tint makes its usage very limited.

#15

Camera N.5 : Agfa Isolette with Bergger Panchro 400

Now let’s look at the gear.

Camera Rolls
Leica M6 21
Leica IIIc 11
Leica M4 10
Hasselblad 500CM 4
Agfa Isolette III 2
EOS 1N 2
Kodak Autographic Jr 1
Minolta Himatic 7s 1
Grand Total 52

Once again Leica’s are on top of the ladder, I am still investing in my Leica Kit, so the M system is set to shine for a while. My travel kit now is the M262, the M6 and 3 or 4 lenses in the shoulder bag.

The Leica IIIc paired with the 35mm F3.5 Summaron is my walk around camera, as a consequence the M4 lags a bit behind.

Chinese new year 2018
Camera N.6 : Canon EOS 1N Kodak Portra 160

I only shot 7 rolls of medium format, the Hasselblad has a problem now and only takes 11 shots per roll, and stays at home during holidays; the Agfa still cannot focus but I like taking it out a couple of times a year (exactly two times)

I kept on my decluttering habit this year, so I got rid of my broken Olympus Mju1, the EOS 1N, the Kiev and some Nikon Zoom lenses.

 

Artist at work
Camera N.7 : Minolta Hi matic with Ultrafine Xtreme 400

 

Finally my v500 scanner died in the first week on 2018, so I upgraded to an Epson v800. Frankly the difference is not that visible but it is a lot faster and the Silverfast software is quite better than the Epson one, although I must say I still have some work to master it.

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Camera N. 8 : Kodak Autographic Jr 6×9 with Rollei retro 80s.

 

If you are curious you can check the past reviews : 2015, 2016, 2017.

Happy shooting in 2019 !

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2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

Zhoujia Qingming

The Lion dance troupes from the Zhoujia style go each year to Bright Hill temple for Qingming celebration to honor their founder. The Zhoujia is a special form of Lion Dance, which is very energetic, founded in Singapore, there are very interesting videos on the history of this martial art, coming from the south China King-Fu. Mister Li, in his 80’s is he current master and the son (or grand son) of the founder

The Qingming or Ching Ming festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English (sometimes also called Chinese Memorial Day or Ancestors’ Day).

The troupes gather at the bottom of the slope getting up to one of the temple courtyards (for those who do not know Bright Hill temple, it is a massive compound), they run up one by one up the steep slope (and very sunny last week).

The lion dancers perform around the yard at the sound of drums and pray as different shrines before ending before a table laid with offerings. They then move aside and align waiting for the other troupes to parade as well. A total of 6 groups were present this day.

 

Afterwards there will be some common praying to the ancestor, Kung-Fu demonstration , a full minute of full strength drumming and a final tour.

Not very easy to shoot action with the Hassie.

Hasselblad 500CM+80mmF2.8
Cinestill 50D

Zhoujia Qingming

Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club (The Hasselblad shots)

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2018-19-Hassie-010082018-19-Hassie-01007The Leica User Group Singapore (LUGS) organized an outing last week (7 April 2008) to the Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club.

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The Hassie came to the party loaded with a roll of Cinestill 50D. Here is the result. The Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club is  place in Amg Mo Kio, central Singapore, where bird lovers have their pets compete. In both singing and look competition.

It is a beutiful places with both shadow areas with low hanging bird cages but also a wide open space with high poles were cages are hoisted by a pulley system.

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(The above rectangular shot is due to an issue with the Hassie back frame spacing)

On competition days judges are walking between the birds and give notes.

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Read more at https://kebunbarubirdsingingclub.weebly.com/about-us.html

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Also a nice opportunity for people watching.

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Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club (The Hasselblad shots)

35mm Film in hassy back

My backyard

Forget about everything serious and let’s be silly. If you spend too much time on the internet you probably already came across something similar : people shooting 35 mm film with their Hasselblad. Even worse you find people trying to find out how to do it…

I will cut the chase short : I think there is absolutely no reasons to do it except the two following:

  • you want to scan the sprockets
  • you want to use film that is not available in 120 format

Apart from the general quirkiness of setting this up, please consider the following issues:

  • the automatic back of your Hassie is set to 12 frames, so there is just so much you can get of your 35mm roll, I would say that 24 shots rolls are ok, but you will loose a fair bit of film. Unless you roll them from bulk yourself, in which case I think with the technique exposed here you can probably use a 20 shots roll. I also read you can use a A24 back to shoot 20 shots out of a 36 roll.
  • the film moves upward in the hassie which does not make a difference in 120 format as it is square, but your “paronama” will by default be vertical, so to shoot landscape you have to turn your Hasselblad on the side, no so easy to frame after that. It is then recommended to use a 90 degree prism (I don’t own one)
  • finally framing is not easy unless you have a mask, but I did not find any template
Marina Bay Sands without the top

Frankly I generally find panorama useless, as it is very difficult to see them on screen or printed, unless they are printed very large or they highlight very special shapes.

But last week a friend gave me some spacers that he 3D printed and I decided to give them a try. I had at hand a freshly hand rolled canister with 17 shots of Polypan (the end of the bulk) so why not kill two birds with one stone.

Note that on the re-enactment above the white canister is the take-up side, the Fuji is the film I will shoot. This is a very neat set-up. Note that I would normally cut the start of the Fuji film to have better adherence to the take up lead. Also I had no problem (it seems) with keeping the film flat on the pressure plate, but I saw some guys are adding some holders to keep the film flat.

 

Meeting point (This is what you get by default)

To resolve the take up side of the issue I used another 35mm canister that I taped to the start of my roll and used the spacers on both side. I checked a couple of times to make sure the film was on the correct side. Closed the back and cracked until all was ready.

I thereafter happily shots my 12 pictures.

My roll was too short so the last picture was partially exposed to the light when I opened the back. Also I think this caused some spacing issues towards the end of the roll.

Portrait of my son with (sprockets and all)

I will give this another try (in color), but I think it is really just good for fun. I thought about trying with the Agfa Isolette, but the winding not being automatic, guessing how much to wind will be quite challenging.

35mm Film in hassy back

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Rochor Center classic view

I joined Bernard Goh’s Singapore Photo Walk outing of March with my son.

Rochor Centre is group of buildings built by the Housing and Development Board of Singapore. It was built and completed in 1977 and consists of 4 blocks painted in vivid colors yellow, green, red and blue.

Rochor Center classic view

This is an iconic building in the east side on Singapore center that can be seen by tourists going to Arab Street or Little India.

The buildings comprise habitations, shops and hawkers ( food stalls). On the ground floor you still can find some religious artefacts.
Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

The center has started closing as later this year it will be torn down to give way to a motorway joining the north to the south of the island. A lot of the shops have already relocated, but some are still open. The habitations seems to still be occupied if I can judge by the drying laundry.

Rochor Center classic view

The void desk is a classical feature of the HDB blocks, an open area for inhabitants to congregate and do activities.

Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

Our friend Long Siew Leng aka Jumping girl.

Pictures 1 and 2 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei CR 200 slide film

Pictures 3,4,and 5 : Leica M6, summaron 28mm2.8, Kodak Portra 400

Pictures 6 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei RPX 100 film

 

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Singapore National Gallery

The first outing of 2016 of the Singapore Photowalkers(SGPW) organized by Bernard Goh was at the newly opened National Gallery. An opportunity to bring out the Hasselblad and a roll of Rollei RPX 25Iso that I imagined well suited for Architecture.

The National Gallery is a museum displaying local collections, in a new building mixing contemporary architecture and two buildings form the colonial Area: the city hall an dthe high court.

Inside and outside the mix of the two style is visible.

Tripods are not allowed inside so all shots are handheld around 1/60s at F4. The film is very easy to scan with the old Epson V500 and the lab did not do a bad job with it.

I can let you judge the results.

I also shot a roll of Rollei Retro 400s which turned out to be so badly underexposed it is unusable. If is the second roll now, shall I blame the lab or the film? Actually I also manage to screw up another roll of 400s in the EOS1N, but I pushed that one by 1 stop. In doubt I’ll stay away from if from now on.

Singapore National Gallery

2015 a year of film

Agfa Isolette III in Easter Island

Here is the new year; so first happy new year to all the readers of this blog, and happy shooting. This is the time for a bit of retrospective, and I won’t miss the opportunity. 2015 was another good (in term of fun) year of film shooting. I managed to break the psychological barrier of one film a week, actually getting to 55 films (this is a roughly total of 1500 pics)

Leica M6 + Summaron : A Compression by artist Cesar

I have been shooting both travels and city (or street) , black and white, slides and color print films, both in 120 and 35mm formats, with a total of 12 different cameras.

Leica M4 + Summilux 50mm F1.4 : Lee Kuan Yew Funerals
Camera Films
Leica M6 15
Leica M4 10
Hassie 8
Agfa isolette III 4
EOS 1N 4
Leica iiiC 4
Kiev IV 3
Heineken Toy Camera 2
Nikon F3 2
Dacora 1
Fuji disposable 1
Nikon F 1
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Haselblad 500Cm +80mmF2.8 : Artist Mlle Maurice

I had been quite good GAS wise this year, my collection increased “only” by two additions:

  • the EOS 1N, with 50mm 1.8MKII, the body was given by a friend and I purchased a 80$ lens, so hardly any GAS here
  • finally I made the acquisition of a Leica M6 classic, and a 35mmF2.8 Summaron to accompany it. This is a long awaited purchase and the table above shows how much I am happy with it
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Canon EOS 1N + 50mm 1.8 MKII : my friend Herman

The Leicas are on top of the list as I have now more lenses to pay with. Pity the Nikon F did not get out of the cupboard more I’ll try to do better this year. Some cameras did not get a chance: the F4, the Kodak Autographic, the Canonet, the Minolta Himatic, the Zorki but frankly this last one is not worth using. The Nikon F3, is definitely showing some focusing issue.

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Leica IIIC + Summitar 50mmF2 : Young fisherman

Plans for the year: do as well next year, maybe some film only trips. Gear wise I promise to be a good boy: maybe upgrade my scanner or do some processing at home.

Kiev IV + Jupiter 35mmF2.8 : Happy Birthday Singapore

Next article I will try to do a small overview of the films  I tried this year.

Dacora Digna : Cannes French Riviera
2015 a year of film