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

GOING DIGITAL WITH THE OLYMPUS E-PL2 – 2

This is a small follow up of my last post where I related the purchase of the E-PL2. Since the I took the camera out a few times and actually for something “obsolete” is is not so bad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Kite Cemetery

The 4 shots in this post have been taken with the Canon Serenar 135mm F4. This is a quit ebay piece of kit I got from the web from 80 USD. It is likely to have been built between 1948 and 1952, and mine has a scaler in feet, which means it is an export version.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Posing for fame

On the E-PL2, thanks to the crop factor of 2, this becomes a 270mm lens, by far my longest lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Selfie time

Despite my short sight focusing with reading glasses and the zoom feature is possible. I wonder is the EVF (Electronic view finder would help).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mini-me

I still think that looking at full size there is some noise reduction happening and I prefer not to have it. But it may also just be the lens which is not that sharp and a bit hazy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All shots taken in “auto” mode, the lens is best used at F5.6 or F8, ISO200, speed 1/640 and above

 

GOING DIGITAL WITH THE OLYMPUS E-PL2 – 2

Leica M6 + summaron 35mmF2.8

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That’s it, it did not took me one year to upgrade, or at least expand my Leica toolbox.

I was a bit frustrated last summer when trying the M240 for nearly 4 days. This is of course a wonder of a camera but I found all in all a few issues. Definitely for its price it is not the one fits all camera I am wishing for; it cannot take Circular polarizers, the close range is not so close, older lenses are visibly outdated, for the price you would wish every shot to be a piece of art which actually it is not. Also, having to wear glasses to see things at short distance the back screen and live view is a total loss for me (maybe there is something I have to learn here). Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of fun, and probably I will end up owning one sometime, but really I felt no urge to do so. I concluded my small review saying that instead I would more likely invest in a newer film body in the short term.

I already own a M4 with a Summilux 50mm V2, a Leica IIIc with a Summitar 50mmF2 and a few Ltm lens; most notably a Color Skopar 21mmF4. I was quite interested in getting a body with a meter and a wider lend. I ended up purchasing a boxed M6 Classic black and a Summaron 35mmF2.8, the version with the goggles.

Subodh Gupta – Le Domaine du Muy – France Shot with Fuji Provia 100 ISO, Summilux 50mmF1.4

Both pieces come in excellent condition (but I am not a collector), no dents or scratches, difficult to see how much films they shot.

I have now shot 6 films with the M6 and the Summaron or the Summilux and I must say I am very happy. Both works very smoothly and are very easy to use.

The metering is a lot better that using a handheld meter. Actually this cause a bit of a problem because if I have the M6 and the M4 in the bag, the M4 tends to stay there. Focusing is very easy; the finder is very bright, although I suspect there is a bit of haze in one of the front glass. With the goggles of the Summaron the viewfinder is a bit less luminous, something I would not have though of.

Compression de Porsche – César – Mougins – France TMAX100 – Summaron 35mmF2.8

There is absolutely no difficulties using the M6 if you had another M before; actually I would think that if you played with a few film cameras before it’s difficult to come with a surprise. The only small problem, which Leica solved in the M6TTL is the size of the speed dial. It is quite frustrating to manipulate it when looking at the meter arrows inside the finder.

The Summaron is a nice piece of kit; the infinite lock is particular and easy to handle. The focusing is smooth and does mot require as much course as the Summilux. I think F2.8 is fine for daylight. Some shots have a very nice 3D effect as the lady from the lab puts it.

All in all I am very happy; for the price of a new Elmarit 28mmF2.8 (That I did not found great last year) I have a new kit. I went on my summer holidays with the two bodies, the two lenses and the Color Skopar a very happy combo. All of this fits in a Crumpler 6Mio, with a couple of spare films, wallet, keys, sunglasses and reading glasses.

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Church of the black Nazarene – Manila – Philippines – Portra 400 – Color Skopar 21mmF4

Film wise, I had the chance to shoot a mix of :

  • Provia 100 slides
  • Kodak Tmax 100, my favorite B&W for daylight
  • Kodak TriX and Rollei RPX400, different grain but both nice for street shots
  • Kodak Portra 400, an excellent film, unfortunately under bad weather
  • Cinestill 50, first try, very promising

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La Kitchenette – Katong – Singapore – Cinestill 50 – Summaron 35mmF2.8

It is difficult to conclude. Having a better film camera is not replacing having a digital body, none of the shortcomings of the M240 are solved by the M6, but I can do better Leica shots. But I feel I did a good move. I saved a lot of money, I can happily have my new toy around my neck and still agree that the D700 is the best camera I ever had without looking like a fool. Which is important at my age.

Leica M6 + summaron 35mmF2.8

A couple of hours with a Leica M9

Mrs B with the Noctilux at F2
Mrs B with the Noctilux at F2

 

In Luxembourg for a few days I had the chance to borrow a Leica M9 from my friend Herman. The camera was passed to me with the Summicron 28mmF2.0 and the Noctilux 50mmF0.95. It was feeling like Christmas in July! As I am planning to rent a M240 + Summarit 28mmF2.8 when back in Singapore this is a very good opportunity.

Theatre de Luxembourg Summicron 28mm
Theatre de Luxembourg Summicron 28mm







Theatre de Luxembourg Summicron 28mm
Theatre de Luxembourg Summicron 28mm

Owning a Leica M4, the Camera feels familiar. It is strange not to have to carry a handheld light-meter with a Leica and not to have a winding knob. The internal meter with its red arrows indicating the over or under-exposure is easy enough to use but probably needs some time to get used to as it’s quite different to other camera’s I own. The speed selector enables an “auto” mode, which enables Aperture priority as in many SLR’s, this is really a great feature. The ISO selection also enables auto mode.

Menus are quite simple, I managed to configure the setting for the Summicron which is not a coded version (ie not recognized automatically by the camera) and change the picture resolution.Gelateria Summicron 28mm

The access to the battery and the memory card by the bottom plate is more funny than anything else. For a few hours I did not need a lot of access, just changing the card for the session.

The optical rangefinder is great, on the 100 odd pictures I took none was out of focus (although not all were artistic).

Le Pacha Summicron 28mm
Le Pacha Summicron 28mm

The Noctilux is awesome, but frankly it is bulky so expensive that I was frightened to drop it. With high iso available do the average shooter (aka me) needs .95? I’ll try my old Summilux 50mm1.4 soon and see how it fares for indoor and night shots.

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Nothing to say on the Summicron, I love the 28mm on full frame, full stop. This lens Is a bit on the expensive side and I will rent the twice cheaper Summarit, albeit F2.8 only, with the M240. There is not much visible distortion on the pictures, BUT the lens does not come with a viewfinder and the camera viewfinder full field is about 35mm. This is probably not an issue for casual shots, but it is a bit frustrating.

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One negative point: some of the grey areas in some of the pictures are showing some artifacts. I will check carefully during next try how often this happens.

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A quick conclusion: this was a very good but short experience, I am now looking forward to renting the Leica M240 this week-end, nearly 3 days shooting in Singapore I will also have the opportunity to test my older lenses. It is a bit early to say if this a definite buy or not.

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A couple of hours with a Leica M9