FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

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“A la Mort Subite” Brussels – Belgium

Summer holidays have been over for a few weeks, and it is time to go back to this blog. As usual I did not shoot as much as expected during the holidays. One poor roll of medium format Rollei 80S with the old Kodak Autographic, and with the M6 a roll of Kodak Gold and the present roll of Rollei Vario Chrome.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

The Rollei Varichrome is a reversal (slide) film, claimed to have high latitude and can be shot between 200 and 400 ISO, 200 being recommended for scanning. Although introduced in 2017 it seems it is a “new old” stock that will have a limited availability. some reading suggest this is altogether expired material already. Note this film can be cross processed in C41 as well.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

My complete roll is a bit over exposed, in particular those of the Atomium, generally the dark areas are not dark enough.

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Le botanique – Brussels – Belgium

Above shot of the botanical garden in Brussels is very pleasing, the lack of contrast gives a great mood.

The following street shots taken during the FIFA world cup final also work quite ok. The vintage look is overall quite nice, except maybe the picture of the two young ladies, but it may just be the exposure being off on that one.

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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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Mrs B

I like very much the first shot and the one above taken in the vintage café “La Mort Subite”.

All in all this looks too much like an Instagram filter to me, some shots are very satisfactory, but it will become very gimmicky to use. The experience is quite expensive as well, I think the roll was like 18SGD and the processing 13 SGD, so more or less 1SGD a shot. Shooting a roll of Kodak Gold would cost half of this and Instagram filters are free. In conclusion it is worth giving it a try, but then it’s better have a subject on which you will shot your whole film, the gimmick effect being lost in the consistency of the subject. For instance I imagine a wedding photographer may like to shot a roll of this as a special feature. For me I don’t think I’ll use this again.

Finally two shots below on quite different subject :

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Still life : a traditional French post box
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Countryside restaurant outside Manila (Philippines)

 

All shots at 200 ISO with Leica M6 and one Summicron or the other (28, 35, 50) and scanned on Epson v800.

 

Rollei Vario002

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FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

A Roll of Rollei ATP 32

Rollei ATP11

Rollei ATP (Advanced Technical Pan) 1.1 is advertised as an extremely high-resolution black and white fine grain film. This film is characterized by fine grain, high sharpness and variable contrast. It has a nominal sensitivity of ISO 32/16°.

The roll was shot with the Leica M6 and mostly a Summicron 28.

It is a  (super) panchromatic film, ie have a sensibility to all the visible wavelength as opposed to orthochromatic which have a specific sensibility to red.

This is the second roll I shot in 35mm and as you can see from the label is has passed the expiration date by 2 years, but was kept in the fridge. As usual my rolls go to the shop (Ruby photo in Singapore) and do not get any special processing.

Back from the shop it is evident the roll is underexposed, blame the 2 years expiry or the failing batteries on the M6? I cannot say. But all in all a bit under.

The first 3 pictures were taken in the afternoon, on a rather sunny day, in Mac Ritchie reservoir in central Singapore. I really like the metallic rendering of these pictures, particularly the second one. The first one has something special in the richness of the grey tones which is very pleasing.

The picture above is very different, under midday sun a family scene a the skate park. Hard sun, not ideal conditions, but the contrast is not as harsh as with the Rollei 25 RPX. Very pleasing.

Same goes for the above; hard light, wide range of grey.

Above the heritage buildings on Petain Court. And below the Summicron wide open on an overcast day. Very nice definition.

Finally the last picture below, and the revelation of why I liked this roll very much : these negative scans (with the now outdated Epson v500) have a rendering close to a wet print. I think it is done to the total range but also something special in the depth of the blacks.

I checked the results of the first roll that I shot 3 years ago with the defunct NikonF4s. The pictures are showing the same smoothness, high resolution and deep darks, and a bit undeexposed. So, with the Rollei Retro 80s this is a very good choice of film for a change. I will order some Medium format rolls to check with the hassie.

Finally, what can you shoot at 32 ISO? On a sunny day with a F2 lens ? Anything. But when the sun goes out you better have another body at hand. So it can be quite frustrating at times.

Oh and where to get some? No idea where you can buy some in Singapore. In France I order mine from http://www.mx2boutique.com/ , there is also https://www.macodirect.de/en/ in Germany.

A Roll of Rollei ATP 32

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

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I had high hopes for my holidays in the alps, so I brought some slides and low speed B&W film, but alas, the weather was, how can I put it politely, not so great.

And over the week I did not took out the film body.

When I hit the french riviera I was still quiet excited, but I could not really convince myself that this was the time for shooting this last roll of Velvia.

Not your average glass

Anyway so I loaded the M6 with a roll of Rollei 25, I used a mix of 50 Summiilux V2, the 35 Summaron 2.8 and the newly acquired Summicron 28mm.

Needless to say I still find the M6 is a joy to use with any of these lenses.

In my ignorance, I though that a low speed film would be better used in bright daylight on a great sunny day. Actually this is a  very contrasty film and in bright light you end up with very high contrasts. You may like it or not, I am so so.

The Fig Tree

In subdued light like on the next picture taken on the beach on a cloudy day, the grays are nicer.

On a practical point of view, the film is very flat when coming back from the lab so it’s fairly easy to scan.

The Fig Tree

There is a very thorough review of this film (and many more) here:

http://photo-analogue.blogspot.sg/2014/03/rollei-rpx-25.html

Clearly it is a bit childish to play with these “special” films and bring them to a commercial lab. It looks like their “specialness” need to be handled with care when processing the film, and the character can be managed one way or the other.

Note that I did not use any filters for these pictures

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

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 – Part 2

This is a follow up of the last post;

As this was the first outing of the year,  I could not resist bringing along a second camera, the Nikon F photomnic with the original 50mmF1.4 non AI.

When I did the write up of the film shots of 2015, I noticed the Nikon F only went out of the box once and this is not fair, I have some interesting lenses that can attach to it and it should hit the road more often this year.

The batteries from the stock seems to be still working; I pulled from the fridge a roll of Rollei retro 80s. This is the first time I use this film, I read you can shoot it at 100. This film is expired for a bit more than a year, but sitting in the fridge that probably does not matter. When I bought the Nikon F  a few years back I grabbed two measuring prisms and both although far from mint provide accurate measuring, at least as good as the handled meter.

Same as for the Hasselblad shots, all the pictures are made handheld, the 50mm is the equivalent of the 80mm Planar on the Hassie, not the best for architecture shot, but both cameras are already quite heavy so I could not consider bringing another lens (anyway the wider I have with the connection prong is 35mm).

The Rollei film performed quite well. It has as expected fine grain, it is quite contrasty, the scanning is easy as the negs are quite flat, the film has an odd blueish tint. Some of the shots have some deep blacks, and nice grays. The measuring seems to be not always on, but maybe it is more due to the meter of the F than to the characteristics of the film. This film seems to show some character and I’ll get some more when I can. I’ll probably test with another camera, the EOS1M which has better metering capabilities.

There is not much more to add about the National Gallery from my last post, maybe that the place boasts a few restaurants (at least 3 or 4) and the prime minister of Singapore was treating a Princess of Thailand the way we visited.

 

SINGAPORE NATIONAL GALLERY – Part 2

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

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