The Leica User Group Singapore (LUGS) organized an outing last week (7 April 2008) to the Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Polypan F50 is a mysterious beast : it is a film made to copy cinema movies. It has no anti halation layer: it means the light bounces back from the pressure plate of the camera and on highlights produce a “glow” effect (To reduce the glow you can put apply some black backing paper to the pressure plate).
It comes in bulk of various lengths and can be found on auction sites, it looks it was produced until recently. It can be pushed to 100 or 200 as some friends do, I may try on the next roll.
This roll was shot with the Leica M4 + Summilux 50v2, at 50 ISO, hand metered (Sekonic 308S). I processed mine at my local lab which used Kodak D76, I was told the buy pushed it one stop.
The result is quite OK to my taste, the grain is quite smooth in some of the shots, more present on others, like a generic 100 ISO film. There is something special on some shots that can be related to the “Glow”.
This is a 50 ISO film, so not so easy for street shooting, but still I think three out of four shots are OK technically. Using the Summilux gives a bit more leeway to play with compare to slower lens, and on a sunny day I could shoult at 1/125, 1/250
The film is moderately curly, scanning did not show any special difficulties. The highlight seems to be a bit blown, bringing them in line needs darkening the pictures a bit too much to my taste, but I cannot deny the palette of grey is interesting.
I though it was more interesting to share about this new experience that following up my last post about the art of curating films. But I can quickly share the following: on the 25 shots of this roll, 5 where not good technically, 4 are of my family, 13 seriously lack of interest or are dupes. So I am left with the 8 shareable shots shown here
A bit high ratio, but I am a slow shooter, specially with a film of such slow speed, so maybe I paid more attention. The first and last shots are probably a bit above OK. “Music head” with its quirky composition is probably very close to be an OK. The “Girl in Wanzi” would have been as well if not for some motion shake I think. “Bump”, “Egg Business” and the “Time Off” are on the very low end of the interesting range.
The title is a bit pedantic, but actually it came from something very down to earth. I recently reviewed 30 years on pictures for a small personal project and the experience was both fun and sad. The fun side came from the obvious pleasure of looking at them : the reason why we like photography. The sadness was brought in by the shots I did not take: these long lost friends I have no portraits off, this great week end, that awesome holidays; my first car, but also for the lack of quality of some shots, making them unusable for my project, and just plain depressing : how could have I done that?.
This lead me to reflect (quickly) on the quality of the many shots I take, and my overall photographic journey. A bit further in my thinking came the idea of sharing how I select my shots maybe for a rolls or two.
I just collected today a roll of Ilford Delta 100 from the lab, it was shot with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, over two weeks of relatively no inspiration and crap weather. So maybe this roll is a bit more lame than usual, but let’s see.
For Buddhists Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. This is my very first time at Bright hill temple ; it is a huge compound in the center of Singapore.
Bright Hill temple also known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, is famous for the “3 Steps 1 Bow ceremony” on the eve of Vesak Day.
Above are monks who are opening the procession. The ceremony starts at 5pm and takes 2 and half hours to complete ending with the monks back in the main hall blessing the devotees with water.
Monks are followed by lay people who will queue all evening and a big part of the night. One people I know said he will go at 3am.
Below people queuing at the start of the procession
The main halls are also the occasion to pray and give offerings; mostly candles.
During the day itself, ritual is generally the bathing of the Buddha.
Most shots done with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mm, close ups with Elmarit 90mmF2.8.
Some film shots (with black border) done with Leica M6 on Fuji Xtra 800ISO with same lenses.
How to get there: Bright Hill is quite central (like in the middle of the island) but may take some time to reach. You can get a bus there (check gothere.sg) which will take close to one hour from CDB or take a cab (more of less 15 SGD).
Devotees and temple staff are quite photo friendly, so as long as you are decently dressed and don’t go in the middle of ceremony you feel welcome to shoot. There is actually a small crowd of photographers.
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.
The end of 2016 was fast approaching and looking at the treasure chest (and my spreadsheet of films shots during the year), I looked at camera who had not went to the field.
The Kiev IV is one of them, and I felt the next trip to Dakota was a good opportunity to take it for a spin. I loaded a roll of Tri-X and pocketed (so to speak) the body, the 50F2 and the 35F2.8.
My Kiev now has a new skin (no more mummy look), and no more light leaks (fingers crossed). So it does not look to shabby anymore and is quite a usable device.
The light-meter on mine is dead, or maybe is it too complicated to use. I find the speed control very difficult to use, and difficult to read with my poor eyesight at close range. The rangefinder with its lighting window below the shutter is not great as I always have a tendency to obscure it with a finger or the other.
I always like the images that the Kiev produces, my two lenses are very sharp, the rangefinder when not blocked, is very accurate. The speeds on my copy are quite on as well. But this fellow stays in the cupboard (actually a giant Tupperware) because of its not so friendly controls (speed change, shutter button, lens change, winding, loading of film). I think it even compares negatively to the Leica III.
This says I love the pics, I may get rid of my set this year, it may be a cheap entry level rangefinder for someone else, who knows.
About Dakota Crescent estate, you can read more on other posts, around mid-December the place is quite empty now.
This is a roll shot with the Kiev IV Camera, Jupiter 35 or 50 lens on Kodak TRI-X.