Back in the Spring, Mike Williams and I were thinking about something new to shoot, and decided to try a double exposure roll exchange. A tag team roll of Ilford HP5 Plus that each of us would shoot on. Mike was first to shoot on the roll with one of his new favorite cameras, the Minolta X-700 (1981). After he was done, he rewound the roll and shipped it from North Carolina to me in Utah. I wanted to shoot the roll with some sprockets, so I used the FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair (1988). After I had finished the roll, it was developed by RepliColor in Salt Lake City, and scanned on my Epson V600. The results are interesting. Should Mike and I try another double exposure roll? What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me what film and cameras we should use.
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Last year my film-photographer-partner-in-crime, Mike Williams, sent me a Nikon N2000 with Nikkor 50mm lens. Mike had wrapped the camera and lens in several layers of bubble wrap before placing in the box. That however didn’t stop USPS from damaging the contents. When I received the box, one side was damaged to the point that it looked like someone had taken an axe to it. The camera appeared to be fine, but the lens had a noticeable dent where you would thread on a filter. Fast forward eight months, Mike reminds me to test the camera. I hadn’t told him about the damage (because I knew he’d be pissed), but intended to use the camera and lens despite the damage. The N2000 body that appeared to be un-wounded, and working, was now dead. I still wanted to use the lens despite its new dimple, so I mounted it on my Nikon EM. I refer to this camera and lens combination as, “like putting an engine from a Mustang in a Pinto.” The images were shot on FPP High Speed Retrochrome 320 and processed E6. The resulting colorcast is very retro, warm, with medium grain.
It’s rare that I get a camera, quickly shoot a roll a film, enjoy the camera so much that I immediately move to another roll of film. Again, the Miranda G is such a great camera. Don’t believe me, go read my post from last week. The second roll of film I shot with was some Film Photography Project Edu 200 Black & White. At $3.99, you can’t beat the price. The only drawback is it’s a thin plastic and can be difficult to scan.
The Annual VW “No Show” in Kaysville, Utah, is one of my favorite car shows. Not because I own a Volkswagen, or know much about cars. It’s the people at the show and the variety of photographic opportunities. The car owners are great to talk with. They love to share their knowledge about VW’s, often pointing out specific details of a particular year or model. The show usually consists of about 100+ cars. And it only takes a few hours to see everything and visit with people. Brian Thomson and his fellow VooDoo Kruizerz do an awesome job at hosting a fun show each year. Below are some photos from the VW show, make sure to click on the images and view the whole gallery. And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see some cars from another show.
Agfa’s production of the Isolette series spans several decades. Multiple models were made from pre-WWII 1936 up to 1958. The Isolette I is a simple German-made 120 folder that was sold from 1952 to 1960. The camera features an 85mm coated f/4.5 – 32 Agnar lens and a synchronized Vario leaf shutter. Focus is scale-focusing, measured on the lens from 3 feet to infinity.
I purchased the Isolette I for $20 after listening to Episode 143 of the Film Photography Project Podcast. Host Mark O’Brien details many of the features. He also describes the common issues with sticky, or dried lubricant. When I received the Isolette, sure enough, the lens would not focus because the original lubricant had cemented the focus in place. Utah Film Photography friend, Maurice Greeson, put the camera on his workbench, cleaned, lubricated and freed the focus.
My experience with the Isolette was just so-so. I like having a 120 folder that has such a small footprint. However, I found that ultimately I wanted better control over the focus. My ideal 120 folder would have a rangefinder focus. The Isolette I doesn’t have a light meter. For some photographers that might be a deal breaker, but for me it wasn’t an issue. Now that I’ve said that, the majority of my shots were under or over-exposed. I don’t believe this was my fault or the cameras. I think it was the expired Kodak T-Max 100 I was using. I’m not sure how it was stored before it was donated. Will I shoot with the Isolette again? Sure, but with some fresh Kodak Tri-X or Illford HP5.
The camera review this week was a donation from Mike Williams in Hickory, North Carolina. Mike found the 7s at a local yard sale for $5.00 (US) and shipped it out west. Make sure to check our Mike’s current project on Youtube, 12 Months/12 Cameras, where he shoots an entire month with a single camera and shares a video review.
The Petri 7s was manufactured by the Petri Camera Company from 1963 – 1976. Features: coupled rangefinder focus, around-the-lens selenium light meter, shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 sec, and a 45mm f/2.8 – 16 lens. The Petri company called their rangefinder focus system the Green-O-Matic because the overall viewfinder is tinted green while the focusing area is yellow. The idea was that contrasting colors made it easier to focus.
After the Petri 7S arrived, I purchased a telephoto and wide angle diopter set from a user in a vintage camera group on Facebook for $12. The diopters are screwed in to the 52mm thread mount, and the viewfinder is attached to the camera cold/accessory shoe. My results with the diopter set are mixed. This is the first time I’ve used diopters with a rangefinder camera. In the digital world, my experience with adding more glass in front or behind a lens results in difficult focusing and poor image quality.
The selenium light meter on the Petri 7s circles the lens. This design was initially created to allow the meter to read the light behind an attached lens filter. The camera has two match-needle meters. One is visible in the viewfinder, and the other on the top of the camera body. In this particular 7s, the needles on both do not display the same reading. In some of my images, I tried to split the difference between the two with little success. I had much better results metering with my Gossen Luna Pro S handheld meter.
You can find the Petri 7s for as cheap as $8.00 (US) on eBay, and there are a lot of them. While I really enjoy a good rangefinder camera, this one ranks towards the bottom of the list. And not because of the meter issue. That’s almost expected with a selenium meter on a camera that’s a) this old and b) you don’t know how it was stored. My test images were shot on Film Photography Project’s Edu 200 BW Film. There was some scratching on the negatives in most of the images that I intend to investigate. If I had to pick a rangefinder from 60’s or 70’s, I’d consider a Yashica or Minolta over the Petri. However, for less than twenty bucks, it was worth the gamble. Do you have a any of the Petri rangefinders? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you don’t follow Utah Film Photography on Pinterest, you should. I was one of those people early on that complained about Pinterest. Now I see the value to pinning all of my favorite camera brands and types in one area for reference. One of the boards I keep on Pinterest is for Film Camera Clothing & Accessories. This board inspired me to create my own Utah Film Photography shirt last spring. It’s a black button-up Red Kap work shirt, something you’d see a car or motorcycle mechanic wear. I had a company create a custom Utah Film Photography patch, and found the vintage Pentax patch on eBay.
The latest patch additions to my shirt are from ShootFilmCo.com. I discovered these patches while following San Francisco based photographer Mike Padua’s film work on Instagram. Mike has created a new line of patches and stickers that express the humorous and enthusiastic side of film photography.
Mike says, “Growing up as a kid, and being in a number of punk rock bands and also loving photography at the same time, I thought it would be cool to have something that kind of brings both worlds together. I always thought that the artwork on vintage patches and stickers were amazing.” ShootFilmCo.com is where you’ll find Mike, designing, selling and shipping his expanding line of products. Mike’s original item, the In Grain We Trust embroidered patch and sticker was released earlier this year. And just in time for Halloween, ShootFilmCo.com has created two glow-in-the-dark patches. Working with Illustrator, Andrew Denholm in the U.K., one features a skeleton with a TLR camera, and the other, Frankenstein with a large format camera.
Along with the groovy artwork, the vinyl stickers and patches are made from quality materials. These are not cheap items you would buy from a drugstore gumball machine. The patches are worthy of your favorite camera bag, jacket, shirt or hat. And the stickers would make a valuable accessory to your car, laptop or forehead. All of ShootFilmCo.com patches are made in the USA by CustomPatches.net in New York. Mike isn’t afraid to share who he collaborates with and feels that artists should share and support each other as much as possible.
I’ve added the Film Is Not Dead and In Grain We Trust patches to my Utah Film Photography shirt. Instead of sticking the vinyl stickers to something, I decided to cut some flexible magnetic sheets and mount them. This makes them into perfect magnets for the office or my film fridge (also called the kitchen refrigerator by my wife and kids).
Make sure to visit ShootFilmCo.com and pick up some items before they sell out. Mike says, “It’s so much fun and ever since I started this endeavor in March, the absolute most rewarding thing that has happened is that I have talked to, and am now connected to more amazing film photographers than I ever thought possible. So many people are still shooting film, or coming back to it, or discovering it for the first time, and I’m really excited for film and the community to keep growing.”
I like to purchase sampler boxes of film because it gives me the chance to try something new. Last Spring the Film Photography Project started to sell what they called “Chrome” color reversal film, so I bought a Chrome 9-Pack. It includes 4 rolls of 35mm Chrome – FPP RetroChrome 160, 4 rolls of 35mm Chrome – FPP RetroChrome High Speed 320, and a bonus roll of mystery film. I’ve never used color slide film, or any film that produces a color positive image, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because the film is tungsten balanced, it produces a blue color cast in sunlight. When it’s used indoors under household incandescent lighting or tungsten lights, it represents accurate colors. These are some images on FPP RetroChrome 160 that I shot with my Minolta SR-T202 in Southern California. The film was E6 processed by TheDarkRoom.com.
The Nikon EM was produced in Japan from 1979 – 1982. The EM series of cameras was introduced as an entry-level SLR camera for budget minded photographers, $231 (USD). It’s interesting to learn, the EM was designed for, and marketed to, a growing market of female photographers. The camera weighs 16 ounces, has no manual exposure mode, and features a shutter speed from f/1 – 1/1000, bulb, and flash X-sync of 1/90 second. The thought was beginners had not mastered exposure, shutter speeds and f-stops. This section of the market was also moving up from rangefinders and compacts, but were intimidated by traditional SLR features. In the viewfinder is an exposure meter that beeps at the photographer if the exposure is too high or low, very cute. All Nikon F bayonet mount lenses can be used on the EM. To distinguish the EM from other Nikon cameras, the Series E line of lenses were created to differentiate between professional Nikkor ones. I bought this EM at a local pawn shop for $20. It’s the first Nikon product I’ve ever owned. Why? Not because I haven’t wanted to own a Nikon camera. It’s because every time I find a Nikon camera, they never have a lens! There’s nothing more depressing than a box of lensless Nikon cameras. You Nikon fanatics have the ability to hold on to your glass longer than any other camera manufacturer has allowed. I say that jokingly, but I mean it as a sincere compliment. I really enjoy this camera. I like the small footprint and weight. My first roll of film through the EM was 35mm Kodak Hawekeye Super Color, also known as Film Photography Project hand rolled Kodak Hawkeye Traffic Surveillance Film. Unfortunately, as you can see from photos, my EM has a light leak. I’m going to replace the light seals next week.
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My real interest in medium format began during my visit to San Clemente, California, in March for the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop 2015. On the second day of the workshop, Mat Marrash covered medium and large format film and cameras. Up to this point, my experience with medium format, 120 film, was with my Holga, Debonair, and Yashica-A. After seeing some of the medium format cameras at the workshop, I added a few to my wish list, like the Pentax 645, Mamiya 645, and of course a Hasselblad. My heart wanted the Pentax, my eyes wanted the Hasselblad, but my wallet led me to the Mamiya.
The Mamiya m645 Super is a medium format SLR camera made in 1985 by Mamiya in Tokyo, Japan. It features a Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8 lens, and shutter speeds are bulb, 4 through 1/1000 second. Like other medium format cameras, it’s a modular system, meaning you can add different components like a waist-level viewfinder, prism viewfinder, manual winding crank, powered winding grip, 120, 220, or Polaroid film back. One of the great features about using a medium format camera like the Mamiya is the ability to change the film back at any time using a metal dark slide to block the light from exposing the film.
These are some photos I captured on Kodak Tri-X 400 Black & White 120 Film, developed at home with New55 R3 Monobath, and scanned the negatives with an Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner. The photos were taken at the Ogden Union Station Restoration Shop in Ogden, Utah. For more information about the shop and the restoration of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway locomotive No. 223, read my guest post at IndieOgden.com.
I really enjoy shooting with the m645 Super. The camera and grip feel good, solid in my hands. What don’t I like about it? The shutter on this camera is loud. The mirror slap and powered film advance make a sound loud enough to set off car alarms and register on a seismograph at Utah State. Yes, I’m exaggerating, a little, but this camera is loud. And while the lens is sharp, stopping down makes it very dark in the viewfinder. On a roll of color film where I was shooting outdoors (100 ISO), I found the best solution was to focus, stop down (f/16 or f/22), check the meter, set the shutter speed, and then take the shot. Even outdoors in bright sunlight, f/22 is very dark through the viewfinder. Most of my images at the restoration shop were done at f/2.8. The 80mm lens is a great choice for portraits, which was my intent for this purchase.
There’s something very satisfying about shooting medium format film in an SLR. To me, I like knowing that my image is going to yield a large negative. I actually surprised myself, being new to souping my own film at home, the larger negative was easier for me to position and feed on to a Paterson spool than 35mm film. I’ll be sharing some additional photos from this camera in the near future.
Two weeks ago, Scott Smith and I flew from Utah to San Diego, California, and drove up to San Clemente for the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop at the headquarters of TheDarkroom.com. We arrived a day early because we knew we wanted to take our time getting to our hotel in Dana Point, and find some good photo ops along the way. We spent some time walking around San Clemente, stopping at various small shops including Arcade Camera. At six o’clock we went down to the pier for some photos at sunset. I took five film cameras with me, one of them was the Minolta SR-T202 that I had purchased earlier in the month. This was my first opportunity to use this camera, so I loaded it with some Kodak Ektar 100 film and casually walked along the beach. One of the shots I wanted to get was the lifeguard stand with the pier at sunset. This is the first time I’ve done any real landscape photography in several years.
The next morning at the workshop, we were greeted with a big smile and handshake from Michael Raso and Mat Marrash from the Film Photography Podcast. One of the first people in the group I recognized was Brian Moore, a knowledgeable photographer from Huntington Beach. Another was Mark Dalzell also from the Film Photography Podcast and Smoove Sailors. Mark gave me some advice last year on cleaning my Argus C3. We talked about what a great indestructible workhorse the C3 is.
The entire staff at The Dark Room deserve a big thank you. From myself and my fellow FPP friends, thank you! Keith, Phil, and Joe, the tour was fascinating. You opened your business doors to a bunch of strangers and customers (and some strange customers), answered countless questions and made sure everyone was having a good time. Again, thank you so much.
As the afternoon progressed, Michael and Mark spoke about unique, unusual, and hand-rolled films. One of the more entertaining presentations was Michael’s commentary about Svema film from Russia. They don’t respond to email, but will accept a purchase order, accept money, and ship film to the FPP in New Jersey. I believe the repeated remark from Michael was, “Hey! You don’t know what’s going on in Russia!” After completing the roll of Kodak Ektar in the Minolta SR-T202, I loaded it with Svema Color Negative 125. Photographers that have purchased it from the FPP Store have nothing but positive things to say, so I’m very optimistic. After the discussion on film, Michael gave away some unique film from the FPP Store, including some color infrared, 620 film and the new FPP 620 film spools.
Each FPP workshop attendee received a ticket to be part of a camera giveaway. Everyone had a chance to browse through several tables of cameras, select one, and enter the raffle to win that camera. I won a beautiful Minolta 7s rangefinder. Along with the camera came a printed instruction manual, a contact sheet displaying the test images from the camera, and a letter entitled, “To the new owner,” along with details and specific information about the camera. The Minolta 7s has a battery-powered exposure meter that originally required a mercury battery. The letter explains how the updated battery uses an adapter with a diode to step-down the power for the meter. Thank you FPP listener and contributor Johnny Brain in Iowa for this outstanding camera!
In the late afternoon, everyone boarded the FPP Big Yellow
School Bus and went to the San Clemente Pier for a photowalk. The weather was beautiful. I took my time walking along the pier, occasionally stopping to ask random people if I could take a photo of them. When I have a camera in my hands, I have no hesitation talking to people. This is something about me that makes my friends and family uncomfortable. I know it embarrasses my kids when I stop and photograph this way. Whether its candid street photography or street portraits, a smile and a positive comment can usually produce an interesting image. The day ended with a bus ride back to The Dark Room where we spent more time talking with other photographers while sharing our newly won cameras.
To be continued…