Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm f2.4 on my Nikon FM2n …..

I was very lucky a few months back to be gifted a bunch of old camera stuff from a friend, most of which sadly was pretty far gone but mounted to an old Praktica that had died was this beauty … Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f2.4

Funny thing was I was reading a random blog post only days before extolling the virtues of this particular lens.

I have a couple of M42 mount cameras so mounted it on my working Praktica MTL 5B and shot a roll of expired Kodak Colorplus just to test the performance.

See link here .. carl-zeiss-jena-flektogon-35mm-f2-4

I was very pleased with how the lens performed so I decided to get an M42 adapter for Nikon F mount so that I could use it with some of my older Nikon Slr’s.

I made sure that I got one with the glass element that let the camera focus to infinity and mounted it on my FM2n loaded with some ilford XP2 and went out to test it.

I found that if I switched the lens to manual diaphragm mode then the FM2n metered correctly for me.

Here are some sample images mostly shot wide open at 2.4 through 5.6 with the bench landscape at f11.

The viewfinder dimmed quite a bit the more that I stopped down making it quite hard to focus but if you switch back to auto diaphragm mode to focus if you are using f8+ then back to manual to meter then all is good. All in all I am very pleased with this little lens and it has the added benefit of being able to close focus down to 19cm.

Considering I got this for nothing is a bonus but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this as a purchase as you will not be disappointed

Thanks for looking ….

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All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

 

All my #SummerFilmParty entries in one place ….

I have been taking part in a Twitter competition #SummerFilmParty where the photographers have to use certain types of film during shoot week then over the following 2 weeks develop and then post the results.

Today was the last posting day so I decided to also post all my entries her together.

I used 2 cameras … Nikon F90 with a 50mm f1.4 & Sigma 105mm f2.8 with some Kodak Ektar.

and Yashica Mat 124G with Fuji Reala 100 both rolls developed and scanned at home.

Here they are in no particular order … Obviously the Square images are from the Yashica Mat  🙂 As usual it was fun to be a part of …. here is the link to Emulsive where you can see the info about this and future competitions .. Summer Film Party also here is the Twitter link @summerfilmparty 

Thanks for looking ….

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All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Do you need to calibrate your monitor ….. ?

I suppose the answer to this question depends on what you are doing.

I mean if you are a photographer who just posts the odd image on the web then maybe the answer is no as most of the time people will view your image on a smartphone or on a monitor that is also un-calibrated so you have no control over how the colours in your image may look to them.

If on the other hand you want print out your images or post them on a blog or website and have some control on how the colours will be seen (assuming the end viewer also has a calibrated monitor to) then calibrating your system is a must.

I have been calibrating my system for years using  one of the original Datacolor Spyder express 2 which has served me well all this time but I recently managed to get hold of the new Spyder 5 to compare between the old and the new thanks to @digitalglueuk and datacolor.com

Firstly I was pleased with the size difference, the new Spyder 5 was a much neater compact unit that split open to reveal the sensor and the cover was then used as a counter weight over the top of the monitor.

Also after installing the software I was especially pleased to find that I was able to calibrate multiple monitors where as with my Spyder 2 I was limited to just the single monitor ( I use a 2 monitor set up ).

The sensor also monitors the ambient room light to optimally tune the screen to your environment.

Quite a few people ask me if calibrating your monitor is hard to do?

Well I have taken a few screen shots just to show you how easy it is as it is a step by step process that anyone can do .

The software guides you every step of the way…All you have to do is follow along and change a few monitor settings and you are done in a matter of minutes…You then save the new profile and the final screens will show you the before and after views …The best thing is if you have multiple computers when you calibrate each one you know that when you are editing/viewing the same picture on each computer you will get the same look and then when you save the image with the embedded profile and send it to the printer or out to a lab you know that the image will be reproduced pretty damn close to how it appeared on your screen (obviously it depends on the output device matching the colour gamut of the profile you used).

Since getting the new Spyder 5 I have printed loads of images and had a few done in a lab and the results have been perfect that’s not to say that my old Spyder 2 did not do the same but the ease of use and the newer software with the Spyder 5 made the whole process so much easier.

I cannot recommend this product highly enough, It is so easy to use with such huge benefits to a photographer that  I personally think everyone should get one.

I have only ever used the Datacolor calibrators so I can’t speak of any others out there on the market but I imagine that they may be just as good/easy to use too but they would have to go a long way to beat this little gem.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

#Camerachallenge time ….

Over the last week or so I have been taking part in the #camerachallenge on twitter organised by fellow photographer Jason Avery @Jaysargo who came up with the idea of buying a camera for under £5 or equivalent in any other currency and then shooting and posting the results followed by a twitter Q&A today all about the process.

I am always looking on ebay and in charity shops for cameras so that part was not new to me so this challenge was right up my street.

I managed to get 2 cameras for under the £5 price both of which were Pentax Espio’s … the 115 and 140 which differed slightly but the main difference was the zoom length as the numbers in the names suggested 38mm to 115 and 140mm.

Also the 115 had a so called macro setting that the 140 did not have while the 140 has an extra spot af setting and both of those were useful, it would have been nice to have both on one camera.

They both also had a pano setting which only seemed to crop to the centre of the 35mm frame and most importantly you could shoot without the flash if you wanted and not be automatically forced to use it .

Also there was a landscape af mode on both which I assume  focussed to infinity and stopped down the lens to achieve a greater DOF. I tried all the of the available modes and was pretty impressed with the results. The Espio 115 shot a roll of Kodak Tmax 400 while the 140 already had a roll of what turned out to be Tudor XFG 100 which had 6 frames already shot.

I developed both rolls at home and here are some of the images.

First the Pentax Espio 115 & Tmax 400

And the Espio 140 and Tudor XFG 100

All in all both cameras were great and if I had used a better roll of film in the 140 instead of the expired roll that was already in there I would have said that both cameras had great lenses that gave very sharp and contrasty results.

This challenge has been good fun and I would recommend other film photographers reading this to give it a try … follow Jason and keep a lookout for the next challenge, I am not sure how it will differ from this one but thats the fun really.

It just goes to show that you don’t need expensive kit to get nice images and also how cheap it is to get into film photography.

After the Q&A today I may give one of these cameras away to someone who is interested in getting into film photography so follow me on twitter or leave a comment below.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Going Lomo with my Olympus XA1 ……

As it was a Bank holiday weekend here in the UK the weather forecast was for heavy rain as you would expect here in the South Wales Valleys.

I decided to travel light on my walk and dug out my Olympus XA1 and loaded it with some expired Fuji Superia 400.

It was quite nice to be able to just point and shoot for a change, the only settings on the XA1 are the ISO … either 100 or 400 and thats all you have to set and you are free to jus hopefully just compose an image.The only other thing to take into consideration is the close focus which is a measly 1.5 metres so everything must be further than arms length away.The light was pretty poor so I was not really expecting much from the roll but every now and again the sun popped through and I managed to shoot most of my frames in reasonable light.

I was pleased how the colours looked considering the age of the film which I got in a mixed bag of stuff from a friend who had no idea how it had been previously stored before he got it.When the sun raised its head a little the greens really popped and I was happy with how the little XA1 performed … so much so I am going to treat it next time with a nice fresh roll of film to see how much better the images will be.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

My 1st impressions of my Plustek 8100 Scanner …..

Quick disclaimer … this is not a full in depth techy review its just my personal impression after a few weeks playing about with this scanner.

I have never been totally happy with any of my own scans, not that there has been anything wrong with them really but they never seem as good as when I get stuff done in the lab.

I usually use an Epson v500 flatbed scanner and the bundled epson software.

I try to scan as flat as I can capturing as much of the Highlight/Shadow detail as possible by adjusting the individual RGB channels then do all the heavy lifting in Adobe Lightroom.

This workflow seems to yield the best results for me.

I was debating wether to upgrade my flatbed to an Epson v800 (I may have to as I am now looking to scan 4×5) but came across a review of the Plustek 8100 and saw that it was only £150 here in the uk so decided to jump in and give it a go.

Here is the link to where I bought it …

Its a nice compact unit and feels pretty solid but the film holders are just as flimsy as my epson ones.

This is a totally manual scanner in the sense that you can only scan one frame at a time, no batch scanning and no motorised loading you just have to push the holder to the next frame but it stops in position with a nice positive click so you know that the frame is aligned correctly.

The film holder is not the easiest thing to use if you have curly film as it is a pain to position and then close the top flap without actually handling the film surface so gloves are a must.

Also as a side note …. this is a 35mm only scanner

It comes complete with a nice little bag that holds the scanner/film-slide holders and leadsThe supplied software is Silverfast SE Plus 8 which I must admit has a damn steep learning curve compared to the Epson Scan software.So now to the results ….

Well before that just a quick word on the Silverfast software …

There are so many options that unless you enjoy scanning this is not for you.

My 1st scans were pretty awful, I clicked and tweaked away at every option and got nowhere fast.

I then tried to scan flat like I was used to and that was poor also so I then decided to check out the web for some instruction and to be fair the silverfast website really helped big time.

The best thing that this scanner/software does is multi exposure scanning … yes it takes quite a while but the results are worth it also the Negafix option gives you a great starting point with the colours as it features a ton of film profiles that you choose when you begin scanning.

All in all I bought this scanner to hopefully get better scans which It really does but I am not going to scan all my images with it as the workflow is pretty time consuming rather I am scanning my rolls with the epson 1st then re scanning the frames that I may want to process further or especially if I want to print an image as the amount of detail that it captures is way more than the v500 for sure.

This is the cheapest version that Plustek sell.

The next one in the range is about £80 more and features infrared scanning for the dust removal this model has dust removal but without the infrared pass so obviously its not as accurate but I never used it much on my v500 so didn’t want to spend the extra £80.

I have used the SRD which is what Silverfast calls the dust removal and it works fine but if its something that you require I would recommend buying the 8200i SE which incorporates the infrared scanning.This was a really old negative that had slipped out of a folder some how and was pretty badly marked and scanned on my v500.This is the Opticfilm 8100 scan using the SRD attempting to find the dust.This is the scan after the dust removal which is pretty good considering it does not have the infrared channel to help.Using the Negafix part of the software you get much closer to the correct color straight from the scanner and before Lightroom ….. this is Kodak Ektar. Epson V500 scan of some Tmax 400 … the 2nd image is a 100% crop This is the Opticfilm 8100 version which captures much more detail and it can then be processed further in Lightroom.

Click on the crops to see ….

 

Here are some more samples to compare 

The V500 versions have been through Lightroom for full editing while the Opticfilm 8100 versions have only had dust removed in Photoshop CC then re-saved as jpegs … no colour editing or sharpening etc….

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … ilford FP4@200

Opticfilm 8100 … ilford FP4@200

V500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

v500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

Just to finish off I am very happy that I bought this little scanner it doesn’t break the bank as far as scanners go and gives great results if you are willing to give each scan a bit of time.

Its not an everyday scanner unlike the V500 and I would find it quite hard going if this was my one and only scanner especially as I tend to shoot at least 1 roll of film a week so in conclusion I would have to say that if you shoot 35mm and want your scans to get to at least lab standard (not drum scanning) then this is a must buy especially at the £150 price point.

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

A Month with my Leica …

I have been thinking about and then putting off buying a Leica M for an absolute age.

I don’t really know what the actual reason for putting it off was to be fair … everytime I saw one I liked and put it into my online basket something stopped me pressing the checkout button.

Well last month I bit the bullet and got hold of an M2 which was made the same year of my birth which made it that little bit extra special.

I got it without a lens from Red Dot Cameras but purchased an adapter for my Jupiter 8 50mm f2 as a stop gap until I decide which lens I am going to get.

Here follows 4 galleries featuring a selection of images shot on 4 different film stock all processed and scanned by myself.

The Jupiter 8 really impressed me with the colour rendering and sharpness/bokeh … God only knows how excited I will be when I get around to upgrading this little beauty.

Click on an image to view larger ……..

  1. Kodak Ektar

    2. Ilford XP2

    3. Agfa Vista 200

    4. Kodak Tmax 400

    Overall my 1st month with my 1st Leica has not disappointed in the least … this little camera oozes class and charisma it is such a pleasure to use.

    I now know why photographers heap praise on the Leica M even a 50+ year old model works like a dream and it has to be said .. this is the best camera I have ever shot with … I don’t mean in techy imagey sort of way but as something that makes you feel happy everytime that you use it

    God I even like just looking at it … ha haThanks for looking ….

    I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

E6 Processing …. Well how hard can it be?

As you may know if you follow any of my posts here I develop and scan all my own C41 and B&W film but until now I have either cross-processed my slide film or sent it out to a lab.

The problem with E6 is its not cheap to get processed and scanned and it seems to take at least twice as long to come back so I decided to do it myself.

So I purchased the Tetenal Colortec E6 kit and proceeded to scour the internet for hints and tips on the best way to go about the processing.

When I develop my C41 I use the 30 deg method as I find it easier to maintain that temperature rather than the 38 deg method and also (may be due to the temp fluctuations) seem to get far more uniform results.

It is a 8 step process including the pre soak/wash and except for the final Stabilizer bath the temperatures were all at 38 deg which started to get me a bit worried.

After watching some youtube videos I purchased 2 medium size plastic storage tubs in which I could put all of my bottles including my filtered water as there are 3 washes in between all of the chemical baths ( we have very hard water here so tap water washing is not an option).

I usually do my normal processing in a bowl as all of my bottles fit and the temp is not so high but by having 2 tubs and the bowl I managed to keep the temp pretty stable with plenty of kettle boils to top up.

All in all it was quite stressful for my 1st attempt, worrying about the temp and the constant 15 second agitation along with swapping thermometers about (I have 3 but could have done with more) but the thrill of seeing the film emerge from the drum was brilliant.

It was such a buzz seeing full colour images as opposed to negatives that the stress it caused was worth the effort.

This was a roll of expired Fuji Sensia 100 35mm and I have since processed my 1st roll of 120mm Kodak Ektachrome E200 which was not such a success as this roll due to me trying to push it to 400 iso but a few of the frames were so under exposed I could not get anything out of them … that is another blog maybe.

 

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Garw Valley Mountain Walk with some Velvia 50 ….

After some friendly banter with a fellow twitter photographer about how slide film should not be cross processed and that it was almost a sin I decided to shoot a roll of Velvia 50 as the Gods intended and get it processed and scanned by AG Photographic and here are the results. They were shot using my Nikon F100 and Nikkor 24-85 VR … they are untouched scans that I got back from AG and I am pretty happy with the results, I still love to Xpro E6 but I have just bought a Tetenal E6 kit and have started processing my own so I am now almost a convert … ha ha I am pleased that the exposures were pretty spot on which I don’t worry about when I know that I am going to xpro the roll … I did notice the difference in colour when shooting with the sun behind me compared to in front, I could have warmed them up a bit in Lightroom but I thought I would just post as is….

 

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

April’s Tmax-Party entries in one place ….

This months @TMAX_party entries were shot using my lovely new Leica M2 with a Jupiter 8 50mm f2 on Tmax 400.

They were shot in 2 locations 1st at Porthcawl beach and finished off at home in the Garw Valley. To be honest Tmax is not my favorite film but I have to admit that the tones that it gives when using this camera/lens combination are lovely, its hard to tell looking here but when I look at the full res scans they are very pleasing. I will be visiting the darkroom with a couple of the beach shots to see how they print.

 

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂