Tag Archives: processing

Kodak High Speed Infrared Film

A while ago I was given some infrared film. It had expired, but had been kept in a freezer or a fridge since it was produced.

I read up on using it and checkout out some sample photos. Mainly I saw landscapes so decided that was my focus too. This website gives even more details on what to expect and how to use it. It also mentions that the felt on the opening of the cassette is not infrared tight so the warnings on the box and tub are important to follow.

DO NOT OPEN THE TUB OUT OF A DARK BAG. That means you have to load the camera inside the bag. The article also mentions a filter. So before I did anything I ordered an infrared filter on eBay. I got a cheap one as I only had one roll of film. You can use the film without a filter but what is the point of that, it would end up looking like a regular black and white film. I won’t go into lots of technical details, you can do the research too or read the blogs I have already linked to.

I decided to use my Minolta XG2 for the test for these reasons:
1. I knew it worked
2. The lens had an IR diamond on it.
3. The light meter was through the lens.

I set the camera to 100asa and attached the filter. Even though I could not see through the filter, the camera often chose a surprisingly shorter exposure than I expected. It was not short enough that I felt I could do without a tripod, so I took a mini tripod on a walk around Dewsbury Country Park. I only took a few shots as I decided to use some of the roll as a development test as I didn’t really know if it would work or if I could develop it.

Here are a few shots from that first test. I developed it in Ilfosol 3 for 10 minutes at 20 degrees.

To focus I removed the filter and reattached it carefully after. You have to turn the lens a little to the right as IR needs a different focus point than regular light. The other blogs will explain that more clearly. Anyway, the results were interesting. So I took the rest of the roll to another park, where the camera jammed due to a long exposure issue. I only managed a few more shots there before returning home to deal with the camera.

I fixed the camera with the method mentioned in this post. At this point I almost gave up on the film as it was a little awkward to use. The whole “keep in the dark” issue meant I could not just take out the film to look at the camera closely. But with only having one roll I persevered, but was looking forward to finishing it.

Once sorted I decided to finish the roll with a different filter to see what would happen. I chose a regular red one. Here are some results.

As you can see, especially with the path photo, you lose some of the IR effects with a red filter. The image is slightly sharper, but where is the fun in that.

I don’t think I will try it again though it was interesting. Afterwards, the giver of this roll gave me 11 more rolls which I will be selling on eBay if you are interested. Or you can send me a message if you would like to buy a roll.

Adox Golf 63 S

The name on this camera had worn off and it took me a while to play around with combinations of letters to find the name. Then I took it outside to take some photos and the names popped under the sunlight.

After a quick search for Adox Golf, this version came up. The linked site said the shutter was designed to run dry so it had no lubricants. That meant it was not prone to sticking. I found this to be true as the shutter on this 1955 example worked perfectly. The lens was also clear of any haze or fungus. So far so good… and after that the fun began.

My first attempt at using it had disappointing results. My bottle of ilfosol 3 was almost empty and when I mixed had a weird colour. In my head I thought, oh that is depleted I shouldn’t use it. Then I thought, what the hell…I wonder what would happen. When I had finished the processing I found a very, very, very light set of negatives. I didn’t think anything would scan from them but I tried anyway. I ended up with these very grainy shots.

I also mistook the white lines for developer issues as I had never encountered them before. So I loaded up another roll of film and took it out again.

As I had to go into Leeds to buy new chemicals I took the camera with me. This time the results were better to a degree, but there were still issues.

What are those weird light leaks? So if it wasn’t the processing, it must be the camera.

I have tried a few cameras with bellows and have never had an issue with them being damaged. Even with the Victorian camera, the bellows were ok. I guess I have been lucky and ended up forgetting about them. But it seemed that this camera did have an issue somewhere and I suspected the bellows, Occum’s razor. I did a little research on how to check the bellows.

I turned off my room light and shone a torch through the outside of the camera bellows.

Voila. These are only a few of the leaks, there were more on the other sides. Ok, so the lens seemed fine, the timer was working, the camera was in generally good condition and importantly, I liked using it. How can I fix these pin holes cheaply and easily. This camera is very cheap to buy so an expensive repair would not be worthwhile. I read a few places that a glue and paint mixture would work so I tried that first. It didn’t look great, but the light leaks were gone.

I shot another roll that I took at the beautiful Hardcastle Crags. Gosh, they would be nice if the light leaks were gone.

Also, as it was a lovely sunny day so I had some of this before developing…

Big mistake. Apparently I was drunker than I thought and when I poured out the used developer it looked like this…and the final film like this…

WTF??? Where are my beautiful photos from the Yorkshire countryside?? I checked the bottles again. OOOOOHHHH, apparently if you try to develop fomapan by using the stop bath first, then developer, then fixer…it comes out blue, like the gin.

Fourth film, really fourth?? I was determined to get a good roll from this camera. Weirdly, I still really liked it and hadn’t lost the plot with it yet. Why did I like it? It has no capacity for double or multiple exposures, it has no rangefinder, the lowest aperture choice was f6.3, and the fastest speed was 1/200th. I think my love started with the funky way you loaded or removed the film.

Look at that, what a cool, convenient thing. You pull it out and down and the film is then very easy to load. Then there is the button to open it, push and whop, it swishes open. And then, when it is closed it is nice and compact and fits into a large pocket. Plus it is so cheap you don’t mind whopping it and whapping it in a pocket. There is also a red indicator by the shutter and wind on wheel that lets you know if the camera is ready to be operated.

Before I loaded the fourth and I have to say final film, I decided to check the bellows again. There was still a small leak so this time I decided to use black nail varnish and no gin. (See comment section about this, nail varnish really doesn’t work well and is a quick fix only)

Here are the final test results.

The negatives still had a couple of tiny leaks evident, but except for the last shot they weren’t so bad. I used the film very quickly so the light didn’t have time to really spoil anything else. When using glue or varnish, you need to wait a long time for it to dry as the sticky consistency will do exactly that when the camera closes. It will stick together and the holes reappear when you open the camera again.

I will put another coat of nail varnish on the camera if I decide to use it again, but I doubt it as I have a few other medium format cameras without deteriorating bellows. As for recommendations, this camera can be found quite cheap so it would be a good buy. Just check the bellows before buying it or trying it with a film. Plus it looks nice on the shelf

Also, for a great article on breathing new life into old cameras, check out this link. You will find details of many kinds of repairs. Oh and I recommend the gin too ūüôā

Contax RTS III

While taking part in my first vintage fair I was contacted by a reader of this blog who made me an offer I could not refuse.

“Would I like to try a Contax RTS III with a lens of my choice?” he asked.
“Erm yes please!” I replied without much delay.

So at the fair he brought in said camera as promised with a 28mm lens as I already had a 50mm. He also brought in a box of other items including a 500mm mirror lens with a Contax adaptor.

Here is the camera with the wide angle attached.

My goodness this is a heavy camera, but as you can see in perfect condition. I think if I had owned this camera it would have been a lot more scratched up as I carried it and swung it around. Mr Generous really did look after his stuff. Everything in his box of goodies was in its original box or a bag and labelled.

This camera was first introduced in 1990 and you can find all the technical details you like on this page. Really far down on that page you will see details of a ceramic film pressure plate. This other site also mentions it as a starred feature that ensured a flat film plane as it was enhanced by a vacuum. Well, that is impressive. This reviewer said it felt and looked like a Porche of cameras. I have to agree. Even though it was heavy it was surprisingly comfortable to hold, the hand grip being just the right size for my tiny hands. The diopter adjustment made the already bright viewfinder a delight to look through.

As I had this camera for “as long as you like” I decided to put a few films through it and experiment a bit. So for the first film I put in some Kodak EPH P1600X slide film that I had been given by another reader. In fact he gave me a fair bit of this now unavailable film. I wish I had read that link before as it mentions it is a rare 400asa film that can be pushed to 1600…oh I think that is what the ‘p’ indicates before 1600x.

And it says it right there on the tin! Push once for 800, twice 1600, thrice 3200.

Well, I really should start reading instructions and reviews before I use things, but where is the fun in that. Anyway, nowhere does this film have 400asa written on it, not even on the box, you just have to be clever enough to know it??

So as I thought the film was 1600asa and it was from 2002, I set the camera to 1250, moving the dial two places lower on this camera. First I tried the 500mm lens, as it did not have an aperture dial I used it at various settings. I tried aperture and speed mode hoping the camera would figure it out the aperture of the lens. I also tried manual, guessing the lens was an f8 as I had seen other lenses with the same sized aperture. I took ten shots then changed to the 28mm lens.

Then I made some calculations. Sending the E6 film off to be developed would take at least a week and cost about £15 with postage. I have at least 12 rolls of slide film. Gosh that would be expensive.
An order of Tetenal Colortec E6 would be about £50, arrive the next day, and possibly develop 30 films if I could do it. And there is the rub, I have never done E6 processing before. In Japan you could only get black and white chemicals due to government restrictions on the chemicals needed. So I had next to no experience with colour processing. How hard could it be?? Be brave I thought, chemicals ordered!

I found this site and followed it to the letter. I followed the mixing ratios and timings with a quick glance at the pack instructions. If I had known about the pushing element I would have also followed the film guide which I found later. That would have meant adding 5 minutes to the first development stage.

I boiled a kettle to use as topping up water for the tub which I had filled from the hot tap. I put all the chemicals in the tub and took constant temperature readings to check it stayed at 38C. The main issue I had was the wash process, because the sink was full and I have a small kitchen. But in the end it was not as hard as I thought it would be to keep the temperature fairly stable, even on a cold day. I agitated the developing tank every 15 seconds by using the agitation stick rather than taking the tank out of the warm water and inverting it. Then I waited very impatiently for the film to dry.

So the first part of the film was from the 500mm mirror lens.

Well, they are a bit crappy. Underexposed and fuzzy, focusing was quite hard due to the very small depth of field and darker viewfinder. I don’t like the lens very much, though I am glad I tried a free one as I always wanted to buy one for bird watching. The slides were obviously underexposed which enhanced the blue tint.

Here are some of the ones from the 28mm lens.

At first I was disappointed with the results, but then I remembered…Hey, I developed these slides! The film was 17 years out of date and I used it at the wrong settings on the camera and wrong timing of the film processing. So actually, they are not that bad ūüôā

These slide also have a blue tint. The ones in the link I shared to before were also blueish. I wonder what the slides will look like when I try another roll and set the camera to 400asa.

As for the camera, it is a bit awesome. I have put a fresh roll of C41 film in it which I will not be processing myself as I want to see what it can do without the hit and miss of my own processing skills. For a Contax camera these can be found for sale at quite reasonable prices. If you are looking for a good quality, manual focus SLR, they don’t come much better than this.

Update: I tried another roll of the slide film today, this time taken at 400asa. I tried a few settings and a yellow filter. I found the yellow filter definitely was not needed and the blue colour cast was probably due to the underexposure of the first film. Some of the new roll were still blue, but some were relatively ok. Either way this roll came out better.

Here are some more from the second roll. It is not my favourite film at the moment, but I will try it in another camera for another comparison test at a later date.

Developing Issues and Darkroom Courses

I recently switched from using Kodak D-76 to Ilford Ilfosol 3 to develop my films. I tended to reuse the D-76 and got used to that process. What I didn’t know or read was Ilfosol was a one use only developer. So when I started developing my own film again, the first one was great. The rest got lighter and lighter, tremendously so. I was increasing the developing time, thinking it was my fault. It was, but not in the way I thought. After the 3rd roll, I went back to the bottle and read the instructions…one use. Crap.

I managed to get images from all the rolls with a fair amount of post-processing, but they were obviously not the best negatives I have ever seen.

It was disappointing as I had just come back from Iceland and had been to a gig in Manchester.

For the busy negatives, they are OK. But the ones with sky you can see a definite issue.

The gig film was the last one I developed before checking the instructions. I actually thought it was blank and didn’t take too much care of it once I took it out of the wash. When it was dry, I saw a reflection of a faint image. To be fair the location was very dark and the singers were wearing black, but still, I expected more.

The first person with the drummer is from Hater, and the lady in the hat is Jennifer Castle. I actually liked both artists though they were quite different. I used my Nikon F2 for both locations, the gig used Ilford Delta 3200 pushed to 6400.

Luckily I did take a medium format and a digital camera to Iceland. I read the instructions again before I developed those…no development needed for the D750. If you want to see more results from that trip you can check out the iBook.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 13.57.44

 

Download it on iBooks. (There are some errors in the description which I have corrected, but the new version has not updated yet.)

 

 

 

 

While I was contemplating the development issues I received an email from an outfit in London. A darkroom! Or rather a Bright Room. They run courses on developing and have darkrooms to hire. I am thinking I might take a trip to London and include this location as a stop. You can never stop learning apparently. But wait, they have a pop-up van…maybe they can visit me and some friends??

Delving into their website more, there is an Artist series, where you learn directly from an artist to see how they work. That is just up my street. OK time to save or sell more cameras to try one of those.

They did tell me they will be starting an online gallery on the 30th November 2018, but I haven’t been able to find a link online for that. Sounds interesting though as I love looking at other photographer’s work. I will look back at the end of the month.

I am glad I can develop my films again, I am relieved I know what the issue I was experiencing actually was.

Mamiya C33

This is another camera that I actively searched for. There are many versions of this camera and I didn’t really have a preference for either. I just wanted a good medium format twin reflex camera that didn’t cost thousands of dollars. I have a Bronica and a Lubitel 166B, but this is a completely different kind of camera.

This truly is a beast of a camera. Some people on the net refer to it as a tank. Even Camerapedia says it is “steel, very solid as rock”. On that site it says the weight is 2kg+. When I weighed mine it was 2.2kg with the old Canon strap I had lying around to make it easier to carry. This is a camera I will take somewhere in my car, some something I will not trek up a mountain with.

I wanted this camera as something to compare to the Lubitel for one thing, there is no comparison. Everything about this camera screams quality, from the weight to the focusing system. Mine came with a 65mm lens, but they are interchangeable and a few are available.

There is suppose to be an automatic shutter cocking system, but it doesn’t seem to work on my camera. For this one I have to leave the switch on multiple exposure or the shutter does not work at all. It is annoying considering how much I paid for it. This great blog also talks about the same issue to some extent. Never mind, considering this camera is from 1965 it is a minor issue. To cock the shutter you wind on the film then turn the crank anticlockwise/backwards until it clicks. That is usually when the knob lines back up with the hole it slots into. The red screen on the back of the camera is quite dark and on some films it is impossible to read the numbers. I eventually figured out that one turn of the crank is enough to advance the film for the 6×6 format. Lomography film was the worst, black paper with very faint writing. This reviewer had the same issue. This issue also meant the frame counter did not work.

But what about the photos?

For some reason I had a huge issue loading the film and ruined 2 rolls trying. The first issue was that I didn’t know the auto shutter did not work and wound the whole film to the take-up spool. I used a dark bag to put it back once, the second time I could not get it back and fogged the film. Then I tried again with a new film and it just wouldn’t load and I ended up fogging that too. Then I had the bright idea of practicing with the fogged film until it was easy for me. This idea came after a lot of swearing and almost throwing the camera out of the window!

Finally with camera loaded with my last film, a Rollei 200, I headed out to a local park. It was a dull day and a 200ASA film was not fast enough. Then I remembered I would be developing it myself and you can push process a film. So I shot it at 800ASA. I have never push processed before, it is so easy I don’t know why. I will definitely be doing it again.

My main problem was with the wind-on issue. As the camera was set to multiple exposures I sometimes double exposed the shot by mistake. Apart from that I love the camera, I love how cool I feel using it. The bellows means the camera can act like a macro camera and get very close to the subject.

Once I bought more film I tried again. I used the next two films to get use to the camera. This roll of, a Fuji Across 100 pushed to 400 only had 7 viable shots, the others I wound passed by mistake.

This is a Fuji Across 100 pushed to 200. By this time I had figured out the one turn of the crank to wind on.

So like I said this is a great camera and I will keep it…if I can get it back to the UK with my luggage allowance.

 

 

Fed 50

I love the Olympus Trip, I love old Russian cameras. So what would be more perfect than a Russian Olympus Trip. Viola, the Fed 50. It was based on the trip, but started it’s production 2 years after the trip was discontinued according to this great website. This is not a junk find, I looked for it after reading about it on a website that gave a list of cool cameras to look out for (which I can’t find now). This was on it, and on eBay at the same time…sold!

It looked pretty clean and the light seals seemed ok.

So, how was the camera? It felt great, a nice weight. It has a selenium meter so doesn’t need batteries. This one seemed to work fine as I tried it in a few situations without the film and the shutter worked and the speed or size of the aperture changed. It has a 38mm lens that goes from f2.8 to f16. The shutter speeds are 1/30 to 1/650 on automatic.

The interesting part is the focusing. It has a range finder, but doesn’t click between the distances. That means you can be a little more precise when guessing the distances as you can move smoothly between the usual settings. Though it did take a little getting use to for me. In the end I set it either to infinity or close and then moved the distance in or out depending on my subject. That helped when trying some street photography.

So did it work? How was the film? Firstly, I could not find the developing times for the film, so in the end I just used the same times as for fuji acros 100. Secondly, I thought I had forgotten to take off the lens cap on many of these shots, so I was very pleased to see them actually on the film….the developing times worked, phew.

Here is my first roll from it and my first roll of Oriental Seagull 100.

Well, the first few shots were taken as soon as I got the camera, then I caught a terrific cold and didn’t go out shooting. Then two weeks later, from the bridge picture onwards, I used the camera all in 24 hours. Oh and by the way, the shrine is Sengakuji and those are the 47 Ronin graves.

I love the camera, I love the film. I hate the slow light leaks and the fact I have to change the seals.

It has a really nice quality to it and at infinity is really sharp. But there seems to be something inside or on my scanner. I am not sure which. Some of the shots had a furry blob at the top. You can see it in this shot, but I digitally removed it from other places it occurred.

IMG_20160622_0016

The fact it was only on a few shots makes me think it was the scanner plate. I have since cleaned that carefully.

I recommend this camera not only for the novelty value, but the utter coolness of it and the shots.

Olympus Pen EE2

I actually had 3 attempts to buy this camera. The first was utterly broken and I took it apart because it was only a couple of dollars. The second was bought on eBay and the red flag didn’t work so I sent it back for a refund. So then I contacted an eBay seller I have used before to see if he had one in stock. He did, but to be honest charged me a little too much. Ah well.

So when it arrived I decide to reskin it. I think it looks lovely. I have way too much of this material, but I think it makes my cameras look ‘mine’.

 

This website has so much more information and has a great review of the same camera. My favourite part about this camera that there is no need for batteries if the selenium cell works and this one did. It was produced from 1969-77 and is a half frame camera. It is a straight point and shoot, no zoning. There are two shutter speeds only 1/200th and 1/40th. If you choose a manual aperture you only get the latter and that means you need a REALLY steady hand. This website has more details on using that as a chosen effect for this camera. The minimum focal distance is 1.5m which is a little long and caught me out a few times.

Here is my test roll.

 

Of course as a half-frame camera you get twice as many photos than usual. As you can see it worked. As I specifically bought this camera there is no keep or sell. It is all mine ūüôā

As an interesting note I usually use Kodak d-76 developing fluid, but I had run out. So for this roll I used fuji super prodol SPD which is half the price here. Use the iPhone app Film Developer Pro to work out processing times  as you can change choices such as temperature and it will adjust the time for you. I then put the times in the app Develop! for an actual processing timer. The first app does have a timer, but I prefer the second app for that. The problem I had with this film was that all my saved recipes are for D-76 and the database for SPD is very small. The SPD is also a speedy process, much quicker than D-76. That meant I could not just copy the times. The film I used was a lomography one, which is T-Max 100 in disguise. It was not in the database for SPD. SOOOOO I used the details for fuji acros 100 which was in the database for both developers and did some math. I figured that if I multiplied the d-76 time by 0.6 then I could get a rough developing time for the SPD. As you can see it worked. Yeah for math.

Keep or Sell: I kept if for a long time as I liked the skin I put on it, but at the end of the day it is a half frame, which is not my favourite. Sold and I managed to get my money back.

 

 

Minolta Capios 25 and Home Processing c-41

I can find nothing about this camera online. The few bits and pieces are in Japanese, the only English sites were about selling one. The prices range from $1-$100. I paid $3 for mine and I think it is worth so much more. I have an Olympus Mju and that is always lorded as an awesome point and shoot, which it is. This camera worked just as well for me with comparable options and for a fraction of the price. It also feels smaller and lighter.

 

According to this website this camera was released in 1995 for a suggested retail price of 45,000 yen, which even today is a very big price for a point and shoot. The¬†lens zooms from¬†28mm – 70mm with¬†apertures¬†from F3.5¬†and speeds up to¬†1/500 (at 28mm). The focusing system is¬†3-point multi-beam infrared active autofocus 0.5m ~ ‚ąě with¬†macro mode 0.4m ~ 1m.

That means the aperture is not as wide as the olympus, but for the price difference I would be happy. Anyway, thank goodness for Google Translate. I think this is an awesome camera.

For this film I decided to try processing the film at home. I have already processed black and white, so why not colour. I found a kit on eBay¬†which said I could process at 24¬†degrees¬†C. The usual temperature of 38 degrees is supposed to be hard to maintain. I find this a bit odd as the developing time is just 3.5 minutes. at 24 the developing time is 13.5 minutes…much longer to maintain it.

I felt this camera was working well, it made the right noises, so picked this film to try it out. Here are the results.

Well, the camera worked very well. I love it. But I am not too sure on the processing. The photos are ok, but the tint is an indication that all was not well on the processing front. On the other hand they came out better than the local shop I used last time. So I think I will have another go at some point. As the chemicals do not keep for a long time unlike the black and white ones, and they cannot be bought in regular shops in Japan…it will have to be soon.

So keep or sell? Well I doubt I will get what I think it is worth so I am tempted to sell the Olympus Mju and keep this one. I will ponder this for a little while before deciding.

Oh and these photos were taken in Tsurumi at Sojiji.