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Posts from the ‘35mm Camera’ Category

Nikkors 24mm f2.8 + 50mm f1.4

This short article demonstrates the ability of old and abused lenses to resolve decent images. The lenses are the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4. I discovered the 24mm optic on eBay and paid £55:00 including postage. The 50mm cost £43:00 including postage. The filter ring of the 24mm is damaged and the rear element is scratched. A filter is now forced onto the thread and it is secured with insulation tape.

I own five Nikkormat cameras: Whenever I see one for around fifty pounds it is snapped up. The last one purchased is the lower one in the picture below and is fitted with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 – A thirty pounds bargain ~ This lens is in poor condition with fungus:

Below is an example of the 50mm resolving ability:

Nikkor 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

Below is an image from the 24mm. 1/125 sec @ f5.6

Another an image from the 24mm. 1/125 sec @ f5.6

The images demonstrate one can risk the purchase of old and rough Nikkormats and Nikkors. If you are on a tight budget go for these underrated cameras and lenses. I have never purchased a Nikon which could not be returned to life. The light meters in the cheaper Nikkormats have a reputation for being troublesome. I have been lucky, only one of mine has resistor failure. The other four work faultlessly.

The film used is PanF developed in Rodinal 50:1 – 20 degrees for 11 minutes. I think the development time was too short! I’ll time it at 15 minutes next time. The negatives are very sharp and would ‘wet print’ very well indeed, providing far better images that the scans in this article.

Thanks for reading. Consider cheap and heavily used Nikons – Nikkors and Nikkormats. Most will reward you better than over priced ‘collectors pieces’.

See You Soon

Takumar 50mm f1.4

This lens was stripped and cleaned some time ago. Although the outward condition is inferior, optically it is in first-class order. I have chosen to scan the negatives at a low resolution to see how the images look on the site.

As you can see lens is well worn:

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The close up reveals the condition of the lens: During the overhaul the optics were subjected to a 48 hour UV bath, and are now gin clear, without a hint of the yellowing associated with the thorium lenses. The UV bath removes the time related yellowing of glass containing thorium.

Pentax Issues:

I have eight screw thread Pentax cameras, and all have enjoyed full clean, lubrication and adjustment carried out by Eric at Pentax Repairs. He is an outstanding technician. However, I’m now coming across a fault with the Pentax’s. On two cameras the shutter curtains are beginning to show slight light leaks in very bright light. If I am to continue to use the Takumar lenses, I will consider purchasing a Voightlander Bessaflex TM – Or move over to Nikkormats and Contax for my 35mm work, and sell my extensive Pentax collection. This would be a sad move, as I have used SVs and S1a’s for many years. A compromise is to use the M42 to K Mount adapter: The image below shows the same 50mm mounted on an MV using the adapter:

Ok: We now have another issue to consider when choosing an analogue camera. Light leaks in the rubberised silk shutter curtains would make a repair expensive and in some cases impossible. It is interesting how something out of our control can force us to consider available options, even ones that overrule emotional attachment.

Film and Developer Choice:

For this test, I used FomaPan 100 developed in Ilford ID11 (20 degrees C for 9 minutes). This is a change from my usual developer: Rodinal. During the last six years, this classic developer has given me beautiful negatives when using FomaPan. And I have come to expect the sharp acutance (edge sharpness) of the grain using the Foma 100/Rodinal combination. ID11 does not give this ‘edge’ sharpness, of course one should not expect the ID11 to do so, it is a ‘solvent’ developer which smooths out the grain during processing.

The old tractor on Cromer beach is an indication of how a simple image can be full of information. It is for the viewer to realise the story being told. My thoughts are redundancy and end of service.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

Another tractor image: In fact, boring and without great interest: The Composition would benefit from a closer crop and a different angle. An important lesson is the negative is sharp, and a wet print would have more excellent resolution. The conclusion is low-resolution scans are not beneficial when assessing lenses for the internt; although low resolution scans are fine for reviewing composition. Low resolution scanning has a time advantage. The scan time is less than a minute at the low setting on Silverfast 8 software, usual scan time is three minutes per frame.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The portrait composition of the Muir-Hill machine works reasonably well: although a second ‘square-on’ record would have been worthwhile. I had limited myself to one cassette of film for this day’s work, and therefore, one frame per subject was the rule.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

In this image, we see the tractors in use. It is a reasonable record of the scene. Unfortunately, it also betrays the shutter curtain’s deterioration. Look at the two white lines in the bottom left of the picture. This is extraneous exposure made while composing the image. My Weston Euromaster Meter indicated 1/500th at f11.0 for the correct exposure. So while the composition was being made with an open aperture, light seeped onto the emulsion. Look at the other images in this series, and there is no indication of curtain issues. Only when faced with extreme light does the rubberised cloth leak light and ruin the picture.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

We can see the ability of the fifty-five-year-old lens to resolve a sharp image in this capture. Consider the composition. The sea horizon is level and therefore the alignment is ok: the composition is mediocre and nothing more than a ‘snap-shot’. Many photographers make the mistake of ignoring horizons. Think about the way we see our world, it is with level horizons and (for example) squared walled buildings. When the inner-being suggests to the conscious mind: ‘there is something not quite right with this picture’ The background and ‘angled’ horizons often answers the question ‘why don’t I like this image?’ This is not a hard and fast rule, it is an important consideration in ‘open-framed’ pictures.

The final image is of the Russian cannon outside of Ely Cathedral. This image is all about exposure. The cannon is black, to show the gun as black, the technique is to under-expose the frame: this results in a less exposed cannon on the negative. When printed in the darkroom the thinner ‘under-exposed’ cannon is darker on the print. I closed the aperture by two stops to achieve this end. In the darkroom, I could give the cannon a little more exposure using the burning-in technique. Although I’m very keen on straight printing, which means getting the best negative possible. Straight printing is the process when prints are not manipulated during printing. One prints ‘straight’ from the negative to the paper. Good exposure technique helps with ‘straight-printing’.

Many photographers extol the virtues of print manipulation, indeed there are those who worship the so-called master printer. I have no interest in refining the print. If I desired amazing and easy to take monochrome images, I’d sell my collection and buy a Leica Monochrome!

Edward Weston dismissed photographers who used sloppy technique (straight printing), dodging and burning prints were an essential aspect of his final image. And there are many who follow his lead. Bresson liked his Leica and 50mm, Tri-X and f8.0. He felt the deal was composition, in fact, he did not develop or print most of his work, although he demanded excellence of printing. I go with Susan Sontag: in her book ‘On Photography’ : she comments that ‘straight’ printing is a valid photographic method.

In Conclusion:

The Takumar 50mm f1.4 is an excellent lens. All images in the article are exposed using small apertures and fast shutter speeds. So the full opening of f1.4 is not explored in the pictures. From experience, the glass is sharp wide open at the point of focus. It is excellent over most of the frame from f2.8 and loses the edge after f11.0. There is no point in taking a series of frames of one subject sequentially closing the aperture to demostrate the different ways the lens resolves the picture. My preference is to explore the lens’s capability in the real world.

When one is walking around with a camera and lens, you have immense control over exposure setting combinations. However, In the real world, when wandering, we are recording images and considering composition. My prefence in this instance is to set the apature to f8.0 and change the shutter speed to the suggestion made by the meter.

The principal requirement is to expose the film well. Use Sunny-16 or a light meter: and keep an eye on the settings. After the exposure is looked after: pre-visualise the picture and compose as best you can if you desire imagery with either a story to tell or visual impact. The process IS this simple.

  1. Keep an eye on the light: Refer to the meter often
  2. So, use the Sunny-16 rule AND light meter. Learn to see and understand light
  3. Adjust settings often – In this way you become used to light and camera adjustments. Eventually you’ll set exposure by intuition!
  4. Compose tightly and concentrate on focus
  5. One camera and two lenses can capture most images (added as an after thought!)

The images in this article struggle or fail to impress: all demonstrate compositional faults. When we have a ‘bad’ day not all is lost: By reviewing one’s compositions changes can be made. But remember one crucial point: We can never take and make a good image on every frame or on every outing. However, we can learn from every frame we take!

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Pentax 40mm Pancake

Out to play with the Pentax 40mm SMC Pancake lens attached to a Pentax MX camera. When it comes to 35mm camera choice I’m torn between four cameras. The Contax iia – Pentax MX and MV and the Nikkormat. But most important of all is the lens choice. The 40mm SMC Pancake is a fine lens with great contrast and resolution. Many reviewers knock this optic’s ability to produce sharp and sparkling images. I would question their understanding of the sequence of the analogue process.

Ilford HP5s – Processed in ID11

I’m not a fan of fast film. My preference is for the 100 iso speed group: Fomapan 100 being my number one choice. I had three rolls of Ilford HP5s remaining from a project completed earlier in the year which involving low light. So I decided to take the MX – 40mm – HP5s combination out into the streets of Nottingham the day before the ‘holiday’.

1/30th @ f4.0 The Exchange Nottingham

The City was indeed deserted. I waited until the two strollers were nearly out of shot before capturing the image. I’m not pleased with the composition. However the atmosphere of the usually busy arcade is seen in the record of history.

Snap Shot

This man had the message. He is an ex Jehovah’s Witness and has an interesting message to give. The flip chart style message board is a great innovation. He has a few more startling messages for humankind ready for display. A snapshot and just what street-photography is all about.

On The Run

I saw the runner a few moments before the image was taken. Taking the chance he’d run in front of the camera I knew he would look at the subject he thought I was recording: not realising he was the centre of the image. I’ve used this technique many times and it rarely fails to produce an interesting photograph. What you cannot see is he looked back, because he believed he’d missed something!

In Conclusion:

Use any lens and camera combination. Remember, analogue photography is holistic and as good as the weakest link. If the exposure is out, the processing time or temperature too much or too little or the lens is out of focus the final image will suffer. Above all, the composition is king and queen of the process.

See You Soon

Contax iia

Oleg of OK Cameras in Russia has serviced my Contax iia. So I can now begin to renew my friendship with this amazing camera. It is complemented with an optically perfect 50mm f1.5 Sonnar lens, although it has a slight ding on the filter ring. The intention is to finish a full and in-depth review of the camera. I’ll save the pictures of the Contax and lens until the review is finished. So for this short post, I post a few images taken with this amazing lens.

The mystical way the Sonnar resolves images is unique and to my mind almost unsurpassable. I consider a 6X9 inch print as a perfect size for viewing images taken on a 35mm negative: either for arm’s length consideration or for close up scrutiny this print size makes sense. The scans of the negatives are of low resolution: the printed negatives are fantastic, simply beautiful. The images have the most beautiful luminous look.

Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Lens made in 1957
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Film FomaPan 100
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Developer used Ilford ID11
Amazing Resolving Ability

One can see the unique and powerful way the lens resolves even the most mundane of images: Photographers who can find a Contax ii or iia with either Sonnar 50mm (f2.0 or f1.5) will be rewarded with beautiful photographic images.

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The Under Dog

The Under Dog

I wonder about the artist who believes a sable brush is a secret behind a great painting. Many hold the belief that high-quality tools will turn a desire to excel into a reality. Buy the best tools for longevity and quality, but never believe the most exceptional quality will replace ability and practice.

For some time, I have used low priced cameras and lenses, rather than my expensive Nikon, Leica, and Bronicas. I prefer Fomapan film to Kodak or Ilford, and my scanner is a cheap Plustek. Of course, I have a darkroom with excellent equipment: however, the scanner makes more sense for online applications.

I am currently working on an online 35mm camera course, and I decided to use the most basic of equipment for instructional purposes. For most of my work I have used the Pentax S1a and 20mm, 28mm, 35mm 50mm and 85mm Takumar lenses. However, I have chosen the Former Soviet Union FED 2 camera with the Industar 50mm f3.5 for the course.

It seems to me if I can demonstrate that basic and cheap equipment can give excellent results. Then the student will concentrate on technique and composition rather than the camera and lens. I was once asked by a man with a Leica pendant (camera): ‘What is your favourite camera and lens?’ My reply ‘Ten cassettes of film’ had him perplexed. I explained ten cassettes of film would return 360 negatives: each one is a lesson in the art of photography. He still did not realise the implication that practice has more importance than equipment.

I smile when reading ‘experts’ opinion of the Leica lens resolving power. A Bronica lens will better the Leica, and a Hasselblad will make the German’s images seem whippy ice-cream soft. Most 35mm cameras are suitable for 9X6 inch prints, no matter what the brand. If you want bigger go medium format!

I came to the FED 2 camera after reading an article about rangefinders. The one used for this article is a twenty pound eBay purchase. The film is FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal for nine minutes @ 20 degrees C.

Yesterday was a dullish day, and most exposures are either 1/60 or 1/30th second, and the aperture is f4.0. I have not tweaked or adjusted the 300dpi scans. More to follow…

See You Soon


Slow Speed? Go For It!

Last week I had a chance meeting with Raymond Ford, the American featherweight boxer. He was in England to fight at the Motorpoint. He convincingly won his bout, and we hope to see him again in the UK.

I became engrossed in conversation with Dave. He had travelled from Camden, New York with the boxer,  he was at the market eating Nottingham’s traditional food ‘Mushy Peas and Mint Sauce’. It was not long before I asked the magic question: ‘Can I take your photograph?

Ray and Dave

The camera in the bag was a Nikkormat the lens a Nikkor 50mm f1.4: So I opened up the aperture to 1.4 and set the shutter to 1/15th of a second. Four frames taken on Fomapan 100 yielded two reasonable negatives. (Film developed in Rodinal 50+1 for 12.5 minutes).

Never be afraid to use slow speeds and wide apertures. The images can be rewarding. These two frames are not the sharpest. Although, six by nine-inch prints would look just fine. The subject outweighs the ultimate detail. No cropping as usual and the choice was to frame the image reasonably loosely because of the limited depth of focus.

Ray and Dave

There is a hard lesson learned here; my thoughts must have been sleeping at home. Why did I only take the four frames? And why didn’t I take individual portraits of Ray and Dave? No Answer other than brain block stupidity. Usually there is no reticence when using film: I’d use a whole cassette on a flower if the subject was worthy.

It would not have mattered if I’d taken thirty-six or seventy-two frames. The opportunity was lost. A hard lesson learned, and one never forgotten. Film costs nothing compared to the memories it records. I know this adage: why didn’t I follow it with the session?

Nikkormat 50mm f1.4

Interestingly my favoured Nikkor 50mm is the f2.0 H. I put the f1.4 on the body by pure chance. The Nikkormat is a superb camera: I own four, and only one has a meter issue. The cameras work faultlessly even though they are nudging fifty years old.

Pentax S1a – 50mm f2.0

I prefer my Pentax S1a’s above any other camera. But all have needed servicing by Eric at Pentax repairs. I select the Nikkormat’s in rotation as I do with my other cameras. If you desire to keep your cameras working, you need to use them often. It is recommended you run your camera through their shutter speed range once a week. Use ‘em or lose ‘em.

See You Soon

Depth of Focus

In the last article, I wrote about depth in focus. And the limitation was the Canon 5000’s auto exposure. And Yes! There is a way of setting the shutter speed to adjust or fix the aperture on the Canon however, the series of articles about the Canon is centred on using it as a novice’s photo-instrument. Remember the idea is to see if less than £100-00’s worth of kit can reward the photographer.

In this article, the intention is to explain that by using a wide aperture, the photographer keeps the background out of focus. This isolates the subject in the image. All of the images were taken with a Nikkormat FTn and Nikkor 50mm f1.4. The film is FomaPan 100 – developed in Rodinal 1+50 at 20° for 12 minutes and 30 seconds. The lens is well used and would benefit from a service. It has plenty of dust and some fungus.

More important is the camera settings: most are at f1.4 and the bike images are f2.0. The portraits are mostly 1/30th the Alice images are 1/15th and of course all hand-held. I would invite all photographers to take a chance with slow shutter speeds and wide apertures.  All images are straight scans with no sharpening or tweaking.

Click on The Images to Enlarge

Alice f1.4 – 1/15th Second

Market Images f1.4 – 1/30th Second

Bike Images f2.0 – 1/500th Second

Wide apertures and slow shutter speeds do work although, you have to be brave. The techniques are to make sure the camera is tight onto your face. Gently press the shutter button and DO NOT take your eye away from the eyepiece until the mirror has returned and you can see the image again.

Practice with care and you’ll be amazed at the results. I never use artificial light or flash and would use a one-second exposure even if it resulted in some blurring. Incidentally, the perceived resolution of a lens has much to do with contrast and light. The Nikkor lens used for these images has a reputation of not being sharp wide open. Truth to tell is the reviewers probably do not work hard enough to focus the lens. The technique is to move the focus ring ‘in and out’ of focus while looking at the subject. After a few seconds, the eye becomes accustomed to the area of sharpness. If you are new to manual focus cameras try this method as well. Technique is what makes the photographer: Composition is what makes the photograph.

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Photo Project – Article Three

Sharp Focus Verses Composition – The standard Canon 5000 and 40mm STM lens is used for the sequence of bike images. Remember the objective of this project is to discover if a hundred pounds worth of analogue equipment will reward the photographer. To my mind composition outweighs ultimate sharpness and quality. If the image is interesting, it will hold the viewer far longer than a cut-throat sharp picture of a cardboard box.

I’m not interested in the ‘my lens is sharper than your’s’ mindset. The feeling is, justification comes to play in the statement. Let’s be clear, if you have paid a thousand pounds for your lens, the need is to believe the lens is ten times as good as a ‘user’ purchased for a hundred pounds.

It is not possible for a single lens to be ten times better than any high performer. And if the photographer is unable to focus correctly, the expensive lens has no advantage. So, we return to the idea composition is of greater importance than sharpness.

Sharpness has no concern for the real photographer. Wide apertures give a shallow depth of focus. There are little foreground and background sharpness when using a wide aperture. As the aperture closes, the extent of the in-focus area increases and isolation of a subject diminishes. The nearer the lens to the subject the shallower the depth of focus. If you look at these images, you’ll discover there are areas of sharpness and the other regions which are blurred. Although, the limitation of the auto exposure does give a smaller aperture than I would have preferred.

The way to focus with autofocus is to place the central focus area on the part of the image you need to isolate: focus and hold the shutter button while recomposing the image to your minds-eye’s composition. See if you can work out where my point of focus is in these images.

Autofocus is good, but manual focus helps better with compositional areas of focus. Only when using an SLR, can you compose and then critically focus on your chosen field without MOVING the camera. When using a standard or short telephoto lens with wide apertures, you may be off with your focus. Look through the images and see where the focal point is for the composition.

The negatives are sharp and would provide excellent six by nine-inch prints. All images are straight out of the scanner with NO adjustments. Many people will comment “‘it is only when you are enlarging to 12 by 16 will you find the resolution of the lens”. There is merit in their claim. However, the accurate reply is how many 12 by 16 images have you in your portfolio? And if I needed a 12 by 16 or 16 by 20 print, my choice of the camera would be medium format.

First Image: Ian Timothy
Short Photo Essay – The ‘Whole’ Picture

The inference here is close up images have great impact. And although the separate frames are indeed sharp: the information has more interest than the resolution of the photograph.

Gears: Ian Timothy
Aspect of the Bike – Gear Cluster
Gear Lever: Ian Timothy
Gear Shifter
Handlebars and Shifter: Ian Timothy
Handle Bars and Shifter
Bike Seat: Ian Timothy
Detailed Image of Leather Seat

When recording an ‘object’ photograph the whole picture and then a few composite parts of the subject. And remember: Although sharpness is a factor considered as important. Composition and information gain more attention from the reviewer of the images.

The film used is FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal at 50:1 dilution: Time – nine minutes: Temperature 20 degrees C.

See you soon

Portrait Photo Project

Canon One (remember I’m alternating between two EOS 5000’s) was loaded with Foma100, and the portrait project began.

The images were mostly taken at our market stall. Over the years we have made many friends at the stall, so the simple question “can I take a few pictures for my photo project?” was usually answered with the affirmative. All who declined no longer receive discounts when I’m serving!

Using my Minolta meter IV, I measured the market’s available light. It indicated f2.0 at 1/30th of a second. The plastic Canon showed a lens factor of f2.8, and the shutter speed seemed slow. So, exceptional care is taken to hold the camera as steady as possible. All of the market images were made using the 50mm STM.

Sonia was a lap dancer some years ago. She is a generous and kind lady with a cheeky attitude to life.

Claire has a food stall on the market. She runs Nottingham’s ‘mushy pea’ stall. Mushy peas are dried peas soaked in bicarbonate of soda and then boiled until super? Well, mushy!. They are served with mint sauce.


Darren is a brilliant artist. He makes carved animal pendants. I wish I’d taken a few images of his art.

Phil is a friend. He is a demon at picking winning racehorses. I am not joking or exaggerating.


The negatives are sharp, and the scans do not do justice to the potential of a wet print. The initial conclusion is the camera and lenses are capable of producing excellent results.

Thanks for Reading This Article

Long Term Photo Project

I have decided to begin a long term photo project. Based on a belief that the type, make, or the price of a camera is of no importance to the quality, and more importantly the composition of the final image. There is no suggestion a throwaway snap-shot camera will provide the same quality of pictures made by an SLR or rangefinder. However, it is possible to demonstrate a low priced 35mm film camera is a viable alternative to higher priced ‘professional’ models.

Helmut Newton sometimes used a Canon EOS 100 and Canon EF 35mm 2.8 – 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8 lenses. Although he photographed with many other cameras: the fact he used ‘amateur’ equipment for professional assignments is a testament to the: ‘not what you use – it’s how you use it’ school of thought.

Canon EOS -

After ten minutes searching on eBay, I discover two EOS 5000 cameras. The pair are purchased for eighteen pounds including postage. The 5000 is chosen because it does not have light seals or the dreaded shutter cushion found in the following EOS film cameras. (The shutter cushion deteriorates and causes problems inside the film chamber). It does have an easily replaceable mirror cushion. After delivery, the cameras were inspected: both function correctly, and the mirror cushions are in excellent condition.

Click on the pictures to enlarge images:

One camera had the infamous sticky ‘rubber’ grip, a problem for many buyers. Worry not; buy a bottle of methylated spirits, soak a tissue in the spirit and wipe away the ‘sticky grippy’ residue. You’ll use around fifteen tissues to remove the rubber finish: After removal, you’ll never know it was there or why it was needed in the first place.

The Cameras:

Basic automatic and semi-manual settings are the order of the day. In manual use, the user selects the shutter speed, and the camera finds a suitable aperture. There are four ‘pre-set programs’- portrait – landscape – macro – sports. The pre-set is aperture/shutter processor. Choose portrait and processor leaves the aperture wide open (for a shallow zone of focus). Choose landscape and aperture is small (deep zone of focus). Choose sports mode, and the shutter speed is high. Macro seems to be the smallest aperture possible. The presets will be used when needed. The fully auto setting indicated by the green rectangle marking will be the most used setting for this project. Helmut Newton preferred auto metering, so I’ll follow his lead.

Both cameras have their identities black taped. There is an advantage of black taping a camera if it is used for candid snapshots. People do not seem to notice the camera. Do not ask me why this works. I’m convinced the subjects do not see a black taped camera as quickly.

Camera batteries:

Another eBay find is four UltraFire CR123A rechargeables for six pounds. As I already have four CR123A’s and a charger; the battery situation is well covered. Incidentally, the cameras use two batteries. The rechargeables will last for around thirty cassettes of film.


I own Canon 40mm and 50mm STM lenses. The combined cost of the 40 and 50 was one hundred and fifty pounds. Cheapish purchases which prove if you keep looking, bargains are to be discovered. I may take the project further and purchase an EF 85mm 1.8. For the moment the 40 and 50 will be sufficient for the work in hand. It will be interesting to discover which makes the better ‘standard’ lens.

Using the camera:

Once fitted with batteries the camera is good to go. Loading the film is simple, extend the leader to the orange mark, close the back, and you’re ready. After the back is locked the motor rolls out the film onto the take-up spool. As every frame is exposed, the film is returned into the cassette. A led counter shows how many frames are left. Photographers should expect thirty-seven frames from each cassette.

The film will be developed using the classic Rodinal: diluted 1+50 and processed for twelve minutes at 20 degrees C. To test the consistency of exposure and focus I will alternate between the two cameras. It will be interesting to see if the negative density is the same for each camera.


Seasoned photographers will point out the camera has no exposure compensation facility. Exposure compensation is used to over or underexpose the negative in certain situations. For example: if the portrait of a white person is made with monochrome film I would over-expose by one stop (from the meter reading) to darken the skin tone ON the negative. When printing the negative the darker area of the exposure would make the skin lighter. If I were to take an image of a dark-skinned person, the exposure would be reduced by one stop to ‘thin’ the skin tone area ON the negative. During printing in the darkroom, the exposure compensated negative would yield the correct representation of the subject.


Canon EOS -

The slowest shutter speed is one-eighth of a second. There is no concern for this apparent limitation. The reality is slow shutter speed is rarely used by photographers. Use open apertures and the fastest possible shutter speed to attain sharp images. Many so-called experts write about lens sharpness, they fail to acknowledge the certainty most ‘out of focus images’ are in reality ‘blurred’ from camera shake. Overcoming camera shake takes practice: the trick is to frame the picture – gently press the shutter and keep the eye to the viewfinder until the shutter returns. Another secret is to keep the eye open during the exposure, do not blink!

Over the coming weeks, I will write about the performance of the cameras and how they cope with different photo-projects. One cassette of film will be used for each subject type. For examples, portraits, motor cars and motorcycles, houses, architectural aspect of a building. The guideline is the same: one subject one cassette, thirty-six exposures.

From Film to Computer:

The choice is to scan the negatives using a basic Plustek scanner. It seems ironic the scanner is more expensive than the total cost of two lenses and camera bodies. Some people worry about the expense of using film. To my mind it is insignificant: Ten cassettes of 36 exposure FomaPan 100 can be purchased for thirty-four pounds including postage. A bottle of Rodinal developer costs fourteen pounds. By the way, 500ml of Rodinal will process eighty rolls of film. Stop bath and fixer is no more than ten pence a film.

Work on thirty-pence per film for chemicals and three pounds forty pence for the film: we can conclude it is a cheap hobby. A photographer could take a whole day to use a cassette of film. What could be more affordable? Once you begin to print the negatives in a darkroom the process becomes expensive; although I’ll show ways to use a hybrid darkroom later in this series of articles. Hybrid? Yes! The scanner is used for most of the work, and exceptional negatives are wet printed.

Seven Days:

The EOS will be loaded with film, and the project is portraits. One cassette and a series of images taken with either 40mm or 50mm lens over the next five days. Develop the film, scan the negatives and write the following article.

See You Soon

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