Jun 22 2019

Portra 160

Back in 2011 Kodak updated Portra 160 using the technologies from their motion picture Vision films.  While Portra 160 does have a finer grain structure than Portra 400 they have it rated for sharpness even a tiny amount bellow Portra800. Its grain though falls between Portra 400 and Ektar 100 which is claimed to be the finest grained colour negative film ever.

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Given all this it should perform similar to Portra 400 but with a slightly lower sensitivity and perhaps every so slightly softer which may be why Kodak present it as a film ideal for portraiture.

You can see that 160 and 400 have similarly shaped spectral curves that differ from Ektar 100. The images from Portra 160 & 400 emulsions properly exposed should therefore give similar results which is what I have found.

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This is one of the reasons I gravitate towards Portra 400 rather than 160 I rarely find myself in a situation where there is just too much light to shoot 400.  And given the abilities of these films to handle over exposure of several stops it just isn’t a problem shooting 400 speed film.  Also with a hybrid film to digital workflow there is always the ability to make some adjustments.  So while I do use Portra 160 from time to time as seen in the images below I prefer Portra 400 for its versatility.

You can find more info around Kodak Alaris films here

Kodak Alaris


Jun 8 2019

Canon QL17 III

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In 1971 Canon was advertising the Canon QL17 as a carry-it-anyplace camera that gave quick and precise rangefinder focusing and that it was the most automatic precision camera you can buy but that it could be used 100% manually if you prefer.

QL17AD1971

My camera is actually the QL17 G-III but there is little difference between them.

It may have been superseded as the most automatic precision camera you can buy in the last 48 years but it is still an easy to carry precision rangefinder.  The lens of the QL17 is a 45mm f1.7 constructed with 6 elements in 5 groups. and is a fantastic performer.  The image bellow shows details from the corners and center without any editing.  You can see there is just a tiny amount of chromatic aberration but the entire field is sharp.  This image was taken with the lens stopped down but it is good even wide open.

CanonQL17_Portra400_2018_034-Edit copy

The shutter a Copal SV has a top speed of 1/500 second and can be used without a battery which is fortunate because the camera was originally designed to use a 1.3V mercury cell.

So there is good reason that this camera is still well regarded its just a great little fixed lens rangefinder.


Jun 1 2019

Olympus Stylus 150

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Released in 2003 six years after the much better and more desirable Olympus Stylus Epic the Stylus 150 marked the end of new film cameras from almost all camera makers as they focused their efforts exclusively on digital cameras ( I believe the Stylus Epic Zoom 170 was released before the 150) .  And that’s okay because cameras like this had reached their limit and maybe even pushed a little too far.  What I mean is at an aperture of f13.3 and a focal length of 150mm it reaches beyond where it should.  Without a lot of light the camera is going to be forced to use slower shutter speeds than should be used.  There is a mode that is intended to counteract this it is the camera shake mode under the flash menu.  Olympus isn’t very clear about how this functions.  In the manual it says that if the green and orange LED’s around the viewfinder are alternately blinking then there is a potentially for too much camera shake and to hold the camera securely until the blinking stops.  This suggests that there is a sensor in the camera that is measuring the shake.  In a brochure for the camera they say it a little differently.

Camera Shake Indicator: This innovative feature prompts you to steady the camera when shake is detected. Even if movement continues, it automatically selects a faster shutter speed to reduce image blur.

How effective this is isn’t clear but that fact that they were making this effort is another indication of the problem that these long zoom compact cameras were suffering from.

The specifications for the lens on the Stylus 150 is  37.5 ~ 150 mm, F5.1 ~ 13.3, 8 elements in 7 groups.

Stylus150

A previous post about the Olympus Stylus 150 can be seen here Stylus 15o


May 25 2019

Minolta Autopak Tele (460T) 110 film camera

Most 110 film cameras are notable for their lack of notability but the Minolta Autopak 460T is an exception particularly due to its lens(s).  It has a 26mm f3.5 and a 43mm f4.7 lens when set to telephoto. It does only  have a fixed shutter speed of 1/200 second but the apertures can be stopped down to f8 for the normal lens and f13.2 when set to Tele as well as some value in-between which I’m not certain of  but if your using 110film you cant be that choosy.

I’ve always struggled with scanning 110 film.  I’ve tried holding it flat on my scanner with little success and I’ve tried using a modified slide duplicator but this time I just laid it out on a piece of frosted plexiglass and took pictures of it with a macro lens lighting it from behind with a flash.  The results are much better although they need to be converted from a negative to positive and colour corrected something my primary image management software Lightroom is not well suited for.  Negative_Conversion

However here is a Lightroom preset you can use as a starting point if you choose to attempt something similar.  Negative Conversion Template

Just place this file in the user presets folder for Lightroom and the next time you launch Lightroom it can be found under user presets.


May 19 2019

Pentax 24EW with Portra 400

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The Pentax 24EW remains a camera that seems to find its way into my bag when I travel.  It’s not that it has a fantastic telephoto capability and its not because it’s small and light (195g), there is one reason and one reason only and that is that it has that 24mm wide angle.  I really like 32mm wide angles and I like 28mm wide angles even more so it stands to reason that I would like 24mm the most.  It has a 7 point passive autofocus system which works very well under almost every situation that you would use a camera like this however if necessary you can set it to spot focus or infinity for landscapes.  The lens while going from 24 to 105mm has apertures of 4.9 to 12.5 and is constructed from 7 elements this is of course the compromise that you make in order to have a lens like this in your pocket.  The first image in the gallery was under very low light and at 24mm which shows the most extreme example of vignetting you will get from this camera.   I’ve posted numerous times about this camera before Pentax 24EW


May 4 2019

Minotla Maxxum 7

_K3_8867

I had the opportunity to borrow a Minolta Maxxum 7 recently.  What a fantastic camera.   It’s now nearly a 20 years old model but many of the controls and features remain familiar today on high end interchangeable lens cameras.  Things such as front and back control dials for aperture and shutter settings, an exposure compensation dial and even a flash compensation dial.  The stand out feature though has to be the large LCD on the back that provides a myriad of information.  It has enough area to display everything you need to know while your shooting.  My favourite use of the LCD though has to be the ability to view what the 14 segment honeycomb metering system is measuring.  This is performed by pressing the AE-lock button followed by the DISP button.  Each segment is then displayed as one of three shades with addition information inside.   If the segment is white it references positive EV above +1 and if its black it denotes -1 EV or lower in the middle is grey for values between those two.  If the value in a segment exceeds +3 then it will just have a + sign and if it is below -3 it has a – sign.  It really looks better and is more intuitive than I can describe so maybe a picture is better.

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Now 14 segments may not constitute a full image but it is enough information to evaluate your exposure.

Another great use for that big LCD is for looking at the recorded shot data.  Not just what you are currently up to but it retains the history of 11 parameters for up to 7 rolls of film.  After I shot my two rolls of film I was able to go back and see what setting I had used for each shot.  We take this for granted with digital cameras but its a fantastic feature for use with film.  I rarely have the patience to record exposure details manually.

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There are many more controls I won’t be going over, there is always a manual for that but a few interesting things are located when you flip down the cover below the LCD and press the custom button.  This brings you into the menu for those features that are needed less frequently such as whether to leave the film leader out after the roll rewinds among other things.  Its Custom function 25 though that is interesting and unique to this camera, it allows you to set the user preset 3 to one of two purposes.  The first being a user present obviously but it can also be changed to STF mode.  Despite this menu being in plain language I realize that STF may not be overly descriptive so I will give you a moment to guess what it stand for….times up it stands for Smooth Transition Focus.  Okay great but what is that Wallace? you may be asking to which I will say that is worthy of its own blog post at a later date.

I have been using the camera with the battery grip and ergonomically speaking it feels great.  Every control has a unique feel and placement such that you can operate the camera completely by feel in the dark with a little practice.  Did I mention that the LCD on the back has a nice indigo backlight?  I did now. In contrast though there is a tiny little LCD on the top plate that provides shutter and aperture information.  This might be okay when working on a tripod in good light but its a little limited.  I felt that I needed to say at least one negative thing about the camera, done.

 

The camera has a fantastic multiple exposure implementation.  Unlike many other cameras all you need to do with the Maxxum 7 is set the drive mode to the red multiple exposure setting and that’s it.  Each time you press the shutter it takes another exposure without advancing the film.  Additionally it keeps a tally and displays how many exposures you’ve done up to 9.  You can keep exposing after those 9 but the camera no longer will keep count.  You can even turn the camera off and on during a multiple exposure sequence.  Of course you don’t want to forget it in that mode or you will end up with some unintended results.

The shutter reaches a fast 1/8000 of a second and it can fire off up to 4 frames per second.  I’ve covered some of the highlights of the Maxxum 7 but to sum it up its a feature rich camera with excellent controls that feels fantastic in the hand.  I do prefer it with the VC-7 grip which has the added benefit of allow the use of AA batteries instead of expensive lithium ones in the main body.  Having also borrowed a Nikon F5 which is a tank of a camera I can say that the Maxxum 7 has more features and is better laid out and easier to use.  The F5 though feels like you can use it to hammer nails.  I will finish off with some images and mention again that I will be doing a separate post about the Smooth Transition Focus feature. (If I have already posted it when you read this you will find the link here ————–)

 


Apr 27 2019

Ultrafine Colouruption in the Konica Auto S3

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I bought a few rolls of what Photo Warehouse calls “Ultrafine Colouruption”  Now I’m not complaining because I did expect strange results but the name is a bit of a misnomer as it’s more of a “Mute-elation”.  Inspecting the film edge it becomes clear that this film is actually ORWO NC3  the “NC” apparently stands for Negative Colour, I’m not sure what the 3 means yet but if its a quality scale that goes to ten I think 3 is being generous.  This film apparently hasn’t been manufactured for years and was originally intended as movie film and likely came in canister with a label much like this.

il_fullxfull

Thanks for the use of the image The Vintage Europe

The film also apparently has a different developing process than C41.  Without it can you really call this a colour film?  Many of the pictures seem to be bereft of any colour other than a cyan cast while some others have a few selective colours that survive in particular green.  Overall I would describe the colours  as muddy. The closest comparison I can think of is the look of faded slides like Anscochrome   Any way you look at it this is a strange film that behaves like nothing else I know.  Ultrafine has it listed as 25 ISO but I suspect you could use a lower setting yet.

I’m also not saying its this films fault (It’s not) but my Konica Auto S3 died half way through the roll.  Repairing it is another post though.  Konica Auto S3 Battery Holder repair


Apr 19 2019

Konica MT11 nude

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The MT11 should have been a good camera but this one failed to rewind the film at the end of the roll. This forced me to extract the film in my film loading bag.  I did recover some shots from the expired film but because of this rewind faux pas it was also the last roll I put through my already mostly depleted chemistry.  Let that be a lessen to my other cameras that don’t behave. Not only will I disassemble you for your little innards I will treat your film with the same level of care.

Its a shame because the MT-11 was the best of the three levels of cameras Konica made in this line.  The MT-7 had a 36mm F4 lens, the MT-9 had a 35mm F3.5 and the MT-11 sported a 35mm F2.8 4 element lens.  You can’t really evaluate its performance from the image gallery but it did seem to focus well and if I ever come across another one I will give the model another go after I show it this picture.

 

 

 

 


Apr 6 2019

Canon Z180u

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With the Canon Z180u reaching all the way out to an 180mm focal length its imperative that you use a faster film.  In this case I chose to use a good roll of Portra 400 which I usually reserve for cameras I deem to be more deserving but seeing as it was my first and possibly only trip to a sub zero Celsius Alberta I thought I would splurge.  It was worth it, the Z180u is not that bad all things considered especially compared to the Pentax IQzoom 200 . However I think the Olympus Superzoom 160G has slightly better optics. I’ve used this camera a few times now and while the results have never been stellar they haven’t made me want to recycle it either.

The lens on the Z180u is a 38-180mm f5.6 to f12.9 and that’s all I have to say about that.


The images that I didn’t include in the gallery are a good indication of where this cameras weakness lies. Long zoom and low light.

Lightroom (CanonZ180u_Portra400_2018_002.jpg and 8 others)


Mar 30 2019

Cinestill 800 T

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Just some random pictures from a roll of Cinestill 800 T I ran through my Pentax MZ6.  Some other posts with Cinestill 800 can be seen here SeattleCanon A1 , 2015, Nocturnes, Niagara, Industrial, Gatineau