Sunday, October 08, 2017

A Well-done Bergger!

A few months back, I finally ordered a brick of the Bergger Pancro400, a new French B&W film. Bergger is well-known for its printing papers, but the film is a 2016 introduction. The film is a two (panchromatic) emulsion film, with the emulsion being composed of silver bromide and silver iodide, and is supposed to result in a wider exposure latitude.

First of all, it is well-packaged, with development information on the inside of the box. To me, that is a great touch and a detail that is very useful with a new film. Of course, the Bergger website has more information, but you don't have to go there, because the info is inside the box. I loaded the film into my Nikon N8008s, and shot it in upstate New York back in July. After I returned, I loaded it into one of my Jobo tanks and set it aside in my darkroom until I could have time to do the developing. Well, no matter how long one has been doing something, there is always a way to screw it up. The roll was a mess, as I had not tightened down the lid on the developing tank, and while the film sat out for a few days, enough dark leaked out that I had obvious light leaks on the film. While many of the shots were ruined, a few looked pretty good.
For the developing, pre-soak the film for 2 minutes. Dump the water and then develop in straight D-76 for 9 minutes. Of course, the usual water rinse for stop bath, and fix for 7 minutes. I chose the D-76 because it's a standard developer that many people use and one that I use a lot. My first roll was developed in HC-110B, per instructions, and I felt that the D-76 developed negs looked better to my eye.
Once dry, the film has a slight cupping to it in the scanner film holder, but lies mostly flat when everything is tightened down. It’s nowhere near as bad as Kodak Tri-X, but not as flat as Ilford HP-5+.

Since then I have shot several more rolls. All are at the box speed (ISO 400), and I did not do any bracketing. I like my results thus far. It's not every day that we get a new b&w emulsion on the market, and I think the Pancro400 fills a niche that will be appreciated by street photographers. Others have pushed the film to ISO 800 and 1600 with excellent results.

Overall, it’s a fast b&w film with nice grain, wide latitude (others have shot it 800 and 1600) and rich blacks. It’s worth a try, for sure. It also is available in 120, 4x5, 8x10, etc. I felt the price was also very good, at less than $6 per 36-exposure roll, making it very competitive with Kodak and Ilford's offerings.

Herewith are some examples.

My messed up roll

Another from the messed up roll

My neighbor's dog, Mollie.

Dinner at Frasier's Pub

Chamomile in  vase

Cobblestone Farm at dusk

Sun and bluebird


My office

Chelsea, MI

Chelsea, MI

Manchester, MI

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Slow Poke. Shooting with Kodak 2366 b&w film.

Over the years, I have shot some unusual films. Most of the odd-ball films tend to come from the cinema world, where specialty films have distinct niches that come into play in making movie titles, b&w duplication, making positives, and other facets of movie-making that we just don't think about. Of course, digital may have reduced the demand for such films, but they are still out there and available. To make matters more interesting, some of these films have low-ISO speeds, high acutance, odd-spectral sensitivity, and may require low-contrast developers to be usable for pictorial use. The Film Photography Project has done a lot to bring us some of these weird films, and I finally got around to shooting a roll of the Kodak 2366 film.  First of all, Kodak 2366 was intended to be a duplication film in the movie industry, making positives from negatives film - direct-duplicating means that the negative of the other strip of movie film is against this film and exposed to a bright (often arc) light to produce a positive print that can be used for projection.  Usage of a particular develop gives a full tonal range. Ah, that's all great, but what about regular photography?  Well here are some points:
1. ISO 6  (not all cameras go this low,  but my N8008 and F100 do.  Otherwise, the typical lowest ISO is 12, so set your ISO at 12 and add 1 full stop of exposure compensation.)
2. With such a low ISO, you should use a tripod to eliminate shake.
3. This is a blue-sensitive film.  Designed to produce b&w positives from b&w negatives, it will have full tonality. However, shooting a real scene will render reds much darker.
4. The spec sheet calls for  D-96 developer, which is used in machine processing of movie film. I won't go into it's differences from Kodak D-76, but using D-76 will produce good results with this film.
5. Developing in D-76 - dilute 1:1, and develop for 8-1/2 minutes. A water stop bath will be fine.  Fix in your typical fixer for 8 min.  Wash how you would any b&w film.

I put a roll in my Nikon N8008s, and shot it on a sunny afternoon in downtown Ann Arbor.  I shot hand-held, because I had left my tripod in the car.  However, it freed me up to do some shots with it that I normally would not do.  I developed as indicated above, and was rewarded with some interesting results:

Overall, the film yielded some pretty good and interesting results.  While ISO 6 is recommended, I think it could have used a bit more exposure where there were dark reds (bricks).  So maybe ISO 3 might be better.  Using such a low ISO in the photo of the people on the scooters had me panning with the camera as they went past.  Makes them look like they are going much faster!  I have another roll to shoot and maybe I will do some bracketing at ISO 3 and 6 and see if there are any differences.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Back to Basics - Tamron Adaptall-2 Lenses

 I was at the Kiwanis Thrift shop yesterday and spied a few things that I decided to buy. One of them was a 70-210 mm zoom for $5.  Ho hum, you say.  It wasn't just any zoom, it was a Tamron Adaptall-2 lens with an Olympus OM mount.  In excellent condition.  FIVE BUCKS.  It sold for almost $300 when it was new, in the 1980s.  I have owned the very same lens model several times over the years, and I was always pleased with my results from it.  First of all, let me tell you what makes the lens so special.  It's an Adaptall-2 lens, meaning that, with the appropriate mount adapter, it can be used with virtually any 35mm SLR - Konica AR, Olympus OM, Nikon F, Canon FD, Pentax K, 42mm SM, Leicaflex,  Minolta MD, etc.
My $5 lens

Second, Tamron Adaptall-2 SP lenses are excellent, and at the time, presented photographers with a less-expensive alternative to the camera-maker's lenses.  If you changed your camera brand (and mount), you would only have to buy a new Adaptall-2 mount for the lens, which was far cheaper than buying new glass. It allows you to use the same lens with different SLR mounts, merely by having the proper adapter.  Take for instance the 90 mm f/2.5 macro lens. I have had it for close to 20 years, and it remains one of my favorite lenses. Originally, I used with a Nikon, and have used it on K-mount and Minolta MD-mount cameras, which is what it is on now. Without the matched extension tube, it produces 1:2 magnification.  With it, the lens gives you life size macro  (1:1).  It's also an excellent portrait lens.
the 90mm macro on my Minolta XG-M

The 90mm macro.  It's been used a lot.

The 28-70 lens is also very good -- low distortion at wide-angle, and a perfect range for most travel.  It's a bit weighty, with the glass and metal.  However, it will not disappoint you with the results.

Back to the 70-210mm f/4 SP zoom. -- What I always loved about this lens is that it close focuses to about 3 feet - at 210mm, it gives you quite a good magnification (1:4) of close-up subjects.    The 35-135mm is another excellent zoom, allowing you to close focus at 0.8 meters!  

Using the Adaptall-2 system gives you access to quite a few excellent lenses and allows a lot of flexibility if you use several types of SLR systems.  Sharing lenses save you some money, and the Adaptall-2 lenses really are worth trying out if you have not previously done so.  The various adapters are easy to find on Ebay, and often, they are New In Box.  Unfortunately, except for the K-Mount and Nikon mounts, they will not fit AF SLRS.  You can use them in manual  mode on your Nikon and Pentax DSLRs.  If you are using any of the mirrorless systems, you will likely find a mount that will allow you to use it in manual mode.

There are some quite good sites that feature a lot of information on the Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses, so I am not going to reproduce the information here.  My favorite site is apotelyt. Matt's Classic Cameras also has an Adaptall-2 page. There is a also a video showing how to change the adapter here.
An excellent lens with a good range.

$269.00 in the early 1980s!

the 28-70 zoom with OM adapter removed

line up the green dots when mounting the adapter

Adapter mounted and lens ready to put on the camera.

A sturdy, well-built lens.  

Finally, a couple of images shot on my Nikon D3200 with the Adaptall-2 70-210 mm lens.  Hand-held, at ISO 800.  Not too shabby for a $5 lens. For more info on using the adapters with digital cameras, look here.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Ilford FP-4+ - A great medium-speed B&W film

I have long been a fan of Ilford's films -- and if you shoot a lot of monochrome film, you'll know that Ilford is a brand that is monochrome only.  I have reviewed a lot of films on this blog, but have skipped many popular emulsions, because I figure that everyone knows about them.   However, with the resurgence of film, I realize that some films definitely should get a shout out.  A few years ago, Kodak discontinued their Plus-X Pan film.  Plus-X was a very good old-style film with good grain, latitude, and with an ISO of 125, it was great for allowing a shallower depth-of-field in brighter light than Kodak Tri-X.  Kodak felt that the Tmax 100 was a good substitute and it also used less silver than Plus-X, thus saving them money. In any case, Ilford has been making FP-4+ for a long time, and it remains an excellent medium-speed black and white film.  I feel the images from it have a great tonal scale, and there is no type of subject that it does not do well with.  It has excellent latitude and sharpness, depending on your developer.

I have been shooting with FP-4+ for almost 20 years, and while it is obviously not the only 100-125 ISO film out there, I consistently get good results with it.  My typical developer is D76, diluted 1:1 for 11 minutes.  D-23 for 6 minutes also works well.  Since it is a current film, the Massive Development Chart will give you other choices.  It is available in 35mm, 120, 4x5, and 8x10.  I find to be the ideal "every day" film for me.

Here is a small sample of images from my archive of images shot on Ilford FP-4+ film:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Back from Marquette, MI

My wife and I took a short vacation in the Upper Peninsula to visit our daughters, and while we were only there for 4 days, I made a point to get out and do some photography.  Normally, I would paack a few bags -- one with a Nikon DSLR and  bags with some film cameras. This time, I only brought film cameras and my iPhone SE.  Some of my shots on film were made after I did a version on my iPhone to see how it would look in b&w, for instance.  Aside from that, the camera phone is a creative tool, and I enjoyed seeing what I could get with it.  My arsenal was 2 Nikon FMs, Pentax 6x7, Leica M2, Olympus Trip 35, Ondu 6x9 pinhole camera, and my Canon AW-1.  The Ondu got to shoot Reany Falls, and I look forward to seeing how those negatives come out. The weather had its moments, as Sunday morning was cool and wet, with some fog.  It felt more like September than June, but that's why I love the UP.  The weather can change quickly, and it is rarely dull along Lake Superior.  On the other hand, I saw a most glorious sunrise while out walking on Friday morning. The Iron Ore Heritage Trail that runs from Harvey through Marquette is right along the lake shore, and offers a fantastic view.
While at Black Rocks in the fog and mist, I shot two rolls with my Pentax 6x7.  It will be interesting to see how they come out.  Here are some iPhone shots while I was out on the rocks.    It is a very special place to photograph.  I always enjoy going there, and the many moods of Lake Superior cast a different aspect each time.