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Shooting B&W With Asher

Terry Lee

New member
I produce these two images yesterday. I have not used my view camera in almost two months, and wanted to try out a new film-developing tank. I forgot just what a sensual compositional experience it is using that beautiful large ground glass (compared to the usual SLRs etc that we use).

Concave/Convex

Ilford HP5+, 1950s chrome Super-Angulon 90mm f/8.0

Steely Arum

Ilford HP5+, APO-Symmar 150mm f/5.6
I love the spoons! Nice composition!

And yes, the ground glass is my personal wonderland! Down into the rabbit hole I go!
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Pondering the light

(Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)

Side note: The background in this image is over-exposed by at least six stops! (f/2.0, 1/30s, ISO 100 - as opposed to the f/22 or 1/2000s that would be needed). Film is wonderful...

Tuk-tuk driver

(Sonnar-type Nikkor-P 105mm at f/2.5)

Guarding the poshness

(Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/5.6)

Three images with the wonderful Nikon F, shot on Fomapan 100. I'm sitting in a very dark room as I scanned these prints, I have a suspicion that they are not bright enough - oh well :) The prints look as I wanted them, in anyway.

It's funny - over on the rangefinder forum, somebody asked the question - if you could use only one camera, one lens, one film - what would it be? More people nominated the Nikon F than any other single camera. I am bit surprised - for 35mm, I would be torn between this any my Leica M3 + 50mm Heliar, but it's a close call nevertheless. The Nikon F represents an era in mechanical design that will never return.
 
Dawid I share your admiration for the Nikon F but I was glad when the F2 and F3 came out. The biggest ergonomic problem with the F was changing film on the run. The removable back had to be put somewhere while one hand held the camera and the other threaded the film. Answer: hold the back between the teeth. I still have a chipped tooth!
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Dawid I share your admiration for the Nikon F but I was glad when the F2 and F3 came out. The biggest ergonomic problem with the F was changing film on the run. The removable back had to be put somewhere while one hand held the camera and the other threaded the film. Answer: hold the back between the teeth. I still have a chipped tooth!
I agree with the awkwardness of the removable film back! The Nikon F is, of course, by no means "the best" Nikon ever, but there is a pureness, a sublime minimalism about this camera (especially with the meterless finder). It is a kind of immortal masterpiece that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Leica M3. Both have been succeeded, but neither have been exceeded...
 

jake klein

New member
Hey I finally get to join this thread!

My FM2 and some Ilford 3200. I think these are with the nikkor 85mm f1.4D. That lens has been glued to the FM2 for awhile!








 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Hey I finally get to join this thread!

My FM2 and some Ilford 3200. I think these are with the nikkor 85mm f1.4D. That lens has been glued to the FM2 for awhile!
Welcome to this long-running thread, Jake! The FM2 and the 85/1.4 must be a beautifully-handling combination, capable of great results. I have not used Delta3200 in about 3 years, but I always liked the images made with it. It scans horribly in my opinion - really exaggerating the grain - but I've always lived the darkroom prints made with it. This is one of my most well-received prints made with the film:

People's car

(Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 90mm f/2.0 Macro, Ilford Delta 3200, printed on 5x7in Ilford RC Multigrade paper, chemically sepia-toned
 

jake klein

New member
Welcome to this long-running thread, Jake! The FM2 and the 85/1.4 must be a beautifully-handling combination, capable of great results. I have not used Delta3200 in about 3 years, but I always liked the images made with it. It scans horribly in my opinion - really exaggerating the grain - but I've always lived the darkroom prints made with it. This is one of my most well-received prints made with the film:

People's car

(Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 90mm f/2.0 Macro, Ilford Delta 3200, printed on 5x7in Ilford RC Multigrade paper, chemically sepia-toned

Nice image. I love VW. I sure miss my GTI 337 edition.

So you think my D3lta 3200 images would look better printed than scanned? Just to let you know these are the most basic scans offered where I had the film developed. I think I might pick a few and get them drum scanned to be printed.


Here's a couple more.











 

Dawid Loubser

New member
So you think my D3lta 3200 images would look better printed than scanned? Just to let you know these are the most basic scans offered where I had the film developed. I think I might pick a few and get them drum scanned to be printed.
I think printed Delte 3200 looks vastly superior to directly-scanned, yes. Film grain + scanning = grain aliasing, whereas the process of printing smooths it all out, without losing apparent detail.
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Since I run Arch Linux, and my usual scanning software (Vuescan) no longer works - it crashes with a segfault - I decided to try XSane (open source) for scanning some of my recent negatives. It's excellent! (especially at extracting the full brightness range in high-contrast negatives).

Grand Central

(Kodak TMY400-2, Voigtländer Heliar 50mm f/3.5, Leica M3)

The Heliar remains probably the most singularly satisfying lens I have ever used. The contrast characteristic - especially when shot wide open as above - is just so right for me. And the wonderful Kodak TMY400-2 ("The new TMAX") certainly helps! I continue to adore monochrome film, with no intention whatsoever to stop using it almost daily.
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
A visit from my younger brother resulted in a spontaneous little photo walk in which I took these three photos (all on 4x5in film)

Soft as your heart

(Nikkor-T*ED 360mm f/8, Ilford HP5+, Linhof Technika V)

Painterly pollution

(Nikkor-T*ED 360mm f/8, Ilford HP5+, Linhof Technika V)

Autumn colours in mono

(Schneider APO-Symmar 150mm f/5.6, Ilford HP5+, Linhof Technika V)
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Thank you, Ben! 4x5in film is, and forever shall be, special.

Two recent prints of a very different sort: It's remarkable what you can do hand-held with a Leica M3 rangefinder camera and a 50mm f/1.4 lens with black and white film rated at ISO64 at night. These were taken at 1/8s (printed very dark on purpose, to convey the dark street atmosphere):

SLS in the dark



(Fomapan 100 rated at ISO64, developed in D-76 1+1)
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
I just finished developing a roll of 35mm (Ilford Delta 100) in the kitchen sink, and wanted to share a couple of the images in this ailing thread :)

Zig Zag

(Leica M3, Summilux 50mm, Ilford Delta 100)


CEO and intern

(Leica M3, Summilux 50mm, Ilford Delta 100)

Brunch at JB's

(Leica M3, Summilux 50mm, Ilford Delta 100)


Cat and lemon trees

(Leica M3, Summilux 50mm, Ilford Delta 100)


Assertive bather

(Leica M3, Summilux 50mm, Ilford Delta 100)

I had never realised that Ilford Delta 100 was quite this wonderful and delicate (developed in D-76 diluted 1+1). This film can honestly probably replace Pan F for me, it's so close in character, but with a handy stop or two more sensitivity.

The dynamic range is stunning - i had to compress the tone curves in these images quite a bit to make them punchy, and it's very forgiving of over-exposure (I often overexposed these images a couple of stops, in order to use f/1.4 but with a top shutter speed of 1/1000s - which is probably closer to 1/750s on my 60-year-old Leica M3.)

I can't wait to try this out in medium format, to see how it compares to Pan F, and of course to make some really big prints of some of these.

The detail captured by the Leica lens on the negatives is quite astounding: In the final image above, the very fine texture of the bathing suit material is perfectly captured in the negative, but my mediocre scanner - at 3200 DPI - does not reproduce even a hint of this. I have no doubts my EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 will do better in the darkroom, as soon as I have access to one again.

Who else here is still enjoying film? From what I see in the negatives, I have to say that - for reasonable print sizes - an M3 with Delta 100 will challenge most digital contenders. It's wonderful how black and white film does not suffer visibly from any of the nasty light falloff that a digital Leica does (in the one image above, I added in some vignetting).
 
Dawid, you are not wrong. Ilford Delta 100 is just about as good as a black and white film can get. Tone, gradation, detail, grainlessness, speed, and dynamic range are close to what is theoretically possible with silver halide technology. Kodak Tmax 100 is a close rival and Kodak Tmax 400 falls only slightly behind while offering two stops of extra speed.

I don't use the 35mm format but Ilford Delta 100 in 120 format roll film will deliver results hard to distinguish from 4x5 sheet film for moderate enlargements where camera movements aren't needed. There's a nice brick of Delta 100 in my film 'fridge right now.
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Who could deny the deliberate affection the agapanthus shows for it's neighbor here?

Nudge

(Ilford HP5 [4x5in], Linhof Technika V, Scheider APO-Symmar 150/5.6 at f/32)

P.S. The dark band at the top is because of a shadow on the rear wall, caused by an overhanging roof. Since I started developing my 4x5in film in a Mod54 insert for the developing tank, I've experienced nothing but even, streak-free negatives, even if it is a ball-drag to load film onto this thing, and have the film stay on and not touch each other etc:

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Who could deny the deliberate affection the agapanthus shows for it's neighbor here?
Nudge

(Ilford HP5 [4x5in], Linhof Technika V, Scheider APO-Symmar 150/5.6 at f/32)



Yes, it's really a wonderful gesture.


I do like the Paterson 4x5 film adapter. How long have you used it?


Asher
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Yes, it's really a wonderful gesture.


I do like the Paterson 4x5 film adapter. How long have you used it?


Asher
I've had it for about two years, and have used it exclusively for about a year. I find it really difficult to load in a dark bag, and when i get a darkroom again, will probably go back to square tanks and Kodak metal hangers. But for a daylight solution, the results are great!
 

Jesse Brown

New member
Allow me to join in, as some of you may know (from my few-and-far-between posts) I have switched over and am basically exclusively shooting black and white film (for the past 18 months now) and am having a ball.

Scanning film? What's that? Here are three analogue prints, one from each of my favourite cameras (35mm, 6x7cm, 6x17cm):

"Innocence"

(Olympus OM-1, Zuiko 250mm at f/2.0, Ilford FP4+)

"Stormy Mossel Bay"

(Mamiya RB67, 140mm Macro at f/11, Ilford HP5)

"Vaal River (flooding after opening of 13 sluice gates)"

(Linhof Technorama 617S, 90mm Schneider Super Angulon XL at f/16, Ilford HP5, Toned in Thiocarbamide)

Not only does Black and White film draw uniquely, even more so, the cameras and lenses of this era are unique, there are often simply no digital equivalents. I love it!
That panorama is stunning!
 

Jesse Brown

New member
Hi Mike,

The RB67 makes a splendid street camera in my opinion. I know this sounds crazy, because it's a tank, but (apart from the rather loud "ker-schlunk" when you actually press the shutter) it's quite discrete, people generally don't have a clue what it is, and it's a very vibration-free camera, I can hand-hold it to slower shutter speeds than any other camera I've used before. It must be the weight, combined with the leaf shutter. Anyway, it's a lovely cantankerous old thing.

These are some images I finished printing this week-end, all of them hand-held snapshots, i.e. using it in the guise of a "street" camera, even though they were not taken on "the street" per se.


(RB67, 50mm at f/4.5, 1/8s hand-held, 8x10in analogue print)


(RB67, 140mm at f/4.5, 8x10in analogue print)


(RB67, 250mm at f/4.5, 8x10in analogue print)
That's really great to know. I also love using the RB67
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
I am currently borrowing something you don't see every day - a Rodenstock APO Sironar-S 360mm f/6.8. For those of you who don't know, the APO Sironar-S's are the Leica optics in the Large Format world. Distinctly superiour contrast, resolution, and bokeh, compared to most lenses - with distinctly superiour prices!

The 360mm f/6.8 is the grand emperor of that line - by far the largest, heaviest, and most expensive. It covers 11x14in film easily, and takes 112mm filters!

My Linhof Technika is positively dwarfed by this beast, but I had to see what it renders like:

Once upon a tree (or three)

(360mm at f/6.8, Ilford HP5 developed in the kitchen sink, Linhof Technika V)

With a conventional camera for this sort of shallow-field-depth work (say, a full-frame camera with a 85mm f/1.4 shot wide open), one would have to pick having just the bottom-right in focus (or not). The focal plane control of the view camera allowed me to balance this composition in terms of fine detail (top-left vs bottom-right) without compromising the dreamy, abstract look I wanted by shooting wide open.

I absolutely adore B&W film for this type of work - no digital system could currently substitute.
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Wow, I've forgotten all about this great thread!

I'm still shooting a lot of black and white film. Here are some recent ones:


Looking into myself

(Minox 35 GT, Ilford HP5)

A 90-year-old senior citizen at the BodyWorlds exhibit, sees the secrets of the human body revealed in all its glory for the first time in her life.


Earth hour candles

(Linhof Technika V, Zeiss Sonnar 250mm f/5.6, Ilford FP4+)

 

Dawid Loubser

New member
Arum Lilies and garden path


(Ilford HP5 @ ISO400, Linhof Technika V, Uncoated Wollensak Raptar 135mm f/4.7 lens I found in a box)

This junky old tiny lens (looks like 49mm filters, and about 3cm thick) turns out to have a really beautiful rendering on 4x5in film.​
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I am currently borrowing something you don't see every day - a Rodenstock APO Sironar-S 360mm f/6.8. For those of you who don't know, the APO Sironar-S's are the Leica optics in the Large Format world. Distinctly superiour contrast, resolution, and bokeh, compared to most lenses - with distinctly superiour prices!

The 360mm f/6.8 is the grand emperor of that line - by far the largest, heaviest, and most expensive. It covers 11x14in film easily, and takes 112mm filters!

My Linhof Technika is positively dwarfed by this beast, but I had to see what it renders like:

Once upon a tree (or three)

(360mm at f/6.8, Ilford HP5 developed in the kitchen sink, Linhof Technika V)

With a conventional camera for this sort of shallow-field-depth work (say, a full-frame camera with a 85mm f/1.4 shot wide open), one would have to pick having just the bottom-right in focus (or not). The focal plane control of the view camera allowed me to balance this composition in terms of fine detail (top-left vs bottom-right) without compromising the dreamy, abstract look I wanted by shooting wide open.

I absolutely adore B&W film for this type of work - no digital system could currently substitute.

This is where skill and knowledge trounce even today’s electronic toys. I admire you capabilities and devotion. A 90 mm T/S on a Canon night approach this but not ace this as you gm have showed us here!

Bravo Dawid!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Wow, I've forgotten all about this great thread!

I'm still shooting a lot of black and white film.

Looking into myself

(Minox 35 GT, Ilford HP5)

A 90-year-old senior citizen at the BodyWorlds exhibit, sees the secrets of the human body revealed in all its glory for the first time in her life.


A wonderful shot. You have the humanity that Robert Watcher shows, but your work is much slower as if you “stopped the clock” to asiduously engrave the photons into the film emulsion!
I never have held the 35 GT. At least one should be able to get film.
 

Dawid Loubser

New member
A wonderful shot. You have the humanity that Robert Watcher shows, but your work is much slower as if you “stopped the clock” to asiduously engrave the photons into the film emulsion!
I never have held the 35 GT. At least one should be able to get film.
Thank you Asher! The lady in the picture passed away in February this year, and I miss her so very much. I'm glad I have pictures like these to remind me of her wonderful spirit.

This is the plain Minox GT. It belonged to my stepdad, who bought it around 1981 when he got tired of the bulk of an Olympus SLR when he was traveling Europe. He used it unti around 2002 or so (usually just with colour negative film, and store-made prints).

When he passed it along to me, it got a new life of shooting B&W film, printed in the darkroom. I often just keep it in a jacket pocket, since it's so compact. Strangely, the same set of batteries have lasted several years so far, and I'm interested to see how long they will go on for!

While I do wish they would have built a rangefinder into it, like the Olympus RC and others, I've gotten pretty good at scale-focusing. Pretty much the entire camera, inside and out, is made from a high grade plastic, which means it does not set off airport security detectors when it's in your pocket :)
 
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