Tag Archives: Nikon FM

Rome


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A few shots from an extended weekend in Rome. Lovely place, yet apparently even more deserted by the locals and taken over by tourists than Paris, at least at this time of the year.

Perhaps I’ve been loosing the touch a bit lately, or perhaps the light is harsher down south, but surprised by how many of these are overexposed — seeing the limit of the otherwise very forgiving Kodak Portra 160.

July Shots


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July has been a busy month with work and visits, but perhaps because of the latter I also managed to finish three films with a mix of your typical tourist photos, and whatever kind of photos it is that I tend to take when out on my own.

The first one is a Kodak Portra 400, and as always it’s the forgiving hero delivering great colours even when the exposure is sure to have been a bit off. Skin tones, greens, sky — all is good. All but one are from Paris (Fête Nationale and Le Tour), with the last one being from my brother’s gymnasium graduation (congratulations again!).

Next up is an Ilford Delta 100 Professional. I still can’t tell the difference between this one and the Kodak T-Max, not least because so much is determined during scanning, but perhaps this will change when I eventually make prints.

And last but not least, a Lomography X-Pro Slide 200. Although surprisingly the colours are quite different from the first one (perhaps because I used a different printer) the result is still pretty good when the exposure is right — take Educating or Hanging Around for instance.

On the other hand, it is clear that the film is not nearly as forgiving as the Portra, and both underexposure (High) or overexposure (Expensive District, Wineyard, and Blue Shades) leads to an unpleasant purple tint — the best example perhaps is Scholastique (Smiling) and Scholastique (Looking) where the latter seems to be correctly exposed, and the former was deliberately given one stop more.

First Lomography Redscale XR 50-200


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At less than 9€ for three I wanted to try the Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 even if the official photos most of all simply looked like they’d been with a cheap colour film behind a red filter.

The film is rated ASA 50-200, and the seller elaborated by saying that by exposing for 50 you get several hues (what he recommended) while exposing for 200 it’s mostly just red. Looking at samples I decided to go with his advice, but since I’ll still horrible at manual metering inside and in dark areas there are a few which are probably closer to 200.

Concretely, Backyard ChatRed Chairs and Watch Out are probably exposed for around 50 while Summer FruitsClosed Eyes, and Redscale for around 200. So indeed, like the seller I’m not too much of a fan of the latter but might pick up another pack based on the former.

A Newfound Love of Kodak Portra


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A few weeks ago I was heading for a week-long conference in Copenhagen and figured I’d only bring the Nikon FM as my only camera, and the practical 28-70mm lens as my only lens. And since this is a slow lens I went with a fast film: a Kodak Portra 400.

It had been a while since the last Portra, and even though I’d halfway declared it my general-purpose go-to film, I’d also kind of forgotten how good it is, perhaps thinking it a bit boring even after all the adventures into Lomography films and cross-processing. Fortunately the prints brought a very happy surprise! Perhaps it plays a part as well that I’ve switched back to my old (and more remote) printer after the inconsistent prints from the Precisa 100, but in the end I really like the result.

While the above film was shot within a week, I also recently finished a Kodak Portra 160 that’s been in my Olympus OM-1 since last autumn. And although it’s apparently against recommendation to let a film in a camera for that long due to light leaks, radiation, heat, and what not, this indicates that the advice should be balanced against the increased quality of the photos when you are more picky about releasing the shutter!

 

First AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 (in C41)


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In my on-going hunt for a Lomography X-Pro Chrome substitute I’ve heard the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 mentioned on a few occasions, and it finally became time to try it. It has done a decent job, and moreover illustrated that a step might have been missing in my process so far.

As you never really know which film is actually inside the Lomography canisters (rumour has it they were using old Kodak film in the beginning and has since gone through several manufactures, including unknown Chinese brands) it is also non-trivial to tell if it’s actually a negative or a positive film — and apparently it isn’t just me who’s confused: for the first time my developer charged a special cross-processing feed, even though I’ve given her Lomography films before that were supposedly also meant to be cross-processed. But this time I’m absolutely certain that I have in my hands a bona fide cross-processed film!

As mentioned, I think the film has done a decent job. Scholastique (from Above) for example is exactly what I was hoping for, and also like the toning in House.

However, most prints are quite a bit off in terms of colour balance, as for example Behind the Park, In Time, and Cornershop. For some it works out nicely, e.g. Scholastique (In the Rain) and Goth Metro, while for others I felt the need to cheat and colour correct in Photoshop afterwards: Pearl of the Quartier, for instance, was shot seconds after Scholastique (from Above) using exactly the same exposure yet completely green.

I’ll be asking my developer the next time if it’s really a question of exposure or not, but at this point my suspicion goes in direction of the printing process simply not being as standardised as I believed it was. More specifically, that asking the developer to either scan the film or make prints is still not enough to achieve the “real” colours of the film.

First LomoChrome Purple XR 100-400


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After coming across the astonishing Infra photos taken by Richard Mosse using the now discontinued Kodak Aerochrome, I kept an open eye when Lomography last year announced their new Aerochrome-inspired LomoChrome Purple XR film. I didn’t buy into it for the first batch, but in a weak moment I put down the order for the minimum of five rolls when the second batch came up for pre-sale, at a price of around 10€ each. Here are a few photos from the first roll.

Overall I’m a tad disappointed, but perhaps was so even before putting the film in the camera: the key, I suppose, is that the film is inspired by Aerochrome and does in fact produce results quite different from this old professional film apparently developed for the military. And this became clear when the photos from the first batch started showing up online.

However, paradoxically as it may sound, picking up the prints from the first film was actually a positively surprise; while they are not amazing, it does work better in some situations than I dared expect from following the film on Flickr.

For instance, the total submersion in purple in English Garden and Purple, Dog is not too bad. And although at first a bit skeptical about how the film renders blue sky, Dome and Collage are among my favourites on this roll.

Finally, since the film is rated ASA 100-400, and since there has been some talk online about making sure to overexpose, I also did a few test shots to see if there would be any difference: one correctly exposed according to an external light meter and two respectively over- and under-exposed by one stop.

And here perhaps was the biggest surprise, namely how very different the results are.

First Ilford HP5+ 400 (Film #12)

It makes good sense what I’ve heard on several occasions: that one should stick with one sort of black & white film, say the Kodak T-Max 400, and become good at exposing it, developing it, and printing it. Still, following my little test of different colour films I thought it’d be fun to see what other black & white films were up to; at the very least to know that there are good alternatives when Kodak stops their production. Continue reading

Nikon FM and Film #10


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Another analogue camera arrived in the mail about a month ago, but this time a Nikon FM instead of the usual Olympus OM-1! Granted, it is silly to get involved in too many systems as the lenses from one system often cannot be used on a camera from the other (and as a result you need to buy two separate sets) — but I kept reading about how much of a classic the FM is, … et voilà!

Here’s first the result of quickly running a film through the camera to see if everything worked alright before the return option expired:

I like Le Guardien for how it draws me into the frame, and the dynamics added by the central walking character. For Passing Sky it’s the silhouettes, although this was not entirely my intention. And as RooftopBalcony Overview, and Paris shows, I’m apparently not quite done with negative space and rooftops yet. For Gare du Nord it’s the dynamics of the various lines, the contrast they contribute, and the movement of the two characters at the bottom.

The camera is the black version and I thought at first that it could be used together with the 18-55mm lens from my digital Nikon D60. The lens mounted alright, but after a few shots something seemed wrong. I went back to check the fine print, and while I had already read that the lens would not cover the entire frame at the wide focal lengths, I had missed that you’re forced to always use the smallest aperture, meaning f/22 in my case! The Passing Sky photo above is a perfect example of the implications: the corners are black and rounded, and the shadows are heavily underexposed. The former is not critical, perhaps even a bit interesting, but the later made me look around for a new lens.

At first I thought about a 50mm f/1.8 standard lens. But discovering that the price-drop for Nikon lenses has nowhere-near followed that of the Olympus lenses, I gave up on also starting a set of Nikon primes and went with a 28-70mm zoom instead; at f/3.5-4.5 it is a lot darker that my Olympus primes, but at 70€ it seems to have been a bargain.

In the end I hence ended up spending around twice, but so far have been very happy with the outcome. The camera it slightly bigger than the OM-1 it was apparently made to compete with, but this is actually not a bad thing as it fits my hands better. It also feels slightly more robust, not least the film advancer and the shutter. On the other hand, the viewfinder in the OM-1 kicks arse (!!) and having the shutter dial around the lens mount so far also works better for me, even if I most of the time work only with the aperture.