We recently returned from a vacation on New Providence Bahamas. It was a wonderful time away and I got to take my Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 out on the town in Nassau to capture some of the scenes. My scans aren't the best but the prints actually turned out pretty nice.
A friend recently gave me a Tamron 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for the Minolta AF mount. So, I hooked it up to my trusty Maxxum 7000i and took it for a spin! It was fun to shoot film with such a wide angle. My normal digital rig only goes down to 24mm so it was both fun and challenging to use. I shot it on long expired Kodak Gold 200 during the setting sun hour so the pictures are plenty grainy, but I think the lens was sharp enough and performed very well.
The FT QL was introduced in 1966 making it a solid 50 years old now. I got these two warhorses at a local option for next to nothing, and I still haven't gotten around to running film through them, but I love the patina and wear marks that make you wonder what these cameras have been through over the past half century.
I've shot this camera before, but I intend to use it this weekend and wanted to make sure everything was working right. This time, I even used non-expired film and it was really nice to see the difference. I also tried some shots in the studio with the strobes. I guessed on the settings for the first shot, but then used a light meter and realized I needed a wider aperture to get correct exposure. The meter turned out to be correct and I was pleased with the results!
The Minolta X-700 was introduced in 1981 and received the first "European Camera of the Year" that year. In my experience, the Program and AV modes work excellently and the Minolta glass is exceptional. Of course, if you feed it old expired film, the results are less than spectacular.
So, this week I took the opportunity to try out a Mamiya m645 1000s medium format film camera. I got a 70mm f/2.8 "standard" lens, as well as a 150mm "portrait" lens. I ran one roll of fresh Kodak Ektar 100 film through it.
I wanted to do a head to head comparison of 6x4.5mm film vs my Canon 6D full frame 20Mp digital to see if there is truly any sort of magical quality to the film pictures that I could not replicate with digital. For the pictures where I used the 70mm Mamiya lens on the m645, I used my EF 50/1.8 "nifty fifty" on my 6D. For the pictures taken with the 150mm Mamiya lens, I used a Tamron 70-200/2.8 Di VC USD with the zoom set to 90mm on the 6D.
I was honestly rooting for film as I wanted to be able to point to it's wider dynamic range and smooth bokeh as advantages..... BUT.... sadly it did not. I'm pretty sure it's more a matter of the quality of the 35 year old Mamiya glass and not so much the film's fault, but in every way my digital pictures were better by any objective measurement.
Just for fun though I thought I'd share the comparison shots here for your amusement!
I was under the impression that you could see more in the shadows without blowing out the highlights on film, but as you can see here, the digital actually did a better job of showing both the darks and the brights.
I was also under the impression that medium format film would produce significantly more bokeh than 35mm, but alas as long as you shoot the equivalent focal length and aperture, the bokeh looks the same.
I had the film negatives professionally developed and scanned at the highest possible resolution which yielded a 48Mp file, which I thought would mean more detail and sharpness, but as you can see, the digital picture has more of both
The Ektar film does indeed have vibrant colors, but with a minimum of post production work, I could make the digital file look the same if I so desired.
This camera has the very handy features of both Aperture Value and Program modes which make it a very easy camera to use, but also has the flexibility of full Manual mode. It worked great for the most part, but I did notice a couple of light leaks, so it might be time for new seals. The old expired film didn't render colors all that great, and 8 shots on the roll didn't turn out at all, but still managed a couple nice ones.
Last weekend I got to shoot my first Prom session with a group of fun loving High School students. We were supposed to shoot outdoor, but the weather didn't play along so we did most of the shooting indoors. I'm still happy with how they turned out and we did manage to sneak in one outdoor pic between the raindrops :)
Forget Instagram filters! All you need to do to make your pictures turn out crummy is to use a 50+ year old camera. Oh and use expired film. Plus if the film says ISO 200, be sure to set your camera to 400 so it underexposes everything. And to make those cool flares? - be sure to open your film back before the film is rewound all the way, that works great.
I have had a great time using the Contax 139 Quartz and Yashica FX-3 as my main film cameras for several rolls now, but with many more cameras to try out and evaluate, it's time to put these back on the shelf for a bit. Here are some scans from my latest batch. Stay tuned for the results of my next camera to sample!
I haven't posted in a while since the summer has been getting busy, but today I took the opportunity to try shooting a car with the Novatron studio strobes. It was fun figuring out how to shape the light the way I wanted it to look. Overall, I'm pleased with the results, but there's always room for improvement.
So after 2 years of shooting, I'm finally venturing out from the "clean edit" as it's called. So far I've been happy just producing a well balanced, properly exposed picture with sharp focus. Lately though, I've felt like trying out some more dramatic processing and I'm liking the results.
the ramblings, musings, and tinkerings of Minsan Sauers.