Monday, August 30, 2010

Tominon 105 on a FujiFilm Instax 210

Aha!  What have we here? Possibly an important upgrade to the one and only camera that takes the incredibly sharp, fast and colorful Instax Wide film made by Fujifilm?

The Instax does not exactly lend itself well to an easy modification, and has a lot of parts, so I opted to simply graft this self-cocking Old Pol scope camera lens and shutter on the front after removing the plastic optic and native shutter - they come out with a few screws. But, the internal baffling I fear may vignette the image.  Also, the lens to film plane distance isn't that easy to control. There may be light leaks. The hot melt glue that holds that wooden Graflex black tripod mount won't fall off, though.

Results: Nothing to show from it. This lens is too long, and the internal baffles are in the way. I will have to find a smaller lens that can be recessed into the tube/snout of the 210.  Looks nice though.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Old Photo Album Cover

I've been foraging in junk stores again, this time finding an old canvas-covered book of photos from around 1910.

Some of them are amazing, and I will post a few here and there.  This image is just from screwing around with photoshop. It's a monochrome digi, with difference clouds, then with tint, then invert applied. This is an interesting font, quite Art Nouveau, which was in style around 1900.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Wollensak Veritar

Shown here on a Cambo view, this rather long focal length (10") Veritar is an interesting and large lens.  Look closely and see the dots in the section of the aperture between wide open and one stop below it. These are "sharpness" indicators, as the Veritar is intended as a soft focus portrait lens with spherical  aberration that changes as a function of aperture.  The difference is big, as wide open at f6 it is really soft, and yet about one stop closed and the lens is actually reasonably sharp. Another quirk is the plane of focus, which shifts as you stop it down, so you have to be aware of that.

I found this one at a garage sale several years ago. The lens is mounted in a large Alphax shutter that is so big that its top speed is only 1/50th of a second. But it is self-cocking, and works nicely.  The white ring is an addition done by me - a machined Delrin ring, to cover up some corrosion, and to make the cap slip on and off very smoothly.

Posting this to cheer myself up, after hearing that FP100B45 is indeed off the air. If you want this wonderful stuff, you better get it now. It is hard to believe how quickly Fuji reversed itself on that one (or did that batch simply run out - they do make batches) . Of course we can't dislike them for making what was the best 4X5 instant positive in the first place! It blew Old Pol away in my opinion.

Now today we hear that TIP is planning to start up their 8X10 line next year. That's great news indeed, and one would have to imagine that if TIP grows, it might offer a 4X5 material too, to fill the looming gap. And what about packfilm? Can we expect more of that in the future, or none? Hard to say. With Phase One backs still costing $40K (for the full frame) we have a long way to go before we can make the jump, and those little sensors - they just don't cut it in the world of selective focus, image planes, Sheimpflug,


and so forth.

Now there is an inkling that the FP-3000B45 may make its way to the US soon!  Yes, I have heard that, and if it does, I will get a case or two and use it for handheld shooting.  A nice big negative like that might scan in well, though it will still have some grain. If you look at the hands below, especially the second image, you can see that I found a reasonable curve, and it does have a nice quality.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Fine Light Brew

Hops are one of the main flavoring ingredients in beer, giving that distinctive taste and aroma that only beer has.  There are various types of beers: pilsners, ales, stouts etc. and so many varieties of each that have their own special qualities and flavors.

The "head" of beer indicates some film retaining or wetting quality in the solution. Same with Reagent III, shown here in freshly mixed up form, with the soapy form of ammonia used as the pH buffer, thereby providing some of that soapy "head" you see.

The formula for Reagent III, adapted from the brilliant Donald Quaills recipe and tuned to the pH we use, consists merely of a standard developer, a fixer, and some ammonia.  The soapy suds that are in the ammonia as purchased from the local grocery store seems to produce a nice wetting action, so no streaks, spots or stains are produced as the processed film dries. And just look at the results!

  HC-110, Ilford Rapid Fixer, and household ammonia - all have their hazards, so if you are not totally familiar with the handling of soaps, detergents and other chemicals, do not do film processing until you are set up with the proper tools for your safety, such as gloves, a clean work area, and proper containers and eye protection.  Ammonia in the eyes is bad and can damage them as can household lye (used for making soaps and lutefisk, the latter which should be avoided).

Do not drink this. This is a developer for film, not a beer or a drink of any sort. It only superficially appears to resemble beer, or another substance.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Large Format Lenses Being Snatched Up

Lots of Symmars and Xenotars, Dagors and Ektars are out there - presumably for large format film photography. One might think that prices would drop, now that "film" users are on the decline. But are they?  Recently, a Schneider 150mm F2.8 Xenotar in a Copal 3 sold on ebay for over $30,000.  That's unusual of course, and many large format lenses, capable of covering 8X10 or more, are selling for more realistic figures.

But don't expect any real bargains soon. The prices seem to be holding on fine lenses. Shown here: A 240mm Symmar, in a Compur shutter, image shot with an old Polaroid Close-up attachment on a model 180 packfilm camera, with a +3 close up lens, on Fuji FP-3000 processed for about 25 seconds or maybe 2X as long as usual since it was warm. This is the scanned-in and inverted negative. Notice that there is a little "emulsion lift" on the right, caused by less than perfectly careful removal of the paper border just prior to scanning.  The top image is a linear presentation of the as-scanned negative, and the bottom is a long toe version but otherwise linear scale presentation. If you look at the right edge of the lens you can definitely see solarization, and there is also evidence of it in the deep shadows in the lower left.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Severe case of blocked highlights with Reagent III

Occasionally, on older roll film, I have found that Reagent III produces quite blocked up highlights. This is an old 120 roll of Kodak "special" film. That's all it says so I am not sure really what emulsion it is. If you compare it with another old roll, this one Verichrome Pan, from England posted here, you will see the familiar super white highlights = blocked, dense portions of the negative. Something not seen with the Efke, but seen a little with TMX, and not at all with the Pan F.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Impossible! PX70 in Stereo

L-R pair shot today, August 10, 2010. Get your stereo viewers out and see.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Comment Spam

Wow the amount of comment spam has really picked up. I wonder if it is because of the widget, below, with links to twitter, FB. You might try using those to comment on Twitter. hmmm, maybe if you click on the follow me on twitter box in the column to the right, then I will see them and won't have to delete a whole page full of spam. Just an idea. Obviously only good for a short comment.


Valhalla, NY, September 29, 2009 – FUJIIFLM U.S.A., Inc today announced the availability of Fujifilm FP-100B 4x5 black and white peel-apart sheet film to the US market. Used by many professional and commercial large format photographers, the availability of FP-100B 4x5 instant film provides a practical proofing and testing solution to check light, depth and overall composition when shooting.
“Fujifilm recognizes that there is a need for black and white instant 4x5 film in niche markets such as large format imaging,” said Kayce Baker, director of marketing, Pro Markets, Imaging Division, FUJIFILM U.S.A, Inc. “As long as there is a need in the U.S. marketplace for instant film, Fujifilm hopes to supply it.”
For more information, please contact:

Lauren Restuccia

Article continues here

example of our test of this film here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Report from a reader

Hi Bob,

I shot some new test photos with the Efke 25. Here is a result:

Got some flare in the center on my 65mm Super Angulon, but I am pleased overall.

I took four shots and developed as follows:

1. Traditional HC-110 1:50. Neg seems rather dense, something may be off with my old spotmeter.

2. Reagent 3 as documented in your blog, stand developed in a ziplok bag (in the dark.) Seems to have a decent result but some unevenness due in part I think to wrinkles in the bag touching the film.

3. Reagent 3 as above, but developed in rotary processor. Basically the same as #2, so I think you are correct that agitation makes little difference.

4. Reagent 3 with 33% extra HC-110. Slightly denser negative but not significantly different from 2-3.

My results with Reagent 3 and Efke seem to be slightly "foggy", it seems like the entire film base is not as transparent as it should be. Extended soak in sod. sulfite and refixing doesn't seem to have any effect. Any ideas about this?

With both the Efke and the FP4 the negs have a tan color rather than a blue-gray/blue-black. It is a stark contrast with the conventional HC-110 results. Similar to differences between sepia and selenium toning. Don't know if that is just a characteristic of this process.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

tobiasfeltus - cameratech: Why I like the Aero Ektar.

tobiasfeltus - cameratech: Why I like the Aero Ektar.: "I know that the Aero Ektar is not the most ductile lens, but so far it seems to be the biggest piece of opitcal magic that I have ever playe..."

More on "Polanegs" from Fuji FP-100C

Tobias Feltus has yet another refinement of the reclaiming of a color negative from the Fuji FP-100C color pack film material, which he has posted here.

Someone from Fuji has reported that their sales of this and the black and white materials are up, sharply.  Surprisingly, this has apparently caused a problem for Fujifilm - too much demand for the FP-100B and FP-100B45 materials, so they say they might not be able to produce it. 

No comment on the economic arguments posed by this report.

Go see Tobias here.