Light box

I went to dig out my old light box that I purchased when I was still shooting film to view my first roll of film from the Hasselblad.

Only problem is that I can’t find the transformer plug that came with it. Also it had been sitting in the shed over the years, so I have no idea if the bulbs have gone. So the best thing to do is to get a replacement.

I’m amazed at how much the technology has also changed in this area since the time I got this box. The ones for sale now are super thin LED light panels and not chunky like this one.

My only dilemma now is if I get an A4 or A3 size.

First roll of film

I didn’t want to spend too much on film to just run through the Hasselblad to make sure everything is fine, so I got myself some expired film.

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What surprised me was how slow ISO 100 is in real life.

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For my first roll, I had to use some extra light which was lucky that I had the Westcott Ice Light.

I did also take some pictures outside so will have to see what they all look like when they come back from the lab.

Hasselblad 500C/M

So here it is. I got a Hasselblad 500C/M and also a 150mm f4 lens that was on sale at London Camera Exchange.

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There are very limited places selling used film equipment and I’m not really willing to spend big money on the museum pieces. For whatever reason there is a big trend to shoot film. I do wonder if the hobby of home processing has increased while we stay in more.

What I’m looking for now is a decent 80mm f2.8 lens. And to complete the trinity a 50mm. But do I need a 50mm lens? My gut instinct is that I don’t really need a wide. If I find a cheap one maybe I will change my mind.

Stay tuned for how my first roll of film through this camera was like.

Medium format

I was just digging around my files and found the negatives I shot with the Hasselblad that I got to play with ages ago.

From the looks of it, I must have had access to the camera around the year 2000. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been earlier than that as I wouldn’t have been able to take any frames of a completed London Eye.

I have also been seriously looking around for a Hasselblad within my budget and I think there is one on an online auction site. Hopefully I will be able to update with what I have put a bid on soon.

Why have I been looking for a Hasselblad and not another medium format brand? Yes, there might be a bit of badge snobbery but with all the cameras being out of production it makes sense to get the brand which you know will just keep going. Knowing this means that the equipment that might not be the best looking will still be able to do the job. That means that there is no need to look at the best kept equipment at the higher prices to purchase.

So what am I going to do with this camera once I get it? There is no way that at this point in time will I be getting the new digital back for the Hasselblad. So I will be having to shoot on film for now. But what will I do with the film once I have taken the shot?

Having thought about this question, I have decided to shoot transparency film. My thinking is that I want to see what the results are without the need for scanning or printing. There is also the discipline of being spot on with the exposure for transparencies.

I am really looking forward to having to really think about each frame I take and if it is worth paying for the film and processing to take it.

Wish list – October 2020

I recently discovered that Hasselblad have launched a new camera – the 907X with the CFV II 50C back.

What is exciting about it is that the digital back can fit on many of their V system cameras. And for those who don’t know what their V system is, it is the iconic square film cameras that most studios had before the advent of digital.

I have always wanted to have one of these vintage Hasselblad cameras. Years ago I had the privilege to play with one for a few days and there is something really special about using one.

What has stopped me from getting one is that I never did like getting my hands wet with film. Digital technology was something that I embraced wholeheartedly and this might be the perfect solution to my Hasselblad dream.

Only thing is that these old film cameras and lenses are probably going to shoot up in price as more people want to give it a go. Fingers crossed that given time some of the people will get bored of their new toy and decide to sell on.

I want to have a camera that will slow me down. All the new products coming out having face detect auto focus, in built stabilisation and so on speed the process up of taking photos. I want a system to slow me down and this might be it.

Nikkor 85mm f2.8D PC-E Micro lens

I’ve been thinking about getting the Nikkor 85mm f2.8D PC-E Micro lens for sometime now. Playing with tilt shift is something that I have wanted to try. So with Nikon doing a 10% discount on DSLR lenses until the end of September 2020, I thought why not take the opportunity.

As this is a Micro lens it made sense for me to trade in my Nikkor 105mm f2.8G VR lens. The only reason why I was keeping it was for the Micro function since I also have the Nikkor 105mm f1.4E lens in my camera bag.

Thanks goes to London Camera Exchange for supplying it to me. I was thinking that it might take ages to turn up but I paid for it yesterday and picked it up today.

Really looking forward to using this lens and learning what is possible with it.

Down memory lane

I was watching this YouTube video by photographer Matt Irwin about the cameras he has owned during his career.

Fascinating the cameras he had and the reasons why he got them.

So what is my list of cameras that have shaped my career?

Well, the first camera I can remember using, when I was a child, was a Minolta 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens. I can’t remember what model it was but what I realised years later was that the lens was stuck wide open. This really confused me at the time as I never got a shoot that had a deep depth of field.

I stuck with the Minolta brand when I started earning money by getting a second body. Again I can’t remember which one and now has since long gone.

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It must have been a year or two later when I seriously started getting into photography with the hope of it turning into a job that I purchased a Nikon F301 film camera. And as it was during the film days, it was essential to have a second body for when you either ran out of 36 frames or wanted a different ISO or colour/black & white, so a Nikon F501 was also purchased.

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My next film camera was the Nikon F90x followed by an upgrade to the Nikon F4s. And this turned out to be my last film camera.

The first ever digital camera I got was the Nikon Coolpix 950 at the turn of the century. It wasn’t very good. But to be able to transmit pictures without having to process and scan film was an amazing thing to do when using dial up internet.

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This led to me owning a Nikon D1 and later adding a D1H to the mix.

My employer then purchased a Nikon D2H and when it was time to upgrade decided to move to the Canon system. And even today I am using a variety of Canon bodies.

For my personal use I purchased the full frame Nikon D3 which is arguably when Nikon moved from making digital cameras that were sub par to top of the game.

I then added the Fuji XE-1 and then the Nikon D850 to my collection.

Counting up the cameras I had over the years, it isn’t really all that many. I have always believed in getting better lenses over having the latest camera. Lenses you keep but cameras you don’t.

I am certain that my camera collection would be different if my employer didn’t start to supply me with equipment. Certainly been fun going down this memory lane.

BlackBerry 5G

I’m a big fan of the BlackBerry phone and was really glad to hear today that they will be making a 5G version of the phone.

A lot of people had written off the BlackBerry phone when it was announced that the licensing agreement with TCL would end. I was even worried that it would be the end. But I held on to hope that there was no official confirmation that production would cease.

So today is a very good news day.

Nikon D6

I really don’t understand the number of online reviews in which Nikon’s D6 camera is given the thumbs down. Is it a bad camera? No. So what is the problem these reviewers have with it?

The way I see it is that this camera was not designed with these reviewers in mind so they have to give it a one star. Saying that the D6 will be that last camera Nikon will make in this range you have to ask the question what camera will the photographers use who need a go any where, any environment, sand, snow, floods and with no repair centre in sight? A camera that the photographer knows will just work in the most extreme circumstances.

If 2020 was a normal year, this camera would have shown its true value during the Tokyo Olympics and not be judged by social media content creators who want you to view their channels.

This camera is all about moving the file as soon as the shutter is pressed to the front page of a newspaper. It is not the camera for attaching to a selfie stick to do your weekly video blog on. It is not the camera to show off to your friends. Each Nikon D6 expects to have a really hard life.

There will be a time in a few years when there will be plenty of second hand Nikon D6 bodies for sale. I’m pretty sure that most of them will be close to their maximum shutter life and if they could talk, have plenty of stories to tell.

Nikon Speedlights

One of the reasons why I moved away from using my Nikon Speedlights was that I was always getting inconsistent colours in the pictures. You would take one frame and without changing anything the colour would be off.

Now that I have a colour meter I can actually see that the flash gun was putting out very different temperatures each time it went off.

As you can see it is not just by a little bit but by a lot.

Doing the same test with the Profoto B10 the temperature was very close to each other. So it wasn’t something that I was doing wrong.

I do wonder if Nikon have now fixed the problem in the latest Speedlights. In reality I probably won’t find out for myself if they have as I don’t have the spare cash to get a unit to test.