Lomography DigitaLIZA 120 scanning mask

There are plenty of resources if you decide to play with film photography. One of these resources is Lomography and they produce a very handy scanning mask that you can use on any light box.

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The mask uses magnets to hold your film in place. Back in the day I remember the 35mm scanner I was using had a really annoying holder that would never shut properly and would bend out of shape just by looking at it.

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Getting this holder and using my newly purchased Nikkor 85mm f2.8D PC-E Micro lens to capture the file means that I don’t have to splash the cash on a dedicated scanner.

I don’t plan to scan every single frame I take on film but is handy when I do want to share something online.

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Like this frame from the test roll of Ektachrome 100 transparency slide film.

Kodak Professional Ektachrome Film E100

The journey to discover my favourite E6 transparency slide film starts with the most expensive, Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100.

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A quick search about films results in plenty of comparisons of what is available. But these results mean that I will be relying on how others are using the films and not the exact way I will be using them. Therefore these tests are how I plan to use my film camera in a “studio” setting.

Looking at the film, it does feel a bit cool to me. The skin tones look okay but without having anything else to compare it with I don’t really want to pass judgement too quickly.

I actually like the slightly under exposed frames rather than the frames that my light meter said were correct. I’m sure that it isn’t specific to this film but all slide films don’t do well when over exposed.

This might be a minor point, but to seal the film once it has been all exposed you need to wet the tape as it is not self adhesive. During these days when hand washing and wearing face coverings is the right thing to do, licking an object that has been in contact with goodness knows what is not the most sensible idea.

Below is the tech sheet from Kodak about this film. I would normally just say here is the link and send you to their website but I do worry that Kodak and Fuji may shut up shop on these products in these financially strained times. Better to have them permanently here rather than sending you to a dead link.

Hasselblad 2000 FC

A few weeks ago I had no idea what the Hasselblad V system consisted of. I knew the 500 series are the iconic cameras that everyone recognises. What I didn’t know was the existence of the 2000 and 200 series with their focal plane shutters.

So what does this mean? Well, in the 500 series the shutter is inside the lens rather than in the body of the camera. While in the 2000 and 200 series, the shutter is in the body of the camera and this allows them to have a top shutter speed of 2000th of a second compared to 500th of a second in the 500 series.

When I was looking around for lenses for my 500C/M camera I was seeing F and FE lenses for sale that were typically a stop faster than the C versions. I’m not going to pretend that I know why this is from a technical standpoint. What was frustrating was seeing these faster lenses but knowing they are no good to me as they do not work on the 500 series cameras. So, I started to look around for a cheap 2000 series camera.

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And I found one at Mr Cad.

You may well ask why am I obsessed with fast glass. It isn’t for the bokeh. The truth is that in the short grey days of a UK winter there really is no option but to use fast glass if you don’t want to lug around a lighting rig.

Now that I have both types of camera these faster lenses are now an option for me. If I can find one for sale, I would love to have the 110mm f2.

First roll of film – part 2

I got my first roll of film back from the lab. And as you can see, I also got myself a cheap A3 LED light box.

Glad that there are no light leaks in the camera which was my main worry.

My other worry was how the expired film would behave. It has done quite well in my eyes. All of these frames were shot at box speed ISO 100 which I did bracket for the outside sky shot. I’m not going to pay too much attention to the slight green cast on the frames taken in the daylight indoors.

I have to admit that I have already shot my second roll of film.

Wasting a blank frame because of user error on cheaper expired film is no big deal. It would really put me on edge if in the back of my mind that every wasted frame was a couple of quid rather than a few pence. So for the time being, I plan on playing around with expired film until I am comfortable in shooting with the good stuff.

When I had the Hasselblad on loan many years ago the must have accessory was a Polaroid film back. Today that same back would be useless as the instant film for it has been discontinued. I would hate to see 120 film going the same way. So the only way to prevent this is to buy fresh film so that the manufacturers can see there is still demand for it. Deciding what my favourite film is a good dilemma to now have.

Profoto Air with a Hasselblad 500C/M

I was trying to figure out the best way to make my Profoto B10 units work with my Hasselblad 500C/M. I have a Profoto Air remote dedicated for my Nikon cameras and PocketWizard remotes to fire my flash units.

The PocketWizard Plus III has a 3.5mm mini jack socket so getting a mini jack to PC lead should connect up the Hasselblad.

What doesn’t work is putting the Profoto Air remote on a PocketWizard FlexTT5.

The PocketWizards do talk to one another but it doesn’t set off the Profoto Air remote.

Digging around in my camera bags I found a PC to hot shoe lead. It took me a while to come up with the idea of connecting the Profoto Air remote direct to the Hasselblad through this lead.

I am glad to say that this does work and I am kicking myself a bit for not thinking of this before. It is the most direct solution and saves buying one of the Profoto Air remotes that do have a 3.5mm mini jack sockets.

Really glad that I have a chance to think about these technical challenges. Especially when the solutions are the ones staring you in the face.

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.

Courtesy of Hasselblad

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.