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This is a club for those who love to shoot film, including 35mm, medium and large formats. Discussions should be centred around gear, techniques, darkroom, printing, etc. Everything analog!

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Yes, I sprayed it into the glass part lid of a large Moccona freeze dried coffee jar. These things are the best small hold-alls ever invented - invert the lid and detach the cupped plastic seal, and you have a glass bowl and a smaller plastic bowl, or you can press the plastic inner lid back and it becomes a small jar. I have many of them (and an indictment on my caffeine addiction). The glass part with its turned-in lip is also great for holding small screws, springs and the like when repairing lenses - they can't accidentally roll of the bench, yet they're easily picked up out of the bowl with a magnetic jewellers screwdriver when needed.
  3. It turns out that I already have some of the INOX-MR6 grease left over from a food mixer repair, but the WD40 White Lithium grease that I see at Repco is only available in a spray can. Did you just spray some onto say a piece of plastic or glass sheet and then get a little of the grease from there once the propellant dispersed or is it available in a non-spray version? TIA.
  4. No worries, Hugh - my info is colloquial at best, though, just me improvising on the side of logic and a bit of thrift over some idealistic and expensive standard. I've already been stung something like $30 earlier for a tiny 1ml of "Swiss watch oil" when I tried (but failed) to clean the clockwork mechanism of the first Pentacon Six I bought, and I really thought "WTF" when it arrived in its tiny glass vial - it looked and smelled like any light mineral machine oil. Maybe it has magical properties when used with the tiny, high precision gears in a watch, but seriously, the clockwork gears of the Pentacon Six are large, relatively coarse and any light machine oil with adhering properties would likely have done the job for almost zero cost for the one or two drops required. Likewise, helicoid channels are relatively wide, and while they are a precision fit, they will turn without binding when assembled cleaned but totally dry, so any lubrication is a bonus rather than an essential necessity I would have thought. Sure it will reduce wear over a long period, but realistically the focus ring is mostly turned very slowly and not all that often through its full travel either, so for an individual user to wear the helicoid out in shooting film in a non-commercial environment is highly unlikely. Besides, I figured if I had pulled the lens down myself and reassembled it OK, repeating the exercise shouldn't be all that difficult should it start to feel as though it is dry or it starts squeaking. So far I have used this WD40 white lithium and before that Inox-mx6 Premium Machinery Grease (fully synthetic/food grade), and none of the lenses so treated have shown any adverse signs at all. I found the white lithium easier to spread and easier to get coverage into sharp corners, whereas the Inox was harder to apply smoothly and seemed a bit resistant to sticking to the surface of the metal, leaving dry patches here and there. I haven't counted up the cost of the 120 kit I've assembled, but all up, including the dud cameras and the hefty postage charges , I doubt it would have been much more than US $1,500 (AUD ~$2,200), if indeed even that much. To me that is a whopping bargain when I consider that would have been about the cost of my Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR lens on its own.
  5. Alan, thank you for the information on the lithium grease. In pricing grease for lens helicoids from the US, Micro-Tools want a huge $US32.52 for 8ml of their helicoid greases (available in three grades), whilst over on Amazon, MicroLubrol Helimax-XP Camera Telescope Optical Instrument Focusing Helicoid Grease w/ PTFE 1oz 28g is selling for $US12.95 for 28ml. Add postage on top of either of these two sources and suddenly one is paying a whopingly huge lot of dough! I have a Nikon 55mm f/2.8 AiS Micro Nikkor whose helicoid grease has like many of these lenses transmuted itself into an oily goo and I am facing up to the task of pulling it down and thoroughly cleaning the diaphragm mechanism and completely replacing the helicoid grease, so your input has been valuable to me. Many thanks.
  6. Hugh, I'm very careful with my selection of lenses before hitting the 'buy now' button, which is why it's taken so long to get the set. The condition of the glass is always at the top of my pass/fail list. I'm also being frugal with my film consumption - in other words I'm getting back to the shooting discipline of thinking, evaluating and either dismissing or accepting before pressing the shutter button, so I'm still getting through frozen stocks on hand. I'll be having to buy 400 ISO from now on, but with winter over and the equinox fast approaching, I'll be using more and more of the 100, 50 and even some Agfa 25 ISO film, of which I have numerous rolls. I even have five rolls of Tech Pan, which these days is worth its weight in gold to die-hards and collectors, I believe. As for the lithium grease - I'm just using what I can easily get (WD40 White Lithium), but applying it very sparingly, dispensing it first into a small container and then wiping it on by following the threads with a cotton bud, then wiping any excess off with a lint-free cloth after first thoroughly cleaning the threads with a toothbrush and isopropyl. I now also have the confidence to unscrew and reseat helicoids so that I get the indexing right and don't have to spend hours assembling, disassembling and trying again to find the correct entrance thread alignment as I did with my first effort, so replacing the grease (should that ever be necessary) will not be a problem. Like many things, I think internet advice might be a bit overly pedantic on grease - the thickness with which the original grease was caked on defies belief and in hardening with age it literally gummed up the threads. It was also prone to migrating due to the excess which is what causes the aperture blades to bind. I don't apply anywhere near that thickness of lithium grease as they applied the original grease, so there's not enough to migrate even if it were prone to that, and it is formulated not to dry out so that, too, shouldn't be a problem. The difference doing this to the lenses has to be felt to be believed - my oldest lens, a late 1950's CZJ 2,8/80 was so stiff it was nearly impossible to focus properly while hand-holding the camera; it is now as smooth as silk, very light to turn with no backlash or creep, and I reckon it's better than it was when new. As well there was haze under the front element which was removed easily with isopropyl alcohol. The lens only cost me around US$75 because of all this as well as a stuck-open aperture - this I managed to fix without having to remove the aperture blades simply by removing the element groups and flushing the aperture assembly repeatedly with lighter fluid, then alcohol while the lens was apart to re-grease the helicoid. Six months later it is still working fine, so until it gets stuck again, I'll consider it fixed. I've also learned to use only original rear caps (not cheap aftermarket slip-ons) as they provide enough clearance for the stop-down pin which allows the aperture to be fully closed when capped - so I always fully close the aperture when removing the lens, and likewise if I'm storing the camera with a lens attached I always leave it uncocked so the aperture is in its closed state - that stops things getting stuck wide-open (the P6 works backwards to many auto-stop-down cameras in that it holds the aperture wide open with pressure for focusing which is released at moment of exposure to stop down the lens rather than the other way around). As I noted, the Pentacon Six does have its idiosyncratic operating rules, and I'll admit to having learned most through trial and error (mostly error), but once it knocks you into shape in fine Teutonic tradition, it is an absolute delight to use - it's one of the best handling medium format cameras I've ever used, and it leaves abominations like the RB/RZ Mamiyas in the dust in that regard. It's even nicer to use than my Hasselblads were, which isn't surprising as its design post dates the 'blad concept by nearly a decade. Pentacon obviously decided that an enlarged Pentacon F 35mm camera was a safer bet than the awkward-to-hold box shape of the 'blad, and I think they may well have been right. However, as there were only serial numbers into the mid-200,000's used, the supply of these things will become increasingly rare, particularly as broken ones are by necessity fixed with parts from other badly-broken ones. Fingers crossed that my pair will last a long time, but I will probably buy one more for insurance if a good one comes up at the right price, but the prices have doubled in two years, so that might be a forlorn hope.
  7. My word Alan, your lenses look pristine. Worth removing the caps for this image. Where do you source the white lithium grease you use and did you need different grades for different lengths of helicoids (as I understand to be the case)? (BTW, have you any film still left in your deep freeze? )
  8. ...but two years ago I was fully digital with an extensive Fuji-X outfit and a Sigma sd Quattro-H and some classic lenses as my main working tools, and the only vestige I had of my initial 35 years in film photography was an all-but abandoned Mamiya RB/RZ outfit. However with retirement looming, I dipped back into film with some pretty cheap 35mm Soviet-bloc cameras and lenses with the intent of teaching younger people with no experience in B&W film the ins-and-outs of its use and processing (which has garnered some interested participants), but unexpectedly I also took a slight detour into 120/6x6cm film gear with some eBay-bought equipment, namely Soviet Kiev-60 and DDR Pentacon Six cameras with both Zeiss and some Soviet lenses which I steadily accumulated over the interim period to the present. While the Kiev-60 cameras and Soviet lenses were rough and lacking in finesse to use, the Pentacon Six cameras proved the opposite - once a few basic rules in loading and advancing the film were mastered (and four bodies bought to end up with two working properly), I found the gear a delight to use, the Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are superb in both use and results (although their age has meant a further side-track in learning how to dismantle, clean, re-lubricate and reassemble these lenses), and I am now shooting film of one sort or another all the time, my digital cameras being assigned as a method to 'scan' the negatives, and take photographs of the film gear . I also have bought an outfit of OM-1 camera and four lenses, and a Minolta SRT 101 with two lenses (so far) which, when I find a decent 135mm f/2.8 Rokkor PF lens will duplicate the outfit I started the tertiary photography course with in February 1971 that in turn ended up in over 45 years of a full-time career in photography. Back to the title of this post - on Friday I received a sturdy case for the Pentacon Six cameras with each of the system's Zeiss lenses: 4/50, 2,8/80, 2,8/120, 2,8/180 and 4/300. I also included the Soviet Zodiak 3,5/30 fisheye in the case, but it wasn't until I had fitted everything into the foam padding that it dawned on me that not only had I gone in completely the opposite direction to the smaller/lighter quest I had travelled on with digital, but that perhaps I had gone a bit overboard. My 'go-to' outfit now looks like this (and yes, I do keep lens caps on the lenses at all times, but for purposes of appearance in the photo I removed those), and weighs a mere 13.6 kilos (~30lbs) including the case 🙄: As I also mentioned, servicing the lenses has been another unintended skill I have been picking up. Most recently the 2,8/180 suffered the common (for that lens) 'stuck-open-aperture' fault which no amount of slapping or jolting the lens would cure, so this became the first lens that I completely dismantled - right down to separating the elements to clean 40-odd years of accumulated dust and grime from within. The trickiest thing, however, was to re-insert the aperture blade assembly back to its spot in its position deep in the lens body. The blades would pop out at the slightest bump or judder as they rely on a fixed ring inside the lens to hold them in place when pushed home against it, and after a nearly day of trying I finally lost patience and used a blob of Blu-Tack to hold the lower support rings together while sliding the assembly into the near friction-fit of the lens barrel, and removing the blob afterwards with tweezers. It worked like a charm first go, and the following photos are of the aperture blades being reassembled after cleaning, and of the completed lens assembly, aperture in place and working like new. Removing the old grease in the h focusing helicoid and replacing it with modern white lithium grease made a world of difference to the smoothness and ease of focusing, and for the price of some hours of working through problems and a couple of squirts of lithium grease I have a lens that is almost as good as new. For the sense of achievement alone it was worth it I would hate to even begin to try anything like this on a modern plastic, electronic and glued lens with any chance of success, maybe that's another reason I'm being taken back by film.
  9. Thanks, Chris & Hugh - for once the taking point was only a dozen or so steps from where I pulled up, too, which was welcome given the East German brick that the Pentacon and its companion 2,8/180 lens are to carry.
  10. It sure is - even with the wintery look to it.
  11. ...via a back road, this scene caught my eye as a quintessential Tasmanian rural winter scene, looking towards the aptly named but poor imitation of the 'real' Table Mountain in the distance. Pentacon Six with 2,8/180 lens, 15-year-old Fuji Acros film, Rodinal 1:50.
  12. Actually the ETRS will run without batteries, but only at its top shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. ND filters are a handy thing with this camera if fast films and wide apertures are desired. The square format would simply compositional and framing matters a lot.
  13. Half the fun is using a medium format camera that needs no batteries, I reckon - probably trade off the ETRS for a good old S2? Maybe I'm just a bit of an odball, but I sort of expect that many more who gave up B&W darkroom in favour of staring at a computer monitor will find getting back into the darkroom as addictive as I have, and not at all as dismal as we all seem to remember slaving under safelights to have been. (Actually, Dallas, add the Bronica S2A to your list of possibles - they're pretty cheap at present on ebay.) Personally I also prefer working in the square - I never warmed to 645, and hated that my workplace in the mid-'70's changed from Hasselblad to Mamiya M645 and Pentax 6x7, and therefore I traded my 'blad in for an M645 outfit to remain compatible with at least some of the studio's camera equipment, and which was a camera that I actually grew to despise. Horrible, tinny, flimsy little thing that started to rust from under the paint within a year, and not having interchangeable magazines made matters even worse. The lenses were OK, but nothing to get excited about, either. I also never thought much of the Pentax 6x7 - heavy, bulky, and my boss as a left hander insisted that the awful wooden accessory grip fitted to the left side of the camera remain permanently in place, which made the thing almost impossible for me to use. The Pentacon Six is a positive lightweight midget compared to that Pentax (and it sure is obvious that the Pentax copied the Pentacon Six concept; in fact the name Pentax was bought from Dresden KW/Pentacon who had copyrighted it during the Zeiss West/East Germany Zeiss trademark disputes of the 1950's; Pentax comes from PENtaprism/conTAX - as I think I've mentioned here before. Pentacon had previously opted for PENTAprism/CONtax as their name out of the two choices in order to keep their Zeiss Contax roots more obvious).
  14. Mike, I have 2 rolls of Tri-X 400 that I shot on my Leica M6 about 15 years ago sitting in the fridge down in the basement. I might try developing them myself if I can find some kit and materials to do it with. Hmmm... Gumtree here we come.
  15. This is a great idea Dallas and I'm hoping that by joining I'll be encouraged to finish the films in my M6TTL and Canon AE1 and get processing.
  16. Hmmm - I might need to resurrect my battery eating Bronica 645 ETRS - I probably need to put an external power pack and cable together to tame its thirst for batteries. Fortunately I still have my tanks, trays, and enlarger gear. My only B&W work over the last 20 years has been to develop old undeveloped B&W films that people have found amongst their belongings.
  17. Thanks Alan, very good info. I know of a Mamiya C330 that I could get my hands on. I will need to negotiate with its owner (who used to come to me for lessons), but I will also keep an eye open for your other recommendations.
  18. Agreed, Hasselblad prices have gone silly, and I do have some regrets at having sold off my outfit - in late 2009, I think) - but financing digital acquisitions demanded by my work at the time meant unused equipment had to go, and I'd only used the 'blad two or three times in three years, so it drew the short straw. At the time I could see nothing but doom for film, anyway, as from a money-earning perspective at the time, no-one wanted anything on film. Occasionally a cheap Rollei SL66 appears on the market these days (amongst a crowd of overpriced hopefuls) - it was never a popular camera, but it was very well featured with bellows focusing, lens tilt and a mount that enabled lenses to be mounted in reverse for macro photography as standard. I noticed a few of the Rollei lenses appearing on ebay recently modified for for Pentacon Six mount as well as some with Arriflex mount modification, which points to low demand for the Rollei SL66 system itself and therefore the possibility of a bargain popping up. You might put that on your list of considerations as well - the lenses are undoubtedly just modified versions of the Zeiss Hasselblad lenses, so end results will be in the same ballpark. Of course their unpopularity at the time means they're pretty rare today - the follow-up Rollei SLX/6006 system was more Hasselblad-like, but they bring higher prices these days. The only TLR I'd really consider is the Mamiya C330, or its less featured sibling the C220, but they're no longer cheap, and personally I never liked using them - again, Mamiya seem to enjoy making awkward-to-use cameras. By far the worst camera I ever had to use (at my first job) was the awful Mamiya Press. Yes, it was versatile in being able to use several different film format backs, but it really took the prize for being the most horrendous thing to use in an actual working situation. If ever there was an anti-ergonomic design, this piece of crap was it. Rollei TLRs are way overpriced in the fashion of collecibles like Leica, although you could consider an Ikoflex for less money, but both these are old designs. There is another camera I've looked at over the years, namely the Fujica GW690 (90mm lens) and GSW690 (65mm lens) rangefinders, nicknamed "Texas Leica" for their large physical size (and 6x9 format). The original version G690 and G690BL came as an interchangeable lens camera with a choice of lenses (50, 65, 100, 150 and 180, from memory), but the later GW and GSW were fixed lens cameras. If you want a larger-than-life 120 film format camera with the convenience of rangefinder simplicity, it's hard to go past one of these. They, too, are rather rapidly gaining in price, from the mid $200's a few years ago to over $600 for a good one these days, and more for the GSW690.
  19. Thanks Alan. I don't think I will play around with 35mm film again, although somewhere in my house (probably buried deep in a box somewhere in the basement) I have a bulk 35mm film reloader, along with several dozen re-usable canisters and a changing bag. I also sold off my last working 35mm cameras last year, which were the Olympus OM-2n and Canon A-1 bodies. As I have indicated before I would like to try out the Mamiya RB or RZ, however many, including yourself, have warned me about how clumsy those guys are to use. There would be angels singing in heaven if I could get a Hasselblad 500CM for ordinary money here, but I am not holding my breath so I may just look for a decent TLR. I actually have a Yashica A, but I fear it is beyond feasible repair. Interesting times afoot!
  20. At the moment I'm absolutely besotted with the cantankerous, temperamental, idiosyncratic Pentacon Six cameras and their Carl Zeiss lenses, so any recommendations might end up being biased towards that system. I simply love using the camera more than just about anything I've ever used before - although many will call me crazy for even suggesting that given the lengthy list of shortcomings the experts will reel off at the slightest mention of the name. In contrast, and while it has taken three examples of each to end up with a good camera, as far as 35mm goes I always used to, and now still do swear by the Olympus OM1 and the Minolta SR-T 101. there are literally dozens of these available on ebay in good working order at around $60-$120 for a body only, and maybe $30 or $40 more with a standard lens. The dodgy areas appear to be the meters, and of course the unavailability of the original 1.35v mercury button cells that used to power those meters. There are substitutes, and I've found them to operate well enough with plain 1.5v LR44 Alkaline cells, or better yet with more stable silver oxide versions. Both cameras are accurate enough, the Minolta can also be adjusted by changing the position of two tabs located under the base-plate, although, as mentioned, getting one that works in the first place is very much the luck of the draw. Get lucky and you can have a pristine 35mm camera and a wide, normal and moderate tele lens for around the $200-$250 mark, which is almost a joke when considering what these things cost, even second-hand, when film was still the means of taking photos. As far as processing goes, Paterson tanks complete with two reels are available new for around US$30, chemistry is easily available in economical 1 litre bottles, and bulk 30m rolls of film and daylight loaders are also available. My materials supplier since 1983 has recently been increasingly turning his business over to supplying film-related product; you can get an idea of just how undead film is by having a look at his site for the sheer variety of choice that exists off-the-shelf/in stock here: Photoresource Eventually I suppose some manufacturers will start producing film cameras again, but with the huge numbers of good second-hand gear that fell out of use when digital hit still surfacing on ebay, it might be a while yet before new gear becomes a viable thing to manufacture again. Unfortunately they'll never manufacture the Pentacon Six again - that was a permanent casualty of the Soviet collapse, and Pentacon itself was sold off and dismantled as a company by 1990. As the highest serial numbers reached were around the 205,000 mark (which includes the several thousand around #185,000 that were sold as chassis to Exakta in West Germany as the base for the Exakta 66), there really aren't going to be that many available into the future, particularly given their reputation for being rather delicate in construction and tricky to repair - if you can even find someone to repair them.
  21. Hopefully things will get easier as more either return to film, or try it for the first time and get hooked on the difference in everything about it, from technique to end result, when compared with shooting digital. There is no doubt that there is a movement underway of people using film - it is evident both in the steadily increasing prices of old film equipment on the second-hand market, through the increasing groups and posts on various places on the Internet, to to the reintroduction discontinued film products by various manufacturers, most recent being Fujifilm's announcement that they'll be re-releasing Acros 2 in the next few months, barely a year after deciding to discontinue the original Acros 100 ISO B&W film, which is pretty much an admission of perhaps having misread the potential market for the product. I know that I am thoroughly enjoying using film again and that it has re-ignited what was a waning passion for photography, and for that I am very grateful. I also know it shows in both my photographs and demeanour, as a friend recently commented on one of my photos posted online: "I can tell you're happy by the way you post these days. It's brilliant."
  22. Those images are wonderful. My first sight of the first one caused a sharp intake of breath. Disclaimer: I do not currently shoot with film. But I would love to get back into it; I was never happier than when I was shooting with slide film in my Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera and the results were very pleasing to my eye. What stops me? Well, I have neither the premises nor the knowledge to set up and use a darkroom. Also, as Alan mentions, the loss of quality in converting images to digital is off-putting. I will continue to think on it ....
  23. These are great, Alan. I do hope that more people will join in on this club and I look forward to seeing it flourish. I too would still like to learn proper B&W medium format photography and I may just bend your ear on here w.r.t. what equipment I should look at getting.
  24. Hopefully there'll be some interest in this Analogue Club along with a few posts as well. I've been back with film (monochrome only) for over two years now, and for me it's been the best thing I've done for a long while, having completely reversed what was a declining interest in taking photographs, which I had initially thought was just a natural thing after nearly 50 years of being involved professionally, but has since been proven to have been caused by a boredom and disenchantment with the digital methods having taken over, and the predictability and expense of both the outcomes and the incessant update cycles of both camera and computer equipment that has resulted. Having recommissioned my dormant darkroom and bought a virtual barrow-load of film cameras from 35mm through to a half-plate Thornton Pickard, including a bunch of pristine lenses to suit (and all for less than the cost of a single pro digital body), I have an equipment arsenal that will outlast me with nothing further to buy than film (after I get through the dozens of rolls in the freezer left over from when digital became mandatory in the industry), and fresh photographic paper when and as needed (which costs less than plain cotton-rag inkjet paper), and therefore I'm all set for a film-based retirement. Meanwhile my digital outfits have been gathering dust, other than when I use the Fuji to photograph my film cameras and lenses to illustrate posts on my equipment the Internet, or the Sigma sd Quattro H to photograph the negatives to post the images online. I have now settled on the somewhat quirky Pentacon Six cameras as my go-to system , and somewhat enjoy the intrigue of why there is always a question in the back of my mind when I am using them as to whether they're working correctly or not (everything is pre-1990 in manufacture, after all). However the results continue to please me greatly, and that is no doubt helped by being familiar with the medium through having spent the greater part of my career using nothing but film, and most of all B&W film. Unfortunately I have discovered that the conversion of film negs to digital and the reduction in resolution through resizing for the Internet is not at all successful in transmitting what an actual photographic print from the negative actually looks like, an idea of the appearance of the finished article can be obtained. However, and almost inevitably, interpolation accentuates the graininess of the image often to a ridiculous degree, which is partially why I am sometimes reluctant to post. However, that aside, I welcome this subset club of Fotozones and hope that it does attract at least a few participants. Last Friday I escaped the dreary cold of the fog shrouded valley in which I live to take a day's drive up into the Tasmanian Midlands town of Ross, and once again came away amazed that I'd managed to spend a day with my camera and yet only shoot 10 frames on one film, most of which I was perfectly happy with. The difference between that and the now over-shot barrage of images that a normal digital shooting day routinely involves is obvious, and it's a working style I far prefer, carefully composing and calculating each shot before pressing the button, rather than "shooting around the shot" and leaving a headache of editing in front of a computer monitor to follow. Again, low-res copies, but here are a few that I took, mostly with the extraordinarily good and flare-free Carl Zeiss Jena 4/50 lens on a Pentacon Six body and expired Ilford 400 Delta Pro film. There's nothing in Australia to beat the Tasmanian mid-winter light on a still, cool day, and nothing like the silvery glow of B&W film to to justice to that light. Church Street, Ross, without the summer hordes of tourists: Ross Uniting Church: 1836 Ross bridge: Overgrown sign at the Scitch Thistle Inn: And one for good measure - the next morning the fog still hadn't lifted in New Norfolk, but that, and freezing temperatures were not enough to stop hardy Tasmanians holding the usual Saturday morning street market, even if attendance was below par:
  25. Welcome to the Analog Photography Fotozones community. I hope to see some inspirational material developing here. 😎 The purpose of this club is to provide a place where members who are interested in sharing and learning more about shooting with film or plates (in any size or format), developing their work in traditional darkroom and printing on photographic paper can interact.
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