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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. This shot looks like it could be album art for a prog rock band. Good job, Alan.
  3. Thanks, guys, I admit to being more lucky than skilful here, although driving this mob up to that end of the rape paddock without completely spooking the sheep so that I could get the old house ruin into the shot as well was almost as amusing as the repertoire of sounds I issued to keep most of the herd transfixed for the four seconds. Also, even on a big screen that one beast takes a good second look to figure that it is facing towards, rather than away from the camera. Lots of luck was involved here. I really only shot this to test the lens for that focus falloff I had been noticing, and thought that rather than just waste the paper neg on some boring still-life I might at least try to get something a bit more unusual. Strong focus falloff at bottom left and top right was confirmed, as well as a narrow run up the left side, hence the decision to blow another $40 US on the Zeiss lens, which was an unusually cheap bargain for what ebay has usually become these days. It looks to be in fine order as well, the drawbacks being no retaining ring or caps, the lens cap in particular may be problematic as that is my 'shutter' these days. Used ones for the rare ~61mm slip-on fit are more expensive than the lens itself was, and even if I can ever get the Thornton Pickard behind-lens roller blind shutter working again, this new lens will be far to large in diameter for it to fit.
  4. Considering the inherent difficulty of photographing moving subjects with four seconds of exposure, you have done remarkably well!
  5. Keeping cows still is quite an achievement, unless your objective is to move them! On the small screen I’m currently looking on, the headless cow ( second from right in the main group) just looks like it is facing away and showing its backside.
  6. This was perhaps being overly optimistic, but it worked rather well in the end, I thought. Thornton Pickard half plate camera, using Ilford Multigrade IV paper as a negative, 3 ISO, 4 second exposure whilst I was making all sorts of noises to keep the cattle looking at the camera without moving (a few failed the test, though, one having lost its head altogether) The lens on this camera is the original 8" f/8 Rapid Rectilinear brass item that isn't so rectilinear any longer - it has a very definite focus falloff on two diagonally opposite corners so I'm guessing the elements have either lost their alignment through age and handling, or were never correct in the first place. I have a 1950's Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 4,5/210 in the mail to me from an ebayer in Japan which I'll try to adapt to the camera to cure that problem as well as give me a substantially brighter ground glass image to focus on. This, therefore, might be the last 'authentic' Thornton-Pickard photo I have taken.
  7. I am not entirely familiar with the processes for old view cameras, but I must say I am really impressed with both sets of images. Aside from the light leak of the second house image these are magnificent.
  8. Very interesting. I think I prefer the older style, more contrasty look of the newer pair of pictures, but that may just be due to the limitations of the little screen I'm viewing on.
  9. Two pairs of photographs, taken 30 years apart. When first contemplating a move to Tasmania, I visited in September 1989 and stayed at a newly opened accommodation business in one of New Norfolk's oldest surviving homes at Tynwald Estate, which was built on the back of an entrepreneurial gamble of building a water race, water wheel and flour mill quite a distance up river from Hobart in 1819 (Hobart was first set up as a convict camp under 23 year old Lt Bowen, R.N. in 1803). While the later addition of the grand Victorian facade, tower and ornate cast-iron decorated verandas belie the mansion's more humble origins, the ruins of the original burnt-out old mill stand as testament to a founding business of the area. I took the first pair of 1989 photographs with a Toyo View 45A field camera, 65mm f/5.6 Rodenstock Grandagon lens and T-Max 100 film, and last week, 30 years later, I thought I may as well test a couple of dark slide film holders I managed to find on ebay to fit my 1908 Thornton Pickard half plate camera for light-tightness, and that the old mansion and ruin were as good as any subject given the 30 year gap that has elapsed. Using ordinary Ilford Multigrade IV Glossy photographic paper cut to 6½x4¾" size loaded into film sheaths designed to fit into the dark slides where glass plates were originally used (@2 ISO!), and tilting the lens front and back standards beyond the coverage of the original 8"/210mm f/8 Rapid Rectilinear uncoated lens to straighten the verticals somewhat (being aware of the vignette that would cause, but deciding it would add to, rather than detract from the end result), I took a head-on photo of the mansion. I think the ground level has been raised and levelled somewhat during those 30 years or that 65mm lens on the 5x4 camera was a lot wider than I remembered it to be. I then took another of the mill from a different viewpoint as the original position had been obscured by trees and other garden plantings. The paper negatives are of course blue and blue-green light sensitive only, thus rendering the sky white and yellows and reds (such as the stone in the mill) very dark in the final print in true early plate photography fashion, and the uncoated lens has a propensity to flare around highlights that is pretty epic as well as it being near impossible to check focus in the corners with that dim f/8 aperture and roughly sand-blasted ground glass, even when ensconced under my double-layered velvet focusing cloth. As well, the focus falloff of the lens in the corners is as dramatic as the flare, even at the f/32 aperture I shot these at, but I didn't care about this either, other than to yet again admire the 19th and early 20th Century photographers with their portable darkrooms and glass plates, trekking all this primitive and fragile equipment into wild and unexplored places in order to take large format photographs of places and things unseen previously by European eyes. 1989: 2019: (The streak of light top left in the second mansion shot is a light leak from a corner joint of one of the wooden dark slides, and a less obvious one below that is from the bottom edge of the actual slide not sitting all the way home in its slot at the base of the unit, so the exercise was worth the effort in finding these before they ruined an irreplaceable shot. The corner leak is an easy fix, but the slide is causing a bit more thought on how to best accomplish a fix without disassembling the whole bottom of the casing).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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? )
  16. ...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.
  17. 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.
  18. It sure is - even with the wintery look to it.
  19. ...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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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).
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.

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