Happy summer to you all, and welcome to this weeks newsletter!
Since last weeks letter was kind of technical and very gear and long exposure focused, I figured we would get a little more analog and jump around a bit in this one:)
This week I got back 2 films! Yeay! The two most exiting ones for me at least. The Ilford XP2 Super 400 that was in the Flexaret (120mm/medium format), and the Lomochrome Purple that was shot through the Pentax Super A (35mm/full format).
So, first things first, our very first roll of medium format film! Since no foto service up here has a lab for this (except for the pros that develop themselves in their own darkrooms) the film took a total of 4(!) weeks to get back to us. That is really too long. I am definitely looking in to developing the negatives myself, as this you can actually do very eco friendly and with little equipment. It will save lots of time, the environment and money once the equipment is payed off. With colour film its a whole different thing as it requires a lot more stages in developing. We will get back to that another time:)
So all in all, I was very thrilled about the shots, but also disappointed.
After 3 weeks waiting for the negatives, it took another week at the local lab to get them scanned. When I got them up on my mac, there were just tons of spots and hairs (dust). After carefully examining the scanned shots, I find hardly any spots or speckles that repeat on each shot. That means that it can't be the lens that is making all the dust and speckles. My only guess is that the negatives and machine were not cleaned before scanning.
Yes, the old Flexaret has several blemishes and spots on the lens, but they apparently didn't transfer to the negatives. I would have to see some spots repeating right? Thats at least what I think and I am going to show this to the lab and ask.
Another thing is that the images were supposed to be scanned in high resolution. The resolution is about 2600x2600pixels. I hardly call that high resolution. A fast check on the calculator gives me 6.76 megapixels. Dpi plays a factor here, so this is kind of up to the film and how sharp it is, but I see that it has a dpi of 1200. So in that sense, yes, high resolution. But if you then lower that to 240 dpi and put in the pixels in an image calculator (the one I use to calculate how big I can print), I get 27 x 27 cm as the max I should print this. You usually can stretch this a bit with black and white, but you can also just check this on your screen. When I zoom in so the width is all over my screen (15 inch) that is kind of the max I would print it. So 33 x 33 cm. Not that impressed. I thought medium format would give 3 to 4 times a bigger print. Guess we have some learning to do on why, and I will get back to you when I find out:)
I am guessing one of the reasons is that the Flexaret isn't as fantastic as I was hoping it to be. If you'd get something like a Mamiya 645 or a Hasselblad I am guessing I would have what I was expecting in quality and a lot sharper images. I have changed the mirror in the Flexaret, and I had to do a workaround since the mirror didn't really fit. This will show it self on focusing though, and not in image quality.
The next thing is maybe the choice of film and also the quality of the scanning. I really don't know, but we are going to find out:) So here I will show some of the shots. These are straight out of scanning:)
NEGATIVE FROM THE FLEXARET 1
This one has like most of the shots a purple bleed. Maybe its from leaks in the Flexaret or maybe from light getting on to the edges of the roll during sending to the lab. I don't know for sure until I shoot another roll in the Flexaret.
NEGATIVE FROM THE FLEXARET 2
This shot also has purple bleeding, but only on the sides. If you notice the dust and speckles they are different in all negatives. Both 1 and 2 are in focus so the mirror workaround that I did apparently works. I focused on the ball and shot wide open (aperture 3.5), and if I remember correctly just before the pier with an aperture of 16.
NEGATIVE FROM THE FLEXARET 3
This is one of the cleanest negatives. Still dust and speckles, but better. The focus is ok. I have used the Super A to meter the light on all these shots.
So as you can see, if any of these negatives were to be a print, they would have to go through some post processing to get them "clean" (Wait a minute, that's cheating!). Usually post processing is what is done, but we have decided not to touch them. We want analog pictures to be like they were taken. This gives us several headaches. If the scan is not perfect and there is colour bleeding on the side like here, how to fix it? It takes a lot of time on each photo in post processing. Do we leave the errors in the pictures? We have not decided yet what to do. Maybe allow ourselves spot and colour removal? Hmmm... it is a fine line. What do you guys think? We talked about it a little already and really don't want to touch these images with digital brush ups at all. We are going to get these scanned again and see if we have an improvement first. Then we will see how it looks. The dream is of course some day to develop and print them ourselves. We will see:)
Next up, Lomochrome Purple through the Pentax Super A!
What a cool effect I must say. Very happy with the test roll, but most pictures could be lighter. The film is said to be ASA (ISO) 100-400. Meaning you can shoot it at anything between. I shot mine mostly at 400, and I see that all the fuss in the forums about shooting it in 200 is right. If you set the ASA setting on the camera on 200 instead of 400 the camera will let more light in on the film. Noted. Shoot in 200. Also now I can see more clearly which colour turnes to what:) Though most of the shots are a bit dark, and I still have some training left on my focus, I think I didn't do too bad:) I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves and leave you here with the top 5:) Definitely shooting more of this film!
LOMOCHROME PURPLE 1
LOMOCHROME PURPLE 2
LOMOCHROME PURPLE 3
LOMOCHROME PURPLE 4
LOMOCHROME PURPLE 5
We are going to go through the films we have shot so far and pull out the ones that fit our third eyes. When we have chosen through the analog shots we will announce the ones that will be printed. They will be noted also on the site. It will be clear either in the description or by a separate page what is shot digital and what is shot 35mm and 120mm. So there is no question about that:)
The time has slipped away from me today. Its soon 02:30 in the morning, so I am going to get to bed so I can be ready for coffee again:) I bid you all a good night and a good morning.
Thank you again for reading,
keep the distance and stay safe on your travels,
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