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On the first day of  2018, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I attempted to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year. Surprisingly (to me), I was successful in the project and I even went beyond my expectations. There were days where I didn’t expose a single image on film but those were few and it was close enough for me.

Road Home – Contax G1 – Kodak Ektar 100 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f9.5 1/8 Tripod

I ended up shooting over 60 rolls of film (a mixture of 24 and 36 exposure rolls), using 27 different film cameras and 17 different film stocks. I shot only two film formats; 35mm (135) and Polaroid Original 600. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project but like most projects, I’m relieved that it has come to an end. I still have three sessions (22 – 24) to post but all of the rolls for each have been shot and developed. I only need to find the time to generate the posts for each session.

Early on in the project, I started obtaining a fair amount of 35mm film cameras and I initially thought that trying different film cameras would become a large part of what drove my interest in shooting film. I was wrong, I’m already burned out on trying new 35mm film cameras. I have a handful of different cameras that I have not yet shot. I will eventually shoot them all but I’ve decided for the coming year it will not be a focus. In fact, I’ve decided one of my first objectives in 2019 will be to eliminate some of the cameras that I know I’ll never pick up again. There will be plenty that I still keep because I admire them so much but a good number will be let go.

So what’s next? As I’ve already alluded to, simplification will be a part of my plans. For 35mm I will primarily use the same handful of camera families and experimenting with new film stocks will be few and far between. For color film, I prefer Ektar and Portra (in that order) and my black and white choice will be either Kodak Tmax 400 or Kodak Double X. I intend to use the relief of not having to achieve a “session” every two weeks to allow me to be more spontaneous and to act on more ideas on a whim instead of shelving them for a later date.

Finally, I have decided my last areas of focus for 2019 will be to begin shooting 120 film (I was given a beautiful 645 120 film format camera) and increasing the amount of time I spend taking street photography style images. I hope 2019 is fantastic for you both in terms of film photography and personally. I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Tree – Canon AE1 Program – Ilford Delta 400 – Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. – f2 1/60

Welcome to Session 21 of my Film Challenge. For this session, I continued my testing of various black and white 400-speed films and I shot two rolls of Ilford Delta 400 in a FED 3 and Canon AE-1 Program. I home developed the rolls in stock Xtol for 7:30 at 68F. This session brought some unusual results. I obtained the FED 3 camera from eBay for a very reasonable price and I was surprised by the quality of the camera once I received it. The camera is 100% functional and the feeling of all of its movements seemed fantastic.

Lonely Plant – Fed 3 – Ilford Delta 400 – Jupiter 8 50mm f2 – f4.8 1/60 + Yellow Filter

For this session, my focus would be on the Fed 3 and two Leica thread mount lens that should work on the camera and then a roll with a dependable AE-1 Program. The Fed 3 was a joy to use and it performed and felt the same as it had when I tested it without film. The problem didn’t present itself until I developed the film. It appears that on every image the exposed negative is shifted from what I was seeing in the viewfinder. The top of the images were missing headspace and in some cases the top of my intended subject was cut off. In addition, the images are slightly tilted to the right. If anyone knows where I would start to fix this problem in the camera I’d appreciate some pointers.

Politics – Fed 3 – Ilford Delta 400 – Industar N-61 52mm f2.8 – f7.1 1/125

The picture above is an extreme example of what the camera returned to me. I know I make a lot of mistakes but I’m pretty sure I framed this sign fairly tight but not so tight that I would have cut out the left wooden frame of the window. And again the frame leans to the right (from a landscape perspective) like almost every other frame from the roll.

Post – Fed 3 – Ilford Delta 400 – Jupiter 8 50mm f2 – f2.5 1/250 + Yellow Filter

Once again, no headspace and even a bit of the post top is clipped off. The good news is that I took this picture only to see what the Jupiter 8 lens would do wide open or as close to wide open as I could get it. The sharpness is acceptable and the bokeh looks ok to me. It’s a lens that I’ll gladly use on my Voigtlander Bessa-R. Fortunately I framed a few shots loose enough that they returned acceptable results.

Statue – Fed 3 – Ilford Delta 400 – Jupiter 8 50mm f2 – f2.8 1/125 + Yellow Filter

This ends my testing of Ilford Delta 400 and after these two rolls my feeling about the film warmed up a bit but I still came away with a flat feeling. I wasn’t impressed or disappointed by what the film returned. I was happy with the results from both the Jupiter 8 50mm f2 and the Industar N-61 52mm f2.8. My Film Challenge Post 22 will continue my black and white film evaluation as I switch to using Kodak Double X 5222. I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 20 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Wagon – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron – f11 1/1000

Welcome to Session 20 of my Film Challenge. For this session, I continued my testing of various black and white 400-speed films and I shot two rolls of Ilford Delta 400 in a Voigtlander Bessa-R. I home developed the rolls in stock Xtol for 7:30 at 68F. This session brought two firsts for me. I had never used Delta 400 film and this was my first opportunity to shoot the Voigtlander Bessa-R.

Dragon – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Jupiter 8 50mm f2 – f2.5 1/60

The Bessa-R was an instant favorite. I’m surprised at how little attention this camera receives. Camera choice is such a personal thing but for me, I believe I’ve found a new favorite. I’ve never shot a Lecia before but I’ve read my fair share of Leica talk and I as I’ve been using this Bessa-R I wonder if it contains some of the qualities that make others feel so strongly about Leica rangefinders.

Lake – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Jupiter 8 50mm f2 – f8 1/250

The Bessa-R is solid and all of the moving parts travel with a feeling that is exactly what I was expecting. The film advance lever is buttery smooth. Normally for each session, I shoot a camera that I’m testing and then a camera I feel confident about. After the first roll, I felt it was worth the risk to shoot another roll because I enjoyed using the camera so much.

Shop Window – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Industar N-61 52mm f2.8 – f2.8 1/60

The viewfinder of the camera is very bright with a rangefinder focusing square that’s extremely easy to read and it even contains metered feedback. I’m a sucker for a meter because it suits my lazy tendencies. For this session, I thought I’d include more photos and do less writing.

Wonder Woman – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Industar N-61 52mm f2.8 – f5.6 1/60

My initial reaction to Ilford Delta 400 was not good. Don’t get carried away with my assessment. This film is obviously a fantastic front-runner in the ISO 400 film world but there are so many variables between exposure and the final digital images you may produce that it is impossible to make any conclusions based on my results. The Delta 400 for me was too grainy and didn’t have the smooth contrasty tones that I immediately got from the Kodak Tmax 400.

Car – Voigtlander Bessa-R – Ilford Delta 400 – Industar N-61 52mm f2.8 – f6.7 1/125

I’m holding off on my final judgment because I have two more rolls of Delta 400 and four rolls of Kodak Double X 5222 to shoot before I decide upon my next bulk roll purchase.  I’m on pace to complete my 24 session challenge for 2018 and I’m currently 2/3 of the way through the first roll of session 24. My Film Challenge Post 21 will continue the black and white 400-speed quest and the post will probably come quickly because the end of the year is approaching and I don’t want to extend too far into 2019 with my film session posts. I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 19 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Glass Fronted – Olympus XA – Kodak Portra 400 – F.Zuiko 35mm f2.8 – f5.6 1/45

Welcome to Session 19 of my Film Challenge. Over the years I’ve become increasingly convinced that the typical working environment presents numerous odd circumstances. For my job, I travel about 4-5 weeks each year and this particular week I ended up in Hildesheim Germany. I’ll spare you the boring details of why I feel this trip is a prime example of how strange, at times, our work environments can become. This wasn’t my first time in Germany but it was my first time in the Hildesheim and I had heard complimentary remarks about it so I was excited to visit. My stay was short and work-centric. I arrived at my hotel on Sunday around 3 pm, would work four 10-11 hour days and then fly back home on Friday.

Window Shopping – Olympus XA – Kodak Portra 400 – F.Zuiko 35mm f2.8 – f8 1/125

I knew ahead of time that my picture taking opportunities would be very limited. I decided to take two cameras. My digital camera choice was my Fujifilm X100T. The camera is compact and contains a fixed focal length which would stop me from being concerned about lens choice. In addition, I know the camera extremely well and it would allow me to focus on shooting and not be slowed down wading through unfamiliar menu settings. For film shooting, I picked my Olympus XA and two rolls of Kodak Portra 400. The Olympus XA is tiny, fast and allows me to have almost full control of the camera. My shooting times would always be late in the day so a 400-speed seemed a natural choice. When darkness crept in I switched to the X100T which can handle ridiculous (at least to me) high ISO values.

Church Pyramid – Olympus XA – Kodak Portra 400 – F.Zuiko 35mm f2.8 – f8 1/125

I managed to get through 54 frames of Portra 400 during my three brief photo walks.  Both rolls were home developed in C-41 chemistry for the standard time and temperature. Overall, I had an ok session. After processing the images, what I saw during my visit wasn’t fully represented by what I developed. I was pleased with a number of the images but I thought I could have done much better.

Church Arches – Olympus XA – Kodak Portra 400 – F.Zuiko 35mm f2.8 – f4 1/45

The city was beautiful and filled with a storybook or movie-like atmosphere. Maybe because of this I had set my expectations too I high and I wrongly assumed I would bring home amazing image after amazing image from my three short photo walks. I shouldn’t complain because I had beautiful weather and was always photo walking during the best light of the day. The town really was a pleasure to see and had a historic feel and beauty that can’t be accurately described by my poor writing skill. I hope to visit again and there is a good chance that I will.

Church Door – Olympus XA – Kodak Portra 400 – F.Zuiko 35mm f2.8 – f5.6 1/125

Film Challenge Post 20 will bring me back to my home area as I continue to test various 400 speed black and white films and I take walks during a short-lived fall season.

Film Challenge Post 18 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Welcome to Session 18 of my Film Challenge. If you’ve read my last post Session 17 of my Flim Challenge you’ll know that I took a break of about a month from posting. Fortunately, I found enough time during that break to continue my film walks. An activity I throughly enjoy. For this session, I continued to shoot Kodak Tmax 400 at ISO 400 on a Minolta Freedom Tele and a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. Both rolls were home developed in Xtol stock chemistry for 6:30 at 68F. Overall, I had a great session. Both cameras performed well, my love of Tmax 400 was strengthened and I was able to capture a surprising number of images that I was pleased with.

Gord Faces – Minolta Freedom Tele – Kodak Tmax 400 – 80mm f5.6 – Auto

The Minolta Freedom Tele was given to me by a friend. Before opening the case I assumed I was about to find a point and shoot and as expected I did. But, quickly after opening the case, I became quite intrigued. The camera, in my opinion, is formed around a fantastic design principle. My favorite focal length is 35mm and this camera has a 38mm and an 80mm focal length which you can alternate between with a push of a button. Years ago when I would do portrait work a focal length of 85mm was a favorite choice of mine. This camera advertised approximately both of those favorite focal lengths, was fairly small and all I’d have to do is push a button to capture an image. 

Benches – Minolta Freedom Tele – Kodak Tmax 400 – 38mm f2.8 – Auto

The foul language for this session started as soon as I touched the Freedom Tele. I rarely use a flash on a walkabout camera but for some odd reason, that is the first thing I decided to try on the camera. Fortunately, I didn’t yet have film in it because after a half of hour of playing I declared that the circuit for the flash must be dead. If the camera is working correctly it will not take a picture in low light until you receive the flash ready indicator in the viewfinder. This indicator will not illuminate and I didn’t hear any noise of a flash trying to charge. So an outdoor only camera it is. Once the camera was loaded with film and I started shooting I discovered that the focus lock is not reliable. Sometimes it locks in quickly and confidently but other times it will not lock in until the 2nd to 4th half shutter press.

Windows – Minolta Freedom Tele – Kodak Tmax 400 – 38mm f2.8 – Auto

In the beginning, I started to believe that this would be the last point and shoot I’d ever use. However, as I continued to shoot I began to find aspects of the camera that I appreciated. I liked the layout of the controls and how easy it was to flip open the lens cover, select the focal length, compose and shoot. The camera frame lines don’t automatically adjust for close focusing but they do provide close focus frame lines in the viewfinder. The biggest factor that slowed my negativity (pun intended) were the final images. The 38mm focal length is very sharp and the 80mm focal length produced passable images. I’m a sucker for a camera lens that can consistently produce a sharp image and at the 38mm focal length, this camera did so for every frame. My only complaint is that the meter failed to produce a perfect exposure for all of the frames. Several of the captures were either under or overexposed up to 1 1/2 stops. With today’s high-quality RAW scans all frames within 1 1/2 stops are usable but I wished that the camera would have been more accurate with regards to exposure.

Boat – Yashica Electro 35 GSN – Kodak Tmax 400 – Color-Yashinon DX 45mm f1.7 – f5.6 ?

The Yashica Electro 35 GSN lived up to its reputation and I’m very fortunate to have a fantastic copy. The exposures the camera picked were all very accurate and I was proud that on multiple occasions I correctly guessed when to change the film speed on the camera to provide for the correct amount of overexposure. Walking around with the Yashica I had convinced myself that I would be letting the camera go. Each time I use the camera I’m shocked at how uneasy I become not knowing what shutter speed the camera picked when I pressed the shutter. After developing the images my feelings swung in the opposite direction. If I let this camera go, it will be a very hard decision. If I use it again, I have to force myself to simply let go. Pick an aperture, adjust exposure compensation if I feel its needed and then trust the camera.

Veterans Day – Yashica Electro 35 GSN – Kodak Tmax 400 – Color-Yashinon DX 45mm f1.7 – f11 ?

Overall, session 18 was a great experience and I’m loving the results Kodak Tmax 400 provides for me. For this session I decided to present the images with an increased amount of contrast because I felt like a change of pace, the Tmax scanned beautiful and the latitude to adjust was available. Next up in my medium speed black & white comparison is Ilford Delta 400. Film Walk 19 was two rolls of Kodak Portra 400 in Germany but if my C-41 color development chemistry doesn’t arrive soon I’ll have to resort to presenting Film Walk 20 ahead of 19 because its rolls are already developed.

Cemetery – Yashica Electro 35 GSN – Kodak Tmax 400 – Color-Yashinon DX 45mm f1.7 – f8 ?

I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 17 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Welcome to Session 17 of my Film Challenge. Wow! It’s been a little over a month since my last post. Life and work got in the way and something had to give. Unfortunately, it was these blog posts. The good news for me is that I have continued to snap away and I’m currently half way through session 22 and still on pace to complete my goal of 24 film sessions in the year of 2018. For this session, I shot Kodak Tmax 400 at ISO 400 on a Canon A2E and a Canon EOS 3. Both rolls were home developed in Xtol stock chemistry for 6:30 at 68F. Overall, I had a great session. Both cameras performed well, I’ve fallen in love with Tmax 400 after using it for the first time ever, I identified a worthless lens that I’ll have to retire and I was able to capture a handful of images that I was pleased with.

Crane – Canon EOS 3 – Kodak Tmax 400 – Sigma 24mm f1.4 ART – f6.3 1/100

As I mentioned in my last post (Film Walk 16 of 24) I’m conducting a search for my next black and white bulk roll film purchase. I started with four rolls of Kodak TMax 400 and will eventually shoot four rolls each of Ilford Delta 400, Kentmere 400 and finally Kodak 5222 Double-X. After using Kodak Tmax 400 for the first time and shooting just two rolls it will be hard for any other future films to sway my current opinion. The Double-X has quite a reputation so I’m reserving my final decision until I get a chance to shoot them all. Years of shooting digital, unfortunately, made me a bit of a noise snob. For years I was conditioned to produce images with minimal noise and at times I chased gear to accomplish less noise at higher ISO’s. When I first started my film adventure about a year ago I was a bit uncomfortable with the grain that the final images contained. Kodak Tmax 400 combined with Xtol stock and my development process has easily produced a more pleasing grain pattern than any other black and white film I have shot so far. Granted, I have only shot black and white films rated at speeds of ISO 250 or higher but Tmax is the clear winner for my taste of ideal grain. But that’s not all . . .

ICE Warning – Canon EOS 3 – Kodak Tmax 400 – Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART – f4.5 1/100

The images for both rolls were not only sharp but I felt they needed very little post-processing. I liked the way they looked after scanning and I spent no more than 30 seconds on each image in Lightroom before uploading them here. In addition, I’m a stickler for sharpness. Photographers all over have proven to me that sharpness isn’t that important. Amazing images, regardless of sharpness are produced time and time and again and history has shown us that great photography will trump sharpness any day. But I’m not a great photographer and I have to hold on to something. I stumble across the occasional non-sharp image that I’m proud enough to show but I prefer that my lenses and film produce sharpness when I expect it to.

Lion – Canon A2E – Kodak Tmax 400 – Canon 50mm f1.8 II – f5.6 1/125

Speaking of sharp lenses? I recently acquired a Canon 50mm f1.8 II and for both of these rolls, I used it often. For the past decade I’ve been blessed to own and shoot some incredible Canon mount lenses and I’ve developed the habit of not thinking twice about shooting wide open with whatever lens I happened to have on my camera at the time. Film photography has brought to me many inexpensive lenses through donations, pawn shops, and outright purchases. Throughout the years I’ve primarily been a Canon shooter and surprisingly I had never owned the Canon 50mm f1.8 II. I shot several photos at f1.8, f2.0 and f2.8. The images at f1.8 and f2.0 were so poor that I wondered if perhaps something was wrong with it. Its as if a focus point doesn’t exist and the bokeh is so strange looking that it’s off-putting. I’ve never been a bokeh snob but this lens might have finally changed my opinion that bad bokeh can exist. Any image shot at f2.8 or higher like the one below turned out usable. However, rather than having to fight the temptation to not shoot below f2.8, I’ll retire lens and someday pass it on. I tested it on my DSLR and it performs the same as it did on the film bodies.

Pub – Canon A2E – Kodak Tmax 400 – Canon 50mm f1.8 II – f4 1/500

Overall, session 17 was a good experience and I was able to identify a style of black and white film that I know I can confidently load into a camera and produce results that will be to my liking. Because my time for this blog has become limited I’ve decided to hold off on posts reviewing film cameras that I might be lucky enough to use. Maybe next year I’ll find the time to review the Canon EOS 3 and A2E. I enjoy shooting both because they feel comfortable in my hands, the controls are familiar and I have quality lenses that fit both. I’m sure I’ll use both fairly often and will do so until they quit. My search for a new black and white film will continue and maybe even a trip to Germany will make its way into one of my blog posts. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

Factory – Canon A2E – Kodak Tmax 400 – Sigma 24mm f1.4 ART – f8 1/90

I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 16 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Film Beginnings by Dspaedt@gmail.com - 9M ago
Pentax ME Super – www.filmbeginnings.com

The Pentax ME Super is my kind of camera. A standard 1980s SLR. The first camera I ever owned was the Canon AE-1 Program and because of that, I will always be very fond of any film SLR resembling that camera. In the big picture, it doesn’t matter but I now wish at the age of 15 I would have instead purchased the Pentax ME Super. The camera has a great look, is a bit smaller, includes 1/2000 shutter speed, shoots in aperture priority mode and allows for an exposure compensation. Out of all of those elements, the Canon AE-1 Program only shares the great look.

Pentax ME Super – www.filmbeginnings.com

The Pentax ME Super was given to me and I immediately shipped it out for a full CLA because I knew it was a camera I intended to use and I wanted to be assured that it is performing properly. That assurance lasted until the fourth frame when the camera jammed and would no longer advance. I shipped it back under the CLA 6 month warranty and it has performed flawlessly since receiving it back the second time around.

Gazebo – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – SMC Pentax-M 50mm f2 – f9.5 1/125

The first full roll of film I put through the camera seemed so intuitive and effortless that when the roll was complete, I realized I had forgotten to test the hot shoe, x-sync socket, and self-timer as I had originally planned. While shooting my second roll with the Pentax ME Super I remembered to test all three of those functions and I was pleased to find that they all worked as expected. The camera has a big bright viewfinder that indicates the shutter speed it will be choosing when shooting the camera in aperture priority mode.  The shutter speeds, manual, over and under indicator lights of the viewfinder are easy to see in all of the conditions I’ve experienced.

Pentax ME Super – www.filmbeginnings.com

In addition to aperture priority, the camera offers Lock, Automatic, Manual, Bulb and 1/125X modes. I welcome all of these settings. I often carry my cameras in a backpack and being able to lock the shutter from accidentally triggering is a nice bonus for my style of shooting. Manual mode is what I use about 90% of the time when using a flash on a camera (film or digital). A bulb speed is standard on most cameras but the ME Super needed to dedicate a mode to it because the shutter speeds of the camera are not selected with a dial but by pressing either an up or down button found on top of the camera. The 1/125X mode is for using the camera with non-propriety flashes and also includes the bonus of allowing the camera to operate without batteries at a fixed 1/125 mechanical shutter speed. This a feature that so many film camera users love because the camera doesn’t become a trip wrecker if you find yourself without working batteries. I rarely shoot cameras in auto mode but it’s always nice to have as an option for days you’re feeling lazy and would like to take shots without thinking about it.

Mailbox – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – SMC Pentax-M 50mm f2 – f8 1/500

The Pentax ME Super utilizes through-the-lens light metering using the widely available Pentax Bayonet Mount lenses. The viewfinder contains a split image circle surrounded by a microprism collar for focusing and indicators for manual mode, over and underexposure warnings, and exposure factor (exposure compensation selected). On the outside of the camera you will find a hot shoe, an exposure compensation dial (+/- 2 Stops), a self-timer lever, a standard trip socket, a standard cable release port, and an x-sync flash socket.

Pet Resort – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – Focal MC Auto 135mm f2.8 – f4 1/125

My overall experience with the camera has been fantastic. I’ll list a few quirks or annoyances I found when using the camera but all of these to follow are only minor inconveniences I encountered. The film advance lever is a single solid stroke but doesn’t come anywhere near the confident feeling I get when using my Canon AE-1 Program. The shutter slap on the version I own is loud but shutter noise is something that doesn’t concern me when I’m using a film camera. I’m either out on a photo walk or taking snapshots of my family. I don’t mind if others hear the shutter in both these situations. The last oddity I discovered with the Pentax ME Super occurs when you reach the end of a roll. The film rewind button will not remain pressed in if the film advance lever did not complete its stroke when you last attempted to advance the film. The trick to curing this is you first rewind a little bit of film (while holding in the button), then complete the film advance stroke and then repress the film rewind button in and it should remain pressed in while you rewind the film and until the back cover is opened.

Motorcycle – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – SMC Pentax-M 50mm f2 – f5.6 1/125

The Pentax ME Super really is a super camera and if it offers what you’re looking for I wouldn’t hesitate trying one out. I’m glad I own one and I hope to get several years of use out of it in the future.

As a long time digital photographer, I started a project to explore shooting 35mm film. However, another interest of mine is Street Photography and you can find both my digital and film Street Photography images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt. 

I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Camera Donation Page

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Welcome to Session 16 of my Film Challenge. For this session, I shot Ilford HP5 Plus 400 at ISO 200 on a Pentax P30T and a Pentax ME Super. Both rolls were home developed in Xtol stock chemistry for 7:40 at 68F. This time is 10 percent less than normal to account for the film being shot at ISO 200 instead of its box speed of 400. My luck ran out. My last session (Session 15) I was able to shoot two rolls of color film and I was happy with what I had captured on a surprising number of frames.

Drain Pipe – Pentax P30T – Ilford HP5+ – SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 – f2.8 1/60

Session 16 brought the opposite and once both rolls were developed and scanned I found myself liking a smaller number of images that I’m typically pleased with. That smaller number was no fault of the cameras (almost) but instead, the blame rested on my shoulders. For whatever reason, what looked interesting out in the real world didn’t look as intriguing once I had composed, captured, developed and scanned it.

Church at Sunrise – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – SMC Pentax-M 50mm f2 – f8 1/500

The Pentax P30T was a new camera for me that I had found in a thrift shop. It looked to be in such good shape that I didn’t think twice about purchasing it for its stickered price of $10. Once I had batteries loaded, confirmed the meter was working and verified that the slower shutter speeds were close to ear accurate I surmised that it was good enough to test. The camera screams late 1980’s film SLR, making it my favorite style of camera. After about six frames the thrift shop curse bit me. After ratcheting the film advance lever I somehow knew something wasn’t right. Instinctively, I tried it again and sure enough, it allowed me to complete another stroke. This time it “felt” right.

Tunnel – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – Focal MC Auto 135mm f2.8 – f8 1/125

 I suspected that the take-up spool had not been engaged on the first stroke. If this were true I should find a blank frame on the negative strip and I would be short one image. About 2/3 of the way into the roll the same scenario happened again. On the developed roll I did find two clear frames on the negative strip and I only achieved 23 of my expected 25 images. In both cases, I should have tried to see if the camera would have allowed me to take a picture before attempting the second lever stroke. If it would have I would have been able to use both frames. Other than this issue the camera performed great and it was a joy to use and it confirms how much I like the 1980s 35mm SLR style.

Caboose Wheel – Pentax ME Super – Ilford HP5+ – Sigma Mini-Wide II 28mm f2.8 – f2.8 1/250

The Pentax ME Super performed without issue, however, I immediately knew this camera was a keeper when it was given to me and it’s recently had a full CLA. I enjoyed my film walks but the results fell short of my expectations. I’ve shot a lot of Ilford HP5+ and to help prepare for next bulk roll purchase, I’ve decided to test a few different film stocks. I’ll be shooting 4 rolls of TMax 400, Kodax Double X 5222 and possibly Ultrafine 400 and Kentmere 400. Once I work my way through those 2 – 4 film stocks I’ll make a decision on my next black and white bulk roll purchase. 

I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 15 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Film Beginnings by Dspaedt@gmail.com - 9M ago
Contax G1 – www.filmbeginnings.com

When I first started investigating the Contax G1 film camera I came to the initial conclusion that it was a bad camera. I learned at a very young age that not everything you read on the internet is fact and when it comes to reading reviews on products you really have to read between the lines and to be attentive to what is written and not the overall tone of the review. We’ve all read the multiple Amazon one-star negative reviews of a product where authors write over and over “Product “X” only contained a quantity of two but I need four to conquer the world . . . . blah blah”. You then reread the description to find: “Description: Product X – PAIR OF WORLD CONQUERING ITEMS – Quantity 2”. With a little more research I discovered that the Contax G1 might be a great camera that sometimes carries a bad rap because of two reasons. If you’d like to see more of my experiences with the Contax G1 you check out my Film Walk 8 of 24, Film Walk 10 of 24, Film Walk 11 of 24, Film Walk 13 of 24 and Film Walk 15 of 24. I believe this makes it my most used film camera and it will come as no surprise how I feel about it.

House – Contax G1 – Kodak Portra 160 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f8 1/250

The most unfair reason for the Contax G1 taking negative criticism is that the improved Contax G2 quickly followed (within two years) the release of the Contax G1. This is a phenomenon that happens to many good cameras. The extremely popular Fujifilm non-changeable lens X series cameras saw something similar happen. Fuji released the X100 and instantly people knew that it was special but consumers still had a lot of complaints. Fortunately for Fuji, they were able to release multiple firmware updates and then introduce three successive models in a relatively short amount of time to prove to customers that fixed focal length X line was indeed something very special. When Contax released the G1 they must have immediately realized that they had made two big mistakes because both of those mistakes were corrected or improved on the G2 and even one of those mistakes was corrected on the G1 during the production life of the G1.

Contax G1 – www.filmbeginnings.com

The Contax G1 and G2 only accept their own dedicated line of  Zeiss Planar T lenses. When the G1 was first released it was not usable with the Zeiss Planar T 35mm f2 lens. Later on, it was sold with a green sticker on the inside of the film cavity indicating that it was an upgraded version that is now usable with the 35mm lens. The G2 was compatible will all the lenses in the family from the beginning.  The full frame 35mm lens focal distance is very popular among rangefinder users and I believe Contax recognized the omission and made the right decision to rectify it as soon as possible. The bigger problem with the Contax G1 was that it is essentially an autofocus camera but the performance of that autofocus is poor when compared to the G2. So if I was aware of these issues, why did I end up with a Contax G1 in my hands?

Vined Building – Contax G1 – Ilford HP5+ – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f8 1/250

After doing a lot more research I began to suspect that the autofocus of the G1 might be usable for my intended use of the camera and decided to go ahead and give one a try. My favorite full frame focal length is 35mm so a green label version was a must and at this time the 35mm lens is the only lens I own for the camera. When I first powered up the camera and began testing the autofocus my suspicions were confirmed. The camera uses a single central focus point, is moderately quick and craves high contrast vertical lines. Using Canon DSLRs for years with multiple focus points that function along the same principles helped me to quickly adapt to the Contax G1. In almost all Canon DSLRs the majority of the focus points excel when presented with high contrast vertical lines and focusing and recomposing in an autofocus system like this has become second nature for me.

Contax G1 – www.filmbeginnings.com

I intend to be a little harsh on the Contax G1 because I think so highly of it as a film camera but I’ll start with what I like about the camera. I’ve now put six rolls of film through it and I consider it to be one of the best film cameras I’ve used thus far. A lot of this love originates from the Zeiss Planar 35mm f2.8 lens. The G mount lenses have a great reputation for producing sharp images with good contrast and colors. My copy of its 35mm version lives up to that reputation. However, the camera itself contains some elements for my shooting style that really make it a pleasure to use. A shutter speed of 1/2000 is a bonus that really appeals to me. When I began reshooting film I quickly realized, because of digital, how spoiled I was to be able to shoot wide open. My Canon 70D will select up to 1/8000. Almost every film camera I’ve come across has a maximum shutter speed of 1/250 – 1/1000. When loaded up with ISO 400 film having 1/2000 as an option is great. The G2 tops out at 1/4000.

Contax G1 – www.filmbeginnings.com

The camera features auto film loading, auto advance and auto rewinding. I don’t mind using a camera with manual advance and rewind but I do get annoyed with loading your standard 35mm SLR. The system is awkward and time-consuming. I’m surprised it remained so common and prevalent. However, the Contax G1 automates all three of those processes and allows you to spend a little more time on making images. Once you have the film loaded you’ll discover that the G1 is an aperture priority camera that also offers a manual mode. For an aperture priority camera, I was really shocked to discover that the G series lenses only change aperture values in full stops. I’ve become used to it and I’ve now moved to shrugging my shoulders and saying “weird” but it doesn’t bother me anymore. The camera allows +/- 2 stops of exposure compensation adjustable in 1/3 stop increments. I love me some exposure compensation and a great addition in my opinion.

Pedestrian Bridge – Contax G1 – Ilford HP5+ – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f2.8 1/1400

My two biggest complaints about the Contax G1 is that it doesn’t show the aperture value in the viewfinder and it requires a proprietary external shutter release cable. The cable release is really annoying and I’m sure if I was ever considering this camera brand new during the time it was first released that I would pass over it for this reason alone. Another minor complaint is the sleek and sexy color that Contax choose for the camera. I’ve always been partial to all black cameras and the Contax G1 has that bling look that only attracts attention to the camera. Overall the camera has a very solid and heavy feel that for me works and it gives a sense of security. I realize it’s only a feeling but I do prefer it’s compact and solid feel.

Keep Off Dunes – Contax G1 – Kodak Portra 160 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f11 1/45

The Contax G1 also takes a hit from others because of its manual focus system. For myself, it isn’t an issue. The only time I use manual focus on an autofocus camera is when I’m shooting street photography. My typical method is to use a 35mm focal length, set the focus distance to 8-10 feet and use an aperture of f8. This gives me enough depth of field to be at a distance from my subjects that I feel comfortable with and to capture sharp images. The Contax G1 uses a dial to set the focus distance for the lens. I’ve tried it a few times and for this camera, my method works great. Finally, the camera automatically corrects for parallax when close focusing and offers a nice quick and easy method to lock the exposure. A simple flick of your shutter trigger finger to the three position Off/On/AE Lock lever near the..

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On the first of this year, I started My Film Beginnings Project. I am attempting to shoot at least two rolls of film each month and to make at least one shutter click on a film camera each day of the year.

The Boring Details

As a long time digital photographer, I recently started a project that involves shooting 35mm film. You can find a few of my Street Photography digital images here: www.instagram.com/dspaedt.

Welcome to Session 15 of my Film Challenge. For this session, I shot a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 on a Contax G1 and a roll of Kodak Portra 160 on a Canon A-1. Both rolls were home developed using C-41 chemistry. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes the stars align, we get a little lucky and something we set out to do becomes a great experience. Session 15 was exactly that. Don’t get carried away, I didn’t create the next Afghan Girl photo but I did walk away with a whole lot of captures that I found quite pleasing, at least to me. Normally, I only include four images from my two roll session but this time around I decided to included six images to celebrate.

American Rooster – Canon A-1 – Kodak Portra 160 – Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C – f2 1/45

Another big contributing factor to how I felt about the session is my positive experience with the Canon A-1. I’ve been a Canon shooter my entire life and while I was fortunate enough to be given a Canon AE-1 Program which I do enjoy, it bothers me that it doesn’t offer an aperture priority mode. I found a Canon A-1 in near perfect shape at a thrift store but once I got it home I was disappointed to discover that the exposure meter circuit was broken. I bit the bullet and had the camera repaired. I’m glad I did. If it had a shutter speed of 1/2000 or even 1/4000 I’d buy another pristine working one just to sit on a shelf for when this one fails.

Park Bench – Contax G1 – Kodak Ektar 100 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f2.8 1/350 EC +2/3

The Contax G1 continues to live up to its fantastic reputation but it lacks the manual focusing capabilities of any standard SLR. The G1 can manually focus or even focus and recompose but an SLR makes creating images with an off-center focal point and extreme bokeh so much easier. However, after putting several rolls through the G1 and a handful of rolls in front of some Canon FD glass I’m certain that the Zeiss Planar glass gets a slight nod over the current Canon FD lenses I own. I am now planning to slowly improve the quality of FD lenses I have to see if I can close that small gap. Currently, the Contax G1 and Canon A-1 are the first two cameras that come to my mind when I want to shoot film.

Lakeview Flowers – Contax G1 – Kodak Ektar 100 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f2.8 1/700

I should have realized that for this session I was being blessed with more than my usual luck after taking this shot. I rarely shoot flowers, hardly ever are hornets around sampling those flowers and never do I press the shutter while one is doing just that. Usually, I simply get stung and then move along.

Canal Marina – Contax G1 – Kodak Ektar 100 – Zeiss Planar 35mm f2 – f8 1/350

Another first for me was using Kodak Ektar 100. For me, it’s better. I’ve only developed one roll and I already know it. When I shoot Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Portra 160 I shoot them at ISO 250 and ISO 100 respectively. I’ll work through my remaining rolls of Portra 160 and Ektar 100 that I have to be certain, but for the same ISO value, I suspect I’ll be choosing Ektar. In my limited experience, both are fantastic but I might as well use the one I favor. Your results and opinions may be the opposite. I would encourage everyone to shoot both and decide for themselves.

Roses – Canon A-1 – Kodak Portra 160 – Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C – f2.8 1/60

On the other hand, Ektar isn’t made in ISO 400 and at this time if I was only allowed to choose one color film it would have to be Kodak Portra 400. But for now, its back to good ole’ Ilford HP5 Plus 400 as I work my way through Session 16. The cameras I’m using for Session 16 are a Pentax ME Super and a Pentax P30t which I received through my Camera Donation page. Thanks for reading along and I hope you enjoyed the post.

Renaissance Center – Canon A-1 – Kodak Portra 160 – Canon FD 35mm f2.8 – f8 1/125 EC +1

I encourage you to follow along on my film adventures. You can subscribe via email or click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner if you’re a WordPress reader.

Film Challenge Post 14 of 24 Camera Donation Page 

My Film Beginnings Project has also intrigued me to try using other 35mm film cameras along the way. If you have a working 35mm film camera that you no longer use please take a look here to see what I’m thinking. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Read Full Article

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