Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kentmere 400 in Rodinal, 1:50, plus some new lenses/cameras

Had some time to kill yesterday during my lunch break so I strolled around the Fine Arts building on campus and tested out some new lenses and a new camera. I just got in a few classic manual-focus Nikkor lenses along with a really nice F (Nikon's first SLR) as well as a beautiful black Nikkormat EL. The Nikkormat has a TTL meter which is really nice for casual snapshooting, which I like to do on occasion just to get out and shooting some photos.

The lenses I got included a 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor-S pre-AI, a 135mm f/3.5 pre-AI, and the cult-classic 85mm f/1.8 AI lens. I quick check on my digital cameras showed this old design clearly superior optically to my newer AF-D model. While the AF-D lens has obvious spherical aberrations wide-open down to about f/2.5, the old AI lens is sharp and contrasty right from the get-go at f/1.8. The only bummer is the 6-bladed iris which creates really distracting bokeh, but I can deal with that.

The Nikkormat is a cute camera that is nice and small for easy portability. It's the smallest 35mm camera I have that still has a TTL meter.

Here are some of the snapshots from this roll. This Kentmere film I believe is actually repackaged Ilford Delta 400 film. Regardless, I really didn't like the results with Rodinal. Tri-X + Rodinal is clearly superior, but I had this roll kicking around so I decided to try it. I shot the roll at 200 ASA. The Rodinal was diluted 1:50, and I developed the film for 9:30 at 22 degrees C. It was definitely under-developed though, and probably a little overexposed.

I don't know if anyone would particularly care, but I might start doing little mini-review of lenses and cameras as individual blog posts, similar to what I wrote above about the 85mm AI lens, but with more details and example photos. If that's something you would like to see let me know!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Darkroom / Studio is almost done!

Well it's been a long couple of weeks. Finally got all moved in. My office is all setup and nice...but the outbuilding where I am building out my darkroom and studio is slow going. But finally this weekend my girlfriend and I cleaned it all out and started putting things together. My enlarger and such is setup, I'm just finishing light-proofing the shed (or close enough, since I'll be working mostly at night anyway) and putting things where they need to go.

I also put my big black background up on one wall that is my basic portrait background. We have a nice hibiscus plant right outside the building so I clipped one of the flowers and put it in an old vase I had. Lighting was a couple of Nikon SB-800 Speedlights on stands with umbrellas, and I used my D800E with a 200mm f/4 Micro lens. Aperture was f/13 or something like that. Here's the two best shots, one in color, one in b&w. Thought about busting out my film for this but I just didn't have the time. The flower was already starting to droop after a few minutes:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Valdosta Barbeque Cook-off

Today I went out with my Nikon SP to take some photos of the annual Barbeque Cook-off, hosted by 100 Black Men of Valdosta. Unfortunately I was a complete idiot and screwed up the film loading and the spool was spinning while not pulling the film and I shot the whole roll without realizing it. I am very disappointed because I was pretty sure I had gotten some fantastic photos.

I went back out to console myself with my Army Signal Corps Speed Graphic and shot a few sheets. Nothing was quite as good from the shots I imagine would've been on the 35mm roll but that'll teach me to be more careful. Sigh.

Here they are, taken with an Ektar 127mm f/4.7 lens:

Missed focus on that last one.

Pretty underwhelmed with my work here but this was the first time I've used Tr-X 320 and Rodinal. I need to focus more on this combo and do more street shots so that's my new goal after I finish moving.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Some more digital snaps with the D800E

Due to my film developing stuff getting packed up mostly I've been on a little bit of a digital kick. I took some photos out at Grand Bay before another storm rolled through.

Here's a few of the best shots. All were taken with either an 80-200mm f/4.5 AI lens or a pre-AI 105mm f/2.5. Talk about old-school!

I also edited all these to black & white. The colors were boring and drab anyway. Plus, to me, the essence of the landscape is best captured in b&w, with a slight toning desirable. These were toned in Lightroom ever so slightly to have a golden-brown look.

Now this last one is my favorite, and for fun I've included a 100% crop of the 36mp image, pretty much straight from the camera with just a little tweaking in Lightroom: