I was recently gifted a mixed batch of unrefrigerated expired camera film and some of the rolls were medium format 120 Ilford Delta 400 film dating back to 2006. I thought I would try a shooting a few rolls to see how I got on. I decided to expose the first film at 400@200 and developed in Rodinal. Some of the photos were a little dark so for the next roll I exposed at 400@100. Here are the results from recent model photography shoots in my Coventry studio. Cameras including my Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya RZ 67 and 4×5 large format Pacemaker Speed Graphic with a 120 roll film back.
Mamiya 645 Super + Vega 28 MC 120mm f2.8 (Freelensing)
Model – Tegan (400@200)
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II + Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 + RZ 6×6 Film Back
Model – Charlotte (400@100)
4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 + Horseman 120 6×7 Roll Film Back
Model – Harriet (400@100)
The next expired film I tried was 2006 C41 black and white film 35mm Kodak BW400CN in Rodinal.. coming next.
Big thanks again to Richard who gifted the film to me.
For anyone who has followed my work for a while will know, for black and white film photography I normally use Kodak T-Max 100, especially for 35mm film. I have tried various black and white films and will continue to experiment but I am finding I am now completely hooked on Kodak Tri-X 400 film. The modern T grain T-Max films have very little visible grain so can look a little too much like my Leica M9 black and white JPEGs which have a slight filmic look despite being digital. I was an easy convert to medium format 120 Tri-X as grain is less apparent with the larger negative size. For 35mm Tri-X I was a little worried the the classic grain structure might result in too much visible grain for my film wedding photography and portraiture. I shot a roll of 35mm Tri-X when I was out in Florida covering a wedding and was pleasantly surprised. Samples below.
What do I like about Tri-X and what is it that made me convert?
Broad lattitude – I can (and do) shoot Tri-X at anything from ISo 200 (-1 stop) to ISO 1600 (+2 stops). It can do it all and will even go to ISo 3200 and beyond (not yet tried this but others have with success). This means that for available light photography it is perfect for my needs.
Contrasty – Other than the grain structure, the biggest difference I notice when comparing Tri-X to T-Max is the beautifully contrasty mid tones. The deep shadows are rich blacks, the highlights retain their detail and the mid tones are what makes it for me.
Price – I am now starting to use quite a lot of film, both 35mm film in my Leica cameras (M3 and M2) and 120 Tri-X in my medium format Mamiya 645 Super, Rolleiflex SL66E and in my 6×7 Horseman 120 roll film back for my 4×5 large format cameras. I need a film that I enjoy using yet is also affordable. 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 5 packs can be bought in the UK for £20 a box if you shop around. £4 a roll is competitive at today’s film prices. Calumet are currently offering 120 Tri-X 400 for £20 a box and free postage so I stocked up!
Calumet UK, Film – http://www.calphoto.co.uk/category/film-darkroom/film/
Developing – I develop my own black and white film at home and favour the R09 Rodinal stand developing / semi-stand developing method. I am still fine tuning my times and temperatures to develop Tri-X at box speed but also pulled 1 stop to ISO 200 and pushed 1 stop or 2 stops to ISO 800 and ISO 1600. Depending on the lighting conditions I shot in I can then adjust my times accordingly.
Large Format Photography –Pacemaker Speed Graphic – Thoughts & Samples
Matthew Osborne Photography
Now I have had my 4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic large format film camera a few weeks I thought it was time to recap on my progress so far.
Operating a large format camera
Size – Well it’s bigger and heavier than my Leica M cameras for sure! Yes it is big and heavy and with the lenses I use attached the camera cannot be folded for carriage. I also use a heavy study Manfroto tripod that adds to the weight.
Focusing – I use an 8x magnifying loupe to focus the image on the rear ground glass and find it very easy from f5.6 and smaller, sometimes even without a hood. I currently pull my coat over my head if it is too bright to see the glass.
Speed of use – It is not as slow as I perhaps expected. I bought the large format camera for 4×5 portraiture rather than landscapes so I knew I would have to work fast. If you have a good rapport with a model it doesn’t cause any difficulties.
Image quality – If you nail the focus, then as you would expect the details captured by a large format camera far surpass 35mm and medium format.
Large format in the studio – I have done two large format shoot in the studio so far, with model Roisin and Karla. All the equipment was already on hand making it relatively stress free.
Large format on location – I did a location shoot with model Elizabeth in a local woodland and I then realised I had quite a lot to carry. That said it was possible but the camera suits locations closer to the car (10-15min walk max perhaps) rather than being a trekking camera.
4×5 Instant film – So far I have been using colour instant film, Fujifilm FP-100C and black and white instant film, Fuji FP-3000B. As the names suggest FP100C is ISO 100 film and FP3000B is ISO 3000 film so that needs to be considered before a shoot.
6×7 120 Roll film – I have shot one roll of 120 Kodak T-Max 100 in a my Horseman 6×7 roll film back and they were perhaps my favourite images so far. They are far from perfect but the negatives are much sharper than when using instant film (photo scans and reclaimed negative scans).
4×5 Sheet film – Coming soon for 2015. I will be developing my own black and white 4×5 film negatives in house.
4×5 Camera lenses – So far I have (1) Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.8 lens than has an aperture ring but no leaf shutter. I am yet to get the best from this lens but it suits available light photography. (2) Schneider Symmar-S 180mm f5.6 lens with aperture ring, leaf shutter and pc sync port. This is my go to lens for large format strobist work.
6×7 Roll film
How does a Leica man enjoy large format?
I love my Leica M cameras due to their size, build quality, image quality and simplicity. Large format is, when you stop to think about it, almost as basic as photography can get. A big light box where you attach a lens one end and film back on the other. (Like all cameras really but the size and modular form makes it even more obvious). Yes the size is a big hindrance and requires forward planning, and yes the time to take each photo means it is difficult to retain a flow during a portrait shoot but the end result is to me worth it. I like to create images than are different (in camera) and not the run of the mill digital photos. Almost everyone now owns a camera (on their smart phone or otherwise) so I want to create images that these common devices can’t. The first two photos shown above are my favourites so far and the second image especially is not something you could create easily with a DSLR (I think).
I took my large format camera to my family home for Christmas and was taking large format family portraits. I could have easily used my Leica M9 but wanted to do something a bit different. For 2015 I plan to bring large format photography into all areas of my work, whether model photography, wedding photography or otherwise.
Do I have the large format photography bug?
Yes. I just purchased my second large format camera and a third lens to use on both cameras. I will share more in the coming days.. 🙂
After a few weeks of waiting and many hours of reading finally my first large format camera arrives! It is a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5 format film camera but with a few modifications. The guy I bought it from in the US, Paul, specialised in refurbishing Speed Graphic cameras. More details below.
I knew large format photography was just a matter of time for me. I have been tempted in the past but managed to resist the temptation until now. As I am really into my film photography it seemed the natural progression to push me to learn something new and to challenge myself to master the art of large format photography. When I was researching large format portrait photos that I liked on Flickr there seemed to be a general theme appearing. Regardless of the camera body being used I kept seeing the words “Aero” and “Ektar” in the tags.
After some online research I found that an Aero Ektar was a 178mm f2.5 lens that created the most beautiful bokeh and out of focus areas. An aperture of f2.5 is very bright for a large format lens (considering that for my 6×6/ 6×7 medium format cameras that I own the fastest lenses are f2.8 – Mamiya RZ67 / Rolleiflex SL66E etc). When I then went to look to buy a large format camera body and an Aero Ektar lens it was like stepping into a mind field. I had absolutely no clue what any of these cameras were, whether all lenses fit all cameras, whether these old camera worked, how to fit a lens to a lens board.. the list went on and on.
All the cameras I looked at had their standard f5.6 lenses included or no lens at all. This was of no interest to me at this stage. I then got lucky one day searching for the lens to find a modified Pacemaker Speed Graphic camera listed with a Aero Ektar lens attached!! It came with a higher price tag but after many emails back and forth with Paul he persuaded me that it was worth it and most importantly I would have a working large format 4×5 camera straight out of the box.
The camera I purchased was originally a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic with a rear focal plane shutter and shutter speeds up to 1/1000. It has a Kalart rangefinder mounted on the body but I will use the rear ground glass for critical focus. This camera was the standard issue press camera in the US until the 1960s often shot at around f11-f16 using the rangefinder and with flash bulbs for illumination.
The lens is a World War II Kodak Eastman Aero Ektar178mm f2.5 millitary aerial reconnaissance lens, hence the wide aperture. It is a huge and heavy piece of glass but Paul has mounted it to a Speed Graphic lens board so that is not front heavy. It is also modified to accept 77mm filter and has a custom made hood. The filter threads will be great on a bright day when I want to use the lens wide open at f2.5 as I can use ND filters and also yellow filters for black and white portraits.
My Speed Graphic is fitted with a bespoke 4×5 rotating Cambo film back so I can shoot in portrait and landscape orientation without rotating the actual camera. This is perfect for me.
4×5 Sheet Film
The camera came with 4×5 double sided film holders to accept single sheet 4×5 film. 4×5 film is more expensive than medium format film and very expensive to develop at a lab. I pay £3.00 a roll to develop C41 colour film (120 and 35mm). 4×5 film costs £3.00 each to develop! I have looked into this in great depth and found you can actually develop your own 4×5 film in a mod that fits into a 3 roll Paterson tank. This cuts the cost dramically and helped my overall decision to buy a 4×5 camera. I will develop by own 4×5 black and white film in Rodinal as I do for 35mm and 120 film. 4×5 film itself is also expensive, especially colour film such as Kodak Portra. 4×5 Fomapan appears to be the most affordable option so I will try that first. I have used 120 Fomapan film and it was fine to use.
6×7 Roll Film
A cheaper option is to buy a roll film back to fit a 4×5 camera. It means you do not get the benefit of the 4×5 film format but it will allow me to practise using the large format camera before I then move onto 4×5 sheet film. 120 roll film is fast and easy to load, cheap to develop and less expensive to buy (per photo). My film format options were 6×6, 6×7 or 6×9. I wanted as big as possible ideally (to make use of the large format camera) but settled for a 6×7 Horseman roll film back as I get 10 exposures per roll plus I don’t use the 6×9 format camera I own very often.
4×5 Polaroid Film
Polaroid no longer make 4×5 film but you can still buy expired 4×5 Polaroid film on eBay, just at a cost. The next option was Fuji FP-100C45 but again this also has been discontinued. After more reading I found I can use regular Fuji FP100C in a different Polaroid film back and it will work on the Speed Graphic. This is perfect for me as I have a stock of FP-100C gloss colour film in the fridge that I bought for my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and better still I have the discontinued Fuji FP-3000B black and white instant film!! It seemed a waste to use it on the Mamiya but to get a photo that fills the entire paper from the 4×5 camera is very exciting indeed. I will practise with colour Fuji FP-100C that costs around £13 a pack (10 exposures) and once I am half decent I will start to use some of my black and white Polaorid film.
I will do some detail photos of my modified Speed Graphic with Aero Ektar lens together with some sample images as soon as I get chance. Interesting and exciting times ahead! 🙂
Lomography.com - Petzval 85 Art Matthew Osborne Photography/ @MrLeicaCom September ... Read More
Mr Leica – The Blog
Leica M cameras are my workhorse tools for all types of photography, both digital Leica cameras and Leica film cameras. I also use medium format cameras such as Hasselblad and Mamiya (+ 4×5 large format cameras) and develop my film in house. The majority of the blog content is either Leica M camera related or film photography. I photograph people; models, fashion, lifestyle, wedding photography so most of my photography is portraits, experimenting with various cameras, lenses and films. The digital Leica M240 camera is my do everything digital M camera but I shoot film whenever possible.
Hi, I started this blog page in March 2013 after my Flickr followers keep asking me to share some of my thoughts. To give you a brief background, my photography began in 2008 after getting a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 for Christmas. Today I have a lot of cameras and offer Photography Tuition to those who often get paid for their work. Besides teaching, I shoot as a Wedding Photographer and Model Photographer. I am 100% self taught so thought a blog would be a great way to share some of the things I have learnt so far. At the end of 2012 I started to develop a passion for Film Photography and in the summer of 2013 I bought my first Leica camera. I am now officially a Leica nut and use a digital Leica M240 and M8 plus Leica M3s, M2, M4-P and M6 film cameras for most of my photography. This includes Leica wedding photography, Leica lifestyle photography and Leica fashion / model photography. I also enjoy using medium format film cameras such as the amazing Hasselblad 501C 6×6 camera (my main medium format film camera), Fuji GF670, Rolleiflex SL66E, Mamiya RZ67 Pro2 to name a few and 4×5 large format film using a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic and Sinar F2. In 2014 I started to teach portrait photography and lighting in London running monthly group photography workshops. Currently I teach photography on 1-2-1 basis providing 1-2-1 photography tuition (normally with a model) on location, often in London if on location and in the UK, from my Coventry UK studio or overseas such as New York, Zurich and Amsterdam.
Destination Leica Wedding Photographer
Leica Wedding Photographer offering desination Wedding Photography both in the UK and overseas. Natural documentary style wedding photography fused with stylised wedding portraits. As a Leica photographer I like to work quietly as an observer in the background and photograph by available light where possible. I use both digital and film Leica cameras but my passion is film photography.
Traditional Film Wedding Photographer UK
Film wedding photographer that still prefers film cameras in the digital era. I use 35mm Leica film cameras, medium format Hasselblad cameras and large format film cameras. If you appreciate film photography as much as I do then I would be delighted to cover your wedding. You may have already booked a wedding photographer but like the idea of a few special images shot on film? I would be happy to oblige!
Engagement photography is very rewarding and I enjoy working with a couple to create natural yet stylised images using a aray of cameras to give you as set of unique looking images. E-sessions are invaluable for giving couples experience in front of the cameras ahead of their wedding day and it gives us a chance to get to know each other too.
Large Format Portrait Photographer
Large format camera portrait session that gives one of a kind photos. 4×5 format sheet film images and instant Polaroid photos. I fuse my model photography experience with my passion for film photography.
Leica Lifestyle Photographer
I have realised from how I direct my model shoots that I am in fact a lifestyle photographer. Posing often everyday people in everyday situations to look very natural. I have not yet branded myself as a lifestyle photographer but it may be a route I take in the future as this style comes very naturally to me and I find it easy to work closely with my clients to get the best from the images. If you are looking for new and creative photos for your social media site, blog, website or business then do get in touch.
Studio based model photographer in Coventry specialising in black and white female portraiture using both digital and film cameras. I help new models build a model portfolio and regularly collaborate with model agencies and published models in the UK, Europe and the US.
UK Photography Workshops
I provide 1-2-1 photography tuition and lighting workshops from my Coventry studio and on location. I will help you to understand light and your camera to enhance your photography. Through 2014 I was running London photography workshops teaching small groups of photographers how to work with a professional model on location. Currently I focus on providing 1-2-1 tuition rather than teaching groups both here in the UK and overseas.
I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as I find it is to document.