Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

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)

Expired 120 Ilford Delta 400

Freelensing Mamiya 645 Super

Expired B&W Film

Vega 28 + Mamiya 645 Super

Expired Ilford Film

Mamiya 645 Super Freelensing

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II + Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 + RZ 6×6 Film Back

Model – Charlotte (400@100)

Mamiya RZ67 Pro ii 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 67 6x6

Mamiya RZ 6X6 Back

4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 + Horseman 120 6×7 Roll Film Back

Model – Harriet (400@100)

Kodak Aero Ektar Portrait

4x5 Speed Graphic Portrait

Kodak Aero Ektar on Speed Graphic

4X5 Film - Speed Graphic

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.

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Large Format Photography

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.

Schneider Symmar-S 180mm f5.6 4x5

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.

Sample Images

6×7 Roll film

4x5 Speed Graphic

4x5 + 6x7 Roll Film Back

Horseman 6x7 roll film back

Fuji FP-3000B

Schneider Symmar-S 180mm f5.6 Portrait

Fuji FP-3000B Instant 4x5 Portrait

Fuji FP3000B 4x5

Fuji FP-100C

4x5 Speed Graphic Portrait

Speed Graphic + FP-100C

4x5 Fujifilm FP-100C

Speed Graphic 4x5 + Fuji FP100C

4x5 Speed Graphic + Aero Ektar (Test Shot)

4x5 Instant FP-100C

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.. 🙂

Large Format : How To

Large Format 4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic

Large Format 4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic

Matthew Osborne Photography (Mr Leica)

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.

Purchase Decision

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.

Camera Specifics

Body

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.

Lens

The lens is a World War II Kodak Eastman Aero Ektar 178mm 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.

Film Back

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.

Film Formats

  • 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.

4x5 Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar Lens

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! 🙂