So, in the last post we looked at the lead-up to the results of exposing 5 rolls of black and white film on 5 different SLRs.
I had never developed film on my own before. I had briefly dabbled with printing when I was at school – that was 50 years ago!
I decided to get the recommended chemicals for Ilford film – I was using Kentmere (an Ilford/Harman product) and was intending to move to FP4 and HP5 – which used the same chemicals.
So what did I need – it was quite a long list:
Next job was to practice loading film in the changing bag. This required wasting a roll. Once I got the hang of it I decided it was time to develop the first roll. I followed the instructions like a baker baking a cake. Volumes, dilutions, temperature, agitations, timing. When the first roll came out perfectly I was elated. What I didn’t expect was that the othewr four rolls would also develop perfectly.
There was one frustration; I still struggled loading the film in the bag a couple of times leading to the film getting scratched. I think I need to have something in the bag which lifts it up like a teepee. Then I should be ok.
So I ended up with 5 rolls representing shots taken on each camera.
Here are what I believe are the best from each roll. Bear in mind the same lens was used on the Olympus OM10 and OM2n.
Canon AE-1 with 50mm f1.8 FD
Minolta XG-M with MD Rokkor f1.7
OM10 with Zuiko f1.8
OM2 with Zuiko f1.8
Nikon FM2 with Nikkor f1.8
Initial thoughts is that they all did well and it may require colour film to distinguish, but my order of preference in terms of results (all used standard 50mm lens):
But not a lot between them and it really depends on the image, the light, composition and even developing. Maybe the Nikon is more contrasty and sharper – love this camera.
Surprised that I rank my old trusty Minolta last.
All lenses very sharp – in fact I have adaptors for all except the Canon. I like the results, but I’m not fond of the Canon FD mount.
In terms of the beauty contest results for best-looking camera:
I’ll now will experiment with Ilford FP4 and HP5, but which cameras? and what about the neglected rangefinder Yashica Electro?
Well, I guess I love the FM2 and the OM2 – I may sell the OM10 s it’s a bit pointless once you have the OM2, and I may buy an 85mm portrait for the Nikon.
Old cameras lead you to old lenses and old lenses will work in manual mode which, on a mirrorless camera, is very easy.
So what did I learn and how will I continue with this new extension to my hobby?
Film is a great media for portrait, especially B & W. The cameras are ‘unusual’, unlike modern behemoths, and can relax the subject because of their novelty.
But B & W is all about form and texture, light and dark, gradations of grey. My favourite image above is the ‘Wall with ivy’ – a complete surprise.
Firstly, the wall is my dilapidated outhouse, sometime utility building, fallen into disrepair. The ivy is straggly and unattractive. But together they seem to work. So much so, I actually printed this image – probably needs some tweaking, but I can do that with B & W – colour printing is more difficult with a cheap printer.