Film Photography Podcast – Episode 103 – May 15th, 2014
Show Notes by Alex Luyckx
It’s the Internet Radio Show for people who love to shoot film! In the studio today is Michael Raso, John Fedele, Mark Dalzell, and Dane Johnson! Topics on the table today are Nikons, Rangefinders, Listener Letters, the 2014 Walking Workshop, Kodak Signet 40, and Shooting Microfilm! So if you’re listening to this on the road to the Walking Workshop, keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and your ear to us!
SPROCKETS! Shooting 35mm film as 120 film!
Keep an eye out, The FPP Lab has been working overtime in making shooting sprockets in your medium format cameras even easier! There may be a limited run of paper backed 35mm film pre-rolled onto 120 spools!
First up FPP listener Bruce writes in with some repair questions on how to do it yourself! He recently purchased two cameras a Minolta Hi-Matic E and Konica S2. Both need a little bit of work to make them functional, however most repairs by a shop will cost and arm and a leg, money he doesn’t want to spend on cameras that cost him less than a hundred each. Both cameras have electrical issues, which the gang agrees, is a bit tricky. Try hitting it in a hard surface(!) Mark suggests, but in reality it may just be better to keep an eye on Ebay for working versions of the cameras.
What film for my Polaroid Pack Film Camera?!
Another listener, Elizabeth, has a very common question we see here on the FPP, but one always worth answering. She’s been having trouble getting a straight answer on the type of film she can use with her newly acquired Polaroid Automatic Land Camera 250 (great camera!).
In today’s world there’s lots of different instant films out there from Impossible to Fuji, and even some original Polaroid hanging around. The film Elizabeth needs is known as Type 100, this today is made by Fuji, the best choice is the FP-100c, still produced, and available right here from the FPP. Additionally you can still find some FP-3000b and FP-100b, while no longer produced, can still be acquired and would still be fresh. You can also still find original Polaroid Type 100 film, but watch the storage and expiry, anything with a 2006 or later expiry date may still be good, anything older, don’t waste your money, unless the seller has batch tested it.
Dane’s ever growing camera collection has a new addition, the Kodak Signet 40. The Signet 40 was produced between 1953 and 1959 and was the second model in the Signet line, the first being the Signet 35. This is a metal and Bakelite 35mm rangefinder camera, and is actually Dane’s second Signet, he also has the Signet 35. The camera is equipped with a Kodak Ektanon 46mm f/3.5 lens (other models may have the Kodak Ektanar 46mm f/3.5 lens). These lens have the famous Kodak Lumenized coating on it and also some Thorium Oxide making them slightly radioactive! Dane really enjoys his, solid, reliable, and sharp images.
One problem that faces rangefinder users is that over the years the focus assist shapes will dull and be hard to see in the viewfinder. There’s a simple fix, just put a little piece of gel, something like a neutral density gel, over the main viewfinder, should make the contrast enough that you can continue to use it with ease.
Another issue with older rangefinders that is no stranger to the show is that the grease used to keep the focusing part on the lens moving, will harden and jam the lens. To clear it up, dunk the whole thing in 99% alcohol, you may have to repeat this a could times to really get it loosened up. Keeping Track of your Film
We all shoot a lot of film, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of everything and what camera you shot the film in and everything. Mark simply uses a sharpie on the film cartridge or roll, Michael will do that do and also put a piece of artist tape on the camera with the film that’s inside. I personally record everything in a notebook (which gets moved to a spreadsheet).
Michael Raso is hands down a Canon guy, but he loves his Nikkormat and a massive Sigma XQ 400mm f/5.6 monster of a lens! Nikkormats are great solid cameras, very metallic Mark agrees. In fact if you’re going to be at the Walking Workshop, the Nikkormat and 400mm lens will be up there as a giveaway!
Keeping the Nikon love going, if you’ll remember, Mark had a mysterious Nikon F land on his doorstep, only to find out it was someone else’s and had to give it back, but Karma smiled on him, and he got his hands on the new two professional Nikon 35mm SLRs. The first being the Nikon F2, Mark’s is the newer F2AS which has a full TLL metered prism and the first one that supported the Nikon AI (Auto Indexing) line of lenses. These were the last fully mechanical Nikon pro SLRs, they did have a battery but it was only used to run the meter. The camera looks all lumpy, but it sort of works.
The second camera is the camera that was the bread and butter of pro Nikon users in the 1980s, the Nikon F3, Mark’s features the High Point prisim which is great for people with glasses or wonky eyesight as you can still easily see through the viewfinder even with your eye away from it. The one downside to the F3 is that it is all electronic, it does need batteries to work. The F3 remains one of the longest produced Nikon cameras, with production ending in 2001.
Even Rick Paul wants in on the action with the next in the Nikon professional lineup, the Nikon F4. This beautiful camera was truly revolutionary. Introduced in 1988, the F4 introduced matrix metering (based off the Nikon FA) and autofocus lenses. It also bumped up the top shutter speed to a blistering 1/8000” and a flash sync speed of 1/250”. Rick’s favourite part of the F4 was the shutter, this super quiet titanium and carbon fiber had not one but two curtains to ensure that no stray light hit the film. Ergonomically the camera is a sexy dream to hold (I totally agree with that!), and you can pick one up fairly cheap from KEH, under 300$ and worth every penny! Microfilm – Because you’ll want your photos to last 500 years!
Thanks to FPP Superfriend Dan ( Nano_Burger on Flickr ), Michael has been getting a real kick shooting with microfilm, the same film used to duplicate newpapers and periodicals for viewing at the Library (check out your local public library they may still have the machine to view the film). There’s been several stocks that Michael has been shooting with. The first being Kodak 2468, this film came with the needed sprockets to allow shooting in traditional 35mm cameras, but he recently got (from Dan) some unperforated stock. Shooting it in a still camera, you’ll want to get the Canon EOS 10s, or Dane even thinks of shooting it in a 120 camera, or even still an 828 camera with backing paper applied! Another microfilm stock is Fuji’s HRII, which unlike the 2468 which is rated at ASA 0.8, the HRII has a speed of ASA-25. But if properly developed and stored, these films can outlive even you! 2468 for example is said to last up to 500 years! Looking to give it a try, you can get 35mm ready Kodak 2468 at the store!
And that’s it for us! We’ll hopefully see many of you at the Walking Workshop this weekend, and if not we’ll be back here in two weeks with a special live studio audience edition of the FPP direct from the Walking Workshop!