Film Photography Podcast Episode 225
June 15th, 2019
Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening! It’s the Internet Radio show for people who love and want to know more about Film Photography! Joining Michael Raso in the studio today is Mat Marrash, Mark O’Brien, Leslie Lazenby, and Mark Dalzell. Today's show takes a look at the A-1 and T60 from Canon, the Calumet 6x7 Roll Film Back, New Dry Plates, Listener Letters and much more!
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The Mail Bag!
While we don’t always read your letters online, on this episode the mailbag gets opened and the gang dives right into some of the awesome letters sent to the show!
Mat opens with a letter from longtime listener and friend of the show James Thorpe. James wrote us about J. Lane Dry Plates, newly produced dry plates and accessories now available from many photographic supply shops in Canada, the US sand Germany as well as directly from his website www.pictoriographica.com. J. Lane Dry Plates are designed to emulate the look of images produced in the 1880s. Mat explains that dry plates, invented following wet plates, made the photographic process much easier because you no longer needed to bring a darkroom with you. Mat also cautioned that if you are thinking of attempting plate photography you will need a plate holder, and the cost can be pretty steep. If you don’t want to process the photos yourself, Blue Moon Camera & Machine can do it for you!
James also has some good news for fans of Adox films - the Adox CHS 100 II is back in stock in standard 4x5 and 8x10 AND in ultra-large formats AND formats smaller than 4x5! It’s a great way to try out a film without having to invest in a large number of sheets as you can purchase them in 10-Sheet packs. You can order them directly from Fotoimpex out of Germany.
Toni from Toronto writes in to ask about the stability of the infrastructure of the Svema and ORWO film you can purchase through the FPP store. Michael explains that the film is still being produced – while the original Svema factory is gone, the new film is produced through Tasma as Svema, and Filmotich is still running as evidenced by the Lomography Berlin and Potsdam line of films. But that said, we don’t know if we’ll receive an email next week or next month saying they had to shut down. If that happens, we’ll be open and honest about the situation and will strive to keep the fresh film in stock as long as we can! So for the time being, keep shooting!
First off the mark is Leslie with the Canon A-1! Today the camera has a wide cult following and was the flagship of the A-Series of cameras (or is that A-Team?). The A-1 was an innovative camera released in 1978 for the average consumer, and is historically important as it was the first camera to offer full electronic auto-exposure and introduced the PSAM system we know on most cameras today: Program, Aperture Priority + stopped down aperture priority (or a-depth model in modern canon digital SLRs), Shutter Priority, and Manual. Or for Nikon shooters: Av and Tv, or Aperture Value or Time Value (Shutter). It accepts a wide range of lenses including the FL, FD, FD-N, and even some of the old R-Series lenses – in Leslie’s opinion, this is a feature rich camera and it's no wonder sales skyrocketed. The camera has a big bright viewfinder, and you can even turn off the readout in the finder, which helps Leslie focus on the scene, not the numbers. Not to mention, it’s built like a tank, is excellent quality and the sleek black lines are a joy to look at. This model does have the standard Canon Squeal, but as Mat says it’s not nearly as loud as the AE-1 or AE-1 Program. The A-1 was certainly ahead of its time; no other manufacturer had a camera like it - Minolta wouldn’t release the X-700 until 1982, Nikon and Pentax with the FA and Super A in 1983 and Olympus in 1984 with the OM-2S Program. Even today, the A-1 continues to influence Canon’s digital cameras. With most going for under 100$, the Canon A-1 is highly recommended!
If you haven’t been listening to the FPP recently, you’ll have missed that Michael has fallen for the Canon T60. For those who don’t know the Canon T60 is a strange entry in the T-Line of cameras as Canon didn't build it – it’s a Cosina C2 with a Canon FD-Mount, never sold in Japan. And Michael’s not the only one from the gang shooting the T60; Mark O’Brien recently got one through an estate sale his wife attended. The camera was released after Canon was deep into the EOS system; however, people wanted an inexpensive manual focus camera that could be used in schools and Canon felt compelled to release one. One thing that sets the T60 apart is that it is semi-automatic but aperture priority (where most Canons were shutter priority). Many photographers turn up their nose at the camera, but Cosina was no slouch in the camera manufacturing department. These are great student cameras, they’re inexpensive, and even the FD-Lenses can be head for a low cost. And most telling endorsement of all: despite Mark being a Nikon guy, he does plan on keeping his!
The Doctor is In – Extension Tubes!
A listener writes in with a problem for Dr. Lazenby: the patient is having trouble with close focus. A friend recommended extension tubes, but the whole deal seems a little confusing. Leslie breaks it down: an extension tube is a device that connects your camera body and the lens, there are no optic involved. The more extension tubes you use, the closer you will get. So, what lens can you use these with? Extension tubes will work with any lens, but Leslie recommends starting with your 50mm and 35mm cameras. When mounting the tubes, it’s best to attach them one at a time starting from the camera and working out, finally attaching the lens as the last step. You can disassemble in any order. The tubes work differently from a close-up filter since they don’t have glass, so they can’t get dirty, and you don’t have to worry about cheap glass in front of your expensive lens. If your camera has a meter, you don’t have to worry - the tubes will couple with everything and even allow for the camera to trigger the aperture and let the metering work as well! Also, if you couple these tubes with a macro lens, you get a micro lens, which is pretty special! You will need additional light on the subject, but LED lights and ring lights to allow you to use the system handheld. If you’re working with natural light, Mark O’Brien recommends a tripod. Extension tubes are still readily available on both the new and used market for most lens mounts, Canon EF, Sony E, Minolta/Sony A, Nikon F, and Pentax K. A set of 3 (12mm, 20mm, and 36mm) from Kenko will run around 130$ from B&H.
Roll Back – Shooting 120 on your Large Format
Mat, our resident large format guy, is handed a Calumet 6x7 back that allows you to shoot 120 or 220 roll film using your large format camera. What makes this special is that it slides into a camera like a film holder. There’s even a dark slide so you can remove the holder to allow you to focus and compose. Many film holders that were meant for use on large format cameras are ones that replace the ground glass altogether and require a camera with a Graflock back. The downfall according to Mat is that the 6x7 size is pretty small compared to a 4x5 sheet, so there’s a huge crop factor which makes composing difficult. He recommends drawing up some frame lines on your ground glass to help you out. Each roll will give you ten shots on a roll of 120. Mat suggests paying no more than 50$ for such a holder, but adds that he's not a fan of the 6x7 format on 4x5 and would recommend going bigger - to 6x9 or even 6x12.
That’s it for this episode, but don’t fret we’ll be back in soon! Until then be sure to give us a like on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter! You can also join the community over on Flickr! If you want to write to us, you can shoot us an email email@example.com or write to us at Film Photography Podcast PO Box 264 Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.
Alex Luyckx is an IT Professional at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He loves shooting both film and muskets as well as reading and reenacting history. He has a particular love of Military History from the French-Indian War up to the end of the Cold War. You can follow along with his adventures at www.alexluyckx.com/blog.