Board index Equipment Film Cameras Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Film Cameras

Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

akeigher
 
Posts: 239

Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:24 am


So I decided to finally make the big jump from digital to film…
That’s right, I’m going old school.

I have been using a Canon 40D for the most part (had a Rebel XTI and a backup) but I wanted to switch to medium format so I could make larger prints. I also wanted to give film a try because I want to slow down my photography and not just shoot a lot of photos at different exposures and different compositions.

A friend sold me his Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a 6x7 120 film back and waist level viewfinder. He also included 5 Mamiya Sekor C lenses (50mm f/4.5, 65mm f/4.5, 90mm f/3.8, 127mm f/3.8 and 180mm f/4.5) and a cable release. I also recently bought a Polaris SPD500 Dual 5 Flash Meter – so I think I am good there.

I am totally new to film and I need some advice – the last film camera I had was a 35mm point and shoot.

What type of film would you recommend? I will mainly be using this for landscapes, cityscapes and outdoor portraits – some might be nighttime, but they would be long exposures.

I saw that there focusing screens are among the accessories? What are they? Should I get one? Which one(s)?

Would you suggest a prism viewfinder? Or will the waist level viewfinder suffice?

Would I want a Polaroid back as well? What would be its use?

Can anyone recommend a good backpack that would fit all of that?

Is there anything else you would recommend for my medium format kit?

I’m sure I will have more questions as I work with this camera (like where is a good gym because this thing is a beast!) but I think that is all for now.

Of course any other advice would be great.

Thanks in advance!

wolfeye
 
Posts: 96

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:54 am


Welcome to film! :)

My color recommendation is Fuji Reala. You won't be able to get it except at a photo store. I recommend B&H photo or Adorama as a good source for it. For B&W right now I'd start with XP-2 Super 120 Black & White (Chromogenic C-41) Print Film (ISO-400) because you can have it developed at the same place you get your other MF film done - assuming you don't want to invest in darkroom stuff right now. If you don't have a local lab, Dwayne's photo in Kansas does nice film developing. Polaroid has ceased making film, so I'd skip any accessory for that venue.

As far as the rest, you'll probably have to try things out to see what works best for you.

You can also ask a TON of film experts a whole bunch of questions by visiting apug.org

akeigher
 
Posts: 239

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:06 am


wolfeye wrote:Welcome to film! :)

My color recommendation is Fuji Reala. You won't be able to get it except at a photo store. I recommend B&H photo or Adorama as a good source for it. For B&W right now I'd start with XP-2 Super 120 Black & White (Chromogenic C-41) Print Film (ISO-400) because you can have it developed at the same place you get your other MF film done - assuming you don't want to invest in darkroom stuff right now. If you don't have a local lab, Dwayne's photo in Kansas does nice film developing. Polaroid has ceased making film, so I'd skip any accessory for that venue.

As far as the rest, you'll probably have to try things out to see what works best for you.

You can also ask a TON of film experts a whole bunch of questions by visiting apug.org

thanks!

i live in NJ so B&H is easy for me and Unique Photo is not far (www.uniquephoto.com)

As for a lab, I have a great lab for my digital prints, so I figured I would ask them.

ken_bat
 
Posts: 23

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:33 pm


A friend sold me his Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a 6x7 120 film back and waist level viewfinder. He also included 5 Mamiya Sekor C lenses (50mm f/4.5, 65mm f/4.5, 90mm f/3.8, 127mm f/3.8 and 180mm f/4.5) and a cable release.


Congratulations! That's a great outfit you've acquired.

One piece of gear you didn't mention is a tripod. I'd say that in this case, after the camera and lenses, a good tripod is your most important piece of equipment. Though you can shoot hand-held with the RB67, it's doubtful that you'll achieve the high level of picture quality that this camera is capable of. I'm referring to not only image sharpness, but also precision of composition. A tripod definitely contributes to a more deliberate, contemplative style of photography.

Yes, I know it's going to add to the bulk and weight of your outfit, but I don't think you got the RB67 to lighten the load. :)

Enjoy the equipment and the photographs you make with it.

Cheers, Ken

akeigher
 
Posts: 239

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:41 pm


ken_bat wrote:
A friend sold me his Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a 6x7 120 film back and waist level viewfinder. He also included 5 Mamiya Sekor C lenses (50mm f/4.5, 65mm f/4.5, 90mm f/3.8, 127mm f/3.8 and 180mm f/4.5) and a cable release.


Congratulations! That's a great outfit you've acquired.

One piece of gear you didn't mention is a tripod. I'd say that in this case, after the camera and lenses, a good tripod is your most important piece of equipment. Though you can shoot hand-held with the RB67, it's doubtful that you'll achieve the high level of picture quality that this camera is capable of. I'm referring to not only image sharpness, but also precision of composition. A tripod definitely contributes to a more deliberate, contemplative style of photography.

Yes, I know it's going to add to the bulk and weight of your outfit, but I don't think you got the RB67 to lighten the load. :)

Enjoy the equipment and the photographs you make with it.

Cheers, Ken



I have a manfroto that i use use with my canon 40d with a batery back and my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens... my digital is 5.76 lbs and the mamiya with a 127mm lens and 120 back is 5.93 lbs... so it wont be much more than what my tripod is doing now. The Mamiya only gets real heavy if you add the 2 lbs prisim viewfinder.
But my Manfroto tripod is a pretty strong one... it either supports 8.8 lbs or 9.5 lbs (i cant remember which one - but even 8.8 lbs would be enough)


I picked up some Fuji Velvia 100 - so I will try that. I think I am going to be scanning all of my photos, so slide film seemed right.

Now i'm just afraid that this camera will reveal that I'm nothing more than a digital hack :D

ken_bat
 
Posts: 23

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:26 pm


I picked up some Fuji Velvia 100 - so I will try that. I think I am going to be scanning all of my photos, so slide film seemed right.


You may also want to try color negative film as it has a greater dynamic range than transparency (slide) film. Perhaps more importantly, color neg film is far more forgiving of under- or over-exposure —particularly over-exposure. In his post above, Wolfeye suggested Fuji Reala. I agree. It's a great all-around color neg film. Compare the final scanned and processed results from the the two film types. You may prefer one over the other, or you may like both.


Now i'm just afraid that this camera will reveal that I'm nothing more than a digital hack


Yes, the Mamiya is a serious camera which requires a decent handle on shooting technique to get the benefits of its capabilities. Depending on the level of knowledge and ability that you've attained in your digital photography, the learning curve will be higher or lower. The main thing is to keep in mind why you went this route and get out there and shoot, absorb the results and go out and shoot again, repeating what you did right and improving what you did wrong.

It's like most other things... the more you do it, the better you get at it. Enjoy the journey.

Ken

akeigher
 
Posts: 239

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:47 pm


ken_bat wrote:

Now i'm just afraid that this camera will reveal that I'm nothing more than a digital hack


Yes, the Mamiya is a serious camera which requires a decent handle on shooting technique to get the benefits of its capabilities. Depending on the level of knowledge and ability that you've attained in your digital photography, the learning curve will be higher or lower. The main thing is to keep in mind why you went this route and get out there and shoot, absorb the results and go out and shoot again, repeating what you did right and improving what you did wrong.

It's like most other things... the more you do it, the better you get at it. Enjoy the journey.

Ken

i'm not actually worried... I was just joking around...
i mainly shoot in the manual mode on my 40D - so I'm pretty good with metering and getting my exposures correct.

jypsee
 
Posts: 1223

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:16 pm


since you're likely to be scanning your negatives to digitize your photos, your exposures with BW film will have more latitude to be adjusted in photoshop or whatever method you use for post processing. With slide film you'll need to be more accurate.
For color film you should try Kodak Portra in both 160 and 400 ISO and you can actually use the Portra VC (vivid color) to make some really decent black and white conversions in post. I use the RB67 ProS and what I do is put a Really Right Stuff lens plate on the bottom of it and then mount it on my RRS BH55 or , most often, the RRS 234 monopod tilt head which is mounted on an old Manfroto tripod.

akeigher wrote:Ken
i'm not actually worried... I was just joking around...
i mainly shoot in the manual mode on my 40D - so I'm pretty good with metering and getting my exposures correct.


Mary in Michgan at the moment
Canon: 7DII;6D;100-400 II;24-105L;16-35L;100USMISf/2.8;85f/1.8;50f/1.8;28f/1.8;20f/2.8;
Pentax: K10D and kit lens; 50f/1.4

cambridge_photographer
 
Posts: 2
Location: exiled in Cambridge, UK

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:53 pm


Welcome to the dark side!

The real reward with film photography is turning on that red light and seeing the image appear in the chemicals. So if you are a fan of black and white, pick up a decent enlarger off ebay and as mentioned above, hop over to apug.org...they love digi converts :wink:

Buy the heaviest tripod you can carry.

As for film choices, well that is your new personal journey, every film has a different characteristic.

The modern films have been reformulated to achieve better scanning results, but don't expect a lab to give you good prints from a digital scan...I've yet to find one. So find a lab who will still print optically.
http://www.natural-light-cambridge.co.uk/
Black and white landscapes.
Fine art portrait photography.

e6filmuser
 
Posts: 12

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:11 pm


[quote="ken_bat] You may also want to try color negative film as it has a greater dynamic range than transparency (slide) film. Perhaps more importantly, color neg film is far more forgiving of under- or over-exposure —particularly over-exposure. Ken[/quote]

The above is a technical contradiction. The first is the opposite of the case. The second is correct.

ken_bat
 
Posts: 23

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:12 am


I stand by my original statement: color negative film has a greater dynamic range than any color transparency film. Perhaps e6filmuser can explain why he or she thinks otherwise. I'd be most interested to be enlightened by one who offers such wisdom —especially when they don't even bother to post any samples of their own work on this website.

e6filmuser
 
Posts: 12

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:39 am


The dynamic range of colour negatives is no more than 3.4. That of transparencies is often in excess of 4. A film scanner fully suitable for negatives cannot capture the range in transparencies showing their full range (e.g. Kodachrome). Having said that, some newer post-2005 Fujifilm) E6 films have a narrower range but equal negatives.

This may help: http://www.pixmonix.com/tutorials/tutor ... r-dmax.php

See also: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uVct ... &ct=result

Or this: http://www.nyip.com/ezine/digital/dynamic-range.html

The bottom line is that you get more contrast, with the right subject, in a transparency. (When it comes down to it, resolution is also a matter of contrast but that is another debate).

ken_bat
 
Posts: 23

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:03 pm


I appreciate your response, e6filmuser. Being involved much more with photography than densitometry, and not wanting to give false advice in this forum, I decided to get more information on the subject of Dynamic Range.

Checking out the links you provided (I could only connect to the third one) as well as searching out several more sources, I found a good amount of opinion, discussion and outright confusion on the matter. I eventually came upon a site that laid out a sensible explanation of things such as Dynamic Range vs Optical Density Range and how these qualities relate to picture-taking in the real world. Click on the link below for the lowdown...

http://www.astropix.com/PFA/SAMPLE1/SAMPLE1.HTM

So perhaps on a purely technical note, I was incorrect to state that color neg film has a higher dynamic range than transparency/slide film, but semantics aside, it seems the fact remains that color negative film can still capture a greater subject brightness range than slide film. —Which is what I meant to say in the first place. I stand corrected (and enlightened :D ) on the actual terminology.

As far scanning either film type, well, that's a subject all on its own.

Ken

captain_superlekker
 
Posts: 159

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:09 pm


Congratulations! The RB67 is a serious tool and excellent although on the heavy side.

I use Manfrotto # 55 or 190 pro B Tripod for heavier set-ups - pricey but will last a lifetime.

For film, anyhting goes! I like Ilford FP4 or XP2 for Black and White, and Kodak Portra or Fuji Reala for Colour Neg. Fuji Velvia is stunning for colour slides. The colours just pop out on colour slides! I just tend to scna them, s I know nobody with a projector, but the picture quality you get is amazing!

As for bags, well, my Hasselblad 500 fits in my handbag, but I got a Tamrac Adventure backpack that is relatively cheap and of great quality. I would not bother with a new focussing screen if the RB67 you bought has one.

pentax67
 
Posts: 14

Re: Moving From Digital to Film! Just bought a MF camera.

Post Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:30 pm


Since discovering MF - I've pretty much abandoned 35 format. I went the Pentax 67 route as they are rugged cameras and work well for astro photography. Lots of excellent lenses on Ebay. The 67ii is a dream for landscape work with the AE prism.

Kodak E200 has been the film for astro photography. Great reciprocity, and red response for the nebulae and star fields. Unfortunately Kodak has seen fit to discontinue E200 in 120 format - but survives in 35 - for now. Freezer is well stocked wit E200, but the search has begun for a replacement film. Exposures of 20 to 120 minutes are not uncommon. Tough demands to be sure.

Films which used to be great for astro work due to red response soon became useless. Reformulation to reduce red killed them. Kodak's new Ektar 100 shows promise in a negative film. A very wide exposure latitude - make that incredible latitude - and so far - great reciprocity. More testing to follow. It has shown great results in my landscape frames. Cropped scans by my friend of his dogs head at 2400 is grainless. Easy to scan and great results from an Epson 4490, and my Microtek I800. Incidentally the I800 just cannot do justice with E200 or any E6 process positives. The frame is sprinkled with stars having red on one side, white in the middle, and blue on the other side. Also get a compression line causing a stretching of stars, but that's another topic.

One item about Ektar is that best landscape results are obtained by shooting at ISO 64 - processed normally. Shooting over water with bright sun does require UV and the KR 1.5 filter appears to be especially useful for Ektar for those types of scenes. Well, I'm new here, but would like to post some frames soon.


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