Every so often it’s good to do a studio shoot using a few flash heads. I’ve nothing grand – a cobbled collection of eBay-sourced Interfit units with cheap backdrops and stands. It’s a basic setup with a soft-box facing the sitter and two units at 45 degrees on to the white cloth, then using a black backdrop with a soft-box and brolly two-light arrangement.
To make things interesting, the session with my good friend and singer/songwriter/guitarist Thomas, was to be captured on full-frame digital ( Canon 6D) and on 35mm black and white film (Kentmere 100) using mid 70’s basic manual camera, the Ricoh KR-5. Without a flash meter, the plan was to get a setting on the 6D that looked ok, then set something similar on the Ricoh. So 1/125 at f8 – then play about with the lights.
First up – some low key against the black backdrop,
Then a white backdrop with the softbox straight on.
Next up was a repeat of this lighting with the Ricoh. It’s a very basic but solidly built mechanical SLR. And it did ok
As is often the case, scanning a low key image is a bit tricky – the real test will be darkroom print – but the high keys portraits on the Ricoh were near the mark with the full frame Canon digital.
So a quick photo shoot to compare digital and 35mm black and white film. Next will be to compare negative scanning with a darkroom print scan as well as an indepth look at using the Ricoh.
The inherent risk of bringing your 40 year old film camera on holiday is of course that it decides to call it a day. Before loading the Trip, I always give it a quick check to ensure that it responds reasonably appropriately to light – particularly that the wee red underexposed marker appears in the viewfinder. Day 2 of a trip to Tokyo and before the Fomapan was loaded, it was clear that the Trip meter had finally given up the ghost. However, before putting it back in the suitcase and relying on the Nikon F60, I remembered the manual aperture settings – a quick check showed these to be responding.
So, a pretty useless 1/40th constant shutter speed in a bright summer Tokyo day and it was Sunny 22 to see how the Trip would go on manual only. F22 for the bright outdoors and guess for the shade and indoors.
And… it went ok. Fomapan 100 is pretty forgiving anyway and with the bright harsh sunlight and deep shadows, I couldn’t really complain with the results from a 40 year old malfunctioning compact and a £3.50 roll of budget Czech film.
It would have been a challenge getting any sort of shadow detail here given the contrast between the umbrella and background.
Of course, with an aperture setting now to consider on the Trip, there was the added risk to forget about adjusting the zone focussing from “mountains” to “2 blokes“.
The Trip of course, is a great street camera, all you have to remember is to set the zone focus. My immediate reaction when the meter went was to retire the Trip and have a look on The Bay for a replacement. But doing a quick Sunny 16 setting of the Aperture is no problem, and you can learn to live with the constant 1/40th shutter. The lens is as sharp as ever (after remembering to check the focus) and frankly there is no better looking 35mm compact out there. My meter-less Trip hasn’t had its last holiday just yet.
I’ve been to a number of Grand Prix over the years – in Spain and Germany – and normally turn up with full frame DSLR, and a backpack of lenses, headed up by a monopodded 150-500 zoom. However, for the 2017 trip to the Barcelona circuit, I decided to travel light.
The Mju was a £3 purchase off the eBay a few years back before the current over-inflated prices appeared and the Praktica was a rebadged MTL3 bought from Argos in the mid-80s. Both filled with Poundland 200 (in an Agfa box).
When armed with the digital setup on my previous visits, it ended up being an ongoing search for the sharpest panning shot for the weekend. Pan-click-chimp-repeat. And getting hundreds of panned racing car shots that never saw the light of day.
So this year it was to be film only ( bar the phone) and shooting around the F1 village, the stands – but with the odd panning shot – see if an creaky manual Praktica and an old Vivitar zoom lens out of Boots could cut it.
And this was a liberating experience – I had a weekend to enjoy the racing and soak in the atmosphere, with no heavy gear to lug about and chimp-free snapping.
It was also interesting to watch the guys in the stands with the monopods and DSLR/big zoom kit and reflecting that despite all this gear, you were still just a punter in the stands. I’ve shot some low level motorsport events and had press-photo access to Irish League football and to get the sort of shots that type of access allows, you really need exactly that – access. And when you’re a punter – it’s easier to take punter shots.
The kit itself? Well the Mju is a wee delight. Totally auto, good sharp autofocus (most of the time) and it’s a genuine pocket camera, quick and easy to snap and it’s easily one of the best point & shoots I’ve used. The flash is on by default, so you’ve to remember to knock it off if you don’t want flash. Apart from that, it’s quick and accurate.
As for the Praktica, there’s no doubt it slows you down. This particular one (of my many Prakticas) had a bit of a dirty viewfinder and together with manually focussing at 200mm, those panning shots were going to be a challenge.
This one of Daniel Ricciardo was only one of very view panning shots taken, as there were other uses for the long lens.
So some nice snaps to take home from a great weekend. I’d a lot more time to enjoy the event, no worries about batteries needing charged and the £1 film rolls held up well. If I’m in the press area for a County Down Racing club meet or pitchside at Crusaders v Glentoran in the Irish League, then it’s full digital and the big lens. Otherwise, I’ll enjoy being a punter with some old gear.
Films developed at photo-express.co.uk
Scanned on Epson V370