The weather for the next week is supposed to be terrifyingly cold, which does not make prospects for photography bright. I’m supposed to be getting a box shipped to me today with misc. cameras in it (no clue as to what actually works or not) and other misc. camera junk, so that should be a nice diversion. Maybe there will be some film inside to develop.
Bundled up and took the dogs next door to take my test roll with the Rolleicord II and also try out the respooled 116 in the Agfa Shur Shot.
First, the Rolleicord. Honestly, it works fine. Once I got the film counter mechanism reset, it seems as if everything works as it’s supposed to. It took pictures, the film advanced, and I didn’t seem to get any irritating lines on my film like I do with the Argoflex. However, it is not an intuitive camera at all. The film advance dial and the focusing dial are right next to each other, so there were several times I tried to focus and wound up nudging the film forward instead. Also, I find the shutter cocking method extremely bizarre – not so much that you have to cock the shutter, but after you do that, you kind of have to push the shutter forward in order to take the picture. That’s the part that’s weird. It feels too soft when I do that, like something isn’t working right. However, like I said, everything came out fine, so I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be.
I think my biggest problem is just getting accustomed to dealing with adjusting both my shutter speed and my aperture. I change my shutter speed all the time with the Nikon D40, but I’m not anyway near as used to messing with aperture. It’s one of those things that I have to stop and really think about, like, “Okay, it’s sunny outside, so I can use a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed.” I know of the sunny 16 rule, but I can’t bring myself to actually remember it. I guess I just need to carry a cheat sheet and/or not get flustered.
So, I think the Rolleicord is a good camera, I just have to get a little more confidence in using it.
The roll of Ilford Pan F wasn’t even too funky, remarkably. I got some weird grain in a few of the pictures that were dark, but those pictures kind of sucked anyway, so no matter.
Next up is the Portra NC160 respooled onto 116 backing paper. The Agfa Shur Shot, by the way, is a camera I bought on accident. I bought it because it had film in it, and it wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was a 116 camera instead of 120. You would think the larger size of the box would have been a clue, but no.
I was able to develop two frames of the old film that was inside.
I really dig this photo, and it made me want to use the camera again. So it here, all loaded up with film. I had two problems actually using the camera. The first is that the film advance knob was really hard to wind. I think that’s because my backing paper was kind of eaten up to begin with. Also, it was cold outside, which always complicates things. Secondly, the shutter works okay, but the one flap that covers the actual shutter doesn’t spring back into place automatically like it should. It just kind of hovers behind the lens. I’ve got to jiggle the shutter thingy after taking a picture to get everything back to where it should be. It didn’t seem to affect the picture at all, though, so it wasn’t a big deal.
This was my first time developing color film in black and white chems. I was using HC110b (again) and had the film in the developer for 7 minutes at about 66 degrees, and then did my stop bath and fix as usual. When I went to wash the film after I fixed it, it looked absolutely opaque. Solid brown. I freaked out and thought that something had gone horribly wrong. I wound up putting the film back in the developer for 3 minutes, and then did the stop bath and fix again, followed with a minute bleach bath (one glug of bleach to about 500 ml of water). Took the film out and looked at it again, and it looked exactly the same.
That pissed me off, and I did an abbreviated wash, fixer remover, other wash, and hypo because I thought the film was rubbish. However, when I went to go hang it up after all this, I could see that yes, actually, there were images on the film. Go figure. So, lesson be learned – when you cross process C41 film in black and white negs, don’t be too freaked out if your film is really really dark, and looks like it didn’t develop while its reeled up.
Even with the really dark negs, it scanned in beautifully. I got a nice, cold, faintly purple cast to the scanned in pics. The only Photoshopping I did was to resize and remove some hairs.
It’s better viewed large.
I like the Shur Shot. Out of all of my cameras that take 116 film, it has the best viewfinders. The next 116 camera I was going to try was my beat-to-hell antique Kodak Autographic 2A bellows camera. I’ve used this before with a spool of 120. Results were sketchy. I suspect I have light leaks in the camera. The frame advance window was popped out so I replaced it with a developed negative (that actually seems to work really well). The film advance key thingy wants to pop out of place and cause havoc to where my film is situated. Also, the viewfinder only works if you’re taking vertical pictures, which, of course, means that I’m only going to want to take horizontal pictures. In spite of all this, the camera is lovely. Even though it’s all beat-up, it’s absolutely gorgeous and the shutter is still snappy. So, if the weather ever cooperates (or even if it doesn’t), using this with respooled 116 backing paper is going to be one of my next adventures.