Classic Film for Classic Camera

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Two23, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I haven't owned a 35mm camera since 2005, but last week I lost my mind and bought a Leica IIIc made in 1942, with Elmar 5cm f3.5 and Jupiter 35mm f2.8. Will likely get an Elmar 90mm f4 as well. The 5cm f3.5 is uncoated, and the 90mm probably will be too. I like the look. SO, I'm looking for some film that will give me a classic 1940s look. I already use HP5 in my Rolleiflex and Chamonix 045n and really like its smoothness. I shoot Efke 25 in my Chamonix when using pre-Civil War lenses, but I think this is too slow for the Leica. What's out there in the ISO 100 range that would be a nice complement for a 1940s Leica? I'm after "vintage" more than TMax/Delta sharpness.


    Kent in SD
     
  2. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Efke or Foma 100? I've also found that Delta 3200 can look really beautiful if shot in daylight at ASA 800 but then pulled down in Rodinal. really grainy, but a very certain aesthetic.
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    May I suggest that since Oskar Barnack's original Leica prototype, the Ur-Leica, was intended to test the film speed of movie film that you shoot a movie film. Eastman Double-X 5222 will approximate the look and grain of the early motion picture films. Develop it in HC-110 or Rodinal.
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    +1 for Fomapan, Efke and Double-X. I use them all and together with those lenses and Rodinal you should get the look that you are looking for.

    On my deviantart gallery I always put which film and developer I used - you can search for those combination if you like :smile:
     
  5. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Personally I would go with Fomapan, with these old lenses it gives a look that suits the whole idea of classic, a look of the time when the cameras were made and the normal cameras of the time, which is why I use fomapan, plus I like the film a lot.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Congratulations on your choice and I envy you the experience to come when you put a film through it, process and print. It is almost like making an archaeological find, which you have not yet completely unwrapped. When you handle it you may wonder who has used it before. What classic images have been flashed on its focal plane? What characteristics and image nuances will these lenses reveal? I’m sure whatever film you use; it will not spoil the fun. Why not post a result from your first film on the gallery?
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  8. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Kent, you might find the following thread interesting:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/34307-pre-war-1930s-look.html

    I don't wish to demystify the subject, but I find the "vintage" look depends on many more components of the system, not just vintage lens plus well selected film. In my book an uncoated (5 cm) Elmar is vintage looking only when really pushed outside its comfort zone: when used wide open in flare-prone situations. Stopped down a little or a bit more, with a deep shade attached to a clean example and it will look just like other excellent lenses, it's a Tessar after all, a lens type I have enormous respect for.

    Much of the vintage look in my opinion comes from the paper, the enlarging lens and the fact that exposure was often off a little. Today's excellent six-element EL lenses haven't hit the market yet by that time and not everyone had the money to buy a special (four-element) lens just for enlarging, so they used their Elmar also for that. If you'd like to mimic the look of the vintage enlargements from 35 mm negs that were slightly unsharp corner to corner, you need to take a step or two backwards in your EL setup.

    Paper was different and this is apparent when there are vintage and contemporary enlargements next to each other. Today's MG IV's base is noticably brighter than vintage (bright base) papers and I didn't even mention those that had whites not unlike on tea-toned cyanotypes, out of the box.

    Quite a lot of photographers liked to tweak the published developer formulas and a lot of film was processed in deep tanks, using replenished developers. MQ formulae were very popular, but so were the fine-grain ones based on PPD, glycin. You might find the books of e.g. Hans Windisch will have a lot on 35 mm technique of the day. And films were much slower. During the war, most photographers were not allowed to be picky, they used whatever was available.

    On the other hand, well-made contact prints or moderate enlargements can and often do look modern, this is also why I'm a little confused what "vintage" actually means.

    Although a lot depends on the materials, I think it's more rewarding to bend your usual materials to get a "vintage" look out of them.
     
  9. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    Aron--

    While I do own a Nikon pro DSLR system, about two years ago I just got tired of all the shots looking the same same same. High color saturation, extreme sharpness, and a sort of "digital" look to them. At the same time, I have been collecting vintage photos, mostly from between 1890 and 1930. I'm aware there are paper differences, and the film has changed also. I have pretty much stayed with uncoated lenses and have picked up several lenses made pre-1860, several made 1900-1925, and also have a 1951 Rollei and 1937 Bessa 6x9. The lenses alone are giving me a great look. I'm not trying to exactly duplicate a photo from 1930s etc., but I'm more trying to catch the feel. So far, I've been fairly happy with what I get from HP5 in medium and large format. I love the history of these cameras & lenses, love the mystery of who owned them before, and enjoy the challenge of using them today. Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!


    Kent in SD
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    For 35mm from that time I would use Forma 400 developed in D 75 or 777, printed on Salvich glassy number 2 or 3, think W H Smith or Henri Cartier Bresson.
     
  11. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I was thinking how much influence for getting "vintage look" has subject itself?
    For sure you will get more vintage look taking photos in some old village then from Tokyo car show :smile:.
     
  12. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    The film speeds at that time were very slow by today's standards, and partly what contributes to what we refer to as "vintage" look. Fortunately one film/developer combination is still around from that time, and it's Efke 25 & Rodinal. I shoot Rollei Ortho 25 regularly, as well as the Efke. Both are excellent films.

    The Rolleipan 200 is very similar to Agfapan, which I always used to photograph WW2 battleships & submarines, because of delivering that same tonality. If that's the look you're going for, Rolleipan 200 would be the way to go. If you're searching for an earlier look, the Efke 25 & Efke 100 would be the way to go, processed in Rodinal.

    Good luck, and congratulations on a fine camera.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi kent

    its about the developer as much as it is the film --
    why not process the film in something they would have used
    in the 40s, like dilute dektol or a print plate/film / "universal" developer.
    new developers are great, but old - school really brings out the look that they had back in the day...

    have fun !
    john
     
  14. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    +1

    I have a Leica IIIa, manufactured date 1935, coupled with the Summar 50/2 I regularly use Efke 25 with much success. It is a fun camera to use, I use it as much as my M2. Slow film is no problem for these old cameras, use it and enjoy it. :smile: Rolleijoe has the right idea, I also use Rodinal for development.
     
  15. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    How about Adox CHS 25 Art? Adox says these are the old emulsions. As said above, using the right developer contributes to the 'look'. D-76 has been around about as long as anything.
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The classic look that the OP wishes to emulate was determined by the following factors.

    1. The films of the time were orthochromatic. This altered the tones of the subject. Foliage was lighter and shadows were more open. The sky was usually featureless with no clouds. Reds were darker which changed skin tones.
    2. Film emulsions were thicker than modern film and had coarse grain. This caused dispersion and softening of the image.
    3. Films were slow which forced the use of more static subjects.
    4. Lenses made before WWII were uncoated and subject to flare.
    5. Subject determined factors; the models clothes, makeup, hair style, etc. Also older technology -- large radios in the home and no TV, older style cars, etc.
    6. In an age without the strobe light more attention was made to natural lighting assisted by flash bulbs or flash powder.

    As can be seen from the incomplete list above, film was only part of the look of old photos.
     
  17. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    If you want a vintage look you need more than vintage lenses. Start with a film closer to what was available. Until about 1950 the fastest film generally available was Super XX with a Weston rating of 100. The most commonly available 35mm film during WWII was DuPont Superior #2 with a Weston Speed of 50. Efke 25 comes close to these in structure and speed. The curve will be more like DuPont because Super XX had a straight line curve which is not really approached today.
    Vintage developers are another necessity - D-23,D-76, etc.
    Papers are another story since cadmium and other chemicals common in the old papers are not allowed today. Best alternative would be hand coated POP.