Golden Age of 35mm Photography

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ic-racer, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Recently picked up nine near mint Yashica ML lenses(21/3.5, 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/1.4, 50/1.7, 50/2, 55/4, 28-85 3.5) and 4 FX3/2000 bodies for less then the cost of a single Zeiss lens. Fresh 35mm film is about $1.00 US per roll. Times have never been better for shooting 35mm film!
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    I agree! HAve you used that film before? And would you really get 135 rolls from 400ft?
     
  3. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Please post what you think of that film after you've used some.
     
  4. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I agree, it's amazing what has happened. 35mm film photography is alive and well, and cheaper than ever! People are giving away, or very nearly, gear that once cost a month's salary. My 28mm Tamron cost me all of $5, and I have two tele zooms that were $15 each (one is a Tamron 80-210mm, the other a Nikon Series E 75-150mm). And finally, my F3 with (broken-needed-new-batteries) motor was going to go in the dumpster until I rescued it. The most expensive piece of 35mm gear I own is my 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor and even that was relatively cheap at $100.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Amen, brother! I picked up a 100ft roll of fresh Fomapan 100 off the evil place for $20 including postage, the kids are shooting the whoopies out of it and I don't mind because it's so cheap.
     
  6. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    There is no time like the present - in my opinion today is the golden age of 35mm photography. Despite the rumours and demise of some products there is such a wealth of black and white material today. From my palette ...

    • Ilford's new "fine art paper", some entrenched good products - the delta films and multigrade fb paper
      Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film
      Kodak TriX film
      Some fabulous chemicals and film from Rollei ans Spur
      Re-badged Agfa paper from Adox
      Some lovely stuff from Forma
      And the resurection of Amaloco
    These are just some from top of my head, certainly there is no new hardware from the major manufactures, though the price of second hand cameras and lenses has gone up there is wealth of hardware to be found. Not to mention new rangefinder camera's Certainly today's the day!
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I love it too. My progression in photography has gone like this:

    35mm using Pentax SLR cameras and lenses.
    120 6x6 TLR via a Yashica 12.
    120 6x6 TLR via a Rolleiflex.
    120 645 via a Mamiya 645 system.
    120 6x6 via a Hasselblad 500 series
    4x5 via a Crown Graphic.
    4x5 via an Osaka hand built Japanese camera and a 210 Schneider.
    5x7 via a Century #2 with a couple of brass lenses.
    Back to 120 6x6 via the Hasselblad.
    Back to 35mm via the Pentax SLR and a Leica M2.

    It's as if I had to take the trip up to large format only to realize that my pictures were none the better. It was a very stark realization for me.

    Now I'm perfectly happy with my prints from 35mm and I use TMax 400 / Acros with replenished Xtol, and Tri-X with PMK for a variety in prints regarding texture. You can have it all with the small format, in my opinion.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Maybe if you're up for survivalism and dumpster diving. Cheap C-41 dev/print service is dead or dying across N. America. Who's up for paying pro lab prices for a roll of 24 Superia 200? That's what's taken the fun out of 35mm for me. I'd say 3-5 years ago was probably "peak" 35mm for price/quality on used gear. That's when I was buying the bestest for the leastest in Nikon. Now? Not so much unless "cheap" is your sole criterion.
     
  9. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Some people just like marching down the street carrying signs proclaiming "The end is nigh!"....

    The rest just enjoy life! :smile:
     
  10. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Is that ORWO stuff the OP linked perfed?
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Probably DIY perf.
     
  12. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Availability of standard assortment:
    width length perforation
    35 mm 305 m N-4740 (BH 1866) K-Code
    35 mm 122 m N-4740 (BH 1866) K-Code
    16 mm 122 m 0-2 RB-7605 (1RB 2994) K-Code

    Any of you MP film shooters/projectionists know what these perf codes denote?
     
  13. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

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    Thank you IC racer for the link for ORWO North America. I was not aware that ORWO just launched their North American distribution:
    http://www.orwona.com/
    I contacted them and received ultra fast friendly reply. They also have in stock 100' rolls of their BW negative films!!!
    From 400' roll of film you can roll around 80 - 36 exp cassettes

    CGW- Before fall of Berlin wall, ORWO was second largest producer of photographic material in the world! They had full assortment of BW & color films (photo & movie), chemicals, photo paper, Xray, etc.
     
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  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    That Orwo stuff is movie film with Bell&Howell (BH) perforations
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_perforations

    May or may not run smoothly through your camera, shouldn't be any problem with cameras without sprockets.

    More interestingly, they sell release and duplicating films, but only in 2,000 ft. cans - same $1/roll price, but it will take a long time to go through 320 rolls...

    I wonder if Freestyle would be interested in respooling it into 25ft or so packages like they did with some of the ADOX duplicating films.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2011
  16. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    It's a dollar a roll for 16mm. More for 35mm.
     
  17. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    The perforation is ok for 135 able camera, at least Leica I to IIIc or prewar FED - should be ok in other cams as well.
    I have shot their motion films from before 1989 and were quite good. Low contrast, great tonal scale.
    Was thinking at some point to order some of their new stuff but since Agfa films are still kicking, I just didn't left like order some of the ORWO for plain nostalgic sake. Its never too late thou.
     
  18. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    Nice pickup. I have a pair of FX-3s plus a couple of lenses in the closet and find them to be about all the 35mm SLR I need. All mechanical shutter, the meters in mine yield good exposure information and the lenses are very good. No major shortcomings as a system limiting the quality of the negative or transparency. I do not see any reason to spend more on more complex cameras. If I want better glass, the Contax lenses are much more but unless very critical do not seem worth the cost penalty.
     
  19. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Are you hearing voices?? :whistling::laugh:
     
  20. ciocc

    ciocc Member

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    My progression is almost identical, except I topped out at 8x10, before finally moving back to an Olympus 35RD with Tmax 400. I'm loving it.
     
  21. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    I don't know about you but I'm having a blast with my new/old analog gear! Recently purchased a complete 500c in excellent condition for around $700. Upgraded my Mamiya 645 to the 645 Super with winder grip and metering prism for under $250--again in excellent condition. Dumpster diving--I don't think so. C-41 processing? No problem--get yourself one of the 2 kits on the market (either the Rollei Digimax or the 1 litre kit from Freestyle) and you process your own color cheaply and with excellent quality. I've never had more fun with my craft in the past 40 years than I'm having now. I encourage you to try it again.:munch:
     
  22. lesm

    lesm Member

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    Thomas, would you like to expand on that? Are you saying medium and large format made no difference to the quality of your pictures or that there were no improvements in compositions/impact/whatever? I'm not sure what what you mean by "none the better" but I'm interested, because I've just spent a day in the bush shooting 35mm and really loved the ease of it compared with lugging my Mamiya kit around. I'm beginning to wonder, too. I've just returned to the fold after some years of shooting digital and my first impulse was to go MF. But now I'm getting such a buzz out of using all my old manual prime Pentax lenses at their "proper" focal length on my sweetly simple MX and MG and the joyful simplicity of a Retina 1b I picked up recently. I've just started building my darkroom and I guess when I start printing MF and 35mm that'll be the moment of truth, but right now 35mm is giving me goose bumps.
     
  23. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Try not to feed the digi-trolls.
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Well, 'quality' is such a subjective term that I can only give my own account here, and I will try to explain so it's clear.

    What it boils down to is that I think most photographers spend way too much time on technical aspects of the process, and perhaps not enough time exposing film and printing it.

    Over the years I have learned a thing or two about printing, and am now at a level where I can make prints that I am 99% happy with. There is always room for improvement, but I believe it's here where some people continue chasing the last percent, and others focus on developing other aspects of photography, like better use of light, gesture, framing, mood, emotion, etc. I think that I belong mostly in the group that tries to always improve how I see and perceive photographs, and have since a while back left that 1% behind. (Some will claim they do both, and if they can, more power to them. I don't have the urge, or the time to).

    So, about quality. I am often commended for the print quality of my photographs. Many can't believe that they view prints from 35mm originals. This isn't an attempt to promote my skills as a printer - in the company of some of the truly great printers here at APUG, it would be foolish to. But the point it, I think my print quality is pretty good.
    The argument then about using the Hasselblad instead of the Pentax or Leica takes on a different meaning. I use the Leica a lot; it's employed for portraits and for when I grab a camera that's easy to carry to take along. If I need to get really close, I use the Pentax and extension tubes. I still use my Hasselblad, but it isn't really for anything other than a square negative, exchangeable backs, and the beautiful way in which the lenses 'draw' the picture. It doesn't feel at all necessary, in terms of raw picture quality, to use the Hasselblad (or a sheet film camera) for the sake of just raw picture quality. That isn't even a consideration.

    The end result is that I can make 16x20" prints from 35mm negatives that I am completely happy with, while using a camera that I can hand hold for the most part, be quick and swift with, react to moments that otherwise just flow right past me without enough time to set up a 4x5" camera on a tripod. That to me is tremendously powerful, and the freedom it allows me to just focus on the pictures I value 10,000 times more than a relatively small gain in raw picture quality, and the added benefit is that since I'm more flexible with HOW I can use the camera, I find that I record more pictures that I am happy with. That's what I want my photography to be about, getting prints that I am happy with. The rest is highly immaterial by comparison, and that's what I mean when I say that a larger negative doesn't insure better pictures or better prints. It's a combination of print quality, ease of use, and the ability to actually get the shot before it's too late.

    That's how I live in my photography life, and this uncluttered existence, where I don't think so much in terms of ultimate print quality, has liberated how I work, and I am happier than ever with both my results, and the shooting itself.
     
  25. lesm

    lesm Member

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    Thanks, Thomas, that's very clear and I agree with much of what you say, particularly the point about "ease of use and the ability to actually get the shot before it's too late." I spent this morning in a woolshed photographing a shearing gang at work. I had to move quickly, bending and stretching to keep out of their way and because the shearers were bent double I had to be on my knees to get any kind of shot of their faces. I couldn't possibly have done that with my Mamiya 645 and a hand-held meter. (I couldn't use a flash either - it might have startled the sheep and upset the shearers. Definitely not a good thing to do!). 35mm was the only way to go.
    I'm encouraged by your comments about your printing experiences with 35mm. It helps give me some kind of target to aim for. Cheers for that.

    Les
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Les,

    I too believe Thomas made great points about quality and I too enjoy 35mm's flexibility and automation on occasion, but I don't see "couldn't" and "only" as really applying here, there are very few absolutes when making photographs. I think that is part of what Thomas is getting at.

    For example if I were in that shearing barn I'd have probably chosen my RB with a waist level finder, instead of 35mm. The intent is not necesarily to get a bigger negative but so that I wouldn't have to be on my knees so much and to be able to more easily get a floor level perspective.

    In camera metering also isn't a big issue for me. Regardless of the camera in use manual settings are my norm, I typically meter with a handheld once for a given lighting situation, then meter once again when the light changes. I rarely let any camera decide what the exposure should be.

    In the shearing barn I'd have taken four quick readings so that I'd know what to set the camera at depending on the direction I was shooting.

    These choices work for me, not everybody cares about floor level perspectives and if metering every shot is important in somebody else's style/system so be it.