quality of a picture and using old equipment

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tralala, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Tralala

    Tralala Member

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    Hi guys, I'm Jo and I'm new here.

    I have a silly question. I have a film enlarger from the early 70's (I think) and a great camera from the same time, they both work just fine. I want to build my own B&W darkroom, using both of them. I was wondering if the quality of the pictures that are taken by my old camera and are developed using my 70's enlarger, will look like they were taken back then during the 70's. Don't get me wrong, I want my pictures to have this "old" look and quality, and I want them to look like they were taken back then. I'm just not quite sure if the enlarger and the camera are all that it takes, since I'll obviously use new films and papers.

    Do you understand what I'm asking? It's very important to me to be as "authentic" as possible, and I believe some of you will undestand my strange caprice.

    Thanks:D
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I cannot answer your question, but thought it an interesting one; so I just thought I would offer a welcome to the forum, and wish you well on your quest.
     
  3. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    You might be surprised, though to be fair you did not mention exactly what you have to use. The late 1970s through early 1980s was a golden era of very well made lenses in many formats. Quite a few choices from that time would give better results than much newer gear.

    I think what might give some of the look from that era was not quite so great printing, at least in magazines and books. There were some good images from that era that were published, though print quality is probably not quite as good as today, especially off commercial presses.

    One thing that might help more than the gear, in your quest, would be to use film that was available during that time. One excellent choice of that era was Kodak TRI-X, which is largely unchanged today. You can also still get Kodak Plus-X, an ISO 125 film, which will help you achieve that older look in your images.

    Much of the gear I use professionally comes from the late 1970s through early 1980s, with a few exceptions. When you use that era of lens with modern films, especially some of the newer ISO 100 choices, they don't give results that look old and out of another time . . . you really need to go with older films (Plus-X, TRI-X, or AGFA APX100) to emulate an older look.

    Your enlarger is another item to consider. Some B/W papers from that 1970s era are not available, though you still have some choices for that older look. Try investigating Kentmere and Ilford papers, and I think you will find some to give a more authentic look. Hopefully a few other people will chime in on this thread, and give you some more choices in papers.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  4. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    You've also got to dress your models with 70's clothes and have them model their hair in the 70's style... it can be fun...
     
  5. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Greetings Jo, and welcome to APUG!
    You don't mention what kind of photography you plan to do. Are you planning to shoot fashion of the '70's, landscapes, photojournalism, nature, portraits....? And film format: 35mm, medium format...?
    I first got serious about photography in the '70's, and I shot with 35mm and my brother's Rolleiflex TLR. Black and white films from that era are still available, as mentioned by others, though they have been improved, but not at the expense of their "classic look."
    The '70's look that you wish to reproduce might depend less on your equipment than on such things as lighting or shooting styles. Without knowing what type of photos you wish to take, it's hard to give advice.
     
  6. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Gee the '70s, that was what last month :smile:

    Were you thinking B&W or Color? And Welcome to APUG!!
     
  7. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Welcome to APUG. You might want to try EFKE 100 for a classic look. Good equipment from the 70's is good equipment period. Newer equipment won't give you materially better images, but will give you more electronics, gizmos and whirlygigs to entertain you and break down at the most inopportune time.

    I just won an Agfa Isolette with a 85/4.5 Solinar on ebay. The lens is uncoated so the camera is probably WWII vintage. The results from this simple folder are outstanding. Under optimal conditions, the results are hard to tell from my Rolleiflex.

    What I'm saying is that film and paper will give more of a "classic" look than equipment will. IMHO anyway.
     
  8. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    I also suggest you try efke films, and develop them in Rodinal or D76. The results I get from these combinations reminds me a lot of the photos published in my fathers photo magazines from the 70’s.

    A few years ago I tried to replicate the look of a portfolio made by an Italian photographer in the late 60’s. It was shot on 35mm Tri-X and developed in D76, but I could not reproduce the grainy and punchy look it had using current Tri-X (400 TX) film in D76. But I came close when I exposed 400 TX at box speed and overdeveloped it somewhat in TMAX developer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2007
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    What's going to give you that 70's look is rating your tri-x at faster than box speed (640, 800) and pushing it in a really potent developer, like D76 straight, or even in Dektol 1:3.
     
  10. Kobin

    Kobin Member

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    I have a Crown Graphic from about '53 and an enlarger from the 40's. Using a lens from 1907 and traditional (old-style) film developed in the oldest continuously manufactured film developer, I can't say that I've produced but one retro-looking image. But then, I haven't really tried.

    K.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your 70's equipment potentially should be just as good as anything available now. A good 70's SLR from one of the top 5 manufacturers will be better built than the majority of late 90's early 21st C equivalents.

    It's the films and papers that have changed and improved most significantly.

    Ian
     
  12. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Yup.

    I haven't bought a new 35mm lens in a long time. I suspect most of the glass I've bought in the last 5 years was made from 1975 to 199o ish but I'm guessing.

    I haven't a single autofocus anything. I can't quite get used to plastic lenses.

    You'll find a wealth of great cameras and lenses out there for a song.

    Ian's right. Film and paper are among the key elements to a 70s look, along with the "style" of that era. Dig into magasines from the 70's and get a handle on the way ads and editorial shooting were done. I suspect that between Tri-X for BW - which isn't a fully modern formulation, and photoshopping color films (which I'm guessing are unobtainable in elder formulations), you may be able to capture the flavor of an era.

    Best,

    C
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    There are lots of ways to get that old look because that old look is not one but a nuimber of looks associated with times past. One of the most technically perfect shots I have evr taken was on a Goerz folder (Circa 1917-20) with an uncoated lens. Printed to 17 inches off Pan F you would not know that it was not shot of any modern 6x9. Has ample resolution and everything else. Standing next to a shot off GW690 you would probably have a good gues at which was which but standing alone you would have no idea that this was from a 90 year old camera, really. The other frames on the roll you would...terrible flare!!!!

    ps I should add that ignoring all other factors and looking at the print and 'feeling it' it is up there in my favourite top 5 prints and I suspect always will be. This single frame completely changed the way I saw photography, cameras and the creative process. I shot one 'real use' roll with it and will never use it again.
     
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  15. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    OOOps. And a warm welcome!!

    Rgds
     
  16. Tralala

    Tralala Member

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    WOW! Thank you guys, you made my day, I am so grateful!

    I'm 20 years old and an amateur, and I have no experience with b&w darkroom maintenance whatsoever. It's an old childhood dream.

    I'm planning to take photographs of people during their everyday routine but not only.

    Some people tell me I should give up and buy a new digital camera, but having my own darkroom is far more exciting.

    Thanks again, you guys are great! and thanks for the greetings, I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot during my stay!
     
  17. pcyco

    pcyco Member

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    hallo

    "Some people tell me I should give up and buy a new digital camera"
    i think they want your darkroom :D.

    i hear that every day. i will never do that.

    i also use a camera from the seventies an durst 301 (i think also seventies). but the photos allways look up-to-date.
    only the photos from my last trip (i used supermarketfilms from fuji in a viewfindercamera from pentax and the photos are printed with a white frame around) they look extreme retro. and when i look at them i know why. the colours and the frames. the colours are not so "overdressed", and the white frames give me the feeling of seeing photos in my grandmothers photobook.

    ag

    thomas
     
  18. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Make your prints on GLOSSY RC paper with sufficient contrast so as the image really "pops". :smile:
     
  19. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Don't give up!! APUG is your Support Group! :smile:
    And you're right, a darkroom is far more exciting than a computer. You go, girl!
     
  20. John Curran

    John Curran Member

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    Having your own darkroom is not only exciting, but you're probably better off learning the original analogue techniques that digital photography spends so much time emulating anyway.

    I too shoot a 70's vintage Nikon F2 as well as 40's vintage Graphlex 4x5s. I would agree with the other posters, the 70's look is definitely in the films and papers, not the cameras.

    I also own a digital point and shoot camera, it makes a great light meter!

    Oh and welcome to APUG.

    John
     
  21. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Dressing models for the "old" look.

    On the other hand, undressed models can have that timeless look.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Tie-dyed tee shirt, love beads, bell bottom pants, boots, a joint, Alice B. Toklas brownies, black light posters, listen to Cheech and Chong, Hendrix, Joplin, Cream, drop some acid ...

    yeah that should do it!

    Welcome to APUG,
    Steve
     
  23. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Welcome to Apug, always good to see people resisting the urge to take the easy way out with digital. From my own experience and glancing at books from that era (is it really old) the "style" revolved around wide angle lenses and extreme contrast and grain in the prints.
    I remember shooting Tri-X with a Pentax Spotmatic and 28mm lens, then developing it in Dektol (a paper developer) after rating it at 3200 iso. All the go at the time and it certainly had the "look".

    Cheers, Tony
     
  24. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG. If you tell us what your camera and enlarger are, we might be able to offer more specific comments.

    Another common feature of late 60s-70s prints was the use of grade 3 paper with a condenser enlarger.
    juan
     
  25. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    Tri-X still has the look of the 1970's, in terms of tonal response, but the grain is a lot finer. If you want the grainy 1970's look, try Rodinal for developing, or D-76 1:1.

    The other part of the 1970's look was the color films. Kodachrome 64 is not that different from it's 1978 look. But the Ektachromes have so much better color now, with less of the ice blue look. Color negative films are much better than Kodacolor-X and Kodacolor II. However, I think the color papers improved even more than the films, scanning 1960 Kodacolor negatives yields much better results than the period prints. Duplicating those murky 1970's color prints will be hard without digital post-processing.
     
  26. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    Also, yes, 1970's cameras and optics are definitely up to snuff, so long as you avoid the early zoom lenses.

    Heck, my 1905 Pony Premo No. 4 view camera takes excellent pictures. But the lens is slow, a little faster than f/11.