6x9 Kodak folders and appropriate film choice?
I posted this in the "antiques" section because my question is historically oriented. On the other hand my antiques are weekly shooters so the moderator may see fit to move the thread to another forum.
I have used Yashica TLRs for a decade with good results. My 60s era Yashica lens produced negatives with pretty good sharpness and contrast on modern color and black and white negatives. The results are in the same quality ballpark as my Nikon with a prime lens. One day my GAS caused a craving for negatives bigger than 2 1/4 inches square.
I bought a Kodak Tourist 6x9 folding camera. It is the most basic model of 1949 with a one speed shutter and Kodet lens, but it's in perfect condition and fully functional with adjustable aperture. I had heard that it was soft, but I wanted to see if it was the sort of soft I could use, or just plain fuzzy. I have the original manual for focus and depth of field data. I ran three rolls of Ilford HP5+ through it using a Sekonic meter for incident metering. I respooled from the 120 factory spool to 620 myself without any problems. The film was exposed at EI 400.
I expected that the basic uncoated doublet lens would have low contrast, but it was so surprisingly soft/fuzzy that I think it will be a display piece.
HOWEVER, I was so enamored of the Tourist's robust construction quality that I sought out the same Kodak Tourist with a higher quality Anaston lens and multi speed shutter. This lens has a front element focus with basic distance markings. I shot a test roll of HP5 using a Nikon prime lens to measure distances and the Sekonic for exposures.
The negatives from the Anaston lens were sharper at every aperture setting. The distance scale was accurate from five feet to infinity, but wrong at shorter distances that I won't use anyway. Even though the negatives were much SHARPER than the cheaper lens results, they shared the same dramatically low contrast compared to every other camera I've ever used.
I used ISO 400 film because the maximum aperture of the '49 Anaston lens is f/8,8. The shutter speeds are 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, but with a 100mm lens I would prefer to shoot at the fast speed to prevent motion blur. In order to increase the contrast I'm thinking of pushing the film to 1600 and processing accordingly. It stops down to a minimum of f/32.
My first antique/historic question is this: Wouldn't the consumer films Kodak intended for this camera have been shot at around ISO 100 for BW or ISO 64 for color? The instruction manual does not give speeds in numbers or anything like exposure data, just general advice for circumstances. It seems to me that it would be very difficult to shoot such slow film with such a camera without either "the shakes" or frequent underexposure. There is a tripod socket, but there is no threaded cable release or self timer on this model, which seems to defeat the purpose of the tripod socket since you have to push the shutter.
Second historic film question: My granny's collection of 6x9 negatives from the 40s look more contrasty than mine from this week, pretty much like my properly exposed negatives from a modern camera minus sharpness. I know for a fact she only ever had basic consumer grade cameras and lenses, nothing fancy. Was the FILM back then dramatically more contrasty to make up for low contrast lenses?