Is it the camera or the film?
I recently was given a Rolleiflex 2.8C and am extremely excited to get back to film. The camera is in excellent shape and everything works fine. The only flaw that I could find at all was that the taking lens has the very faintest of what looks like a smudge. I went to the biggest photo store in the area and after quite a bit of digging in the back fridge the sales associate produced the only roll of 120 film that they had left, which was Kodak B&W TMax 400. I took it home, loaded it up and ran a test roll in the back yard. It has been a long time since I shot film and I did not have a light meter so I shot some at f8 and some at f5.6 with a shutter speed around 100 (sorry if my tech talk isn't up to par, I'm extremely rusty). I'll also mention that my backyard is partially shaded but there was lots of early evening light. I picked up the developed film today, not expecting perfection due to my exposure guessing, but I'm not sure what to make of the results. Half of the pics are what I expected - a little on the gray side and grainy but otherwise okay. The other half of the pictures are a different story. The bottom half of these pics look as expected, but the top half varies from very light to completely white out. It's on the negatives as well. Is this due to bad film, bad processing, or something with the camera (like maybe a light leak or the smudge on the lens or something more sinister?).
You missed the most likely option, rusty operator.
More seriously, it would help to see the negatives, (a quick scan). My guess is that you have a combination of factors, due to exposure & processing, which weren't close to what was actually required.
It's unlikely you have a light leak in the camera, the shutter might be running a little slow, as for the smudge if it's very faint it may not be a problem.
Get, or borrow a light meter and try again it might make a huge difference.
Hi Alyson, welcome to APUG.
As Ian says, if you could post a scan of the negative, it could help in diagnosing the problem. If you do not have a scanner that will take 120 film, you might be able to get a decent image of the negative by carefully taping the negatives to a window, and photographing them with a digital camera (quick test shot attached). As you can see from the test shot, it is best if you can find a view that does not include distracting background clutter when photographing your negs.
"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision" - Maxi Jazz
Yeah, I'm sure the rusty user has A LOT to do with it. I just want to make sure that it really is me and not the film or processing. I can work on my skills, or I can buy film from another source, but I'm pretty much limited to one place for processing, so if they are the issue then I'm in trouble.
I'm working on getting a light meter, but funds have been low so I have to wait until I get paid again. My digital p&s doesn't give me any readings so that doesn't help.
I took pics of two of the negatives, one that was the worst and another that was not as bad. I don't have a scanner and the negatives are a bit on the dark side, so hopefully you can get some info from them.
I would guess you have some internal camera light leak. You can see the film is unfogged on the sides where it was protected from light by the film rail but you can see it is fogged between frames. There is a little seal that goes behind the lens that might have a problem.
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Arrrrgh, Are ye sure there's nothin' hangin' free behind the lens?
Leaf shutters are notorious for overexposure at the high speeds 400/500.
Check the shutter to make sure it's closing at the end of the exposure. It should snap open & shut. If it's not closing completely at the end of the exposure, it would give additional exposure but I've not seen a hot spot like you have there.
Methinks it's time fer a CLA
Some might say I have a bad attitude! Too bad.
No, I can't see anything hanging behind the lens; everything seems clean and clear aside from the lens itself. The shutter seems okay, too. I've tried all shutter speeds and it quickly closes tight after all speeds and with all apertures. The only thing that seems flawed is that I held the shutter open on the bulb setting and looked through the lens with a loup and the smudge is actually pretty gritty, moreso than I previously thought. I'm including a picture so you can get a little bit of an idea. Could it be haze or fungus? The odd thing is that I didn't notice any of the patterns on the lens on the film.
It could be severe flare, caused by the lens problem, you should ask someone to look at it for you. Maybe get an estimate or even just a yes/no as to whether its worth cleaning or getting repaired
Someone may be able to suggest someone in your locality.
I would suggest sending the camera to Paul Ebel for a service. He's one of the best and has probably the best price for servicing. Search his name here or on Google and you will find him.
That is definitely one of the worst looking lenses I've seen. Your problem may be the lens or, as someone else suggested, something haning down in the inside. Leaf shutters open from the center of the lens, so I can't think how half the image would be affect by the shutter.
First, an observation: It's Tri-X, not T-Max.
Second, a question: You say half the negatives
were okay. Which ones? Can you scan the
contact sheet and post it?
Third, another observation: The two examples
you posted were quite different. The top one
shows some swirly light exposure, bleeding out
into the rebate at the lower right, that suggests
that the film might have been exposed to light
during processing. The bottom one is more of
a puzzle -- the rebates appear clear. It does
not look like a light leak in the camera itself.
If you can post the contact sheet, that would
help a lot to understand what's going on here.