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12-02-2008, 08:13 PM   #1
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Travelling with Limiteds (using Film) - New York Edition

if you're lazy to read but like pictures, please check out my New York Select Gallery here Zenfolio | Simon Tam | Best Selection
would love to get any feedback especially negative feedback

Introduction


A while back in the summer I wrote the thread Travelling with Limiteds. This is part 2, more pictures and hopefully better. it encompasses a bunch of topics, film, digital slr, p&s.

this was my first and maybe last trip where i could photograph to my heart's content. i was on my own for 4 days. went down to B&H grabbed a crapload of film: 20 Press 800, 5 x Provia 100, 400UC, 400H, Tri-X. really wanted to try out what film was all about.

A Film Body?

first of all impressions of shooting with a ZX-5n. fantastic. it's a great camera, with classic style ergonomics and big viewfinder with modern technology of AF and Matrix Metering. the AF is better than my K100D, hunts less and is faster, no MF for me. the Matrix Metering seems alright (hard to tell with processed film), although for dark scenes, it will tend to significant underexposure. the shutter is so much quieter and smoother than the K100D, i believe that and the lighter weight of the body allowed me to handhold at 1/20 or even slower with the FA31 and sometimes even the FA43.

i very much enjoyed the film experience. everytime i would take a picture, i'd stare at the camera back and realized there was nothing there. it is very relieving not to have to chimp any more. with digital, i'd take a bazillion photos and scrutinize them on the tiny screen at maximum magnification. with my film photos, i've lost the urge to pixel peep. although one negative is that i have no idea what the EXIF is like and i'm too lazy to take notes.

400UC FA31 - the bokeh is fantastic


Fuji 400H (low saturation) Kodak 400UC (ultra colour) and Press 800 (i.e. better kept Superia 800)

between 400H and 400UC, the 400UC is supposed to be more saturated and i used that at the MET, however the difference wasn't as significant as i thought it would be. however, i prefer the slightly more muted colours of the 400H, but it was still able to present punchy colours when needed. Press 800 (i.e. refrigerated same batch Superia X-tra) is incredibly versatile. i got it developed at Downtown Camera in Toronto, $5.50 develop, $5 6MP jpeg scan, film came out uncut. no problems at all. these three films after scanning look remarkably good, the grain is very good (except for photos where the processing compensated for my underexposure). i in fact much prefer the film grain to electronic noise. for some reason too i have way more keepers with film than digital, maybe because i try to be more steady handholding and make sure that i get in a quality shot.

400H followed by 400UC FA31




Press 800


The Film Look

as well, if you like the look of film, then there's not as much PP to do. take the example of this famous wedding photographer Riccis Valladares | Fine Art Wedding Photography | Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Miami.
QuoteQuote:
My workflow is actually a breeze and, this was one of the reasons I went back to film, because of the simplified workflow. See, I was spending way too much time trying to make my digital work look like film and decided to use film to begin with.
Who still shoot films professionally - Seite 2 - Leica User Forum

400UC FA31


can digital do this? 400UC FA31


Back to the Lenses

So i brought all my lenses, 3 x FA L and DA 55-300. I carried the DA for few days and was didn't use it once. i will never bring it on vacation again. with the K100D, i didn't really appreciate wide angle lenses, however with the FA31 on film, it makes much more sense. however the star of the show is the FA43 + Film Body combination, the combination is light and responsive and i handheld the camera without a strap, superb for street photography. as well on film, usual issues like CA, PF and vignetting are not as big of a problem.

400H FA43 2x




Press 800 FA43


but as the star, it had to take a back seat, and i didn't use it as much as i would have liked. it was not wide enough in many cases and when there isn't enough light (especially using ISO 400 film indoors no flash) then having a shorter focal length allows for handholding a slower speed. the speed of the lenses is extremely useful for film, without f2, i would have been screwed numerous times. and the lenses never really let me down. however, in the end there are no favourites, use the lens that's most appropriate for the situation. all three lenses are good enough that there's very little compromise in choosing one over the other.

this choice of lens usage was weird in comparsion to my last vacation where i'd use the FA43 and FA77 on crop factor a lot more than the DA21 i had along. but it is great to use these lenses for their intended purpose, it's as close to using M lenses on a RF as i'll get.

400UC FA31


400H FA31


Heavy Bags

my tenba messenger bag is big and has lots of room for other stuff but its too heavy. i had 3 FA Limiteds, K100D, ZX-5n with an IXUS 75 in my jacket pocket and by the end of the day i was hurting. maybe i'm a wuss, but i'd prefer my next vacation not to be like this. i'm eagerly waiting the Oly m4/3 camera. Recently the TOP Blog has had quite a few articles about heavy bags. The Online Photographer: Beast of Burden Beware. If your camera bag starts to detract from the fun, then something isn't right. i noticed that i had to correct all my photos because they were not level.

Tried an RF

i also had the chance to try a Bessa R3A and couldn't really get used to the RF patch system. no more RF craving for me.

Always bring a P&S


bringing a P&S is handy for those tight squeeze kinda photos or random socials

IXUS 75


DSLR is still good

i think DSLR does have a huge advantage at night time stuff, and here chimping ensures that i get exactly what i want

K100D FA31


and of course digital is great for events too where machine gunning is the way to go

K100D FA31



Last edited by k100d; 12-02-2008 at 08:28 PM.
12-02-2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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I really appreciate this thread and am a little suprised by the results.... last time I shot colour film in volume, it was 400 superia x-tra past its prime in the australian outback. add a couple of x-ray passes and some cheap lenses, and I wasn't so impressed.

The press 800 looks passable on screen, the 400's look clean as well, though it's hard to tell due to the small image size. The exposures look pretty bang on, but as you said, the lab scanned and auto-corrected. Did you shoot manual or one of the AE modes?

I'm going to read those links now, and grab a roll of C41 when I finish the Delta 400 in my MX now. I also know what you mean about the RF patch, I thought I'd be more enthused than I was.
12-02-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great write up and pics. Very useful as I'm trying to use my film bodies more. Of course I don't have any FA Limited's (Yet!)
12-02-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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Pretty good, though like Soars said, I'd like to see some higher-res images.

I do love the look of film, when it's subtle, and you nailed it. The very tiny colour shift - green for Fuji (that 4th colour layer) and gold for Kodak. The softness that you cannot emulate in digital, from the silver grains. The solidity of saturated film (that 400UC shot gets there; slide film gets there and keeps on going) - looks like the image was carved from coloured acrylic. And the grain.

And those lenses pull some detail - Leica wishes it could pull that sharpness, but can't reach it for under five grand. And Leica has nothing that can match the contrast you get from SMC.

12-02-2008, 10:33 PM   #5
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Great write up. Great pictures. I love the dynamic range of the shot with the umbrella of lights above, and the colour range in the shot with the orange lit archways...

I've got some out of date (expired 2005) lford SFX 200 in my P30 SLR right now and I'm shooting with the Nokton, Zeiss and 77mm limited to see what results I get... I too keep looking at the back of the camera after each shot is taken lol

I must get out and finish the roll this week.. maybe I'll try downtown camera for developing too.

Thanks!
12-02-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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That first shot with the FA31- now I know why people say it has a 3d look! Great pics!
12-02-2008, 10:56 PM   #7
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Nice shots. It makes me want to dust off my old ZX-10(or the ME Super I got 6 months ago and have never used) and take it out for a day.
12-02-2008, 11:16 PM   #8
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Great series of images. I can see why you like the 31 and 43 Limiteds. 'They' say that digital at 12-14+ mpx is approaching film quality. I've seen some really good stuff from the K20D but I've not gotten there yet.

12-03-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
Great series of images. I can see why you like the 31 and 43 Limiteds. 'They' say that digital at 12-14+ mpx is approaching film quality. I've seen some really good stuff from the K20D but I've not gotten there yet.
QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
Nice shots. It makes me want to dust off my old ZX-10(or the ME Super I got 6 months ago and have never used) and take it out for a day.
QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
That first shot with the FA31- now I know why people say it has a 3d look! Great pics!
QuoteOriginally posted by Light_Horseman Quote
Thanks for the great write up and pics. Very useful as I'm trying to use my film bodies more. Of course I don't have any FA Limited's (Yet!)
thanks for looking ... i'm sure the pictures would have turned out just as well using similar lenses, but i really enjoy the build quality of the lenses

QuoteOriginally posted by lbam Quote
Great write up. Great pictures. I love the dynamic range of the shot with the umbrella of lights above, and the colour range in the shot with the orange lit archways...

I've got some out of date (expired 2005) lford SFX 200 in my P30 SLR right now and I'm shooting with the Nokton, Zeiss and 77mm limited to see what results I get... I too keep looking at the back of the camera after each shot is taken lol

I must get out and finish the roll this week.. maybe I'll try downtown camera for developing too.

Thanks!
the dynamic range is truly impressive, from the details on the people's jacket to being able to count each individual light bulb, i was beyond impressed. i've never shot a film SLR before and examined the results this closely

bad thing with DT Camera is that they take a week to process edit:B&W film

Last edited by k100d; 12-04-2008 at 07:12 AM.
12-03-2008, 05:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
I really appreciate this thread and am a little suprised by the results.... last time I shot colour film in volume, it was 400 superia x-tra past its prime in the australian outback. add a couple of x-ray passes and some cheap lenses, and I wasn't so impressed.

The press 800 looks passable on screen, the 400's look clean as well, though it's hard to tell due to the small image size. The exposures look pretty bang on, but as you said, the lab scanned and auto-corrected. Did you shoot manual or one of the AE modes?

I'm going to read those links now, and grab a roll of C41 when I finish the Delta 400 in my MX now. I also know what you mean about the RF patch, I thought I'd be more enthused than I was.
i'm pretty disappointed i couldn't use the bessa, i was really looking forward to buying one.

with some of the night photos, i had to PP and adjust the exposure down because of the compensation from the lab. but i totally relied on AE mode, sometimes switching between matrix and centerweight. here is the original of one of the above w/o pp adjustment. it has that grey look due to underexposure.




QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Pretty good, though like Soars said, I'd like to see some higher-res images.

I do love the look of film, when it's subtle, and you nailed it. The very tiny colour shift - green for Fuji (that 4th colour layer) and gold for Kodak. The softness that you cannot emulate in digital, from the silver grains. The solidity of saturated film (that 400UC shot gets there; slide film gets there and keeps on going) - looks like the image was carved from coloured acrylic. And the grain.

And those lenses pull some detail - Leica wishes it could pull that sharpness, but can't reach it for under five grand. And Leica has nothing that can match the contrast you get from SMC.
glad you commented lithos, you're one of the big film pushers on this forum. for the longest time i wondered why people still shoot film, after i got the photos processed, i understood.

here are some 100% of the 6 MP Noritsu scans

400H


400UC


Press 800
12-03-2008, 06:09 PM   #11
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Oooo la la...those are some fine pics!

Good film work!

Steve
12-03-2008, 07:13 PM   #12
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I love shooting film with the Limiteds. It's like using a completely different set of lenses compared to using them on digital. I was just doing that today, in fact.
12-03-2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing. It is nice seeing some more normal/muted colors these days, when so many shots are oversaturated.
12-03-2008, 08:01 PM   #14
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Nice thread!

And some nice pics!

Question: overall would you say the most satisfaction came from shooting film for film's sake or was it using the Limiteds in the true focal length format that they designed for?

Max
12-03-2008, 08:43 PM   #15
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I was a film shooter & I'm never going back.

Valladares is right here in my neighborhood almost. Not sure I appreciate what he offers up on his web site (perhaps it's just me), and his statement leads me to suspect that he chose film for his own benefit rather than the benefit of his clients. If you're taking great photos right off the bat, you don't need a bunch of post-process, but it sure is nice to have it available.

It has been my recent experience that people expect more that what film can deliver these days. Digital is soooo much more versatile because of the creative freedom it offers after the shoot.
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