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09-01-2009, 04:30 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I do not yet have a scanner and am rather envious of the cheap prices Epson makes available in the USA on refurbished units. I have found the Epson V4490 for $100 and the Epson V500 for $150. I'm looking at double that or more plus shipping from the UK. These units have a built-in transparency unit that will handle 645, and provide for a Dmax of 3.4, which I have on good authority is fine for all but the most contrasty negs. The only difference is that the cheaper unit uses bulbs instead of white LEDs as a light source -- these may be less consistent and take longer to warm up.

By comparison, the Epson V700 is much the same but has Dmax of 4.0 and costs £470, which is more than I can afford.

I found the Pentax 645N manual.

For developing I will get a changing bag but am not sure which size is sufficient for 120?

Since shipping anything liquid is expensive and sometimes restricted, I will try out Ilford ID-11 powder developer.
Robin, as you know, I am on the same boat with you. My 645N with a 'A' 75mm f/2.8 MF is coming likely tomorrow. I don't know why I get into it. I guess, I want to try something new in B&W film. I can have gone into b&w film with a 35mm, I do have a SuperProgram but I feel the 645N is intriguing to say the least.

If you have come to some good sources of links that can share about the kind of b&w films to purchase from and the good store to develop them along with a good scan service, that will be great for my beginning. I will look for the scanner when I have a feel on thing. I am looking forward to sharing the film experience on 645N.

BTW, I think I fixed the comment problem that you mention in my tech blog. I have disabled word verification in blogspot, I hope you give that a try. Also I discuss my 645N purchase in the private yahoo group that we are in. Please check the latest messages from me in the yahoo group for pnet users

Thanks,
Hin

09-01-2009, 04:41 PM   #17
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For the changing bag, the best ones - and with great advice too - is Roger Luo on ebay - here's the US link, but as he's in the UK I'm sure there is an UK ebay link...
eBay Seller: roger luo: Cameras Photo items on eBay.com

First few rolls, I suggest you find a local minilab and shoot color film, many of them do at least 'develop only' fairly cheaply - for the Holga crowd. They may even scan etc, but after a couple of rolls the cost will add up. This is, you know, to check out the camera and all

Have you checked on say Canon scanners - perhaps their prices are a bit better over there?
09-01-2009, 06:41 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote

Does anyone know if the camera manual is available online?
There is a Hard Copy available at Craig Camera if you are willing to pay $30.

Craig Camera Instruction Manuals Scroll down to Pentax. If it is gone, email - they will find one for you.

#PTX-312 Instruction Manual Pentax 645N Camera $30.00
09-01-2009, 06:59 PM   #19
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cost analysis

Prices in this country are €5-10 / roll for development and then €5-20 for a scan, with the cheaper range being quite low resolution that I think would disappoint a K20D user. A decent price for develop plus medium res scan from the UK is about €20 equivalent.

To develop myself I can't see the ongoing costs being more than €1 / roll. (Someone who has done this might know better.) Developing tank, changing bag and other equipment might set me back €75. And I can get the Epson V500 for just under €250.

Say I shoot a roll every other week. After a year I'd have spent €1000 using a lab or €375 at home.

09-01-2009, 07:07 PM   #20
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Hin: Very cool that we are doing this at the same time. I have the same kit arriving but also the FA 150/2.8 which I am really looking forward to. Like you I do not really know why I bought this setup, especially as I am particularly broke! It just feels like the right time for me to try medium format.

Here's my checklist for what I need to buy. I think some items are better obtained from a kitchen supply shop rather than a photo store, as they will be cheaper.

CHECKLIST
changing bag
development tank
measuring jugs (50ml, 300/600ml)
plastic clothes pegs (as film clips)
thermometer (large dial)
darkroom timer
large plastic tray (to stand all chemicals in water)
storage bottles (different colours)
funnels (one per chemical)
stirring rods
lint-free cotton gloves

storage for negs

CHEMICALS
developer: Ilford ID-11 5L
fixer: Ilford Rapid Fixer 1L
wetting agent: Ilford Ilfotol 1L

I will use water as a stop. I am sold on the tradition of Ilford and they are not as yucky as other chems. This developer is mixed from a solid. The 5L amount is much more economical than the 1L, but it does mean storing extra developer once mixed.
09-01-2009, 08:47 PM   #21
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You’r really going to like the Pentax 645n. You’ll find that this camera is not like a digital that you need a 300 page manual, instead at best this camera needs a 3 page manual, it’s so simple to use. I shoot landscapes from my BMW F650 GS dual sport motorcycle and the 645 is the camera I place in the tank bag the most of the time. I shoot from a tripod 99.9% of the time. The tripod I carry on the bike is Gitzo G1298 Bassalt with a NovoFlex Magic Ball with an Arca Q Base mount. The quick release plates I use on the camera are Really Right Stuff Arca mounts. You are starting off with two really nice lenses; all the 645 lenses are great. I really like the 45mm f2.8 for astro photography-night shots. Some days I carry the 45-85mm zoom on the bike and other times I grab the 55mm A lens and the older 150mm A lens with the built in hood. As to black and white, you could easily spend the next two years deciding on your favorite films. I like the new Tmax 400 and Ilfords Panf 50. Also check out dr5chrome lab for positives of Ilford films. I first started off using the 120 film holders but now a prefer shooting the 220 film length. Enjoy!
09-02-2009, 03:34 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Harry Potter Quote
You’r really going to like the Pentax 645n. You’ll find that this camera is not like a digital that you need a 300 page manual, instead at best this camera needs a 3 page manual, it’s so simple to use. I shoot landscapes from my BMW F650 GS dual sport motorcycle and the 645 is the camera I place in the tank bag the most of the time. I shoot from a tripod 99.9% of the time. The tripod I carry on the bike is Gitzo G1298 Bassalt with a NovoFlex Magic Ball with an Arca Q Base mount. The quick release plates I use on the camera are Really Right Stuff Arca mounts. You are starting off with two really nice lenses; all the 645 lenses are great. I really like the 45mm f2.8 for astro photography-night shots. Some days I carry the 45-85mm zoom on the bike and other times I grab the 55mm A lens and the older 150mm A lens with the built in hood. As to black and white, you could easily spend the next two years deciding on your favorite films. I like the new Tmax 400 and Ilfords Panf 50. Also check out dr5chrome lab for positives of Ilford films. I first started off using the 120 film holders but now a prefer shooting the 220 film length. Enjoy!
I would be interested in those astrophotos taken with your 645. I use a 67 and its a dream, but I'm looking for something more compact for "everyday" to have in my front seat. I've thought of the 645 and would love to use it for astro work as well, but have not seen anyone post results from it. What do you recommend?
09-02-2009, 11:40 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote

CHECKLIST
changing bag
development tank
measuring jugs (50ml, 300/600ml)
plastic clothes pegs (as film clips)
thermometer (large dial)
darkroom timer
large plastic tray (to stand all chemicals in water)
storage bottles (different colours)
funnels (one per chemical)
stirring rods
lint-free cotton gloves

storage for negs

CHEMICALS
developer: Ilford ID-11 5L
fixer: Ilford Rapid Fixer 1L
wetting agent: Ilford Ilfotol 1L
I use an accurate 1 deg graduation glass thermometer. They react quicker. I bet you'll want a 1000ml measuring jug for a double reel tank. It sucks to have to develop one roll at a time.

And as a data point I use the following regularly:
  • PMK Pyro developer
  • Rodinal developer
  • Prescysol EF developer
  • TF-4 Fixer
With the following BW films:
  • Fuji Neopan 100 Acros and 400
  • Ilford FP4+
  • Kodak 320TXP
A cool thing about 100 Acros is that it does not have reciprocity failure up to 120 seconds. But if long exposures is what you're after, 320TXP really requires correction soon which is good for blurred water shots when you don't have a big light reducing ND filter on in bright conditions. And you can shoot 320TXP at EI6400 developed in Acufine's ACU-1 with good results. I've seen the results and have some ACU-1 but I've yet to go out and shoot some 320TXP @ EI6400.

I think most of my posted photos are with PMK Pyro.


Last edited by tuco; 09-02-2009 at 12:00 PM.
09-02-2009, 04:31 PM   #24
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It's true I have heard great things about 100 Acros, but my list is just a starting point, sticking with tried and true chemicals that give a lot of latitude for error.

I am still trying to figure out the best tank. One that is optimised for two reels of 120 seems best, but many seem tobe optimised instead for 35mm, so you waste chemicals with 120. Then again, it's hard to tell, because the docs do not tell you the actual fluid capacity.

I have read that the best plastic reels are Samigon, which are similar to (or the same as) Adorama, Beseler and AP.

I was thinking of the AP Compact Developing Tank Universal, which comes with two reels, but the docs say that it only does one 120 at a time? Very confusing all of this.
09-02-2009, 05:08 PM   #25
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I can't say about any of the plastic tanks. I use the stainless steel tanks and reels. I have a single tank (~500ml) and a double (~1000ml) for medium format. The developers I use are all one-shot and they only require around 10 to 20ml per 1000ml. Pretty economical.
09-02-2009, 06:59 PM   #26
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For 120/220 the stainless ones are much better.
09-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #27
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My star cameras besides the 645n with the 45mm f2.8 are the Pentax 67II with 75mm F2.8 lens. Mamiya c330s with the 65mm or 55mm lens (the 65mm is faster), and a Rapid Omega 200 with the 58mm lens (the slowest lens). That is also the order I use most frequently. The Rapid Omega with the 58mm is a very sharp wide angle 6x7 format camera with interchangeable back with the only disadvantage being the slow lens speed. The Mamiya has a flat film path which is best for freezing cold winter nights. My film of choice is the discontinued Kodak 160T ( I have about 10 rolls left in the freezer.) My second choice film has become Kodak Ektachrome E200 which has just been discontinued (I just picked up 35 rolls to put in the freezer). Through the years I have picked up off eBay three very heavy Studex Performance tripods with heavy tripod heads. For the last twenty years I have only shot star trails, but starting this spring I built a hinge star tracker that allows you to follow the rotation of the earth to get very bright stars, loads of stars the eye can not see. Now I use multiple tripods getting star trails and fixed stars on the same night out. You can Google hinge star trackers, Scottish star tracker, or something like barn door star tracker, but the book is “Handbook for Star Trackers” by Jim Ballard. Out of print but I found it on Amazon. On building a star tracker use at least an 8 inch long piano hinge and very sturdy wood such as Oak. My first star tracker had to much slop in the hinge. I use a ball head on the tracker to hold the Pentax. I did the bent threaded rod and my first 10 minute exposures are not showing any movement. My 15 and twenty minute exposures should be coming back in this week’s mail. Since the film is in short supply, I finish a roll which may take months. My subject of choice is based on where I live, old abandon homesteads and farm houses. I quickly paint the subject at two different angles with a hand held spot light at f8 or f11 then run pack to the tripods and open up the lenses all the way. The camera for star trails is on its’ own and the star tracker camera requires me to turn it at one revolution per minute with my eyes glued to a stop watch. I use a mechanical shutter release cable on all the cameras including the 645n. I get the best blue in the sky shortly after the stars come out. I shoot only on a new moon, or one day before or one day after. The sky has to be cloudless. If you get green skies you might try a fluorescent light filter. Since I work I can only do new moons when I don’t have to work the next day because sometimes I get pumped and I stay out till sun comes up. I built the star tracker last January and only two nights have met all the right conditions. Several times I have set up before sunset only to have clouds move in before the stars came out. As to the hand held spot lights get at least three big bright ones, I got mine at Lowes. The lights go dim fast, especially in the winter. I have used a hot shoe style flash but the spot light allows me to paint just what I want in the picture. Now as to posting pictures of the star tracker itself and the results, well I am not a computer wizard (that’s why I still shoot film) I’ll try to get it done with the help of my daughter by the end of September, so keep checking back.
09-03-2009, 01:47 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Harry Potter Quote
You’r really going to like the Pentax 645n. You’ll find that this camera is not like a digital that you need a 300 page manual, instead at best this camera needs a 3 page manual, it’s so simple to use. I shoot landscapes from my Firebolt broomstick and the 645 is the camera I place in the bag the most of the time. I shoot from a tripod 99.9% of the time. The tripod I carry on the broomstick is Gitzo G1298 Bassalt with a NovoFlex Magic Ball with an Arca Q Base mount. The quick release plates I use on the camera are Really Right Stuff Arca mounts. You are starting off with two really nice lenses; all the 645 lenses are great. I really like the 45mm f2.8 for astro photography-night shots. Some days I carry the 45-85mm zoom on the broom and other times I grab the 55mm A lens and the older 150mm A lens with the built in hood. As to black and white, you could easily spend the next two years deciding on your favorite films. I like the new Tmax 400 and Ilfords Panf 50. Also check out dr5chrome lab for positives of Ilford films. I first started off using the 120 film holders but now a prefer shooting the 220 film length. Enjoy!
Could not resist
09-03-2009, 12:23 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanleyk Quote
For 120/220 the stainless ones are much better.
Anyone else have an opinion on that? I have read that Hewes steel reels are good, but they are also $38 a pop. Anyone recommend a steel tank and reel from a source in the EU?
09-03-2009, 03:42 PM   #30
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Look for used SS 120 tanks and reels, they are cheap. Hewes are good but I have never had problem with any that was not bent, misaligned or misused. The film base of 120 is too thin and too wide to be properly loaded onto 120 plastic reels.
I even paid a heavy premium for SS reels for my JOBO processor, but worth every penny!
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