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06-09-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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Which film? Which lens?

I'm always seeing old photogaphs (70s, 80s) that I love, and wondering about the gear. Some famous photogs are well-known for the gear they used, i.e. McCurry w/ Kodachrome and the Nikkor 105/2.5. But I wonder if there are any websites that compile such information, or any way at all to find out what film, and possibly what lenses were used for certain iconic shots.

06-09-2012, 08:13 AM   #2
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I particular, this is the shot I'm tripping on at the moment (hoping this will work, posting from the epic craptastic Tapatalk app):

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06-09-2012, 08:29 AM   #3

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That's from Rosemary's Baby I think. On-set photo?
06-09-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
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Of course it is a guess and I risk to be stoned, but I would say the majority were taken with ANY brand camera, and then mostly with standard lenses, and then with Tri-X at 400 ASA. Todd, I believe the art of the images you are talking about, has to do with the photographers and not very much with their equipment.

06-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #5

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With film, in general, the net results is more about the glass, film and developer than the camera body.
06-09-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hilo Quote
Of course it is a guess and I risk to be stoned, but I would say the majority were taken with ANY brand camera, and then mostly with standard lenses, and then with Tri-X at 400 ASA...
I concur. 35mm camera of choice with normal or moderate wide-angle (35mm or 40mm) lens and Tri-X would have been the standard for photography of the type posted above for the era in which it was taken (1968). For a pro, the camera of choice represented a wide gamut. Pentax, Nikon, Topcon, Exakta, and Leica at the top of the list with a host of others further down.

As for availability of data, much depends on the photographer. Some kept meticulous records (Ansel Adams). Others are known for their tools and while records were not kept, we know what was used (Cartier-Bresson). Sometimes we at least know the film based on where it was published (National Geographic was pure Kodachrome for many years). For most, we know nothing.

06-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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Todd and all:

Having been a film buff from that period, a great many stills you see of that era are indeed "stills" meaning cropped still frames from motion picture footage. Some of these images were set to monochrome and mass-printed on glossy stock for display in theater lobbies. They were very cheaply produced and often grew unstable (yellowed/curled) with age. In other instances they were prepared with a screen dot process for newspaper reprinting. But most of these films did not have still photogs working behind the scenes. The publicity department was brought in after principal photography was complete and they had to find stuff to use from the dailies.

I bring this up since if you look at the image of Mia Farrow (Yes, Rosmary's Baby 1968) you see strong grain as if this is a fairly substantial crop of the original 16X9 film aspect ratio in which the film was shot. Farrow seems to be acting in the photo, and camera position seems to be primary, as if Mia is acting for that perspective. Again, the film production would never waste time acting/posing specifically for stills ... this was something lifted from the motion picture itself.

So, to offer some sort of answer to your question, the film would have been a Kodak color reversal stock, possibly 35mm, maybe 65 mm. The camera would have been an Arriflex or Panavision unit with Angenieux or Panavision glass. Credit for the shot might go to William Fraker, the DP on the project.

No matter what the actual answer is, you are right ... the shot is wonderful and speaks to the artistry of both actress and production team.

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