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02-04-2009, 12:31 AM   #1
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First roll of film since 199?...

Well I finally got a roll through my "new' Spotmatic... with mixed results (mostly bad, truth be told)... I shot Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 because that's what was readily available at the local drug store and I heard some people like it in this thread. What I didn't consider is that the Spotmatic shutter speed only goes to 1/1000 sec. so I had to stay stopped down to f/11 or f/16 out in the sun which is where I was shooting most of the time... I'm such a noob on film (even though I used to shoot it a bit).

It seems I need new light seals, so over half the shots have big low-contrast areas (or worse)... some don't - maybe I didn't orient the camera in a bad direction when they were near the leak?... There are scratches on the negatives - is that usually caused by something in the body or at the lab? I'm pretty unimpressed with the local Longs Drug stores lab, but maybe I need to talk to those guys - scans I got were tiny 1818x1228 is that typical?

Ok... Here's a few of the better shots...

(no post processing unless noted)

with the Auto-Takumar 35/2.3




What I think is the light leak is really visible in that last one in the lower left corner.


with the Takumar 135/3.5 preset

135/3.5 preset (exposure brightened a bit in Lr but that's fair right? - I used to do that with the enlarger...)


with the Super Takumar 55/1.8 (I think)


and a minute later with the K20D + DA*50-135 (contrast and exposure adjusted to approximate the results from the film camera...


I only chimped the rear of the came a couple times ...

02-04-2009, 03:51 AM   #2
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I'm not sure you have a light leak; light leaks generally result in very strange and very obvious patches of discoloration in the same place on every frame. An example of a light leak:

Some people here have said that Superia 400 is really not suited for outdoor work, and not just because of the sensitivity. Apparently it always makes poor results like these. I used it with good results two weeks ago, but that was indoors under artificial lights.

As for the scans... I think the scans I get from Walgreens are smaller than that
02-04-2009, 06:43 AM   #3
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I think others who are far more knowledgeable will chime in shortly, but here are a couple of my thoughts.

I don't think you have light leaks, like Stevopedia said, since I would imagine each of your shots would be affected if that was the case. The ones from the 135 preset seem to hold contrast nicely. I'm guessing the orientation of the light source vis-a-vis the camera might have something to do with it, but it's just that - a guess.

I can't place where the discolored part of the 2nd photo came from, but I'm theorizing that it got splashed with some liquid/chemical when it shouldn't have. Maybe it's the same for those affected photos? The scratches really don't sound right at all. It might have been mishandled by that photo lab guys.
02-04-2009, 08:28 AM   #4
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Those scans might be a little small, but look WAY better than the scans I get from the drugstore chains around here. I go to a local pro lab now for all of my processing and scanning. Ironically, they are both cheaper and give me superior results.

If I remember later, I will check and see what size scans I usually get back from the lab.

02-04-2009, 08:35 AM   #5
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i may be wrong, but AFAIK the Auto-Takumar is the culprit, it lacks the coating that later appeared in the super and smc series, and as (i'm assuming) you shot without a lens hood, in broad daylight, caused lots of stray light to reduce the contrast of your images, compared to your other photos, which are much more vibrant.
02-04-2009, 09:30 AM   #6
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Examine the negatives. Light leaks will show as dark (exposed) areas outside the image boundary.

Steve

(Replacing the seals is probably a good idea anyway...)
02-04-2009, 10:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
I'm not sure you have a light leak; light leaks generally result in very strange and very obvious patches of discoloration in the same place on every frame. An example of a light leak:
(img)
Some people here have said that Superia 400 is really not suited for outdoor work, and not just because of the sensitivity. Apparently it always makes poor results like these. I used it with good results two weeks ago, but that was indoors under artificial lights.

As for the scans... I think the scans I get from Walgreens are smaller than that
Ok, thanks Stevo...

After buying the film, I did read people's comments that they don't like Superia 400 for outdoor shooting - oh well.

I did get one that looks somewhat similar to your leak photo but the last frame was over exposed - can the light leak "forward" to the next frame?...
with the Super-Tak 55/1.8 wide open -


QuoteOriginally posted by vinzer Quote
I think others who are far more knowledgeable will chime in shortly, but here are a couple of my thoughts.

I don't think you have light leaks, like Stevopedia said, since I would imagine each of your shots would be affected if that was the case. The ones from the 135 preset seem to hold contrast nicely. I'm guessing the orientation of the light source vis-a-vis the camera might have something to do with it, but it's just that - a guess.

I can't place where the discolored part of the 2nd photo came from, but I'm theorizing that it got splashed with some liquid/chemical when it shouldn't have. Maybe it's the same for those affected photos? The scratches really don't sound right at all. It might have been mishandled by that photo lab guys.
Ok, thanks vinzer.... I do think the lab may have done a piss poor performance (and their customer service was lacking - that's what formed my initial negative impression) I think Gooshin's on to part of the issue - lens flare and I think it may have been a poor film choice.

QuoteOriginally posted by Sasquatch Quote
Those scans might be a little small, but look WAY better than the scans I get from the drugstore chains around here. I go to a local pro lab now for all of my processing and scanning. Ironically, they are both cheaper and give me superior results.

If I remember later, I will check and see what size scans I usually get back from the lab.
Wow, WAY better huh? There is no local pro lab around here so I suppose I could mail out film if I keep shooting it (I'll try Walmart next time maybe they're better ).

QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i may be wrong, but AFAIK the Auto-Takumar is the culprit, it lacks the coating that later appeared in the super and smc series, and as (i'm assuming) you shot without a lens hood, in broad daylight, caused lots of stray light to reduce the contrast of your images, compared to your other photos, which are much more vibrant.
Thanks Gooshin - I'm sure you're on to something there - That Auto-Tak. does have some weird characteristics on digital too. It sure is cool looking and unique/fun to use though - the way you can "arm" the aperture for focusing.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Examine the negatives. Light leaks will show as dark (exposed) areas outside the image boundary.

Steve

(Replacing the seals is probably a good idea anyway...)
Ok, good advice - The only place that's evident is in the photo posted above and I'm theorizing that the light may have leaked in from the last shot which was over-exposed.
02-04-2009, 11:20 AM   #8
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IMO those are 'situational' light leaks. I've had them myself. Replacing the light seals solves the problem.

The drug store scans I get are all around 1540 x 1024, give or take a few pixels.


That's a good job for the first time in a long while. Yeah, film memory takes a bit to come back... but it will. It makes you appreciate all the modern conveniences digital gives you.

02-04-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
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I think the comments about the flare coming from your lens are probably correct but as one poster said it would be a good idea to replace the film door seals on your camera anyway. If you can push the door in a bit or if the seal material in the slot for the door is gooey then it's time. I had a camera with bad film door seals that would result in only a few of my shots showing light leakage. It came down to how I was holding the camera and I guess for some of my shots I gripped the camera in a manner that pushed the door in against what was left of the seals.

I used Superia for indoor snapshots for several years with excellent results. I'd say the colors in your outdoor shots are similar to those in mine. I still like Reala for outdoor daylight shots.

I've received scans from labs that had multiple copies of my images at different resolutions. Small images were included as thumbnails for the free-be viewer program on the disks. I think your files are larger though. Most labs use very similar equipment so you could ask for larger scan files.

As far as I can tell, all of the negatives I've received from labs that have been scratched were damaged by the little negative cutters the labs use. I had an experienced lab tech recommend I ask for my film to be returned uncut for that reason.

All said, I'd recommend you keep shooting with these lenses. I've been tempted by that 135 pre-set.
02-07-2009, 04:06 PM   #10
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The only Superia I've really ever heard bad things about is 400, and even then when used indoors it's pretty good stuff. I wonder why it doesn't like sun...?

And from what I've seen that does indeed look like a light leak. There's a guy on eBay (the name escapes me just now) who sells seal kits which come with instructions and tools. Each kit does 3-4 bodies. I've heard really good things about him.

Or you could send your Spotmatic to Eric at www.pentaxs.com, the Pentax repair/restoration guru. For less than $65 he will make your Spotmatic like new. That's the option I'd choose--actually, I have a KX going out to him right now.
02-07-2009, 05:45 PM   #11
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One of my old spotmatics had a light leak that looked similar. One of my kids had used the camera for a school trip and forgot how to open it up to remove the film and pried it open with a screwdriver. Real nice. I was getting the same thing, some pictures ok and others ruined and it was how I was holding the camera that caused the leak. I solved the problem by putting black electrical tape around the back seams. Duct tape will work also. I still have a roll of tape in my camera bag. I don't know why but I might need it for something.
I would send the camera out for an overhaul if it can be done for 65$.
02-07-2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
IMO those are 'situational' light leaks. I've had them myself. Replacing the light seals solves the problem.

The drug store scans I get are all around 1540 x 1024, give or take a few pixels.


That's a good job for the first time in a long while. Yeah, film memory takes a bit to come back... but it will. It makes you appreciate all the modern conveniences digital gives you.
Thanks for your opinion on the light leaks - I agree. Good to know about the scan size - I guess I was expecting too much there.

Re. the appreciation of modern conveniences... the big two that come to mind are fast shutter speeds and variable ISO - what? I'm stuck at f/11 or 16 because I chose the wrong ISO and the camera can't keep up??? Huh? ISO 400 just didn't seem that fast...
02-07-2009, 06:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by B Grace Quote
I think the comments about the flare coming from your lens are probably correct but as one poster said it would be a good idea to replace the film door seals on your camera anyway. If you can push the door in a bit or if the seal material in the slot for the door is gooey then it's time. I had a camera with bad film door seals that would result in only a few of my shots showing light leakage. It came down to how I was holding the camera and I guess for some of my shots I gripped the camera in a manner that pushed the door in against what was left of the seals.
I do think there's some light leakage going on - I'll get it fixed.

QuoteQuote:
I used Superia for indoor snapshots for several years with excellent results. I'd say the colors in your outdoor shots are similar to those in mine. I still like Reala for outdoor daylight shots.
Good to know - I plan on mostly shooting B&W film in this camera (I think..)

QuoteQuote:
I've received scans from labs that had multiple copies of my images at different resolutions. Small images were included as thumbnails for the free-be viewer program on the disks. I think your files are larger though. Most labs use very similar equipment so you could ask for larger scan files.
Yeah, the size I mentioned was the largest on the disk - I just was expecting more. Oh well...

QuoteQuote:
As far as I can tell, all of the negatives I've received from labs that have been scratched were damaged by the little negative cutters the labs use. I had an experienced lab tech recommend I ask for my film to be returned uncut for that reason.
Really good info here - I'll look into it.

QuoteQuote:
All said, I'd recommend you keep shooting with these lenses. I've been tempted by that 135 pre-set.
The 135 is just so impressive (and old-school fun to use)... It's really amazing.
02-07-2009, 06:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by heliphoto Quote

Just look at that picture! This is the reason I love film so much. I love it to bits.
02-07-2009, 06:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
The only Superia I've really ever heard bad things about is 400, and even then when used indoors it's pretty good stuff. I wonder why it doesn't like sun...?
Yeah - I'll have to burn the other rolls indoors somehow (but I need ISO 1600 at least to shoot in my house (with SR))

QuoteQuote:
And from what I've seen that does indeed look like a light leak. There's a guy on eBay (the name escapes me just now) who sells seal kits which come with instructions and tools. Each kit does 3-4 bodies. I've heard really good things about him.

Or you could send your Spotmatic to Eric at www.pentaxs.com, the Pentax repair/restoration guru. For less than $65 he will make your Spotmatic like new. That's the option I'd choose--actually, I have a KX going out to him right now.
I believe that this is the light seal kit you're referring to, but I'm starting to lean toward sending it to Eric - this forum must keep him neck deep in cameras.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
One of my old spotmatics had a light leak that looked similar. One of my kids had used the camera for a school trip and forgot how to open it up to remove the film and pried it open with a screwdriver. Real nice. I was getting the same thing, some pictures ok and others ruined and it was how I was holding the camera that caused the leak. I solved the problem by putting black electrical tape around the back seams. Duct tape will work also. I still have a roll of tape in my camera bag. I don't know why but I might need it for something.
I would send the camera out for an overhaul if it can be done for 65$.
Yikes! Screwdriver?! (did they forget your phone number?) I considered a duct tape fix (it'd be my style), but I don't want to gum up the body - It looks so good right now. I do endorse the carrying of duct tape at all times.
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