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Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-14-2011, 04:49 PM  
iso 25
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 4
Views: 2,775
I am not aware of color film of such low speed. Velvia 50 slide film is probably as slow as it gets nowadays.

In terms of ASA 25 B&W film there is a few choices there. Efke/Adox CHS 25 is one common option and the only one I am familiar with. Obviously, a very low grain film with outstanding resolution. It has a very high contrast which is something to keep in mind under certain circumstances.

Oddly enough, it's the one film that I don't seem to have shot in 120 yet, only either 135 or 4x5. It's particularly attractive in 35mm due to its low grain:


Pentax-M 135mm

The high contrast is more apparent here:


The 28 / 50 / 135 triumvirate

And in LF, grain has effectively become imperceptible. But Efke 50 or 100 probably would have worked equally well:


Plant on wall

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-07-2011, 08:14 PM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
Ah, but choice of gear is always irrational from the standpoint of other people but often very rational from the point of view of the person making the decision. I am explaining why - for my purposes - the 6x7 falls short. This is how every discussion that starts out with someone seeking advice plays out. It's really not so much about arguments for and against a particular thing but rather about the specific constraints.

If anyone reading such a thread comes to the conclusion that his constraints are similar, then he has most likely found the answer that will work best for him.



It's not that they wouldn't work. A 6x7 with the 90mm plus a square crop could have given a very similar result. My concern is only with how you go about obtaining these results and how you interact with other people while doing so.

I find it interesting how the posture of a person can be interpreted in such different ways. Assuming that a stranger who is sitting there with crossed arms and closed eyes (her sun-glasses were tucked away elsewhere so she hadn't closed them because of the sun) might not want to be interrupted would be my first instinct. I might be totally wrong but if so, I am at least erring on the politer side.

Perhaps that's a New York thing afterall. We have eight million people here and we therefore value privacy more than most other things.



Thank you. But it's basically just a candid that requires more luck than skill. You also may have noticed the slightly left-tilted poles of the railing which should make it obvious that skill was not the predominant factor in this shot. ;-)

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-07-2011, 06:23 PM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
I guess it boils down to personal preference. I appear to be gravitating towards the more discreet models of cameras, which for me would be an MX, an Olympus OM-2 and of course a Leica in the 35mm world. TLRs when it comes to MF (but I also prefer them for their square 6x6 format although they don't hold a monopoly on that). I would go as far as saying that a TLR with a leaf-shutter is much better at that than even a Leica because you look down into it instead of having it pointed it at someone. It's a great advantage.

Now, a 6x7 was actually my first MF camera but I quickly realized that it's often not an ideal choice in an urban environment which is unfortunately where I live and it's not always easy to escape it. My Rollei works much better here. I can walk around all day with it and barely be aware that I have it. It weighs just under 2lbs and I never need to raise it to eye-level.

I still have my 6x7 along with lenses that are undeniably excellent. It would be an excellent tripod camera where you set things up and everyone knows right away you are there. But for that my Sinar F1 is now my first choice. It's twice as heavy at least and requires a wooden tripod that, while in its bag, probably resembles a sniper rifle. But the increase in quality that you get when going from 6x7 to 4x5 makes it very worthwhile. And you get to develop each sheet individually which is an enormous win when you're into that kind of thing.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-07-2011, 05:51 PM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
You are missing the point. I could have just tapped her shoulders. Would that have gotten her attention? Most likely. But I could have also just stood a few yards away and talked audibly with a third person. She would have heard it but would have dismissed it as two strangers talking with each other.

The mirror-slap of a MF SLR held that close to someone however cannot be interpreted as anything other than being photographed and when a 6x7 is involved, I can see how this could bother somebody.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-07-2011, 01:07 PM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
When I brought up mirror slap I was actually not referring to the vibrations it may or may not cause. In fact, I am not at all concerned about this and agree with you that the 6x7, 67, etc. are easily hand-holdable.

My problem is with the noise it makes. My canonical example is this image here:


A sun bath

I had my Rolleicord less than six feet away from her. She never knew I took that photo because she couldn't hear the Rollei. And it's not just about being sneaky and surreptitious. It's about being non-abrasive and not intruding on people when they are enjoying a moment of peace and quiet.

If I had been that person and you'd have snuck up on me with a 67 and woken me up, I would have punched you.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-07-2011, 10:32 AM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
Driving down the freeway in the wrong direction is scary, fat mouthing the 645 and 67 isn't. People here are just too nice, I guess. :-)

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-06-2011, 10:27 AM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
Yes, with a waist-level finder, and why would I have a spare back attached to the body of a 500? Thing is that you are assuming the lightest possible configuration for a 6x7. It is not a good waist-level camera due to the positioning of the shutter button and film advance crank.

It's a camera that was designed with the conventional SLR layout in mind but for that it's too heavy. The TTL finder is almost as heavy as a 500C/M body. Bringing this thing up to eye-level for purpose of framing and focusing is not something I enjoy for more than two minutes.

In its WLF configuration it's much less strenuous to use but it's clear that a Hasselblad or a TLR are better at that.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-06-2011, 05:10 AM  
Thinking of going MF
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 40
Views: 5,595
In my opinion, you don't want anything with a moving mirror when shooting MF and I am not a huge fan of the Pentax MF lineup. The 645 yields negatives that are too small and the 67, while using the nice 6x7 format, is obscenely heavy and conspicuous. It's like taking photos with a mortar. My 6x7 gets basically no use at all.

Instead, consider a Rolleicord IV with a Schneider Xenar lens. You lose the ability to change lenses but you get in return the wonderful 6x6 square format and the quietest and most discreet camera in the world. It's also going to be cheaper than any Pentax system and on occasions has allowed me to take a shot that would have been impossible with any camera featuring a mirror slap.



It's really easy. With B&W film, the results are as good as any professional lab could deliver them but you get the benefit of getting to chose your own developer and development method. Get the Samigon tank and reels. There are no reels, plastic or metal, that are as easy to spool and sturdy as the Samigon ones.



In that case, get an Epson V700. It exceeds your budget by around $25 but you will have some spare money by choosing a TLR over Pentax MF. :-) It gives you pretty much everything the V750 will give you minus wet-mounting which I've never considered necessary. The V500 would be significantly cheaper but it wont handle anything bigger than 6x12 and you shouldn't rule out the possibility of shooting LF some day.

Note that for MF format negatives you will need custom film holders with the anti-newton glass or else the negatives wont be flat enough in the scanner. LF negatives don't have that problem since they never curl.



Probably not. The V700 would come with a basic version of SilverFast which is however pretty good and what I am using. I've several times contemplated upgrading to one of the more advanced versions but then always looked at my scans and concluded that they are actually very good already. There's also the big debate between SilverFast and VueScan users. I've tried a demo of the latter once and was totally disgusted by its bizarre interface.



Not off the top of my head. But my route was different: I went from DSLR to 35mm first, then MF and now LF. The 35mm process is in many ways much easier and this being a Pentax forum, I can finally counteract my unkind words about their MF line of cameras by saying that 35mm is where Pentax really shines. I also see on ebay a Pentax MX with a modest M 50mm f/2 for just under $75 right now. That's very little for one of their greatest bodies.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-03-2011, 06:10 AM  
Can the K5 control a Synchro-Compur shutter like this?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 27
Views: 6,079
Oddly enough, I missed that. How long is that bellows unit though? It's most likely not long enough for macro works.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-03-2011, 04:53 AM  
Can the K5 control a Synchro-Compur shutter like this?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 27
Views: 6,079
How do you intend to mount the lens to the body? It's a large-format lens and they don't come with any provision to focus them (which is why all LF cameras use bellows). If you want to shoot a 1:1 macro, the lens needs to be 300mm away from the sensor. 450mm is needed if you want to achieve 2:1.



Depends. This will work if you are basically building your own LF camera. The camera body will be set to bulk. You open its shutter while the lens is still closed (all LF lenses have a switch for that) and then you can use a cable release to open the lens and the flash will be fired if it's connected to the sync port of the lens. Then you close the camera's shutter. This will work with all shutter speeds the lens has to offer because it is a leaf-shutter.

Needless to say, for this to work you need to make sure that the chamber between the shutter of the camera and the lens is absolutely light-tight. Your best bet might be to buy a cheap used LF camera (a Sinar F1 maybe) and fine a way to mount your camera to the rear standard where the focusing screen would normally be.

But honestly, I don't quite see the point of this whole exercise. Really the only advantage you get from a setup like this is a higher flash sync and the typical movement that a LF camera offers (rise, swing, tilt).

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 05-19-2011, 11:23 AM  
TriX 400 pushed or Delta 3200?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 12
Views: 7,892
I don't think I've ever shot Tri-X at 800, but I've done so with Delta 400 and it wasn't so bad:


See the original on flickr.

I don't think it has a look that would make it totally unsuitable for photojournalism.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Photography Articles 04-30-2011, 06:26 PM  
An Exercise in Perspective - and other things
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 10
Views: 6,800
It's the other way round. The focal length only affects the crop but never the perspective. Changing the subject distance is what changes the perspective.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-13-2011, 06:05 AM  
med to lg format
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 9
Views: 1,946
The first question you must answer is if you want the camera to be used out in the field or rather in a studio setting. Field cameras are generally made of wood and designed to be portable. They fold down to the size of a medium book. The Tachihara is among the most popular field cameras but it's discontinued now and used ones have gotten expensive on ebay.

You are better off considering a new Shen-Hao or Chamonix. The way this works, I believe, is by ordering a particular model with certain customizations and the camera is then built for you in China and sent to you by mail. This is still cheaper than a used Tachihara and the quality of these Chinese-built cameras is beyond reproach.

If you do not necessarily want to shoot out in the wild, you should consider a monorail camera. They feature a front and a rear standard mounted on a single rail connected through a bellow. Because they are made of metal, they are considerably heavier than field cameras. On the upside, they allow for much more movement than a field camera. Both the front and rear standard offer rise and fall, shift and tilt.

They are also modular in that you can extend the rail and add an arbitrary number of additional standards and bellows. This is important if you intend to use very long lenses (the bellow needs to be at least as long as the focal length of your lens to allow focusing to infinity) or want to do macro and close-up work.

A good choice would be a Sinar F which I use myself. You can get a decent one for around $400 or less on ebay. They are very easily extensible in that accessories such as rail extensions and bellows are widely available and, more importantly, the Sinar is relatively light-weight. A basic model is around 8lbs (without lens and lens board tho, mind you) so it's near the upper limit of what some might consider portable. It's basically the lightest monorail outfit available (an Arca Swiss is lighter but also much more expensive).

Also check out A large format photography home page. The site covers all of the basic topics. It also has a very active forum.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 03-31-2011, 01:40 PM  
First-ever processing. Opinions/comments?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 14
Views: 3,196
Those are nice!

The grain you are seeing is probably to be expected for ASA-400 film and Rodinal. Rodinal is a high acutance-developer and therefore increases the appearance of grain.

Rodinal is one of the two developers I use myself (next to HC-110). I am normally wary of using it with 35mm film due its grain characteristics but have less scruples with MF or LF negatives.

Note that if you want to reduce grain, you can add 4g Sodium Ascorbate to your developer solution. It acts as an accelerator so with 4g you would use the development times for 1+50 if you were using a 1+100 dilution. You can see some of my results with Rodinal and Sodium Ascorbate here. For those, I was using Fuji Acros, arguably a film with significantly lower noise levels than LegacyPro 400.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-29-2011, 06:05 AM  
Cityscape Welcome to Mars (NYC medium format)
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 3
Views: 1,606
I love Flushing Meadows Corona Park, due its eclectic mix of strange artifacts that are scattered randomly across the park.

I go there occasionally but I've never really gotten anything as good out of it as your shot.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-24-2011, 06:14 PM  
Cityscape NYC as seen from Chrysler Building
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 11
Views: 2,131
Nice shot but this was certainly not the Chrysler Building you were on that evening. :-)

I've been on the Empire State Building but I don't remember having such a clear view on Bryant Park.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-22-2011, 10:43 AM  
Where are the great deals on film?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 29
Views: 4,791
Rumor has it that Arista Premium 400 is re-branded Tri-X.

I am personally not a huge fan of these rebadged films. I stick with the original brands because I feel that the money should go to the inventors of this intellectual property. Besides, I find $5 for a roll of film adequate. If this becomes too expensive, one should probably shoot less instead of trying to find cheaper film.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-20-2011, 07:09 AM  
Looking for a spotmeter
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 5
Views: 3,955
The problem with the Adams photography series is that it is best applied to large-format photography. His zone system as laid out in front of the reader in The Negative is the greatest technical achievement in photography but because it critically relies on developing each negative individually to place the highlights in a specific zone, it really only works when doing sheet film development.

With roll film, you will invariably run into the problem that some frames require standard development, some will need N+1 or N-1 whereas a few might even call for N+2 or N-2 development.

Having said that, a spotmeter is still useful. I use an 18% gray card and a Sekonic L508 meter to do a spot reading off the card in my little macro studio for product-type shots. It's 100% reliable and gives results like this. It's not really the zone system. At best it's an extremely stripped down version where your gray card indicates zone V.

As for the Pentax spotmeters are, they are excellent but expensive. You can find a Pentax Spotmeter V for maybe $150 off ebay if you are lucky. The Digital Spotmeter is more expensive. Be ready to pay at least $300 for one of those.

I am not convinced they are better than other spotmeters. I got my Sekonic L508 slightly dinged up (all the button labels have worn off) for $150. It works flawlessly, has a 1 degree spot (same as the Pentax meters) and offers incident and flash readings. My only complaint about it is that it has actually too many features and with no labelled buttons, I occasionally struggle to find the right one right away (to set the ISO for example).

If you really only want a spotmeter, consider one of the Soligor/Cambron/Panagor spot meters. They are all rebadges of the same model and from what I've heard they are very good and considerably cheaper than the Pentax ones.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Ask B&H Photo! 03-18-2011, 06:12 PM  
Love B & H Photo Service - But I Worry About Their Lack of Protection for Lenses
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 17
Views: 9,668
I would assume they still use air pouches, but I find them annoying for the opposite reason than you. I find that even my bulk orders of film and other things that are positively unbreakable come wrapped luxuriously in these pouches bulging with air or, less frequently, bedded in a lavish amount of packing beans.

I hate this stuff, especially the beans. I can barely keep up with disposing of it.

But one thing it does achieve is make me feel very comfortable and unconcerned about ordering lenses and camera bodies from them.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 03-16-2011, 06:04 PM  
Betterscanning.com film holders??
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 7
Views: 4,871
I am using the betterscanning 120 film holders with the newton glass. The T bars I don't find quite as useful since they don't entirely ensure the film is flat.

But this sheet of glass is extremely useful. I initially only got one of the sheets since I first wanted to make sure they actually work. They do but then I never got around to ordering a second one.

In this set all the B&W shots I scanned myself using this film holder with the newton glass. There is one shot in there (the park bench) shot on Efke 100 which was curling atrociously. The scanning result is nonetheless flawless.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 02-01-2011, 06:38 AM  
Pentax 645 + Ilford Delta 3200 @ 1600 = awesomeness
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 26
Views: 13,832
Pics or it didn't happen. ;-)

Seriously though, I'd like to see your results. I just recently got a handful of 120 rolls of Delta 3200 intended to be used with my Rolleichord. Also, in case you developed yourself, what's your recipe?

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 01-27-2011, 05:38 PM  
DIY light box quick question.
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 3
Views: 2,418
I am using these kinds of bulbs, possibly in a different wattage. The most important part about the lights you use is that you know their color temperature. The above have a temperature of 5000K which is near daylight. You can either set the white-balance manually to this value or have the camera sort it out for you automatically. The results will be fine either way.

I use clamp lights similar to those. They come in different sizes so get the one that fits your bulbs. They can easily be attached on the sides of your light box.

Note that since the bulbs have a relatively low wattage, they barely heat up either.

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-03-2010, 05:25 AM  
New Sears 135MM Lens...
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 12
Views: 2,871
This Sears that you acquired is an excellent lens. I'd go as far as saying that it's among the best K-mount 135mm primes, edged out only by much more expensive lenses such as the K 135mm f/2.5 and the FA 135mm. In particular, it's much better than the Takumar 135mm f/2.5 and possibly even the M 135mm f/3.5.

Mind you, I am shooting film exclusively where the one weakness of the Sears, purple-fringing, is not an issue. The real 135mm is probably also more useful than the 200mm you will get on a crop body. Having said that, I haven't used it in a while and it might be time again. Here's my shots on flickr with that lens.

Note that the one other glaring weakness of the Sears is its diaphragm mechanism. I am now on my third or forth. The ones I had before all eventually had their aperture blades get stuck and this is a common problem regardless of whether your lens is made in Korea or Japan, whether it has a 52mm or a 55mm filter thread, macro versus non-macro etc. It seems they are all destined to fail eventually. :(

Cheers,
Tassilo
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 11-30-2010, 05:23 AM  
ME Super or K1000SE?
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 31
Views: 6,297
The ME Super is an infinitely better camera than the K1000. Among the most annoying things of the K1000 is the meter that doesn't turn off and that requires you to put on a lens cap to avoid draining the battery.

The little buttons of the ME Super for manual mode work reasonably well and you should be able to adjust the shutter speed without taking your eyes off the winder.

Having said that, I've always shot it in aperture-preferred mode. The ME does after all have exposure compensation if you need it.

There's a few alternatives: The MX has the same form factor as the ME but only manual and no aperture-priority mode. Unlike the ME, it is fully mechanical and while you might always have a battery in it, its shutter feels smoother. So the overall feeling is nicer. It also has DoF-preview which both the K1000 and ME Super are lacking. The MX even improves on the already impressive viewfinder of the ME. It's among the best viewfinders in the SLR world.

If you like the chunkier K-series bodies, see if you can find a K2. It's a terrific body with both aperture-priority mode and full manual mode via a shutter-speed dial similar to the MX. It uses an electronically controlled shutter though and therefore doesn't sound quite as nice. It has always been a somewhat rare body so you might not instantly find one at a price you are willing to pay.

Finally, there's the KX which has the same body as the K1000 but a non-archaic feature set with a proper meter that turns off, DoF-preview, aperture readout in the viewfinder, mirror-lockup and a fully mechanical shutter.

Any of the above - ME Super, MX, K2 and KX - would be more satisfying than a K1000 if you actually intend to use the camera.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-05-2010, 05:40 AM  
85mm vs 100mm M
Posted By vparseval
Replies: 22
Views: 4,631
Those are both lenses hard to come by. Flash guns on the other hand are rather pedestrian and you will soon regret having traded an M lens for it, especially one of the short-tele M primes. Gosh, it took me half a year until I finally found an M 100mm on ebay.

You just don't trade away M primes. Period.
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