Going Analog (again)

After reading more and more about the resurgence of film photography, I dug out my “old”[1] Canon EOS 300V, put in a roll of Kodak Gold 200, the cheapest film they had at DM, and waited for a sunny day.

Luckily, that day came rather soon, and I was able to fill a whole roll of 36 exposures.

During my research into getting film developed and scanned, I kept reading about Mein Film Lab, a small company, that still does B&W and C-41 development mostly by hand, instead of fully automated, like you get in the big labs that Rossmann, DM, and your local photo store send your film to.

Also, they have professional scanners that give you results that are worlds apart from even the most expensive consumer film scanners you can buy.

And after getting back the scans from my first ever film in ~20 years, that dedication to the process really shows. My pictures are not art, since I mostly just wanted to see if the camera still worked and what kind of results I could expect technically. But even so, I am amazed how nice the colors turned out. Sure, the autofocus didn’t always hit, and on some images I should have used a smaller aperture for more depth of field. But the overall <i>feel</i> of the images is pretty damn nice, all things considered.

Currently, I am waiting on another film I have sent to development, this one was shot on a really old camera, a Revueflex AC-1. It’s from 1977, making the camera just a year younger than me. If that film turns out well, there’s probably going to be a lot more analog film on the blog in the near future.

For now, here’s the complete result of my first roll of film, hits and misses:

[1] It’s from 2002, which is 18 years ago, but it doesn’t feel like it’s that old.

Alina at Haus Witten

Following up on my New Year’s resolution to actually shoot photos and not just hoarding gear, I was incredibly lucky to have Alina as my first ever model. She was very patient with me while I was changing lenses and repeatedly getting the camera ready to shoot again after chimping 🙈.

Since I was using some of my vintage lenses for this shoot, and the EXIF doesn’t show which lens I was actually using, I can’t really properly tag these images. But I was impressed by the two lenses that were used the most, the Pentacon 135/2.8, and the Konica Hexanon 57/1.2. It was much easier focusing on the eyes with EVF magnification and focus peaking than I expected.

Comparing Standard Lenses

Since I found myself with quite a few lenses with focal lengths around 50mm, I thought it would be fun to compare them at different apertures, in wholly unscientific way. This blog post is the result.

Since the maximum apertures range from 1.2 to 2.8, this is going to be a bit of a mess presentation-wise.

Grouped by lens

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50/2.8

The smallest and oldest of the bunch. According to the serial number, it was built between 1951 and 1958. The aperture mechanism is a bit unusual, as it is a preset aperture design. But the aperture is de-clicked and sports a whopping 12 blades.

Sony 50/1.8

This is the only autofocus lens in this test, it’s Sony’s version of the “nifty fifty”. Of all the lenses, this is probably the most boring one.

Minolta Rokkor 55/1.7

The first vintage lens I ever used on the Sony A7III, which made me fall in love with the concept and started the whole lens collecting obsession :-D.

Canon FD 50/1.4

This has come to be my favourite walk-around lens. The haptics are great, and the aperture has half stops, so it doesn’t straight from 1.4 to 2.0.

Yashinon 50/1.4

Bought at the same time as the Canon 50/1.4, this lens has unfortunately been overshadowed by its Canon sibling and not seen as much use.

Konica Hexanon 57/1.2

The current highlight of my collection, it’s a big hunk of glass and metal, and even at 1.2 it’s reasonably sharp…if you manage to hit your focus point, which is not the easiest thing when shooting wide open.

Grouped by aperture

1.4

2.8

5.6

Conclusion

I’m not really an expert, so take this conclusion with a grain if salt. But to me, none of theses lenses come off as really “bad”, I’ll happily shoot with any one of these. With the possible exception of the Sony, which I’d only use if I absolutely have to have autofocus capabilites.

Otherwise, I have found that taking the time to focus manually has a somewhat calming and meditative effect on me.

So, in the end, if you manage to get a good copy of either one of those lenses, I think you’ll enjoy it.