Plastic Pano camera .. Junk or Gem? …

I have loads of cameras all of which produce technically excellent images due to the metering/lenses and the ability to choose how you want the image to look as you can determine the aperture to control depth of field or the shutter speed to control the exposure.

I have always liked panoramic images and have in the past shot 35mm in my Fuji Gw690iii to get a sudo pano look and as I am very unlikely to find an Xpan in a charity shop I am going to have to make do shooting multiple frames and sticking them together to get my panos.

The other day I was going through my camera drawers and various camera bags and came across a little plastic camera that I didn’t know I had.

I am sure I never bought it so I must have been given it at some point.

Not knowing anything about it other than it said PN919 on the front I checked out Google to find that it was a rebadged Vivitar by the Readers Digest magazine from years ago.

It gives you the option of shooting straight 35mm or with a flick of a switch it gives a fake pano by just exposing the centre of the frame ( you could just do this in Lightroom on a full frame but where’s the fun in that”.

What I like with this camera which is also the same when I shoot my Holga and Diana cameras is the fact that I can just worry about the content and composition of what I am shooting and let everything else be what it will be.

I loaded it up with a roll of trusty ilford HP5 and went out for a walk to test it out.

When I got home I went to rewind the film and it was very loose and didn’t seem to be rewinding, I thought that the film take up spool had let go of the leader and I had not shot any frames so opened the back in very dim light only to find that it had fully wound on to the take up spool.

I quickly closed the back and attempted to rewind again and eventually it did start to rewind albeit very stiffly.

I developed it in ilford LC29 1+19 dilution and when I opened the tank I was pleased to see that only the last few frames had been affected with the back being opened.

Overall I was pleased with how the images look, they are not all that sharp but the pano effect coupled with the gritty HP5 look made me smile.

Would I recommend this camera if you could find one? .. in a word Yes! as it’s a fun thing to try, I wouldn’t pay a lot for it but if a cheap one came up then give it a go.

Here are all the images along with some images of the camera showing the pano mechanism.

There are also one or two full frames images there just to see the difference

Comments most welcome ….

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

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Brand new … Expired Agfa Vista 200 .. is it still ok?

Back in 2016 or 2017 when you could buy Agfa Vista 200 for £1 in Poundland here in the UK I bought 4 packs of 10×36 exposures and 6 packs of 10×24 exposures which have been stored in my film fridge since the day I bought them.

I also bought probably 15-20 single rolls while it was still available which I have gradually used up.

The other week I wanted to give my Nikon F80 a run out ready for our week away in Tenby thinking it would be easier with the 50mm f1.8 rather than using my trusty F100.

I was looking in my kitchen fridge for a roll of film to just test the camera but didn’t have any Vista in there so I opened a pack of my 36 exposure stash which had not been touched since storing away in the fridge 4 years plus ago.

I didn’t doubt that the film would be ok as it was brand new when I bought it but as it was cheap consumer film and it was on a shop shelf when I got it I wasn’t 100% what I was going to get.

It was an overcast day but the light was pretty good but I aired on the side of caution and set the camera meter to iso 100 and shot the roll pretty quickly.

The F80 is a really nice camera to shoot .. pretty light compared to the F100 with the 50mm f1.4.

I decided to get the film developed by Filmdev so I could rule out user error with the developing but didn’t manage to send it off before we went to Tenby so I ended up taking the F100 just incase the F80 had any problems and sent the roll off with my Holiday rolls.

I needn’t have worried as the F80 and the Vista worked great, the images were sharp and well exposed with the greens really popping.

I am so pleased that I have 100 rolls stored away that I can slowly shoot knowing they are fine.

So here is a selection

Click on an image to view larger…

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

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First time shooting Cinestill XX Double-X in 120 format … full roll

When Cinestill announced the release of XX Double-X I could not wait to get my hands on some to try.

I have shot Double-X film stock 5222 in 35mm that I picked up from Nik & Trick and really liked how it looked so when I realised that I could get to try it in 120 format I was pretty excited.

I bought some in both 35mm & 120 from the excellent Analogue Wonderland and waited for a suitable time an place to try it.

Last weekend we had a typical welsh August day with rain & wind and a pile of mist up on our wonderful Garw hills so I loaded up my Mamiya RB67/65mm lens and went out hoping to get some nice atmospheric misty images.

Sadly or happily depending on how you look at it by the time I got up the top of the valley the majority of the mist had dissipated but what that meant was I had more light to play with so rated the film at iso 200 and managed to stop down to f8/11 on most frames which once I had developed the roll really showed how sharp this film stock is.

After scanning and slight tweaks and dust spot removal in Lightroom the results were great .. lovely contrasty images with excellent detail and great tonal range ..

I developed it in ilford LC29 1+29 dilution for 8 mins and scanned on an Epson v500.

So here is the complete roll …

Comments most welcome .. click on an image to view larger

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

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Another roll of Ektar in the Mamiya 645 ….

My first blog post this year was a roll of Kodak Ektar using my Mamiya 645 and I pointed out that I rarely shoot Ektar but here you go I have shot another roll using the same camera.

Ektar is a pretty sharp film stock especially when you shoot it in 120 format and with good light which really shows on this roll which I was really pleased with.

I developed it with the Tetenal C41 kit and scanned using my Epson v500 which gives pretty good scans with 120.

So here is the roll .. I have only posted 12 frames as I duplicated some of the tree at the end of the roll which were all more or less identical.

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

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Fomapan 400 in 120 format is a revelation ….

I have shot Fomapan in both 100 and 400 iso in the past on 35mm and have tried different developers but have never been all that impressed with the results I have achieved.

I have seen lovely images shot using this film so I bought some Fomapan 100 and 400 in 120 format to give that a go.

I also bought some ilfotech LC29 developer at the same time so I loaded my Mamiya C330 with a roll of 400 and on a really cloudy overcast afternoon I went out and shot the roll at my local haunts where I have had nice results in this type of weather/lighting before.

Even though it was not the brightest of days I still managed to shoot most of the frames at between f5.6 and f11 hoping to test how sharp Fomapan 400 is.

After development the negatives looked pretty contrasty so I was excited to scan and see what I had.

The initial scans using my Epson v500 and Epson scan were promising and once in Lightroom/Photoshop the images blew me away … really nice contrast, not too punchy and sharpness in spades.

The C330 always gives me contrasty sharp images on most film stocks and didn’t fail here either.

Fomapan in 120 is like chalk and cheese compared to 35mm, I never got anything like this even from Fomapan 100 yet alone 400.

Suffice to say I immediately bought more Fomapan 400 and will be shooting it much more in future.

Here is the whole roll .. comments most welcome

Click on an image to view larger

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

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Lomography Babylon 13 Kino film .. Overcast day and no tripod .. let’s go for it ….

Everytime there is a new film released onto the market I always try to get a roll or two to try.

So when Lomography announced the Babylon 13 and Fantome 8 kino films I immediately purchased some.

As they are 8 & 13 iso respectively and as I have a slight aversion to using tripods I have been waiting for the brighter weather to return here in Wales.

Last weekend the weather was looking pretty nice for a change so I dug out a camera that I have not used in ages .. my Ricoh X-RX and the Pentax 50mm f1.7 & 35mm f3.5 and proceeded out to my usual haunts here in the Garw valley.

By the time I was ready to leave it began clouding over but I had loaded the film so I went up the mountain anyway hoping that I would have enough light to be able to had hold at reasonable apertures.

As it turned out I only got to f5.6 once with most of the shots either wide open or f4 at best.

On my return I checked the massive dev app to see what I could develop it with and decided on ilfotecHC 1+31 dilution for 9 minutes.

The negatives looked fine out of the tank if slightly underexposed at first glance.

When dry and I cut them into strips for scanning it was apparent that this is a very curly film stock so I was imagining problems with my Epson v500 but apart from a few frames that I had to manually locate rather than the thumbnail scan method it went well.

Once into Lightroom the film was a revelation .. I was expecting soft, dark images due to not being able to stop down and hand holding at 1/30 sec but no .. the images had bags of detail and plenty of tone in both highlight and shadow areas.

The grain was pretty much non existent which is expected from such a low iso film but still it was nice to see.

Would I recommend this film stock? … definitely I would but with the caveat that you need good light or a tripod to get the best results even though I seemed to get lucky on this occasion I think as the Pentax 28mm f3.5 is a really sharp lens even wide open and the metering on the Ricoh did an excellent job too.

Well here is almost the whole roll as I bracketed a few frames so had multiples of certain images.

Click on an image to view larger

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/timdobbsphoto?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

An Evening walk with some Lomo CN 400 & Fuji GW690III

Short and sweet blog post today featuring a recent evening walk with my “Texas Leica” .. my actual Leica M2 has had to go to camera hospital due to a shutter curtain problem but that’s another story.

The other week after work I spotted some pretty nice light here in the Garw valley so popped out to fire off a roll of my favorite colour negative film at the minute … Lomography CN400 in the wonderful GW690III.

I didn’t walk far and to my surprise shot all 8 frames in the space of 30 minutes.

Even though the Fuji is a bit of a beast it handles really well and it is so easy to treat it like an oversized point & shoot sometime.

Well here is the whole roll … nothing really special just the Garw valley in nice light 🙂

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

I also have some zines over on my Etsy store if anyone wants a look .. or message me to buy direct ..

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/timdobbsphoto?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

First roll shot in 2021 … Kodak Ektar in the Mamiya 645 …

I imagine that quite a few photographers have struggled during the pandemic to find motivation and opportunity to shoot.

So far this year I have managed 3 rolls which is pretty poor by my usual standard.

I was going through my film stash looking for something that may give me some motivation to get out and shoot.

I realised that I have quite a few rolls of Ektar and the day was quite bright so I loaded up my Mamiya and went out for a walk with my better half.

Even though it was a lovely day I struggled to really shoot anything that pleased me, there was one or two on the roll that were ok but overall this was a poor roll.

Somehow I only ended up with 13 frames, I did manage to accidentally fire off a frame while bending down but where the other one went is a mystery as I shot 15.

It must be old age as I missed focus on 3 frames and had a little camera shake both of which are unusual with the Mamiya, I can easily hand hold at 1/30th usually.

I developed the roll using the Tetenal C41 kit and scanned with the Epson v500

Well here is my 1st roll of 2021 in all its glory …

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

20 minute walk with some ilford HP5 and my Yashicamat 124G …..

I have had my iMac for about 6 months and it has been great for everything especially photo editing in Adobe Lightroom in 4k but since the Big Sur update it has been running like a snail in treacle with all the Adobe products.

I used to edit using a PC which was starting to slow down a bit which is why I upgraded to a new 6 core, 4k iMac so in a fit of extreme recklessness I went and bought a new PC 2 weeks ago (gave my PC to my son so I don’t feel that guilty) and I wanted to test it out so loaded my Yashicamat with some trusty HP5 and went out to bang off 12 frames just to test my workflow from scanning to editing.

Considering I shot the roll in only 10 minutes I was pleased to get 12 keepers albeit very similar shots.

The PC performed brilliantly without a hitch very fast and smooth and a little easier on the eye as my PC monitor is a 28inch 4k compared with my iMac 21.5inch 4k.

Apple has since given an update to Big Sur which still has done nothing to speed up Adobe stuff so I feel a complete wipe and clean install coming over Christmas.

Anyway here are the 12 frames sorry there is not a lot of variety other than slightly different framing and apertures.

As per usual HP5 looked lovely and the Yashicamat gave excellent sharp images.

Click and image to view larger …

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek

A walk to Ocean Colliery in the mist with Rollei Retro 400S ….. the whole roll

I have shot a few rolls of Rollei Retro 400 and love how you get really deep blacks while holding shadow detail and especially in 120 format how much detail it produces.

A few weeks back it was pretty gloomy with quite a bit of mist here in the valley which screams Black and White to me so I loaded up my Fuji GW690iii and went for a walk up to the site of the last colliery to close here in the Garw valley.

The landscape has long been transformed since the mines went and on the site are 2 lovely lakes.

As the Fuji only takes 8 frames and I didn’t bring any more film with me I had to be selective with my shots trying not to waste any.

So these 8 frames are my walk from the commemorative plaque at the entrance to the site, then the bottom lake & Sculpture followed by the lovely top lake surrounded by mist.

This type of image works well with Rollei Retro in my opinion and I was pleased to have got 8 keepers from the roll.

So here are the images … comments most welcome

Click to view larger ….

All images on my blog are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek