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The Official Head-Case Photography Thread.


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To add to this, color positive film was typically associated with "better" color reproduction and archivability than color negative film. And the color positive to high quality print process (Cibachrome/Ilfochrome) goes back a long way and yields better quality and more archival prints than the negative to negative color process. But to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a commercial positive to positive B&W process* and the negative to negative process is of such high quality and extreme archivability that there wouldn't be a point in developing it. That makes B&W slides a not very useful gimmick.

It's also the case that [good] B&W photographers do a lot of darkroom work as the process lends itself to it. It wasn't unusual for me to spend full days and dozens of sheets of paper trying to get one print right, and I was a rank amateur. B&W slides would have been useless in that regard.

*You can reverse process B&W film to make slides (though I assume you still battle base + fog). I'm sure someone has done the same with paper, but it certainly isn't a common thing.

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It's true that black and white print film has no equals when it comes to capturing and reproducing a wide dynamic range of values.  It's also true that at LEAST half the work with B&W film is in the darkroom, making prints.  Ansel Adams was an undisputed master of this process.  Henri Cartier-Bresson claimed to be allergic to developer chemicals and had other people do the work for him.  I've never shot, developed nor printed B&W print film, so I am in no position to talk shit.

So anyway, there's this fake-ass B&W film that Kodak used to make called BW400CN.  It's black and white film that is developed the same way color print film is done.  Meaning it's easy for scrubs who don't have access to a darkroom, and a total gamble as far as results go.  Also, I have great beginner's luck followed by a roller coaster plunge.



Let's come out of the gate swinging.  This is one of the best shots I've ever taken and will ever take.  The inside of the Edgartown lighthouse, 07/28/08 - 3:43PM.  17-40L at the wide end, Canon Rebel K2, Kodak BW400CN.  This shot is lightning in a bottle.



Here's the underside of that same bottle.



Looking out the porthole.



This photogenic little trustafarian fuck blew out my surf guitar amp, returned it to me broken, and then de-friended me on Facebook.  Kodak Rebel G, Kodak BW400CN, and the mighty Meyer-Optik Orestor 135mm F/2.8 showing off why it's a "bokeh monster."



My friend Alyssa's patented look of disapproval.  5/25/08 - 7:00AM at the breakfast diner.  EOS Rebel K2, EF 85mm F/1.8.  Kodak BW400CN.

Okay, let's drop that other shoe, shall we?


02/22/09 - 5:04PM - 17-40mm @ 17mm, F/8, 1/45th.  Rebel K2.  Kodak BW400CN.  This is an absolute nightmare.  The soup nazi says "No midtones for you!"



The ancestral cottage on MV, 09/15/09 - 5:34PM - 17-40L @ 17mm, F/9.5, 1/180th, Kodak BW400CN.  This one is actually one of the better frames from the second two rolls. 



10/04/09 - 5:25PM - 17-40L @ 17mm, F/13, 1/30th, Rebel K2, BW400CN.  The lack of midtones and detail in general is appalling.  I actually like the composition of the shot, even if my dumb ass had the lens hood on the wrong way.  See that black bit in the upper left corner?



Memento Mori.  10/06/09 - 5:43PM.  Rebel K2.  Kodak BW400CN.  The mushroom cloud laying motherfucker of a lens that is the Canon EF 85mm F/1.2L II @ F/2, 1/2000th.  I had to stop down because the poor Rebel K2 said "bro, I can't move my shutter fast enough to compensate for that much light!"  Leave it to a bad BW400CN run to wreck 85L bokeh.



The road where hopes for midtones go to die.  03/06/09 - 5:19PM - 17-40mm @ 24mm, F/13, 1/350th.  I have a bunch more, but I've made my point.  I still have one last roll of BW400CN, some 14 years later.  I dunno if I can be arsed to expose it.  At this point I'd rather attempt to develop Tri-X in my bathroom.

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1 hour ago, Knuckledragger said:

So anyway, there's this fake-ass B&W film that Kodak used to make called BW400CN.  It's black and white film that is developed the same way color print film is done. 

I believe ilford xp2 was the original c41 process b&w. Neither holds a candle to tmax.

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I have (another) long winded post about cheap cameras with plastic lenses in the works, but I've been distracted by artificial intelligence.  Someone has let loose an AI bot on Flickr.  The account has six photos uploaded to Flickr.  They are all very competently done.  The images have full EXIF, so it's clear they were all taken with a 5D III, in the last few years.  Here's where it gets weird.  This bot account scans images uploaded by other users then spams an AI generated comment on them.  It's weird and inhuman.  Some examples:


The Edgartown lighthouse, April 2007.  Dollar Store Camera and Kodak Gold 200.  The bot says:


The majestic lighthouse stands tall, illuminating the dusk with its beacon of sunlight, perfectly complemented by the serene sky and calming body of water. If you appreciated my comment, please take a look at my page.

You fuckin' WOT, m8?  The EDG lighthouse is famously short and about as majestic as a seagull.  (NB: This is unfair to seagulls, which can appear quite majestic while flying.)  "Calming body of water."  lol.



Sweetened Water Pond (across the street from where I now live) in November 2006.  Dollar Store Camera, Kodak Gold 200.  Authentic light leaks and muddy colors.  The bot says:


I am mesmerized by the stunning natural landscape captured in this photograph; the vibrant hues of the sky at dusk perfectly complement the tranquil highland lake surrounded by lush trees, reflecting its beauty in the calm watercourse. If you appreciated my comment, please take a look at my page.

Definitely some "vibrant hues" and "lush trees" going on here.  SMH my head, as the kids say.  This bot account commented on a bunch of photos in a similar fashion.  I'm not entirely sure what is the goal of the operator of this account, but it seems to be working.  The photos on bot's account page have hundreds of favorites and comments. 

Also today I discovered that one of my old Flickr contacts, who used to do square landscapes and artistic model shoots has switched things up a bit.  His work looked like this years ago:


Iceland 2009.  Just down the street from Birgir!  (Not really.)



Paris 2010. 



Model in France, 2010.


This guy is now posting porn.  AI generated porn.  Of thick black women.  Initially I thought they were real, but AI's "uncanny valley" lighting almost invariably gives itself away.  NSFW: This one has a "bo-ob."  It's a really weird time to be alive.

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In the parlance of our times, wake up babe, the new 300mm Orestegor dropped.  Not actually, that'd break my toe.  With that said, I had a bunch of packages waiting for me at the post office today.  The Janpol Color 55mm F/5.6 enlargement lens arrived.  It's weird and have no idea what I'm doing with it yet.  I also got a second copy of the Meyer Optik Orestegor 300mm F/4.  If I had any doubts about the extent to which my old copy is afflicted with haze and fungus, they are now laid to rest.  Allow me to illustrate:


Old 300mm, around F/8.  Edited in Photoshop to bring the contrast and colors up to acceptable levels.



The same, unedited.



The new 300, today, unedited.  Shee-it.

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I'm trying to "control" a Samyang 800mm F8 + X2 teleconverter. This thing is a nightmare.

I thought it would be easier to get better results but for the moment this is what I am getting. If you have a recommendation, as always it is welcome.




Something different: A traveler passing through from Africa






Edited by jose
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Over the last few weeks, I revisited a bunch of photos I took between 2006 and 2008, I posted a few taken with the first "modern" film body I owned, an EOS Rebel G as well as a Rebel K2 (which I recently resurrected.)  I also took a bunch with a Dollar Store Camera and a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, both of which are on the previous page of this thread.  In the late 00s, I was not nearly as good at editing photos as I am now.  Also editing software has gotten a lot better.  Lastly, my eye has changed quite a bit.  I'm both more and less forgiving toward the flaws of a given photo.

First some previously covered ground:


The Edgartown public library, November 2006.  Dollar Store Camera, Kodak Gold 200.



Pontiac GTO, Edgartown.  07/29/08 - 1:57PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.

These two ^ were my favorite shots with both cameras when I took them.


Amherst, 07/14/08 - 8:07PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.



Hadley,  07/14/08 - 8:32PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.



Hadley,  07/14/08 - 8:17PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.



The EDG lighthouse and some dinghies, June 2007.  Dollar Store Camera, Kodak Gold 200.  I cannot imagine why I didn't like this photo enough in 2007 to pass on uploading it.



Amherst, 07/11/08 - 6:25PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.  This shot required adjustments to the levels, colors and cropping.  I'm not sure if that's a light leak or just the sky in the upper right of the image.  I like it either way.



Dollar Store Camera and  Kodak Gold 200, October 2006.  This one was a mess.  I ran it through Topaz DeNoise AI and then adjusted the colors and levels in Photoshop.  I do like the "half remembered dream" quality the DSC produces sometimes.



Amherst, 07/14/08 - 8:05PM.  Vivitar UW&S, Ritz Crystal 200.  Foolishly pointing the Vivitar into the sunset.  Its plastic lens did something amusing this time.  Tune in next time for a bunch of re-edits of photos I took of Katherine the dancer in 2006.

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Let's talk about exotic lenses.


What a cute kitty.  Taken with a Sony full frame body and a Meyer Optik Diaplan 100mm F/2.8.  The Diaplan was sold as a projection lens, so it lacks an aperture.  It's nearly identical to the Meyer Trioplan 100mm F/2.8, which is very expensive cult lens.  The appeal of both is the "soap bubble" bokeh they produce.  I am not convinced.  Historically, Japanese photographers (the obsessive nuts who coined the term "bokeh") look down on strong rings on OOF highlights.  They call that "nisen bokeh" and view it as a bad thing.  I tend to agree with them.  The Trioplan is a meh lens that's soft and not terribly contrasty wide open, and only okay once stopped down.  There are far cheaper lenses with modern build quality available for a fraction of a price. 

To wit: There's a clean Trioplan 100mm F/2.8 on the 'bay right now, with its original carrying case (also clean).  Seller wants $850.  Bro, you can buy a real lens for that kind of money.  Goddamn vidiots have driven up the price of old manuals to insane levels.  [Knuckles, please not another vidiot rant.]  Also on the 'bay is a completely new TTartisan 100mm F2.8 in M42 mount for $155 shipped.  Don't be too surprised if I buy one of those in a couple months.

On the other end of the spectrum:


Mercedes car show.  Taken with a full frame Sony body and their 14mm F/1.8G.  That is a $1500 lens, and dare I say it a bargain for what it is.  I'm not super familiar with Sony bodies, but their lens lineup is pretty spectacular.  They make a 135mm F/1.8 that's superior to the legendary Canon 135mm F/2L.  It's sharper and has (on paper) better color transmission. 



Snow in Yakitori Alley by Ben Torode on Flickr.  Sony 135mm F/1.8 wide open. 

They also make a number of killer 35mm primes (my favorite focal length) including a $1200ish F/1.4, a significantly cheaper 35mm F1.8FE, and a Zeiss designed 35mm F/2.8 Sonnar.


Sony 35mm F/1.8, wide open by Steven Kramer on Flickr.



Alfa Romeo in Vancouver, taken with a Sony body and 35mm F/2.8 Sonnar, stopped down a bit.



Taken with the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM at the wide end.  Giving the Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L a run for its money.

This is an audio snob site (at least on paper), and Sony's (to quote Kevin Gilmore) wireless drive-by-wire management is the stuff of legend.  With that said, they are also an enormous company, and utterly dwarf Canon and especially diminutive Nikon.  When they, you know, actually bother with their products they punch so hard it's scary.

Edited by Knuckledragger
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If anyone wants to see the original Canon 1D CCD 4.1 megapixels boring test shots output, see below (bumped up in Topaz’s Photo.ai). You can do a lot with 4MP, but I think I’m more comfortable with “high res” 6MP+. Certainly a step up from the Nikon D1’s 2.7MP. Tweaked on mobile with Snapseed. 

44BE9458 1-topaz-enhance-1.8x 1.jpeg

44BE9485 1-topaz-denoise-enhance-1.9x-faceai.jpeg

44BE9503 1-topaz-enhance-1.9x.jpeg

44BE9520 1-topaz-enhance-1.8x-exposure-sharpen.jpeg

44BE9446 1-topaz-enhance-1.9x 1.jpeg

44BE9432 1-topaz-enhance-1.8x-sharpen 1.jpeg

44BE9524 1-topaz-denoise-enhance-1.9x-sharpen.jpeg

44BE9527 1-topaz-enhance-1.9x-faceai.jpeg

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I have a post about photos I took of Katherine the dancer in 2006 and am still processing in 2023 with modern software (and, ahem, 17+ years of refined skills) as well as what I've actually been doing lately.  That's all gonna hafta wait because I learned that it's possible to attach the absolutely gargantuan Canon FD 800mm F/5.6L to Canon DSLRs and Sony mirrorless bodies.


Or attach the lens to the camera, as the case may be.



To the surprise of no one, the old FD 800L is a cult lens.



Of course someone stuck one on a Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 camera.  Don't ask me about coverage.


WTF does one shoot with an optical trombone like that?



The moon, obviously.

Long teles are actually really good for landscapes.  They compress the perceived distance between objects.  This is reason #497 why large format cameras are better at landscape photos.


Sony bodies actually let the user enter the lens type so it appears in EXIF.  It might be the case that modern Canons can do this as well. 




Now this is my kind of photo.  Nearing abstraction.  There are also a legion of critter photos taken with the FD 800.  TBH if I had one I'd probably attempt that as well.





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I've been lurking on the large format subreddit for a while now.  It's given me mixed feelings.  Some (many) of the submissions are remarkably poor.  I see people laboring with giant cameras and expensive film stock (is there any other kind at this point?) producing results that can be charitably described as mediocre.  For me the issue isn't the composition or exposure, it's the printing.  Of course that's where the real skills of a B&W photographer come out. 

Conversely, there's a dude with a Linhof Technorama 617s III (a "small" Lin that shoots panoramas on 120 film, and costs north of $8500 without a lens) and a Schneider Tele-Xenar 250mm MC F/5.6 (around $7000).  German gear is is kilometers deep into "if you have to ask" territory, schweinhund.  With that said, the Linhof is a handsome looking unit:



The lens looks like ...every other Schneider to me, but I will admit I know jack shit about them in general.



The widget necessary to attach the Schneider to the Linhof is ...odd.



All of this is superfluous, because the dude who uses ^ is a bit of a mushroom cloud laying MFer:


NYC sunset on Ektar 100.



Some place in the US I think.  Ektar 100.



Schneider Apo-Symmar L 180mm F/5.6, Ilford Kentmere Pan 400, 25A filter.



Old Westbury Gardens, Schneider Apo-Symmar L 180mm F/5.6, Ilford SFX 200 | R72 IR filter.



NYC night,  Super Angulon XL 58mm F/5.6, Kodak Ektar 100.


There's also a few brave souls who shoot Velvia on large format.


4x5" w/ a 90mm something-or-other.  I rate this one a solid Velvia/10.





I think most modern cars are hideous, indistinguishable lumps.  These shots are amazing.



Velvia panorama. 


The above are the exceptions and not the rule of what I've seen in the LF subreddit.  It's enough to make me swear off anything bigger than 35mm forever.  The rest of the time I think about selling the mainland house and buying a Tachihara 11x14" field camera.

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1 hour ago, Knuckledragger said:

I've been lurking on the large format subreddit for a while now.  It's given me mixed feelings.  Some (many) of the submissions are remarkably poor.  I see people laboring with giant cameras and expensive film stock (is there any other kind at this point?) producing results that can be charitably described as mediocre.

I took 4x5 classes in college and this pretty much lines up with my experience. Indeed, the more expensive the camera gear, the worse the results seemed to be.

1 hour ago, Knuckledragger said:

IConversely, there's a dude with a Linhof Technorama 617s III (a "small" Lin that shoots panoramas on 120 film, and costs north of $8500 without a lens) and a Schneider Tele-Xenar 250mm MC F/5.6 (around $7000). 

Take a look at the Mamiya Super 23. It's a 120/220 camera that is a rangefinder but that also incorporates bellows for tilts and swings. It has a ground glass back available for utilizing those (as well as a Polaroid back). It also has 6x6. 6x7, and 6x9 backs and really excellent glass. I had one on loan for a while and it's probably my favorite camera I have ever used.

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