Film Rewind Can you still get film for that?

An image post for the weekend

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Rolleiflex T, Fomapan 100

Trying out the Pentacon Six

A little more then a year ago I was first wanting to go back into medium format and for that purpose got a Pentacon Six. On paper this is a great idea:

  • The cameras are quite affordable,
  • the system comes with good and affordable lenses,
  • there are loads of cameras and lenses out there and
  • it's 6x6, which is what I wanted.

If you look at the specs you get a nice camera: 6x6 format with shutterspeeds ranging from B to 1/1000th of a second and no need for batteries. The ergonomics are mix between the classical waistelevel-finder box-design you see with Hasselblad, Rollei etc. on the one hand and a more common SLR design on the other hand. In fact: with an added prism it becomes much more of a "normal" SLR.

For those curious about the system, this website rovides an overview of the Pentacon Six system.

Upsides

When you first take up this camera it feels solid in the way cameras used to feel back before things were starting to be made of plastic, the same goes for the lens. As far as lenses go I've only used the 80mm Biometar and I'd say it's a fine lens that will get the job done. Is it inferior to something like the 80mm Planars you find on Hasselblads and Rolleiflexes? Very likely. Does hat even matter? I guess that depends on what's important to you.

Downsides

My experience was mellowed by the fact that the camera I got was broken in the - as far as I am aware - most common way out there: the film-advance and frame-counter don't work propperly. Also a bit later I found that some speed (1/250th and 1/500th) don't work correctly as well. So the one downside is this: you have to make sure you get a camera that works properly (maybe it's best to buy from a dealer who explicitly states that all functions have been tested) and then make sure to read up on what not to do so as not to harm the camera.

The second downside to my mind is the viewfinder: it reminds me of a sixties TV set, curved and very reflective and this hard to focus without a split-prism screen in a lot of lighting conditions.

In the end

In the end I had a bad run with this, but that doesn't disqualify the system per se. It sure has it's weaknesses, but so do other camera-systems. If you look on flickr you will find people who do great stuff with these cameras, so I really wouldn't discount them when you are looking for an affordable entry into medium format.

Personally my road will most likey lead towards a system like the Hasselblad V-System or Rolleis SL66, but I still find it great that this system is out there.

On second thought: The Rolleiflex T after using it for a while

Back when I posted my first impressions of this camera, I had just gotten it, and everything was still new to me. There was a lot of nostalgia involved since it brought my back to my days using a Rolleiflex SLX. So, I thought I’d give you my opinion after some weeks have passed and I’ve shot the camera quite a bit over that time.

Day to day handling

This camera has very quickly found a permanent place in my backpack or otherwise on a strap around my neck when I go to work or just out for a walk. There is a bit of a guilty conscience involved towards my Leica, but shooting medium format is simply a lot of fun to me. It certainly is not for everyone – after all it slows you down a bit compared to 35mm cameras – but if you like this style of shooting then the Rolleiflex is great.

The camera is controlled via two knobs next to the lens: one for the mode (just shooting normally, flash-sync and self-timer) and one for the exposure on the other side. Depending on pushing the exposure-knob in or pulling it out aperture and speed are either coupled (keeping the same EV) or independent. This took a bit of getting used to, but basically after a first roll of film I’d gotten the hang of it. This can be really great: if you want to change you shutter speed without changing the exposure then the camera will adapt the aperture accordingly.

Image quality

I guess this is what a lot of people are after, personally I’ve not done any tests that would allow me to tell you much about it other then that I like it. My Rolleiflex T comes with a 75mm f3.5 Tessar lens. Does it take great pictures? It sure does. Is the 80mm Planar maybe a bit sharper or has more resolution? Perhaps. Personally, I feel these lenses are at a level where it does not matter that much anyways (I also use Leica lenses from the 50s and have never found myself saying “if only I had a current Summicron” or something like that).

Next thing to try out: Flash

Since the leaf shutter is great in that it syncs at all speeds, I certainly want to try some flash photography with this camera. I’ve already ordered a cable and I’m going to try to have it trigger my Godox flash. Ideally, I’d be able to hook the remote trigger up to this camera so that I could work with all the settings from there. We’ll see, I’m sure it will be an interesting thing to try out.

So, what’s next?

I currently have two projects in mind that I’m going to shoot on this camera, but those are things for another day. For know I just really enjoy using this great little camera. Also, I’d like to get an enlarger that can do medium format. So, we’ll see about that.

Papers Please

Rolleiflex T, Ilford HP5+ in Rodinal

(Self-)Portraits with the Rolleiflex

Though this may be down to the fact that this camera and I are still in our honeymoon-period, the Rolleiflex continues to amaze me. It is a joy to shoot and it feels great to use when you are around other people. After all you are not putting some black piece of metal in front of your face when you take a shot. Also having been absent from the world of medium format for more then a decade I'm amazed by the technical quality the images have compared to 35mm in terms of their resolution the way the grain looks. There are certainly situations where I prefer 35mm and my Leica is nice little camera to just have on you all the time - but right now the Rolleiflex basically comes with me when I leave the house and only a week of rain and storms has kept me from shooting more.

While the shots shown this far have all been on HP5+ I thought I'd use the opportunity and try something new: I've ordered some rolls of Fomapan 100 and Foma Retropan 320 and I'm really curious how these films will perform.