Ghost in the machine

My Contax T recently decided to act up, exposing only every other frame properly. The rest of the time the shutter would either not open or not close, yielding overexposed shots or frame not exposed at all. (It needs to be sent in for repair, and I found a small company in Germany who will be able to fix it.)

When I put in a roll of that rather expensive Kodak Ektachrome E100G, sometime late October, I wasn’t yet aware of the problem. Only while shooting it I noticed that the sound the shutter made sometimes wasn’t what I was used to hear — only a single “click” instead of two distinct ones. As it turned out — as with the roll of equally expensive Velvia 100 I shot before –, approximately 15 frames were exposed properly, the remaining pictures were either plain transparent or showed a blurred scene due to overexposure.

Magically, though, the ghost that had possessed the camera seems to have been aware of the scenes I was shooting — I can’t explain otherwise why exactly these two pictures turned out so nicely, whereas most other “keepers” are of mostly irrelevant content.

Contax T + Kodak Ektachrome E100G

Contax T + Kodak Ektachrome E100G

I like the first one especially, because the light was simply magical, and the wide open aperture of f/2.8 caused a very pleasing blurring of the background. In the second one, I like the light-hearted and natural expression of both my wife and son.

Two family moments to remember, captured in two pictures that had a less-than-50% chance of coming into being. As if the camera had known what it was doing.

Portra 800 & Elite Chrome Extra Color

Finished scanning and processing two more rolls of film — one roll of Portra 800, and one roll of Elite Chrome Extra Color (“EBX”), both shot with the little Contax T.

I originally loaded the Portra 800 to take some low light pictures during theatre rehearsals, but ended up finishing the roll in daylight, which worked pretty well except for having to stop down to f/16 most of the time. I find Portra 800 has very pleasing colours and very nice (read: unobtrusive) grain for such a fast film. Click the image below to see my stuff tagged “kodak portra 800” on flickr.

Contax T + Kodak Portra 800

Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Colour, which is available for 4 € per roll at German “Müller” drugstores, is absolutely lovely in sunlight, but almost unusable in all other conditions. It has very vivid and saturated colours, very low grain and is rather sharp (as far as I can tell from my scans), with very warm colour rendition in sunlight. However, once you get into the shade, the pictures tend to get a strong blue tint, in the worst case makeing then unusable. I gave my best at salvaging those pictures, here is an example that had a very strong blue tint originally:

Contax T + Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color

It has still got a slight blue tint to it, but it’s far better than the original scan. However, I couldn’t get the colour any better in Lightroom.
On the other hand, when the light is right, you get results like this:

Contax T + Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color

Click the image above to see my stuff tagged “kodak elite chrome extra color” on flickr.
While I really like the results I get from EBX in sunlight, I don’t find it’s a good allround film. I might use it again if I know I’m going to shoot in warm lighting conditions only, because then it has very nice colour rendering. But for an allround film, I prefer EB3 (the standard Elite Chrome) by far.

Next up: Kodak BW400CN (second try), Fujicolor Pro 400H, Kodak Elite Color 400UC and Fujichrome Velvia 100.

Fujichrome Velvia 100F

Velvia 100F, short RVPF, is a Fujichrome slide film emulsion with very warm and saturated colours, ideally suited for landscape photography during the golden hour. It has a very strong red tint that limits its use to suitable scenes.

I have recently shot a roll of this film with my Contax T. Click the image below to see all my stuff on flickr tagged “fujichrome velvia 100f”.

Sunset over Cappel, Marburg, Germany | Contax T + Fujichrome Velvia 100F

I guess I’m equipped for a little while … except …

My current stock of film and film cameras. This’ll keep me busy for a couple months, I guess :-)

Top left: Black-and-white negative emulsions. Lucky 100, Delta 400, Tri-X 400, T-MAX 400.

Bottom left: Colour negative emulsions. Fuji Reala 100, Fuji Pro 160C, Ektar 100, Fuji Pro 400H, Portra 400, Portra 160VC, Portra 160, Portra 800.

Right: Colour reversal emulsions. Elite Chrome Extra Color, Ektar E100G, Ektar E100VS, Fuji Pro 400H, Provia 400X, Astia 100F, Velvia 50, Velvia 100, Provia 100F.

To say it with Alan Parsons: “Try anything once.”

The only drawback at the moment is that my Yashica is denying operation, some electronics failure I guess. I will either have to take it apart or have it taken apart. Maybe I can fix it myself, but if not, it’s going to be expensive … So, no shooting b&w film at the moment. (You can’t use a Zeiss lens on b&w film. Seriously. You can’t.)

Some impressions with Velvia 50

I recently shot a roll of Velvia 50 in my Contax T. I knew beforehand that the film is very saturated and very contrasty. What I didn’t know was that Velvia 50 is also very sensitive to correct exposure, as it hasn’t got a lot of margin for error.

As I was neither familiar with that particular emulsion, nor with the behaviour of my Contax T’s light meter in different lighting situations, many shots on that roll turned out underexposed and extremely difficult to scan and salvage.

Still, I’ve got a number of great shots and already bought another roll of Velvia 50, which I will use some time when I feel I’m going to shoot something worthy of its magnificence. For the time being, take a look at my pictures taken with Velvia 50 on flickr.

Click to see all my pictures tagged "fujichrome velvia 50" on flickr