Picture | “On the Playground”

After playing with Ilford Delta 3200 recently, I now finally got around to finish, get processed and scan a roll of Delta 400 that was sitting in my Yashica Electro 35 GT for months. And what can I say … I’m totally hooked. I think my search for my favourite b&w film is over. And what’s more, it seems like Delta 400 and the beautiful f/1.7 lens in my Yashica were made for each other.

Ilford Delta 3200 Samples

I recently shot through my first roll of Ilford Delta 3200, not knowing what I would have to expect. I had been using Fuji Neopan 1600 as my dedicated fast film before and loved it. Sadly, the film is no longer available. So I bought a roll of Delta 3200 and Kodak T-Max 3200 each, to see which I would go with. To make it short: Delta 3200 is fantastic. Wonderful tonality, great colour sensitivity, and rather unobtrusive grain for such a high speed film (though definitely noticeable.) I will shoot the one roll of TMZ just to see what it’s like, but I have little doubt that I’m going to go with Delta 3200 whenever I need a really fast film.

Anyway, I’ve uploaded some samples to flickr, so please take a look by clicking on the image below.

I think this picture of my little brother is exemplary for the awesomeness of Delta 3200.

A little back story: I was shooting the roll of Delta 3200 in my Leica CL over the holidays, mostly on the inside, though I took two pictures in daylight (at f/11 or f/16, I believe, even though it was overcast and dreary). When I shot the last frame, I put a bit too much force on the advance lever (not having looked at the film counter and thus unaware that the film was ending there) and ripped the film out of its canister. I quickly darkened the room and tried to get it back into the canister, without success. So I decided to simply wrap the film around the canister and put it into an opened 120 film wrapping, in which to my surprise it just fit. I sealed it off and sent it to the lab with a not as to what had happened, so they wouldn’t open it up in a lit room.

Needless to say, many of the pictures had some minor or major light streaks, but the lab handled it very well and most of the pictures came out somewhat usable. So what did I learn from this experience? 1) Delta 3200 is really sensitive! The smalles amount of unwanted light hitting the film may ruin your pictures! And 2) In the future I will be much more careful when advancing film in my Leica CL — especially when the counter has already hit the ’36’ mark …

Picture | “Flock of Pigeons”

Just needed a break from work and found this among my scanned negs. I shot this one foggy morning early this year on my way to work.

Pentax ME + Revuenon 50/1.4 on Kodak VR+ 200

My photographic christmas wishlist

These days I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff I’d like to treat myself with for christmas. Alas, the budget for new toys roughly equals zero this year. Still, being the gearhead that I am, here’s a list of what I would have Santa bring me :-)

  • M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 — Olympus’ latest Micro Four Thirds lens offering, equivalent to a 90mm portrait lens / short tele in 35mm terms. Being raved about by everyone who has it, and generally getting quite favourable reviews. This would complement my Lumix 20/1.7 nicely for a two-lens kit.
  • Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4 — The fastest 40mm lens for 35mm photography, and conviniently this comes in M-mount. Since its über-fast sibling, the Nokton 35/1.2, is not only two to three times as expensive, but also two to three times as large and heavy, this would make for a nice carry-anywhere 50mm-equivalent available-light lens on my M8.
  • Leica CL 35mm rangefinder camera — the camera that almost killed the M series. Much smaller and lighter than its M siblings, the CL was manufactured by Minolta and features 40, 50 and 90mm framelines. It’s one of the smallest M-mount cameras, has an integrated light meter and would nicely lend itself at being used with the 40mm Nokton. Also, it’s beautiful!
  • Leica M Thumbie — a less expensive and less obtrusive alternative to the Thumbs Up grip by Match Technical. The Thumbie is attached to the back of your Leica M by adhesive tape, and thus keeps the hot shoe free for accessories. It’s also smaller than the Thumbs Up and only half the price.
  • Leather half case for the Leica M8 — there are many varieties of this very useful and very good-looking accessory. I would want one in light brown (“cognac”) with an integrated grip, preferrably the Mr. Zhou version. Protects the camera, makes it look nice and provides grip.

What would you like Santa to bring you for christmas?

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.