The Hoff – Rolls 17 and 18. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So two more rolls for The Hoff to share with you.

The first roll for this write up (roll 17) was Ilford HP5 Plus. This roll sat in The Hoff for nearly 8 week’s before completing it. I decided to rate it at 320. I like HP5 pushed but when shooting ‘normally’ I tend to prefer it rated at 320. For the few shots where I also used an orange filter I adjusted the exposure to 200 to compensate.

So why did the roll take so long. Partly it was the same reasons that affect us all. Finding the time, everyday stuff taking precedent and not having the opportunities to shoot. I also think however that I went through a bit of a phase of ‘is The Hoff the right camera for me’ as I found myself taking out my Olympus OM cameras with me. To explain, when I had the opportunities to go out shooting, I picked the lighter, faster and no requirement for a light meter camera. During this period I also contemplated if medium format film really was for me and should I stick to 35mm. This roll really became my wall I needed to breakthrough. I did eventually by forcing myself to take the camera with me one lunchtime at work to finish the roll with the view that if I didn’t feel it then I would need to make an honest decision about keeping the camera. I enjoyed it again and that was helped by the fact external non-photography reasons were falling away. I also reminded myself that this was a possible lifetime camera, there was no rush or pressure to shoot it regularly or indeed always take it with me as I have other cameras that may be more appropriate for the day’s shooting I was planning. I broke through the wall and The Hoff remains.

Here are a few images from that roll. Some scans adjusted in Snapseed.

By now you may be wondering why I have Christmas in the title well let’s move on to roll 18. We were taking the kids to see the Christmas lights in London and I happened to have a roll of Cinestill 800T in 120 so I figured why not load The Hoff and take it with me. I really like the Cinestill film, the 50D is also fantastic. I prefer to rate it at 500 (based on the Kodak Vision 500T) that is derived from. For those of you familiar with London, or any city centre for that matter, at night with street lights, shop lights and car lights, trying to meter to get the Christmas lights right is no mean feat. So to be honest I didn’t even try. I went with my gut, set the camera to wide open (2.8) and slow shutter 1/60. This was based on experience shooting Cinestill at night previously, trying to capture specific lit areas of the frame.

See what you think, scans adjusted in Snapseed

The Hoff – Rolls 15 & 16 AmeriCARna

A quick note for those reading for the first time. The Hoff is my Hasselblad 2000fcw and this series is documenting how I am getting on learning to use this camera by shooting 52 rolls through it.

Every year for the last three years a town near me, Horsham , has held an American car festival combined with US street food and music acts. It is a fun day out and has got bigger each year. I take my camera with me each time and this year was the turn of The Hoff. Unfortunately the weather was not great this year with lots of rain forecast. I had initially wanted to take black & white film as the other two times I took colour. Going through my 120 film stash I realised I had run out of my favourite Ilford HP5 which I wanted to take but shoot at 800. The other B&W films I have in 120 are a bit more specialist i.e. Washi S 50iso.

Thus I picked one of my favourite colour negative stocks, Portra 800. I love the colours from this film. It is expensive but as it is C-41 development I can justify the cost. It is also very adaptable and I prefer to shoot it rated at 400iso. You may now ask why don’t I just buy Portra 400? The answer is, because I find it too orange/warm. Portra is designed for Portraits which is why I guess it has that warmer feel for the skin tones. Portra 800, to my eye, is much truer to actual colours. Also a side note here for the film manufacturing industry, not every one is light skinned the warming does not work for all skin colours.

So off I ventured into the rain. I set my meter ( Gossen Digisix 2) to 400 iso. As per my previous post the meter is new to me and I am finding it easy to use and very accurate.

The next thing that I will remark on is something that will be obvious to seasoned photographers but has taken me a while to get my head round. When metering, for example through my Olympus OM1n, I would get the needle in the right place and take the shot. What I really wasn’t thinking enough about was adjusting either the speed or aperture from this starting point to get the look I wanted. The new meter is helping me think more the final look I want and not just be driven by the original meter reading.

Out I went with The Hoff into the rain to take some photos. The camera got wet, but it didn’t bother me too much. So now I have bored you all with words, here are some of the images. All Porta 800 rated at 400 iso some scans adjusted using Snapseed.

The Hoff – Roll 14 a day out with Ashley

So I finally got round to shooting The Hoff again. I purposely did not take it on holiday with me as where I went I was travelling light and the temperature averaged 34C most days and I didn’t want to subject myself and the camera to that. Also it was a holiday not a photography trip.

I was excited for the day’s shoot for three reasons:

  1. I was trying out a favourite film of mine Kodak Vision 3 50D. I had never tried it in 120 format before, you can normally only get it in 35mm. This is a cinema film stock and has a covering known as remjet. Thus it needs to be processed by labs that know how to handle it. If sent to a ‘normal’ lab the remjet could foul up their machines. The other reason I sent it to a specialist lab ( SilverPan Film Lab in the UK) is to have it processed in its native chemicals ECN-2. You can get this film with the remjet already removed and thus processed in a ‘normal’ lab in standard C-41 chemicals and that is CineStill 50D 35mm, which is lovely.
  2. I finally invested in a dedicated light meter. A Gossen Digisix2. Previously I had been using a light meter app on my phone. The phone app was relatively reliable, but it started to become a hassle to use having to take my phone out before each shot, unlock it, open up the app and then meter the scene. Also the phone app only gave one reading ie not settings across all the different speeds or apertures. Never having had to pay attention to metering before (my OM’s are through the lens meters) I had to do a bit of reading on the differences between incident and reflective metering. It will take me a while to judge when to use which one.
  3. The main reason I was excited was that I was getting to meet my friend Ashley (@Grumpyfck on Twitter). Ashley is a fantastic photographer and loves his old cameras and black and white films and great guy too.

So it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that we met up in a pub in Covent Garden. A couple of beers later we figured we should actually make an effort and go out to take some photographs. I loaded up my film in the pub, obviously I started to load it the wrong way round and then struggled to get the back on to the camera body, much to Ashley’s amusement.

Covent Garden was very busy so finding space to shoot was not easy. This was my first shot using the new light meter.

We decided to head towards the river as it would have been less crowded and there would be more light. We walked along Waterloo Bridge up to the National Theatre, there may have been another stop in a pub en route….

We walked back across the bridge towards Somerset House.

Whilst this may seem like a short walk this took us most of the afternoon as we were strolling, talking and taking photos. It was also thirsty work, so we may have stopped in another pub after Somerset House.

Overall I am pleased with this roll shot through The Hoff. The light meter was easy to use, the film has given me the colour palate I had hoped for and I had a great afternoon out. It was a pleasant change from the last few rolls of misadventure to get back on track.

The Hoff – Rolls 9,10,11,12 and 13

It’s been a while since I updated on my on going adventures with The Hoff. Life got very busy. This update is actually from when I took The Hoff to Scotland back in April.

I shot five rolls of film in my time there. Expired Fujifilm Neopan 400, Expired Fujifilm Pro 400H, expired Fujifilm Provia 400X, Fujifilm Velvia 50 and Fujifilm Acros 100.

I started with the Neopan and shot it on a day out Culzean Castle. I knew the film was a bit of a risk as I had no idea of it previous storage. I had the odd frame that came out (see below), but most of the rest the film was pretty damaged from poor storage.

I next went with the Provia 400X and took a walk along Ayr Beach. I had a CPL on the lens so set the meter on my iPhone app to 320 to compensate. Unfortunately something went very wrong. Everything was totally underexposed. (Pic sent by my lab). The big white square exposure is that thing where if you don’t set the shutter speed quite right. The lines are just from the poor compression of the photo.

This is where things really started to go horribly wrong and completely down to my error. I next loaded up the Velvia. These are the results

White square again, where I hadn’t selected the shutter speed accurately. The rest, can you guess what happened? Yep, my meter was still set to 320. Anyway blissfully ignorant I then loaded the Acros 100 with and orange filter on the lens. Do you think at this point I adjusted the meter.

No I had continued my error. The negatives were very underexposed and only a ton of post processing has even managed to get the pretty poor image you see above.

Again blissfully unaware of my errors, I loaded the Pro400H. I know what you are thinking, the meter was right again, even though it was by chance. You are correct, however we now circle back to the beginning and how I started with the Neopan. The film had been badly stored so most of the images were spoilt. The below is my favourite where I asked my daughter to pose, but I purposely added in some camera movement and her moving as a bit of an experiment.

Thus as you can see I terms of photography the visit was a bit of a bust. Most of it user error, rushing and not be patient or detailed on my part. The expired film being ‘bad’ is just one of those things you need to accept if you are going to shoot it.

I haven’t shot with The Hoff since, only because of time not because I am put off. Let’s see if I can remove the user error next time. One thing I have done is purchased a dedicated light meter (Gossen Digisix 2) as it is more user friendly than the phone, now I just have to remember to change the settings when I change the film.

The Hoff – Rolls 7 & 8 Come Fly with Me

Here is the latest instalment on my continuing progress learning to use my Hasselblad 2000fcw (“The Hoff”)

For this update I shot a roll of Rollei RPX 400 and a roll of Portra 800. I was visiting a museum close to me, The Gatwick Aviation Museum. I had not visited before.

First thing you might notice is yes I have a second A12 back that I purchased. One of the advantages of a system like this is that I can now switch between films. This one came with a plastic bit stuck on the back which is frankly a bit ugly but it has a slot to hold the dark slide which is very handy.

A couple of updates from last time:

  • The lens hood I purchased, which did not fit, was apparently for older lenses so I need to be a bit mindful buying my next one.
  • When I first purchased The Hoff I expected to want a Prism Finder and I got to try one. I actually found it too heavy and cumbersome compared to the waist level view so for now that idea is parked
  • The screen going dark when I wound the shutter crank is apparently because of some kind of depth of field view and I need to change a switch on the lens. I have yet to try this, but will give it a go.

So what have I learnt this time:

Firstly to make sure when I set the shutter speed, it clicks in place. If you shoot and it has not quite clicked, the shutter locks and you will not be able to get another picture until you click it correctly onto the setting. You end up with something like this

Second thing I have learnt is that having two backs, to remember what film I have loaded. I had the Portra 800 back loaded, but realised, luckily in time that I had the orange filter on the lens, thus removed it. I had however forgotten that on my lighter meter I has set it to compensate for the filter (1 stop) and I was already planning to shoot the Portra rated at 400.

I think the third and main thing was in regard to focal length. I have the 80mm lens which I believe is roughly equivalent to 50mm in 35mm. A lot of the museum was indoors and quite close quarters. Thus a wider lens might have worked better in some instances. I was thinking about this afterwards. My initial thought was do I need to buy a wider lens. But on reflection I feel this was the wrong way to think of things. The answer should not be what am I missing and need to buy, but more what do I have that is most suitable. This was a visit that I would have been better taking my Olympus OM1n camera with the various lenses I have for it. It would have been much more practical. Thought and preparation before going out should have been better by me.

Anyway enough waffling. Here are some of the images. There was an issue with the backing paper on the Rollei film, hence the look of it. I am pretty meh about these images, but that’s OK as I have learned more again for my continuing journey with The Hoff and that sometimes The Hoff should stay at home.

The Hoff – Rolls 5&6 oh man not again

My continuing journey in learning the ways of my Hasselblad 200fcw.

This update, as the sun was out, I thought I would try a couple of rolls of slide film in The Hoff. Those of you that know me well know I am a big fan of slide film for colour work.

I thought as it was a special occasion, for my first slide films in The Hoff I would go for two special films. Fujifilm Provia 400X a sadly discontinued but absolutely fabulous film in 120 format (for some reason I’m not such a fan of it in 35mm) and a roll from 1995 of Kodak Ektachrome 200 that I knew had been well stored from new.

I loaded the Provia 400X first and spent two lunchtimes walking around the City of London taking what I consider the best 12 images I had ever composed. When I finished the roll I unloaded it and…….

I’D ONLY BLOODY GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN. I HAD LOADED IT BACKWARDS!!

But still best 12 images ever and no one can prove me wrong.

Note: I plan to rescue this roll by re-rolling it back in dark bag, Provia 400X is too good to waste.

You may recall from a previous update I said I should get a lens hood. I found one on eBay for a really good price as it had a small dent and some scratches which didn’t bother me

I looked up that it was for an 80mm lens and it arrived nice and quickly. I took the camera out to put the lens hood on and…..

IT DIDN’T BLOODY FIT, WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT!!

Note: I haven’t had time to research into this yet, but will hopefully let you know in the next update what I did wrong.

Anyway I am not one to dwell on failure and like to get up and start again. So I loaded the roll of Kodak Ektachrome 200.

A little side note I like to use a polarising filter when shooting slide film. Not for every shot but it can really make the colours pop. Try Velvia 50 with a polarising filter and E6 process and you will see what I mean.

The very nice man who sold me this camera (Hi Mike) gave me the B60-67mm adapter so I could use 67mm filters on The Hoff.

So out I ventured again and guess what

I LOADED IT THE RIGHT WAY AROUND THIS TIME!!

So excited was I a put another roll of Fujifilm Provia 400X in and went out again.

Thus before sharing some images with you there are two more things I wanted to mention.

Aside from the mishaps is there anything else I have learnt about The Hoff this time. Well actually there is. Don’t wind the shutter crank on until you are ready to press the shutter. Basically compose your image fully first as once you wind the crank and the shutter is ready, the view through the viewfinder is much much darker so it is much more difficult to compose. This was a change in process for me compared to how I shoot my 35mm camera.

Secondly, I purchased a 2nd A12 back so now I can shot two different types of film at the same location.

Enough from me now, here are a few images from both the Kodak and Fuji rolls

The Hoff – Learning to use a Hasselblad 2000fcw. Rolls 1&2

Back in November 2018 I picked up a Hasselblad 2000FCW. I had been looking for a Medium Format camera for a while. Having shot/owned a Holga, a Zeiss Ikon Nettar, Yashica Mat124G and Fuji GA645 all great cameras in their own right I still felt I hadn’t found ‘the’ MF camera for me.

I knew I didn’t want a rangefinder. Shooting the Fuji in 38 degrees centigrade in Cyprus for 2 hours only to realise the whole roll of Velvia 50 was shot with the lens cap on pretty much convinced me of this. The Zeiss Ikon Nettar was fantastic but a little too slow and more importantly lacked flexibility in terms of other lenses, using filters etc. The Holga, to this day some of my very favourite images were created with it but it was a real love/hate relationship.

Thus to cut a long story short, I have ended up with the Hasselblad 2000FCW as next on my list to see if it is the one. A little side note about me, in 35mm I use an Olympus OM1n, I know this to be the one for me and have zero interest in any other 35mm SLR. I want this ‘feeling’ for an MF camera, I like the simplicity of one camera choice for each format.

Thus I am now embarking on a 52 rolls project to learn the camera and see if we are going to be long term partners. 52 rolls (as opposed to 52 weeks) so I do not pressure myself to shoot for the sake of it.

I do not intend this to be a camera review. That has very recently been written by Emulsive with his fantastic love letter to this camera.

https://emulsive.org/reviews/camera-reviews/hasselblad-camera-reviews/the-ultimate-guide-to-the-hasselblad-2000fcw-a-focal-plane-shutter-unicorn

This is intended as a record of my thoughts, successes and failures as I take a journey to learn it.

It took me over two months before I loaded my first roll of film in it. Part of the reason was I had been very busy at work and also got hit by a chest infection but if I am honest another part of it was I felt a bit intimidated by it and probably spent a lot of those two months overthinking it. I guess I was a bit overawed by the reputation of the camera but in January, I, with the help of a couple of people on Twitter, pulled myself together and remembered it’s just a camera, chuck some film in and see what happens. Thus film choice was my first decision.

As you can see, I seem to have quite a bit of slide film. Normally when I first shoot a new camera, test a lens etc I end up doing something stupid like loading it with some weird film stock or heavily expired film so I am adding so many variables that the test becomes a bit irrelevant. Thus this time I did the sensible thing, I loaded Ilford HP5 Plus.

And yes well spotted, I did the sensible thing and purchased a copy of the instruction manual.

Now if you have never loaded a Hasselblad before, even with the instructions it is slightly different. You have to loop the film the right way round through the rollers. My first attempt.

The above was my first attempt and completely and utterly wrong. Luckily I realised before it was too late. FYI the film side should be facing out.

Once loaded, out I ventured to take pictures in an area I was very familiar with to take test shots. Because of the light I rated the film at 800 when metering. I found the camera surprisingly light and straightforward to use. Everything felt quite effortless, even the waist level finder. With my Yashica I used to get motion sickness, but not so much with this camera, not really sure why. All was going very well until the 6th frame and the shutter would not fire. I tried everything I could, but was worried about breaking something so took it carefully. Emulsive came to rescue here and we spoke and he talked me through various options as to what the problem could be. Ultimately I managed to wind the film on to the end to save the few frames I had taken. Here are a couple of the shots from roll 1.

I loaded a second roll and as the light had faded by this time, I rated it at 3200. Another short interlude, I was using the lightmeter app on my phone for metering.

This roll went really well in terms of I enjoyed shooting it and got 12 frames. The camera felt good to use and intuitive. It was only when I got the scans back I realised there was a problem.

There were no spaces between the frames, in fact they overlapped in many cases. This could easily be and most likely user error i.e. me winding the crank too quickly. I guess I will know for sure with the next roll. Anyway here are a couple of shots from roll 2

The issues I have had with the film, has not put me off the camera. These are teething problems and precisely why I am committing to 52 rolls before making a decision. There will be many quirks and challenges but this for me is the only real way to learn.

Thus this has been Roll 1 & 2. Time to get on to the next one.

Oh yeah one final thing, yes I have given this camera the name ‘The Hoff’

Discontinued – an update

About a year ago I put up the following post

https://filmphotographylondon.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/discontinued-fujifilm-neopan-400/

In summary I had offered to send out 17 rolls of discontinued Fuji Neopan 400 in 120 format with the aim of photographers shooting it on the theme discontinued and then reporting back what they felt knowing that was probably the first and last time they would shoot the film. Then I would produce a zine with the results and their thoughts.

Of the 17 who had been successfully picked, only 10 gave me their address. I duly sent the films out. Of the 10 only 4 people have contacted and confirmed they shot the film and were ready to move to the next stage.

As such I unfortunately will need to call it quits to this project as this really is not enough to produce anything worthwhile. Thus discontinued is discontinued

A special thanks to the 4 of you that tried to see it through with me, you know who you are. I look forward to you sharing your images on the various social media sites.

Orange

Sometimes with a roll of film I like to challenge myself with a theme. Thus recently I loaded the Fuji GA645 with a roll of Fujifilm Velvia 100 and set myself the challenge of the theme of Orange. So please see below for the images. Processed E6 by SilverPan Film Lab (in the UK) and scans tweaked in Snapseed.

All images from the same roll, except the chairs one.

The Sound of Sussex – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If you follow my blog posts you will see I am a bit of a fan of the Washi S film. This is a black & white sound recording film that I really enjoy using but can leave me with mixed results. So far all the rolls I have shot have been 35mm so I was very pleased to see it was also available in 120.

I was staying at hotel in the Sussex countryside for a weekend away with the family so thought I would give it a try there. I loaded the film in my Fuji GA645 and placed an orange filter on the front. All my previous Washi rolls have also been shot with an orange filter.

Let’s get right to the point these are mainly really bad. I have analysed why and believe the Fuji was not the right camera to use for this film. Ok hang before you say a bad workman always blames their tools, let me explain. Previous Washi film shots I have taken were using my Olympus OM1n. With this camera I could meter through the lens and point the camera at various different parts of the scene and then adjust accordingly. With Washi S it can really blow the highlights if you are not careful and conversely if you are too respectful of the highlights all you will get is really dark areas elsewhere.

I did not use a handheld meter with the Fuji and left it to its own metering, I firmly think this film needs to be shot in a camera with full manual settings and use the TTL metering or a handheld meter. I won’t go into all the different types of metering as quite frankly I am a real novice with this and would just be making things up, I just know through practice and experience with my OM1n how the film works for me.

I will try some more Washi S in 120 but this time in the Zeiss Ikon Nettar with my iPhone light meter. Let’s see if it improves. Anyway enough talking now here are the images.

The negative as I thought you may be interested, shot on top of an iPad, hence the funny patterns

The good:

The Bad:

And the Ugly (although love the clouds in these):