10 Frames - Shapes

  • Where: Medical Campus in Munich
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

On one of my previous exploratory walks around the medical campus in Munich, I developed an interest in the shapes that the buildings in the area exhibited. As a consequence, I took another exhaustive walk with the sole goal to take pictures that expose the shapes, textures, and other elements that caught my eye on the first visit. Usually, I find it easy enough to cull the 36 frames of a roll of film to get down to the five frames needed for my average blog post. This time, to my surprise, I had a hard time getting it down to 10 usable images.

5 Frames - Barnack

  • Where: Munich and its surroundings
  • Camera: Leica IIf
  • Lens: Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5
  • Film: Ilford HP5+
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

I had been longing for an old-school Barnack Leica for a long time, and at the end of 2022 I pulled the trigger when visiting a new-to-me photography store in Munich. They had way too many choices, and after a bit of deliberation, I left the store with a Leica IIf with the Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5 safely stored in my backpack. The store clerk kindly provided me with a roll of Ilford HP5+ for my first test run with the camera. In the following days, I did not have much time to shoot when the sun was up, so I went on a late evening walk and tried to capture some of the scenes that I passed by. I do not have that much experience with night-time shooting, so the test runs mostly served the purpose of figuring out how to operate the camera and to see if it was in working order. Turns out it works fine, luckily.

5 Frames - Into The Valley

  • Where: Maisinger Schlucht (Valley)
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Vacation time without premeditated plans often comes with excessive laziness, and disappointment because of missed opportunities to enjoy my hobbies. Thus, I pushed myself to get out of the apartment at least once every day. Ideally to go for a walk or even a simple hike with a camera in hand or dangling from my neck. In an attempt to explore my “nearby” surroundings, I made my way through the maisinger valley. The weather was sunny with some cloud coverage passing overhead, so I either had direct sunlight or a massive softbox at hand. Given the previous success with my rolls of expired Agfa APX 100, I had one empty roll loaded in the Nikon F6 and the newly acquired 90mm Leica Summicron-R mounted at its front. The valley is a mixture of meadows and forests with a footpath alongside a creek. Bathed in the sunlight of the low-hanging winter sun, I dare call the sight pretty. Unfortunately, the vistas in the meadows did not shine through in the black-and-white images, so the images in this post are mainly from the forest area.

6 Frames - Leica F6

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Nikon F6
  • Lens: Leica Summicron-R 90mm f/2 (F-mount conversion)
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

What do you get when you mount a Leica lens on a Nikon F6 body? I will leave the answer for the reader to figure out. For me, it is a solution to the desire for a portrait lens in the 85-90mm focal length area, combined with a pleasant, comfortable shooting experience. I enjoy shooting with the Nikon F6. I enjoy shooting with the Leica M6. I love Leica lenses, but at least for the M-mount, the prices are prohibitive. But what about R-mount Leica lenses? I recently saw a Leica R-mount lens mounted to a Nikon F3 on one of the Youtube channels that I am subscribed to (@grainydays, I blame you and my GAS for the following purchase), and a bit of digging around “the bay” uncovered an offer for a 90mm f/2 Summicron-R complete with F-mount conversion and all parts to convert it back to R-mount at a reasonable price. As soon as the package arrived at my doorstep, I stuffed a roll of expired Agfa APX 100 into the Nikon F6, mounted the lens (to the camera), and rode out to the prairie (well, a nearby lake) to take some test shots. At that time it was winter, the days were short, it was late, and the weather was overcast. The F-mount conversion meant that the lens would not automatically stop down when triggering the shutter, but instead would be glued to the chosen f-stop all the time. Even a few stops down from f/2 meant that I could barely see anything when framing my subjects. So I shot everything wide open at f/2.

6 Frames - Vito B

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria and nearby.
  • Camera: Voigtländer Vito B
  • Lens: Color-Skopar 50mm f/3.5
  • Film: Expired Agfa APX 100
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Once upon a time, I bought a box of Voigtländer 35mm cameras on “the bay” as a source of neat little gifts for my film-interested colleagues.  Not everyone received the gift with gratitude, and at least one of the cameras made its way back into my possession, while another never even left it. The subject of this post is a Voigtländer Vito B that I had tested once and subsequently used as decoration in my display cabinet. During my new years holidays, I made going on a walk as often as possible, at least once a day, a firm goal to prevent myself from rotting away in front of some kind of screen. One of those days, I grabbed an expired roll of Agfa APX 100 from the freezer and the Vito B from the display case and went for a walk. Why this film and this camera in particular? The last time I shot the Vito B, it was with hand-rolled Double X, which turned out to have light leaks because I did not close the film can properly. It is fun to shoot, makes satisfying noises when depressing the shutter button and winding the film, and is so small that you barely notice it when carrying it around. I chose the expired Agfa APX 100 because I wanted to test out if the film is still usable (I do have a couple more rolls of film from the same source in the freezer) and if it isn’t, I would only lose a couple of frames that I shot without expectations, anyways.

Turns out the film developed just as well as fresh film and the quality and sharpness of the lens in the Vito B was a pleasant surprise.

5 Frames - It Snowed

  • Where: At a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Porst Reflex C-TL
  • Lens: Domiplan f/2.8, 50mm
  • Film: Expired Kodak Gold 200
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

Not much to say about this set of images. I spent some time this winter finishing off some rolls that got started much earlier. One of them was a roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 that was stuck in a Porst Reflex C-TL for a couple of months. Given that the roll had expired about 2 decades ago, the results are decent. 

6 Frames - Does It Work?

  • Where: Somewhere in Munich and at a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Minox 35 GT
  • Lens: Color-Minotar f/2.8, 35mm
  • Film: Kodak Double X
  • Scan: Nikon Super Coolscan 9000

A while ago, at a local flea market, I managed to find a Minox 35 GT (together with a flash unit) in decent shape. I brought it home, put a battery in it, and gave it a try. It didn’t work. It looked like sometimes the shutter would fire but get stuck in an open state, and sometimes nothing happened at all. The reaction from the battery test button on the camera looked normal to me, so I concluded that the camera is broken. I gave fixing the Minox the old school try, following instructions I found for the problem that the camera exhibited. Or so I thought. It did not help and I gave up.

During one of my visits to my parents in the far north, my father dug up some of his old film cameras. Mostly point-and-shoot cameras, as he had given me all his other cameras already. To my surprise, he did have a Minox 35 GT in immaculate condition.  It seems like he lost interest in the camera back in the day because a lab technician was saying very bad things about it after he handed bad results back to my father. So now I was (and still am) in possession of two Minox 35 GT, one that should be working perfectly. Back at home, I popped in a fresh battery and gave the camera a try. It did not work. While disappointed, I did some more research and bought a battery adapter for 4xLR44 batteries in the hope that those would work better than the other type of battery would. Jackpot! The camera came to life and the shutter finally did what it was supposed to do. Not I am left with the camera that I bought at the flea market. Maybe it has the same problem? I have not tried it, yet. First, I wanted to see what the camera I got from my father could do when taken out to shoot “around town”.

The images in this post are from the first test roll that I shot with the Minox 35 GT. I am using Kodak Double X at EV 250, which is my go-to test film since I still have a couple of hand-spooled rolls left. After shooting a few rolls of Double X, I have some mixed opinions about it. The latitude is a bit tricky to deal with and the images tend to be quite grainy. On the other hand, it was cheap enough when I bought it, so it does not hurt so much when a test roll turns out to be for the bin.

The results that the Minox 35 GT produced on Double X are a bit mixed, too. The exposures are fine in some images, under or over-exposed in others. The camera is capable of delivering some surprisingly sharp pictures when everything is going the right way. I am sure that it can be a good everyday companion, given that its user spends some time learning how it reacts to different lighting situations. Overall, I like that little thing and I am happy to have it in my collection. Twice.

4 Frames x 5 Inches

  • Where: Fairytale castle Neuschwanstein and a lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Linhof Technika IV
  • Lens: Schneider Kreuznach Symmar f/5.6, 150mm
  • Film: Expired Kodak Portra 160
  • Scan: Howtek D4500

This post is the culmination of two more or less independent purchases from recent years: 1. A Linhof Technika IV 4x5 camera in decent shape. 2. A Howtek D4500 drum scanner.

While the scanner turned out to be only in a partially working state and in dire need of some CLA (Clean, Lubrication, and Adjustment) and repair the Technika seemed to work flawlessly. Even the coupled rangefinder did its job splendidly. The images shown in this post were taken a while ago when I experimented with the camera and took it on a road trip to the nearby Neuschwanstein castle. After the long-expired Kodak Portra 160 came out of the development tank, it looked acceptable to the naked eye, but my attempts at camera scanning and color inversion/conversion resulted in disappointment. At that time, the drum scanner was neatly packed in a box, waiting for it to be shipped over the big pond for its CLA/repair.

Fast forward to the end of 2022, after almost 2 years (1 year of tinkering, boxing, and figuring out how to get it shipped to the US, and 1 year out for CLA/repair) I finally have the scanner back home and ready for action. Given that the drum is big enough for a DIN A4 sheet of paper, or an 8x10 negative, I reasoned that 4 sheets of 4x5 should be the most efficient use of the drum area. So I dry-mounted 4 sheets to the drum and went through the whole scanning process after basically having forgotten everything. The results of the first test scan are the 4 images in this post. I have to say, I am pretty happy with the outcome.

5 Frames - Taking The 67 For A Walk

  • Where: A lake somewhere in Bavaria
  • Camera: Pentax 67
  • Lens: SMC Takumar 105mm f/2.4
  • Film: Ilford HP5+

I grabbed the new (to me) Pentax 67 and took it for a walk at a lake nearby. I got a roll of Ilford HP5+ from the store when I bought the camera. Not my usual choice of film, because I prefer the lower speed variations that provide a bit finer grain. I promised myself to give higher speeds a possibly some pushing a chance in the future, given that the days are pretty short now. This roll got the stand-development treatment. My second try so far. The first time was with two sheets of 8x10 film. I am unsure if it went well that time because the negatives did not turn out well and user error with the large format camera can’t be ruled out. The negatives looked decent this time around. Pretty flat, but manageable in post. Weirdly, the second frame on the roll (the first image above) exhibits something that looks like a light leak. None of the other frames on the same roll and on a subsequent roll do.

6 Frames - Lindau

  • Where: Lindau at Lake Constance
  • Camera: Mamiya 645 Pro
  • Lens: Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f/2.8
  • Film: Expired Kodak Ektachrome 100G

I shot 4 rolls of Kodak Ektachrome while visiting the beautiful town of Lindau at Lake Constance. Given that 4 rolls on the Mamiya 645 Pro result in 60 images, it was hard to narrow it down to 5 frames. Thus, I slipped one extra image into the post.

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