A limited exposure test of the new Kodak Ektachrome

I didn’t dedicate too many exposures to bracketing as I’ve learned to trust the AE-1’s meter implicitly and usually have it set on shutter priority mode at somewhere around 1/125sec.

Can you tell which is which?  Because actually I’m not sure I remember!  But I think that the first shot was what my camera thought was the correct exposure, but due to the heavy fog I was afraid that it was going to underexpose so I gave it an extra stop.  And for some reason there’s a bit of a yellow color shift.  But besides that, it’s not terrible, not by a long shot.  Compare to the test I once did with Fuji Provia 100f.

Here’s this shot one more time, which I included in the other post, just auto-exposure on the AE-1, but thematically it fits in with the other pictures.  I am surprised just how muted the greens are here, but that may just be a characteristic of Kodak’s color palate combined with the lack of bright sunlight, and the fact that this is the Kodak answer to Provia, not Velvia.  Maybe someday soon we’ll see E100VS come back.

And here are a few new shots which demonstrate more of the muted colors in the shade.

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Two rolls of Ektachrome E100 (7294)

It looks like Kodak colors!  Over the summer I shot my first two rolls of the new Ektachrome in my Canon AE-1.  I have another roll that I haven’t shot yet.  I was planning on using my SPII for that but it seems to have developed a few shutter problems so maybe in my new Olympus Stylus Infinity.  It being October with the leaves changing color I should have got on that, however I missed my window, just so much else going on.  But here’s what I’ve shot between July and September, though I have to admit that after shooting Tri-X nearly exclusively since sometime last year, I’m a bit out of practice shooting color, but here goes:

I had these developed/scanned by Mike’s Camera, SOP is that I drop the rolls off at the Colorado Springs store so their courier can take to the Boulder store where the E6 processor is.  I asked high-res scans (only 3000×2000 now) on their Noritsu but to send the rolls back uncut so that they could be scanned on the Colorado Springs store’s Fuji Frontier scanner (I’m thinking if I do this enough I should be able to write up a comparison between Noritsu, Fuji, and Pakon scanners…haven’t gotten around to it yet).  Unfortunately, the Boulder store has no concept of how to follow directions and I received cut and mounted slides and the scans were a measly 1818×1228.  And they showed me the tickets, the directions were very saliently written so there’s absolutely no excuse for that to happen.  Thankfully the Colorado Springs store gave me rescans, though I don’t think it was on their Fuji Frontier; they must have some sort of Minolta or Nikon prosumer scanner for mounted slides but I don’t know which model; at least they’re a bit more high-res than what the Boulder store is offering, it’s about 2400dpi.  This gives me the opportunity to compare the Noritsu to what I’m calling right now the Mystery Scanner.


(there was some slight dodging the sunlight areas in this picture)

In nearly every instance I’d choose the Noritsu’s colors over the 2400dpi Mystery Scanner’s.  Nearly

It’s obvious that there’s more detail in the shadows on some of these (different cropping/framing too).  I’m not sure that the Mystery Scanner actually has a better D-Max than a Noritsu, but it does matter who they have operating the machineMike’s Camera in Boulder, you fucked up and I’m not happy.  Think I’ll ever go back?  Maybe someday.  This is the first time I’ve looked at the two scans side-by-side and the Mystery Scanner seems to have some sort of haze/fog as well as a slight color cast I didn’t pick up before.

As far as the film goes, I’m happy with the new Ektachrome.  Is it Provia or Velvia?  No, but when I heard that Fuji was discontinuing their 5-roll packs (which made the film $10-11 per roll), I bought 10 rolls of Velvia 100, stuck it in the freezer, and knew that when I’d shot all that I wouldn’t be buying any more.  I’ve said it before, I love Fuji’s colors.  But at least I know that a couple years from now, I’ll be able to still shoot Ektachrome and it’s actually a good price!  In 135 size that is.  As I write this, Ektachrome is being sold for $13 while Velvia 100 is $18 and Provia 100f is $16.  Ouch.  Considering Ektachrome is priced lower than either and it just came out, that’s great (and hopefully if my predictions are right regarding Fuji, we’ll see the price drop someday).  Now, $40 for a roll of the stuff in super 8, that’s pretty high.

Views from Rampart Range Rd.

Rampart is one of the forest service roads running from Colorado Springs, passing by my town, Woodland Park, and continuing on North along the front range of Colorado.  We do tours up there during the Summertime but only the bottom 6-7 miles so that is the part I know best.

The first time I traveled this road was back in 2007 when my friends picked me up from the airport and took us to Woodland Park the back way in their minivan.  It’s a story I like to tell, mainly because if someone in a minivan can drive it, it’s really not that rough a road.  I’ve passed many a regular car up there and would have thought my own Chevy Blazer wouldn’t have much trouble.  Well…

That’s never happened on a tour.

The good news: the tires were only a year old and I made sure to spend the $15 extra per tire for lifetime warranty.  I’ve already got two new free tires out of that deal.

On rough roads in Colorado, you’ll find plenty of people willing to stop and help change a tire.  Unfortunately, none of them will be pretty girls.  Oh well.

Why I love the Olympus Trip 35

RIP 1968-2018.  Unfortunately after shooting this camera for 3 years the shutter is now stuck halfway open and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

It will happen though, because it’s small, light, easy to use, gives me spot-on exposure, and has an absurdly sharp lens.  The Olympus Trip 35 and it’s my favorite mirrorless camera.  Reading about some of my photo friends’ experiences with the Trip and also finding this fantastic store made me want to sing again the praises of this mechanical wonder that I found at the thrift store for all of $8.00.

It needs no battery: it has a selenium meter which gives perfect exposure, something I tested by shooting slide film in it.  After reading about “night tripping” (which basically means using high-speed film in the Trip manually set to f/2.8 and its slower speed of 1/40sec), I’ve felt comfortable using the Trip in all kinds of situations indoors and outdoors.  One thing that I’ve talked about a lot (though never tried yet) is putting a few rolls of Cinestill 800T through it; or now that T-Max P3200 is back that might have to happen.  Either way I’ve yet to test the extremes of film latitude yet, but it will happen.

And the Trip 35 does indeed live up to its name: it travels so well!  I took it to Wales where it was my camera for color film, and threw it into my bag for a last-minute trip to Ohio.  Though the lens sticks out a bit it still easily fits in a jacket pocket without getting in the way.  Speaking of the lens and its zone focusing, you do have to be careful when shooting inside, but made it perfect for shooting my William Klein masters’ study.  Since then focus doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to, though most of the time I’ll get it right.

When looking through all the shots I’ve taken with this camera I couldn’t believe just how much I’ve used it in the last few years!  It’s a large gallery–in order we have: Tri-X (6), Velvia 100 (3), Double-X (4), Provia 100F (3), T-Max 400 (4), Fomapan 100 (2), Kodak Gold 200 (2), Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (2), and Ferrania P30 (2).  There will be other films shot in this camera one day, but for a while now I’ve been concentrating on the Spotmatic for my photo project that’s been going on since January (and long before).

I would definitely recommend this camera for people who don’t want the bulkiness of an SLR, don’t like relying on batteries, but still want an AE camera.  My camera’s shutter still had accurate speeds after nearly half a century.  Zone focusing can take practice but is doable, so don’t let that dissuade you!

Fuel injector modifications

We have 6 CJ-8 Scramblers from the early 1980s which are my favorite to drive, though I’ve killed one of them already.  These are the first vehicles I’ve dealt with that had carbureted engines which I actually enjoy quite a lot and have learned a bit about.  I will say: they do tend to break down easier sometimes but are generally easy to fix if you know what you’re doing.  Evidently a lot of the other drivers are lazy or stupid, either way there have been enough complaints that the company put fuel injectors in three of the CJs and it breaks my heart a bit.  The engine doesn’t look quite like it used to, nor does it sound as mean.


pictured: Ruby’s engine

Of course, putting a fuel injector in doesn’t mean that the thing will never break down:

In fact, maybe that makes just one more thing to go wrong…

Dip-and-dunk E6 processing in Colorado

On the first day back in the darkroom, our instructor mentioned that one of the last places doing dip-and-dunk processing was based in Denver.  Evidently dip-and-dunk is gentler on your film and causes less scratches/wear and tear on your film; especially important if an image is going to a gallery, you’d not want scratches on your negatives/positives from the development.  I guess this is also more of a thing for E6 processing, from my research.  And speaking of research…as far as the state of photochemical imaging in Colorado, it turns out that we’re doing alright, because I found three places here that have dip-and-dunk processing!

-Digigraphics (Fort Collins)
-Mike’s Camera (Boulder)
-Digital Imaging Center (Denver)

I’ve always sent my slide film to Mike’s, because they have several stores around the state, one in Colorado Springs, and I’m able to drop off film there and take advantage of their courier service to have my slide film developed at their Boulder store.  Much easier than mailing it out.

Post-CLA roll in the SPII

I used a roll of the AGFAPhoto-branded Fuji Provia, it seems to be what it’s for these days. The Spotmatic is metering well, for the most part!  I noticed that for some reason when I focused the lens one way, it metered one way and when I focused the other direction the meter read overexposed by a stop.  I had Cameraworks tighten a few things up and now it’s not doing this.  These are some of my favorite shots off that roll of film, that are well-exposed (and I feel better now that the lens works properly).

 

…At least the lens did work properly when I originally wrote this…it’s back to its old tricks now, so I guess the 1.8/55 could use a CLA too.

Why I love Fuji slide film

I might shoot a whole lot of Double-X and Tri-X, but when it comes to color, Fuji still has my heart.  If you need a reason to shoot a roll of slide film, look below.  I mean, what’s not to love?

The price, I suppose, so I usually save this film for special occasions.  And it’s the processing costs that really can drain one’s bank account fast, around $20 for developing and scanning (plus $10-15 for the roll of film itself).  Yikes.  But then I look at a slide on a light table or scanned, and all misgivings go by the wayside:

I don’t shoot a whole lot of slide film, but that’s changing the more I get good results.  While I will shoot Ektachrome when it returns (and with Ferrania not too far away either), Fuji is still my first love for color film.  As I look through these pictures, I notice that a lot of them have very striking shades of blue, a favorite color of mine.  To be honest, Velvia 50 and I didn’t get on very well, but then I’ve only shot one roll and I probably need a bit more practice with it.

The modern slide films are remarkable.  Compared to Velvia 50, which is a bit of an older emulsion from the early-’90s, the more modern Provia 100F and Velvia 100 are pretty remarkable in their latitude, being able to survive one stop of over- or underexposure with only slightly noticeable differences in color.  Color, in fact, that is supposed to have an archival life of 300 years.  Color negative film doesn’t come anywhere close.

It’s a bit sad the direction that Fujifilm as a company has gone, and I don’t doubt that at some point in the next decade we will be holding the last-ever Fuji slide film.  I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to continue supporting their business when they have obviously abandoned film photographers.  Perhaps it would be better to not get attached to anything Fuji makes, because I know that whatever it is, its days are numbered.  But then I look back to the point when I knew Plus-X was discontinued, and only bought one roll to shoot, or when I passed up the opportunity to buy a few rolls of Provia 400X, or Superia 400 in 120 size.  Or the fact that I never got a chance to shoot Kodachrome (or Ektachrome, Astia, Sensia, Fortia, or Velvia 100F); I regret those things.  And so, like marrying a person with a terminal condition, all I can do is enjoy the time that is left, knowing that at some point all good things must come to an end.

Penarth Pier

I stayed in the little town of Penarth (just a short train ride south of Cardiff) for a few days before flying out, and it’s a lovely town.

Evidently this is one of the last Victorian piers left in existence.  I believe it’s been recently renovated/restored but there’s some stink about the mishandling of the money they had, but thankfully I was just able to enjoy myself while I was there.  It doesn’t look like it from the pictures, but the place was crowded.