Resurrecting old 35mm equipment.

johnny s

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My old and very much loved Olympus OM2n and associated paraphernalia have been redundant for far too long. The equipment is cumbersome and heavy, speed and versatility of shots being largely dictated by the purchased film speed ( the darkroom has long since gone ) and stamina. However, I love the damn stuff.

So, I've had a thought, bring the lot out of retirement and confirm to all that I am the grumpy, old, nostalgic, tight fisted git, that everyone thinks I am - but will I have the last laugh ?

I'm intending to shoot 35mm film ( not all the time ) on 'my days out ', when I can sit and ponder, compose, expose and hope without the benefit of instant replay, that the piccy turns out as intended, waiting with baited breath for the results to drop through the letterbox after d&p.

Of course, I will order a digital copy of the Photographs ( cd ) at 5444 x 3649 jpeg, upload to the computer and play with photoshop till the cows come home, I do like the idea of a digital darkroom, saves on paper, time and cost of chemicals.

or

Am I wasting my time and expecting a far better quality of photograph than I should do ?. I hope not. 100 asa film transferred to 5444 x 3649 jpeg sounds pretty damn good to me.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who has tried this path.

 

mikehit

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I have found it very hard to print 35mm film above 18x12, but I can go higher than this with even a 12MP DSLR, but then again I only really used consumer lenses with AS 200 film (not the fine grain Ilford or 50ASA Kodak). I have tried a home scanner (Epson V700) and high-quality lab scanning and found that you quickly reach a limit where all you are doing is getting better defined grain - the 5444x3649 will, I fear, be close to that limit.

Still, there's no harm in having a go just for the hell of it :)

 

johnny s

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Thanks for your reply Mike, yep I'm having a go ' just for the hell of it '. I remember fondly the picture quality that I used to get with the Olympus gear and the detail that could be achieved. Enlargements, I doubt would be greater than approx. 8 x 10, it would have to be pretty exceptional to go larger :) . I am really looking at the feasibility of my ' cunning plan ' to utilise what I have and knowing what can be achieved in 35mm format. I suppose all I am doing is trading a darkroom for a digital one. Of course if I could afford a full frame dslr, I would take that route, but this seems to go some way to having one. I must admit to being a depth of field freak and what I see through the 35mm lens is exactly what I get on the image, I just hope that the quality when transferred to cd doesn't suffer too much and that photoshop can clear up any anomalies.

 

photowizz

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waiting with baited breath for the results to drop through the letterbox after d&p.
That was always my problem...waiting for the results and then wondering if the actual d&p process had compromised my work....

I remember well complaining bitterly at Boots in Windsor after getting back several sets. Not only did the prints look lousy but they had been cropped. The manager told me that their auto process always cropped like this. He agreed to reprint them himself. Dramatically better quality and almost no cropping.

That got me wondering how many other films had been screwed by cheap processing so I took several negative sets reprinted by a specialist. Far better.

What persuaded me to drop 35 mm, in favour of digital, was after a wedding shoot that I did as a favour for a mate who couldn't afford a "real" photographer (!!)

I used a Nikon F4 for film and a Canon EOS 10D, newly introduced, for near identical shots. Got the films pro processed and printed the digital ones myself.

A few days later I presented the albums to them. Some friends present too so I asked everybody which ones they preferred......end of 35 mm for me.

I loved those 35 mm cameras but the advantages for me personally, who hated darkroom work, was huge.

Good luck with it though!

 

rockmeister

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If you do a lot of this, get the films processed professionally and buy yourself a proper 35mm neg scanner. Something like the Plustek 8000 series are fine for B&W and Colour films and slides. Import the results to anything that has NIK software as an add-on and you'll have better results than you might imagine. There's bugger all wrong with an OM2 or it's lenses. Choose the slowest, finest grain film you can get away with ( Ilford Delta pro 100 maybe, or the Fuji acros range?) and don't burn out your highlights too much if possible.

 

johnny s

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If you do a lot of this, get the films processed professionally and buy yourself a proper 35mm neg scanner. Something like the Plustek 8000 series are fine for B&W and Colour films and slides. Import the results to anything that has NIK software as an add-on and you'll have better results than you might imagine. There's bugger all wrong with an OM2 or it's lenses. Choose the slowest, finest grain film you can get away with ( Ilford Delta pro 100 maybe, or the Fuji acros range?) and don't burn out your highlights too much if possible.
Can you read my mind ? :)

I'll put a few rolls through the normal channels ( Fuji appear to offer reasonable d&p +cd ) and if I like what I see or see potential in pursuing this, a scanner will be the next step. I've just got my hands on some Kodak Ektar 100asa, seems to be a reasonable film, very predictable etc. so will see how it all goes. May even get round to adding a few snaps to the photography thread, just to show the positives and negatives of going this route.

It could be some time though, when you're paying for pics one becomes very selective in subject matter.

 

rockmeister

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May even get round to adding a few snaps to the photography thread, hoorah :) just to show the positives and negatives of going this route.ho bloody hoIt could be some time though, when you're paying for pics one becomes very selective in subject matter.
and that last bit...very true!

 

rabski

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I still have all my old OM stuff and lenses, plus one treasured Leica and some old 120s as well. I do occasionally run a roll of film just for the fun of it.

The 'being selective when it costs you real money' is very valid. It does offset the trap we can all fall into of just banging off hundreds of shots on digital because it's 'free'. The problem with that is that you tend to get out of the habit of composing and exposing with care and actually end up with fifty poor shots out of fifty, rather than four decent ones out of ten. You can also spend hours post-processing to end up with something that still isn't quite right.

The downside is that the quality simply isn't up to decent DSLR standards, certainly in terms of grain, but also in terms of margins for exposure - the latter especially if you shoot RAW in digital.

A good thing to do every now and then though.

 

HectorHughMunro

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Film certainly has a look to it and it's better than faking it, assuming that you have sufficient light to do it. Generally, I'm less nervous about dropping a film camera and never used a padded bag in all the time that I used one. It's also unlikely that anyone will steal it so the practicality is that in using it, you may be less nervous if you're anywhere where this might be a problem. If you think an OM2n is big and cumbersome, you should try a modern Nikon DSLR. One key advantage is that your photos won't look like those of the majority of modern photographers.

The problems are if you go in to low light or you want to print big. Cost of film and processing obviously. Having now used digital, it's difficult to go back to film resolutions.

 

johnny s

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My only ' fears ' returning to 35mm film are about the d&p side of things. The processing houses from what I remember, would average the negative and then print using 18% grey as the standard exposure. This rarely gave a good print with shadows lightened and highlights reduced, anything in between somewhat of a compromise.

By having the prints/negatives transferred to cd, I'm hoping that I can go some way to reducing the d&p anomalies by using photoshop ( albeit ' elements 11 ' ).

I'm quite looking forward to heaving the old camera bag around, monopod, heavy tripod, fill-in flash etc. Which reminds me - I must get down to the gym and stock up on Ibrobrufen, dig the vacuum flask out and buy a new 'butty' box.

 

HectorHughMunro

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Well, I used commercial printers but if you're discriminating, it can be OK. If you go to proper pro oriented printers and go for a hand print on something like a Chlorobromide paper, you'll get some pretty good results (I'm talking mono in this instance because that's the area I tend to work in).

The trick is to only print what you're actually proud of which is only ever going to be two prints per roll.

With film, you need a different attitude because you do more of it in-camera. Film is the best way to learn photography.

 

JPG

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With film, you need a different attitude because you do more of it in-camera. Film is the best way to learn photography.
:^

Need to dig out my OM10 and rattle off a film to check the light seals. Could probably do with expanding my range of lenses too...

FWIW, if you fancy mucking about with a DSLR at some stage, but don't want to buy a whole new system, you can pick up £5 adaptor rings to fit OM lenses to Canon bodies - I've a £100 EOS 10D and enjoy mucking about with that and the Zuiko 50mm 1.8. :D

 

johnny s

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What an absolute bummer.

I have the film and all required lenses, flash with ttl exposure, tripod, monopod, camera bag, and all the very best intentions.

The flaming light seals in the camera have perished, no big deal as they are easily replaceable, but I had planned a big day out around Snowdonia this weekend.

I now have to wait until I can replace the seals, oh why didn't I check them before.

I've been like a young lad on a hot date - only to get knocked back by a sure thing.

:cs:

 

rockmeister

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too good a camera to apply some black, electrical tape? It works and comes off again quite easily.

 

johnny s

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too good a camera to apply some black, electrical tape? It works and comes off again quite easily.
So wrapped up in my misery the ' old black tape ' ploy passed me by.

Alternative arrangements for my time this weekend have already been arranged for me. :(

 

rockmeister

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smuggle the camera with you anyway...maybe after you volunteer to cook supper, you might get a day off:)

 

johnny s

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smuggle the camera with you anyway...maybe after you volunteer to cook supper, you might get a day off:)
Do I detect empathy in your reply, or was it a little chuckle at my submissiveness ? :?

Light seals ordered, plus a 30-75mm zuiko lens (f4 , but for £8.00 I'm not complaining ) and a t32 flash ( why I don't know, but it was dirt cheap and works ). That should teach her not to mess around with my time. As the old boss used to say ' time costs money ' and my loss of excursion has cost the best part of £30.00. She won't do it again and leave me to play on ePrey.

 
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fordy

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thats right, when you can't take photos, use the time usefully to acquire more gear :D

 

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