5 frames with...

5 frames with 5 cameras and 5 films in one graveyard – by Rock

November 7, 2019

The title is a reflection that I have (too) many cameras and that there remains a decent suite of emulsion available on the market. Now before you have visions of me lugging five camera combinations to my local graveyard, the films were not all exposed on the same day. It is a favourite camera/lens/film testing ground of mine. Overlooking the River Medway and surrounded by woodland, St Michael & All Angels has always seemed a great place to be buried… It’s also a great place to take photos!

For the opening shot, I wanted to highlight two things. First, the setting of the site, and second, the reliable combination of XP2 and my travel-compact, the Yashica J2. It was too bright on the day for ISO400, so pulled it back a bit at post-production and I’m happy with the result. The lens on the J2 is nice – there’s no need for an expensive T series cousin!

An array of graves can be found beyond

Medium format next. The Pentax 6×7 is a 1980s SLR, with a mirror that packs a mighty slap (faster shutter speeds are the order of the day). Now I do like a big camera, but this weighs in rather hefty. I recently bought a 150mm f2.8 lens with a notion of using it for portraiture. With its potential for a narrow depth-of-field, I thought I’d try and isolate some headstones. The cemetery contains all sorts of grave markers: old, new, tipping over, crumbling, decorated etc. It provided a great opportunity to test this new lens with sharp images on superb Ilford Delta 400 film – I love this film!

I love the texture of the stone

Fomapan 200, I’m not so in love with. But paired with an old bellows camera – my Agfa Isolette – where sharpness and fine grain are not necessarily the name of the game, then nice images can, of course, be created.

Vintage look from vintage gear

Over to 35mm and sticking with Agfa viewfinders, the next offering is the (often maligned) 1982 Optima Sensor Electronic Flash. One of their last cameras to be made, I really like using this model despite being zone focus. It has a knack of getting exposure just right, and I like to combine it with expired film – in this case Kodak VR400 Plus. Often the grass is left long but flowers do tend to poke their way through, hence the switch to colour film. It really is a beautiful site to visit in spring.

A nice splash of colour thanks to some tulips

The fifth frame is Fuji C200 in a 1950s Paxette IIBL which was sitting in the cupboard waiting to be tested. Made by Braun, this has interchangeable lenses similar to the M39 screw mount. Unfortunately, I now know the meter is dead, rangefinder broken and frame lines wonky! Still, fun to test and maybe a pinhole conversion project.

Muted colours on brightly exposed budget film

Thanks for reading,
Cheers, Rock.

Some of my work can be found at www.rocksreflex.com

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  • Reply
    November 7, 2019 at 11:08 am

    The pinhole conversion of the Paxette is an easy enough project. Drill a hole in an M39 body cap and glue a pinhole plate behind it. With macro extension tubes you can even get various different focal lengths.
    I enjoyed your article, BTW.

    • Reply
      November 10, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Will create a new 5 films post of pinhole images once I have the first roll processed

  • Reply
    Peter G. Johnson
    November 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Great read! I too have too many cameras and too many types of emulsions, nice to know I am not alone in my fixation.

    • Reply
      November 7, 2019 at 11:02 pm

      Done the conversion last week and ran a (colour) film through it. Waiting for the results before writing a five frames post about the experience…..

  • Reply
    Charles Morgan
    November 7, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    A very eclectic mix – and most enjoyable too!

  • Reply
    Molly Miller
    November 8, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Enjoyed looking at photo’s even though I do not understand technicalities

  • Reply
    November 10, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Really enjoyable read- lovely stuff, Rock!

  • Reply
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