Mods, DIY & Lens Adapting

That Time I Shot with Ilford Multigrade RC as film.

Many moons ago I was keen to try my hand with large format, as large as I could manage, 10 x 8 seeming a good choice. You can tell how long ago from my pinhole shot of the Humber Bridge in the UK which shows it under construction some 50 years ago! Since large format film was way beyond my means at the time I thought I would try enlarging paper to produce paper negatives which I would then contact print onto more enlarging paper to produce a positive image, just like Fox-Talbot.

Shutter tester, final version.

A DIY shutter speed tester.

Shutter and iris are the main functions of older cameras that can have suffered over time. Build-up of “muck” or sticky lubricants getting where they shouldn’t mostly are to blame but a well cared for and gently used camera can have worn well. Those that have suffered may still have shutters that work fairly well, just a bit erratically whilst apertures and focus may be a little stiff but will still be accurate.

If the shutter isn’t bad enough to warrant laying out for a full CLA (clean, lubricate and adjust), a means of checking what actual speeds are being delivered is useful to ensure good exposure. Film latitude is quite forgiving and digital editing is extremely accommodating, but there is no substitute for getting the result you want from film, monochrome or colour, by having control of exposure.

Ilford Advocate Lens – Bodge Mounted By The Geniuses at WYC

Ages ago, the guys at West Yorkshire Cameras posted a picture of a lens they “cobbled” together on Instagram. Apparently, behind the scenes they had joked about the fact that I would probably see it, likely be interested, and would even possibly get in touch with them about having a go with it. Seems I took the bait.

Not long later, I had this unusual contraption in my possession.

Kodak Flash Bantam camera

That time I “half-framed” a cute Kodak Flash Bantam camera (Part 3 of 3)

When Part 2 of this three-part series went online, reader Stephen Meese made a  comment that said it all:

“Wait, you experimented with a different film format, AND shot without a meter, AND shot with expired film, AND you’re developing your film using an experimental method? That’s a bold move Cotton!”

He had an impressive series of “ANDs” there… and I added one more! The last time I developed my own film was in 1980, and 43 years on, I seriously needed to relearn the art of slipping 35mm film into Nikkor reels.

Fuji 100mm F3.5 AE Lens (6X9) adapted to Pentax (35mm)

It is a lens designed for medium format cameras (6×7 and 6×9) of the Fuji brand, which began to be marketed in 1974. It has a classic Tessar optical design, that is, 4 elements in 3 groups, which results in a high contrast due to low number of elements. At full aperture you get gorgeous bokeh in the out-of-focus areas, and at other apertures (especially between F8 and F11) it’s fabulously sharp in the center.

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