What? Shooting photos with film again?   

 

Over the years I have been writing these articles I have mentioned more than once that I couldn’t see myself ever using a film camera again. When someone asks me why, I complain that film is such a hassle to deal with and takes to long get back from a lab. Digital is immediate and cost nothing unless one decides to make a print. I would always say that I am not the least interested in film.

The Dictionary defines “Eat (one’s) words.” as, “to retract, regret, or feel foolish about what one has previously said”

Last summer I purchased a 300mm lens for the Pentax 67. In 1965 Pentax introduced the Pentax 6×7, a SLR medium format camera for 120 and 220 film that produces 6cm x 7cm image. That’s about a 2 ¼ by 2 ¾ inches negative.

Photographers that were doing work for clients back then preferred medium format film cameras because the larger negatives produced higher quality enlargements.

I owned a Pentax 6×7 camera years ago. It was easy to carry around for close-ups in the garden and although the 67 is a large medium format camera weighing just over five pounds, it is shaped and used like the much smaller 35mm cameras of the day.

It has a variety of interchangeable lenses, prisms and assorted viewfinders that allow one to use the camera at waist level or eye level. And as with 35mm manual cameras, the lens can be reversed with an adapter that made the normal lens work like a macro lens. And a waist level finder made close-up plant photography very comfortable.

I had planned on selling the Pentax 300mm lens, but after showing it to my photo pal Jo I decided to get a body for it. Jo not only had never imagined such a camera existed, but had only come into contact with film when her parents took family photos.

I searched eBay and found some sellers that had Pentax 67 camera bodies, waited for a good price and a couple of weeks ago exposed a roll of 400 ISO Ilford film and a roll of 160 ISO Fuji film with my new 6X7 and 300mm lens.

Getting the film processed wasn’t the easiest task. The local store that sends film out for processing and printing does not handle 120 film. I checked and the lab I used (ABC Photocolor in Vancouver) back in the 1980s and 1990s that still does and will “process only” if I ask so I can scan the film myself.

I also found a lab (Canadian Film Lab) in the small town of Hope, BC that specializes in film. They will process 120 film, scan, correct density and colour balance then post the images for clients on their website. They also have other services to help film users optimise film to personal specifications.

Canadian film lab is more expensive than ABC Photocolor, but I wanted to see what they could do so I sent the two rolls to them.

I now have my image files loaded on my computer and they did such a good job that am looking forward to exposing another roll to send to them.

I would never have thought I’d be shooting with film again.   Jo will be exposing her first roll of colour film with that camera very soon. I have about 30 rolls of film in my freezer and expect Jo and I will be getting used to lugging that heavy beast around and having a great time working the film.

I had forgotten the latitude a roll of B&W film has. Yes my 36mp Nikon’s sensor gives me glorious files, but there is something positive to be said about the quality of a 120 film negative.

4 responses to “What? Shooting photos with film again?   

  1. Haha you’ve got the film bug too now! Do you follow my Fragglefilm blog? https://fragglefilm.wordpress.com/ I keep it separate from the usual blog. I would love a Mamiya or Pentax 6×7 but I keep umming and ah-ing about getting one, they seem so heavy to carry around all day. I have a Rollei SL66 but one of the crank shaft thingies that keep the lens stable broke so I can’t use that anymore :(. I’m still using a canon EOS 1000 regularly and a Rollei SL35, not as heavy! Love the pictures of the kids!

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    • HI fragg… I just checked out your fragglefilm blog and will spend some time there.
      That 6×7 is fun to use and not crazy expensive. You’d enjoy it.
      I will be doing some testing to find out the best lab to send my film to. Film is very expensive, but I’ll give it a go anyway.
      I put a monopod under the Pentax 67. The 300mm is a neat focal length, but adds a bit of shake. The monopod is great. Jo hasn’t shot with it yet..I think she is a bit nervous of that beast.
      Is that SL66 is worth getting repaired? I remember that camera and it was fun to use.
      Thank you, those are Jo’s children and are very used to posing.

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      • Have you considered Digitalab? I know you’d have to post to England but you get the scans back as soon as they receive it, also try Analogue Wonderland for film stock, they have amazing amount of different films, and also if you get film from them you get a discount to Digitalab! I took my SL66 to an old school camera repair shop but he couldn’t source a new part from anywhere. 🙁

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  2. I always wanted the Pentax 6×7 but never did get one. I still have one of my Nikon 35s I might dust off and try again. I still have a darkroom, so I might process and print myself if I could get the chemicals and print materials. Might make a nice winter project.

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