analogue photography

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This piece was originally written for the website 35mmc. If you haven’t visited Hamish’s site yet, do it.

This is a camera that I would guess everyone is familiar with. It’s not a complicated piece of machinery and millions were made in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Made famous in the UK by various tv commercials, it is simple to use with range focusing, an internal battery powered by the selenium cell around the fixed lens, and a cunning way of preventing you taking pictures when there’s insufficient light. It raises (literally) a red flag and locks the shutter release. It’s not foolproof, however, as I have managed to prove once or twice.

The 5 images were taken during a recent trip to Manhattan. We were visiting a cousin in NJ and I wanted to go to B&H in New York. I considered what camera I should take, I had a Fuji X-E2s, a Nikon F90x with colour film loaded, and my Trip with JCH Street Pan 400 black and white. New York? Black and white. No question. I hadn’t tried this film before but I have a preference for contrasty black and white and had seen other results on Flickr and various Facebook groups. It was a sunny day so it was an easy choice. I’ll be shooting some Ferrania P30 soon and that has a similar feel from what I’ve seen so far.

The roll was developed in Blazinal, which I believe is the trade name used in Canada for Rodinal. Blazinal is, again, a developer that brings out lots of contrast without having to make any adjustments to the standard developing time, so gave me the look I wanted with minimal effort. A win-win. So presented below are 5 of the results of that trip, images of 2017 Manhattan given a classic feel by a 1970’s camera.

Manhattan 2017
Inside the Oculus – JCH Street Pan 400

Manhattan 2017
The Naked Cowboy – JCH Street Pan 400

Manhattan 2017
NYPD – JCH Street Pan 400

Manhattan 2017
The Runner – JCH Street Pan 400

Manhattan 2017
The 9/11 Memorial – JCH Street Pan 400

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I was recently looking for another 35mm camera and, browsing the web one lunchtime, I came across some reviews of the Minolta Maxxum 7000. A while later I found one at a local camera fair with the classic 50mm f1.7 lens. The vendor assured me that it was in working condition and although I had no batteries to test it with, I bought it. Once I’d cleaned out the battery compartment it seemed to work fine so last week I took it out with a roll of Ilford XP2 in it.

XP2, as I’m sure you don’t really need telling, is a black and white film designed to be processed as C41. Which is fine if you don’t develop at home, but I do and I’d read that XP2 can easily be stand-developed in Rodinal with minimal grain if shot at EI 200. SO my objective was to put a roll through at 200, develop at home (I haven’t tried colour yet, so this was going to be pure b&w development) and see what emerged.

I work in Toronto so I decided to take the Minolta with me to work and instead of just riding the subway from the main rail station I walked a couple of subway stops taking some pictures of the early morning commuters. I finished the roll the next day during a rainy lunchtime. The camera behaved itself perfectly, all the electronics worked fine and there was no hint that anything had malfunctioned through age or misuse. The ergonomics of the camera are pretty good, mode changes are easy and focusing is quick.

I developed the film in Blazinal, which is the tradename in Canada for Rodinal. Stand developed, at 1:100 for one hour and then scanned the results on a Epson V550.

Toronto
CN Tower – lunchtime in the rain

Toronto
Diners

Toronto
Commuters

Toronto
At the bank

Toronto
Reflected buildings

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