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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Experiments with film

My Hasselblad H3D-39 digital camera comes with a 120/220 rollfilm capable back. But I have never shot one single shot with the film back since acquiring the camera. At the persuasion of my buddy AL who is a Leica film enthusiast, I went for a walkabout with experiment of sorts.

Off we went on foot...first I learnt how to load the film. I had shot film in my early years...with my first camera...a Canon EOS630, and later a short fling with the magnificent Mamiya 7II. I had thought to bring a wide angle, and took the HCD4/28...but immediately discovered that the lens, being a digital lens, is only usable with the digital back...the body would not allow the shutter to fire...luckily, I had brought along the small and light HC2.8/80, so it is with this one single, normal lens I used that afternoon.

The light was not the most flattering...cloudy, overcast skies. But we made the best of it. This was from the first roll...only a partial roll...scanned by AL for me, processed commercially at Peninsula Plaza. A second roll of bw was exposed, but AL would process the film himself, and send me the scans later.

We tried people watching...but it is rather not the easiest to do street photography, when your camera is a huge medium format beast. I think AL managed better with his Leica...afterall, he is more experienced in street and the art of disappearing. I caught this interesing Thai group doing poses, and AL himself as he walked by nonchalantly.

The exposure lattitude of film is somewhat less than what I am used to with the very good Hasselblad H3D-39 back. The digital back, processed correctly with Phocus has an amazing exposure lattitude and dynamic range. But film was a bit more...shall I say the obvious...analog in feel and mood.

Click on Esplanade image for 1920 wide image.

The scan was in tiff, 16 bit, at 2491x1831 pixels...approx 4.5Mpixels...but the details were not lacking, as can be seen in the Esplanade shot above. I guess, scanning at say 7600 pixels on the wide side will yield images which will hold up to prints with almost unlimited least A0 without much manipulation at 300dpi.

I found film interesting...the film back is somewhat lighter than the digital back...and the battery in the camera, which would shoot perhaps 200 frames in digital, would go on for a long time...2 rolls of 16 exposures hardly moved the battery level.

I am looking forward to the hand developed bw to be done up, and will share my thoughts on those when they come back from AL.

With many thanks to AL for sharing his love for film.

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