Films not dead. - Film Photography Online Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:47:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 52 Photo Tips #13: Choosing a Medium Format Camera Sun, 05 Jul 2015 07:29:46 +0000



Jumping from 35mm to 120 can at first be a bit daunting. Larger negatives mean less frames to play with, a different ratio, and a range of cameras to choose from. In the latest of our 52 Photo Tips series with photographer Stephen Dowling, we’ll show you a few of our favourite medium format cameras that you could start with.

When looking for your first medium format camera take your time in choosing, try the cameras out, go to camera shops and hold it in your hands.

Medium format means medium sized film that is inbetween 35mm and large format. 120 film is 6 cm in width and the amount of images per roll varies depending on the camera format; 6×4.5 (16 frames), 6×6 (12 frames), 6×7 (10 frames), 6×8 (9 frames), 6×9 (8 frames), and so on even some up to 6×17 (4 frames!).

Compared to 35mm, medium format uses 3~4 times as much film surface. Technically speaking, medium format film gives you clearer, crisper images with more tonality. This is due to the fact that the light-sensitive silver halide crystals, which are actually the grain of your film, are more evenly distributed as the film is larger in size, this results in less grain and more information to be collected.

Using medium format does require you to have slightly more patience as you often tend to be using more awkwardly shaped cameras and your playing with less frames too. They do take time to get used to, especially if it utilises a waist level finder instead of a eye level viewfinder. A waist level finder (WLF) is a box shaped finder where you look down at your image rather than holding the camera right in front of your eye. With waist level finders you don’t have a prism like you do in an SLR to flip the image the right way round, this can work in your advantage as your seeing the world inverted, allowing for a new perspective. The image is viewed the right way up but reversed left-to-right. WLF’s also allow you to shoot from very low perspectives, again helping with composition.

Here are some of our favourite medium format cameras that are easy to use:

© Tori Khambhaita – Pentax 67 75mm Kodak Portra.

Pentax 67 – A beast of a camera or as we like to call it an SLR on steroids! The lenses are beautiful on this, and they’re built like tanks, weighing in at over 1.2kg with a plain prism and F2.4 105mm lens.

On the Pentax 67 you get 10 frames, or if you have 220 film 20. Originally used by most photographers as a studio camera, it can be used well on the streets if you have the muscles for it. If you’re just coming from 35mm to 120 we would recommend this as it is completely laid out like an standard 35mm SLR.

There’s four types Pentax 6×7, 6×7 (MU mirror up), 67 and the 67II. The first three versions did not have a meter so either you can buy a hand held meter (Sekonic is a great brand and you get more accurate readings) or you can invest in the even heavier TTL Pentaprism attachment which replaces the standard prism but adds a light meter.

We’d highly recommend the 6×7, 6×7 (MU) and 67 as they’re relatively cheap (£280 – £500). Photographers such as Bruce Weber and Tim Walker use them to this day.

Click here to find out more on the differences between the versions.


TORI 7 copy

© Tori Khambhaita Rolleiflex 3.5 F

Rolleiflex 3.5 F  – Rolleiflex (Rollei) are one of the kings in the TLR game, having made a long line of diverse high end cameras from 1929 up to 2012, when they introduced the Rolleiflex 2.8 FX at Photokina.

The Rolleiflex 3.5F is a beautifully designed and above all easy to handle camera. The first model was made in 1958, followed by model 2 and 3/3-I in 1960. You have three choices in terms of lenses Tessar, Xenotar or the Planar 75mm. The Planar tends to be, in most people’s eyes, the best one of the bunch as it’s Zeiss glass.

The entry level Rollei TLR, the Rolleicord is known to be a lot cheaper as it was originally made for amateur photographers. Although they work out a lot cheaper you don’t get the same options with lenses.

If you prefer having a range of detachable lenses then a TLR is definitely not for you, but if your looking to have continuity throughout you’re photographs then this is perfect. This does not mean that you can’t add on attachment lenses using the Rollei Rolleinar attachment close-up lens. These little lenses can create stunning results yet you can only get closer in focal lengths allowing closer focussing under 1m, they also give you a much smaller depth of field, great for portraits!

Rolleiflex cameras have been used by some of the best photographers such as Cecil Beaton, David Bailey, Philippe Halsman and of course Vivian Maier.

Yashica Mat-124G – A great camera, easy to use and light weight. The design is pretty much the same as a Rolleiflex but significantly cheaper, you can pick one up for around £150/£200. Yes it doesn’t have  the same  mechanical qualities as the Rolleiflex and is not as ‘reliable’ as Rollei but this camera can produce great results, and is very easy to learn on.

The Yashica Mat-124G also has a great light meter, allowing you to read the light and view your setting in one place, this is definitely one of our favourite things about this camera!

The lens is a fixed F3.5 Yashinon 80mm lens and like the Rollei you can get close-up attachments too.


© Charlie Abbiss – Hasselblad 500CM

Hasselblad 500CM – The 500 series was born in 1957 and became a real turning point for the company as the  design for that series formed the basis for Hasselblad’s product line for the next sixty years. Hasselblad built up a reputable name for it self for being the first system camera, meaning virtually everything is interchangeable: lens, prism/finder, cranking knob, and film back

The 500 series also became known as Hasselblad’s best series as it used German-made Carl Zeiss lenses with built-in leaf shutters.

If that wasn’t enough it is also known as the first camera to have gone to space as one of the astronauts on a Apollo mission brought a 500C and documented what he saw in space. From then on Hasselblad and NASA developed an extremely strong relationship.

A beautiful system camera, allowing you to switch backs so you can shoot both colour and B&W if you need to.

The prices of these can range between £350 – £800 depending on the condition.

Probably one of the most popular medium format system cameras having built a strong reputation for precision and ease. Used by Patrick Lichfield, Ansel Adams, Lee Friedlander and many more.


Mamiya RB67 – Not really recommend for the street (yet some people do if you have arms of steel) but this is a brilliant camera built like a tank and the prices for these are now ranging only between £200 – £400.

It features a swivel back allowing you to use the waist level finder for portraits and landscapes. 


These are just a few of our favourites but other popular ones include Fuji GW690, Contax 645, Mamiya 6/7 (rangerfinder) all of these beautiful, reliable cameras!

After shooting with medium format cameras you will probably forget all about 35mm and realise why so many professionals choose this format to work with.

]]> 0 ONDU – The Beautiful Handcrafted Wooden Pinhole Cameras Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:00:55 +0000


[dropcap size=small]B[/dropcap]eautifully crafted, hand made, carved out of walnut and maple wood, held together using just magnets and even comes in a large variety of playful film formats, this is the ONDU, wooden pinhole camera.

The Slovenian camera company has officially been making pinhole cameras for the last three years with the company launching their first line of five different camera formats in 2013.

Now since the success of their first production of pinhole cameras, they’ve just come out of there second Kickstarter campaign with their newly improved ONDU MKII with some great new features. Within 2 days they had surpassed their $20,000 pledge proving just how much the analogue community adores these cameras.

We’d been itching to get our hands on one of these since we first saw the ONDU MKI. Instantly from receiving the first ONDU we were amazed by the craftsmanship, the ease of use and the packaging it came in. We opted to use the 120 version.


© FND – ONDU MK I – Kodak Tri-X – 40 second exposure


Taken with iPhone – You can see you can get very close to your subject if you want to as the lens has such a wide angle.

Delivered in a cardboard box stamped with the ONDU logo, which came in handy to carry the camera in if you don’t want to scratch the wood, equipped with a full manual, giving you a rough guide to exposures as well as some cool ONDU stickers to decorate your camera with.

The 6×6 camera lens is a 115° view, the pinhole is 0.20mm pinhole size with a focal length of 25mm. The 120 version weighs only 300g and the size of it measures 14 x 10.5 x 5cm. Comes fitted with a standard size tripod thread.

Also used are neodymium magnets situated in various places on the camera. The magnets were one of the many details of the camera we feel in love with, we thought it was genius and eliminates it being cumbersome when loading your roll of film. There’s magnets placed underneath the winding pins meaning you can pop them back in with great ease as it lines up quickly to your spool.

Another place the magnets were used was along the back of the camera to keep it securely together and most importantly light tight.

There’s a traditional red window in the back of the camera allowing you to see what frame your on too.

© FND – ONDU MK I – Kodak Tri-X – 60 second exposure


The improvements to the new ONDU MKII includes them being made with FSC certified walnut and maple wood to create a darker design that will last longer without collecting stains and scratches.

There’s even more magnets in the new ONDU, 14 in total, to hold the backplate in place, secure the winding pins and film, making them work in tandem with the stop pin to make exposures easy and reduces the chance of camera shake when opening and closing your shutter. On top of the camera a laser engraved field of view has been placed  and also a level bubble to create straight photographs!

Cameras that require winding have the winding direction engraved on the top so bye bye to accidentally winding the wrong way. These are just some of the cool improvements to the new ONDU, click here to find out what else they’ve done.

The price for the ONDU MKII ranges depending on the format from $70 (£45.00 135 Pocket) – $300 (£190.00 8×10 Giant).

If your looking for a stylish pinhole camera rather than using an old coffee can or shoe box then the ONDU is definitely for you and is a great present for any photographic enthusiast.

Check the video out below from their now successful Kickstarter campaign of their second version, it is stunning! You can pre-order the MKII by visiting the ONDU website, production on the cameras is set to begin this August, and should be ready to ship by February!



All images © ONDU

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Convert a Polaroid Camera to Use Wet Plates! Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:23:19 +0000



Wet plate black aluminium from the Polaroid EE100 by Jalo Porkkala © Jalo Porkkala

[dropcap size=small]D[/dropcap]o you want to put something else through your polaroid camera apart from instant film, well Alternative Photography blog have the answer. Photographer and writer Jaro Porkkala wrote a great guide on their website about how to re-use a Polaroid EE100 camera to take Wet Plate Collodion photographs.

“Most collodion photographers are using dedicated wet plate cameras, because wet plates are not nice to put into any ordinary modern cameras. There are instructions on how to use some normal medium and large format film cameras in the wet plate process. Most modern large format cameras are readily usable; only a special wet plate holder is needed. The drawback is the silver nitrate, possibly dripping from the holder inside the camera and eventually ruining it.

There are, however, certain types of cameras that you can use as is, without any modifications. Polaroid 100 – 400 series cameras were designed for Polaroid instant pack film, and the empty film holder can be converted to an excellent wet plate holder.

These cameras have automatic exposure, with an ‘Electric Eye’ light meter beside the lens, the shutter is powered by batteries. There is no B setting, but the camera can make very long exposures in dim light. You will need exposures of several seconds for the wet plate collodion, even in full daylight. The camera can be fooled to expose as long as the shutter release is kept pressed by taping the Electric Eye over with black tape… there we have a B setting for the wet plate photography.

The pack film holder consists of three parts… in the middle, between the picture frame and the back plate, there is the Polaroid film container that you can discard.

You can use a piece of tape as a hinge, so you can easily open and close the holder in the safelight situation. When closing the holder, again press the sides of the picture frame and you can get the holder locked.

You will also need a metal or plastic spring to press the plate and keep it in place during the exposure. I use a steel spring from a photo frame. I just taped the spring onto the back plate.”

After that all you need to do is load the holder in the darkroom with a sensitized glass or metal plate, use it just like any other wet plate holder. Your now ready to start shooting!

1 © Jalo Porkkala 2 © Jalo Porkkala 3 © Jalo Porkkala

You can read the full tutorial here: Alertnative PhotographyJaro Porkkala

The Wet plate Collodion Process

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Process Your Film with a One Chemical Bath – R3 Monobath Tue, 09 Jun 2015 11:53:11 +0000


Back in 2014 we shared that inventor Bob Crowley and his team were working on their New55 film producing a new line of 4×5 instant film. Their Kickstarter campaign turned out to be a great success and got the whole analogue community buzzing. As the company continues to work on its instant film, it has released a fascinating new product that many photographers will find very useful.

It’s a new monobath developer called R3 that lets you develop, stop, and fix black-and-white photographic film with a single bath!

It’s the “the most convenient black and white developer we know….It can be used in the field, in the darkroom, in your bathroom, or in a dark-bag to conveniently develop your black & white negative film in a single pass.” Writes Neww55 on their blog.


TMX 120 © New55

Unlike conventional ways of processing your black and white film with three baths and all that agitation, the R3 works with a small amount of agitation at the beginning (to avoid bubbles on your negatives) and will develop your film in just 6 minutes of soaking. You then rinse it off for 5 minutes, dry it, and you’re done.

New55 has confirmed that the developer works with New55 Atomic-X, Ilford Pan F, HP5 Plus, Kodak TMax, Tri-X, Efke 25, and Shanghai 100 so far, but it should work with any standard black-and-white film on the market, even “old exposed black and white film that has been sitting for years.”


A very old roll of Pan X 120 found in a flea market TLR and processed in R3 © New55

Ted Forbes at The Art of Photography published a video review of this monobath developer in action. It’s an informative look at what it is and how it’s used, click here to watch the video.

New55 does have some objections to certain statements and conclusions mentioned in the video. Crowley left comments on Forbes’ blog, saying that the developer isn’t designed specifically for Tri-X film and that it can be pushed and pulled quite easily.

“We and many others used R3 on nearly every black and white film we could find over the past 5 years of teaching people about R3.” “Also you can easily pull and push monobaths, with temperature […] Just go to 90F for 1.5 stops increase.”

If you’re lucky enough to be based in the continental US, you can purchase a 950 ml (32 ounce) plastic container of R3 from the New55 shop.

Information: New55 Blog

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52 Photo Tips #12: Keep film cool Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:16:16 +0000

© James Butler/Flickr

Some films will degrade sooner than others; pro-level film, made to much stricter requirements, is less robust than the cheapest consumer film. But with all of it, the clock is ticking, as soon as it comes off the factory floor.

Different types of film, of course, expire in different ways. Slide films expire in a different way to colour negative films. Black and white films tend to expire less dramatically than colours films. And the faster the film speed, the more pronounced the effects will be – in colour rendition, sensitivity to light and contrast.

But there is one simple way to ensure your film stays in good shooting condition for as long as possible – keep it cool. The fridge is perfect, and if you have room in your freezer, that’s even better. 

Film is a complex stew of chemicals, all of which play their part in capturing images. It’s something every film photographer learns early that x-rays are no friend to film; leave film in your hold luggage when travelling by plane, and you might as well throw it out at the other end. But there’s also the background radiation that soaks into film every minute of every day. It’s not as strong as that you’ll find in an x-ray machine, but the effect is cumulative. Short of storing film in a lead-lined box, you’re going to find the effects will effect it sooner or later.

This long-expired Kodak film I picked up in Istanbul had clearly been on a shelf for years. © Stephen Dowling

Heat too is a problem. Leave a roll of film on a car dashboard or windowsill in strong sunlight and you’ll cook it in no time; that might be the effect you’re looking for, but if you want to shoot film and keep it broadly to its normal characteristic, then you should keep it cool. Colder temperatures delay the chemical processes that end up with spoiled film.

Heat or background radiation results in the creeping purple fogging on the bottom and the greenish tones. © Stephen Dowling

If you’re shooting film relatively soon, keep it in the fridge. I make sure that I always have a dozen rolls in the fridge door. There’ll be happy there for a year or so, but tend to get used in a few weeks. I keep topping them up with rolls from the freezer, which is where I keep the bulk of my film. It’s the freezer that’s the most useful, especially if, like me, you buy film past its use-by date. Freezing will add decades to the life of a film. If you buy expired film, stick it in the freezer as soon as you get home. Leave it there until you’re going to shoot it. And when you do, either take it out the night before and put it in the fridge, or take it out and let it slowly warm up before you try to load it. Frozen film can become really brittle, and winding it on too soon can cause it to crack or shatter. Leave the film in room temperature for a few hours, and don’t take it out of the box or can – that can cause condensation, which will damage the film structure.

This Agfa Precisa CT100 is well expired but has been frozen; its colours are still consistent and there’s no loss of contrast. © Stephen Dowling

Freezing allows you to make the most out of the many now-discontinued film types that still crop up from time to time on eBay; if they’ve been frozen from new, they’ve still got many years life left in them. And as the next tip will show you, shooting with expired film can be very rewarding.

Stephen Dowling/Zorki Photo

Click here to read more 52 Photo Tip Articles

Featured image Polatype


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Julia Margaret Cameron to be next face of the £20.00 Note? Mon, 01 Jun 2015 13:28:24 +0000

Who do you want to see on the next £20.00 note? As some of you may know the Bank Of England has decided to ask the people who’d they’d like on the next version of the note.

This could be English Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron as the next face for it.

Plans are in place for the next £20 note to celebrate Britain’s achievements in the visual arts. Mrs Middleton’s Shop in Freshwater is spearheading an Island-related campaign.

She’s hoping to encourage Islanders and visitors to vote for the celebrated Victoria photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron.

As a pioneering woman photographer, and, as Mrs Middleton says, “arguably the first in her game…”, we’re sure you’ll agree that Cameron would be a magnificent choice.

Mrs Middleton told OnTheWight, 

“It would be great to bring her relevance to the fore on the British Isles, her importance in our heritage seems more widely known in the USA (where the Getty Museum bought so much of her work) and in Canada. 

“Her photographs are currently steadily rising at auction price, and it’s such a good time with the advances currently in photographic technology to bring her relevance to our own audience shores.”

If you belivie that Julia Margaret Cameron should be the next face of the £20 note all you have to do is go on the Bank of England Website and enter your nomination.

Deadline closes on the 19th July 2015.

Information: On the Wright 

 © Julia Margaret Cameron

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Engaging, stunning and truly unforgettable – Mary Ellen Mark Wed, 27 May 2015 17:10:18 +0000



March 20, 1940 – May 25, 2015

Mary Ellen Mark, is up there with the greatest names in photography! She brought us stunning and at times haunting black and white images of scenes such as Mumbai prosititues, Circus acts, Twins and the rawness of the streets of New York.

On Monday the 25th of May Mary Ellen Mark sadly passed away at the age of 75 after suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease that affects bone marrow and blood.

Mark was the kind of photographer who pushed the limits. Her photographs were at times shocking, emotional, and even hard to look at but above all things she knew how to connect with her subject.

When asked in a 1987 interview with Darkroom Magazine why she’s drawn to people from disadvantaged subcultures she said “Much of life is luck. No one can choose whether he’s born into a wealthy, privileged home or born into extreme poverty. I guess I’m interested in people who haven’t had as much of a chance because they reach out more, they need more. They touch me. I do a lot of other work to support myself, but those kinds of projects are the reasons I became a photographer.”

Mark received a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. She began her career with magazines like Look and Life, taking a classic documentary approach to often difficult situations and usually working in black and white. Early on, she showed a remarkable ability to win the confidence of her subjects, and she even managed to maintain contact with many of them through the years.

Over her extensive career Mark publishing 17 photography books, held countless exhibitions around the world, and had her photos regularly published by some of the world’s top publications, including LifeVanity FairRolling Stone, and The New Yorker.

“Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.”


Mary Ellen Mark Self © Tim Mantoani © Mary Ellen Mark Mary Ellen Mark © Mary Ellen Mark © Mary Ellen Mark © Mary Ellen Mark APH0614_LF_058_0

© Mary Ellen Mark

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Elliott Erwitt: Double Platinum – Beetles + Huxley Wed, 20 May 2015 14:31:26 +0000

Steam Train Press, Wyoming, 1954 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley

Until 27 May 2015


3-5 Swallow Street

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm

(closed on bank holidays)

Admission: Free

For Further Information: 020 7434 4319/


“It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy. ”


Elliott Erwitt has made some of the most memorable photographs of the twentieth century, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Che Guevara, as well as humours and candid scenes of everyday life, filled with poetry, wit, and always enticing story lines.

Beetles and Huxley currently have on show a stunning array of Elliott Erwitt’s work with a large number of them  printed using the platinum printing process. Indulging the photographer’s notorious partiality for a pun, the exhibition’s title refers to its dual purpose. It is a highlight of two displays of Erwitt’s work which are rarely seen: his large-format platinum prints, and illuminating portraits of the actress Marilyn Monroe.

The exhibition gives the public the first opportunity to view large-format platinum prints of Erwitt’s most celebrated photographs in the UK. Featuring some of the most well known photographs of the twentieth century showcasing his renowned use of perfect timing and visual puns, the platinum prints are stunning feats of innovation in printing technology that showcase a rich, subtle tonal range. The collection ranges from his snapshot of a silhouetted man leaping elegantly in the Paris rain, to his classic romantic image of a stolen kiss in a car mirror in Santa Monica.

Erwitt photographed Marilyn Monroe through the 1950s and 60s capturing the star at work on film sets as well as at home. His photographs of Marilyn, taken at the height of the phenomenon surrounding her fame, immortalise the charisma and energy with which she mesmerised her colleagues, lovers, friends and fans. The exhibition includes Erwitt’s photographs of Monroe relaxing in her New York apartment to the iconic white dress on the subway grate’ moment during the filming of ‘The Seven Year Itch’.

New York City, 1946 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley Santa Monica, California, 1955 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley Steam Train Press, Wyoming, 1954 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley Marilyn Monroe, New York, 1956 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley

Information courtesy: Beetles + Huxley

Beetles + Huxley interview with Erwitt

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Introducing a new film – Foma Retropan 320 Soft Tue, 19 May 2015 12:35:04 +0000


We’re so excited to announce that Foma, the 1921 Czech Republic B&W photographic company have revealed a new film will be coming out very soon!

RETROPAN 320 soft is a panchromatically sensitized special negative black and white film with fine grain, good resolution and contour sharpness.

The film is characterized by a wide range of half tones and soft light which makes it suitable for photography and subsequent contact printing or “retro” style enlarging of negatives (photographs of still lives, architecture, experiments, landscapes, portraits, etc.).

The sensitivity of the film is ISO 320/26° but its wide exposure latitude provides very good results also when overexposed by min. 1 EV (ISO 160/23°) and underexposed by 2 EV (1250/32°). For turning into positives variable contrast enlarging papers are recommended – Fomabrom Variant, and papers of warm tones of base and silver – Fomatone MG Classic 131, 132, 133, 532-II, 542-II. Other types of black and white enlarging papers may also be used.

In order to emphasize monochromatic tonality or the vividness and plasticity it is possible to tone the papers – e.g. using Fomatoner Sepia brown toner.

Foma have stated that the initial production is to be of 35mm bulk rolls in 17/30.5m in darkroom packaging and a variety of sheet film such as 4×5.5×7 and 8×10 inch, 9×12 cm.

The film is expected to be available to the distributors by the end of May. Check out below some samples of the new film!

Retropan 320 - Retro Developer 01 Retropan 320 - Retro Developer 02 Retropan 320 - Retro Developer 03 Retropan 320 - Retro Developer 04

Techical data Sheet


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Revelations: Ori Gersht – Comparison to the great pioneers Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:01:42 +0000

Although Ori Gersht’s ‘Blow-up’ series is not film based we found this interview he did with the Science Museum so fascinating we had to share it.

At the current show ‘Revelations: Experiments in Photography’ held at the Media Space, Science Museum Gersht work takes centre stage as the leading image for the show. In this 2 minute interview he explains how his ‘Blow-up’ series has been inspired by the great pioneers of photography.

He even mimicked a similar set up to the one Edward Muybridge used to demonstrate a horses movement, proving that they fly when they gallop.

Harold Edgerton is also very apparent in his work referring to the speed that a human eye can’t even comprehend but a camera can.

Gersht explains his ‘Blow-up’ series was taken at 7,500th  speed of a second, he says ‘it is a metaphysical time for us you cannot experience it, it starts to raise questions of the relationship of the camera to truth…’


Information courtesy: Media Space

Revelations: Experiments in Photographs 


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