It's All Black and White

As to 120 - I really should shoot more. Not sure what my excuse is, I've even film in the freezer.

I admire your commitment to film, but I think my film days are over, though I still have my gear including a boatload of darkroom stuff. I see film as very analogous to vinyl, and have expended all the energy I care to in dust control! Digital ICE didn't cut it for me once I looked closer and saw all the "patchwork quilting" it created. Adobe's amazing spot healing brush made my last days in the medium tolerable. But my biggest film bugbear was contrast. Early on I wanted to be like the "pros" and shoot positive transparency film and make Cibachrome prints. Bad choice given my usual high dynamic range subjects, and I ended up contrast masking to control it; registering two pieces of film and sandwiching them in glass mounts, creating 8 surfaces to dust-control... a nightmare requiring devotion of which most of my images of the time were unworthy! Finally I got wise, got a scanner and started shooting low contrast neg film and reversing it myself digitally. Did that until affordable digicams with adequate dynamic range came along. No looking back now.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 handheld! Optical image stabilization is my friend!
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fiddlefye

Senior Member
I admire your commitment to film, but I think my film days are over, though I still have my gear including a boatload of darkroom stuff. I see film as very analogous to vinyl, and have expended all the energy I care to in dust control! Digital ICE didn't cut it for me once I looked closer and saw all the "patchwork quilting" it created. Adobe's amazing spot healing brush made my last days in the medium tolerable. But my biggest film bugbear was contrast. Early on I wanted to be like the "pros" and shoot positive transparency film and make Cibachrome prints. Bad choice given my usual high dynamic range subjects, and I ended up contrast masking to control it; registering two pieces of film and sandwiching them in glass mounts, creating 8 surfaces to dust-control... a nightmare requiring devotion of which most of my images of the time were unworthy! Finally I got wise, got a scanner and started shooting low contrast neg film and reversing it myself digitally. Did that until affordable digicams with adequate dynamic range came along. No looking back now.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 handheld! Optical image stabilization is my friend!
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You're a brave and determined man! I've never attempted such heroics. Over the decades I've shot mostly transparency (primarily to project) and B&W, though when I started scanning all of my old work I discovered I'd shot a lot more colour negs than I remembered.

I've never bothered with the Digital ICE program as it didn't cut it for me, either. I just get the negs as clean as I can before scanning and then do spot removal afterward where necessary. If I did a huge amount of work it would probably drive me mad, but I actually find it kinda contemplative in small doses. Colour me crazy...

Depending upon what I'm about I generally shoot much more digital (D750/D3), but using the film cameras gives me great pleasure. It can be as much a sensual experience as photographic sometimes. The experience taking out something like the Contax IIa is completely different from a DSLR. I end up shooting completely different things, even seeing differently. I go on jags of one direction or the other, though 90% of the bit of professional work I do is digital. Sometimes I get asked to to a portrait or headshot session in B&W film because someone knows I do it. Out comes the Hasselblad or one of the Rolleis and I have some fun and the subject usually seems to as well. Back when it was just how it was done, but now it is something different and interesting.
 
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I just get the negs as clean as I can before scanning and then do spot removal afterward where necessary. If I did a huge amount of work it would probably drive me mad, but I actually find it kinda contemplative in small doses. Colour me crazy...
I totally resonate with that! But I discovered a great spotting shortcut for even-toned sky areas: open the clone tool, select a broad brush size and the "lighter color" mode if dust specks are dark or "darker color" mode if dust specks are light, dab/sample a patch of sky (needn't be dust-free), displace the cursor very slightly, then click and "swab". All---and only---the dust spots get cloned over! Saves a ton of time and feels like doing magic! Can even be used for noise/grain reduction in even-toned areas of high-ISO shots---except for starry skies, of course.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I totally resonate with that! But I discovered a great spotting shortcut for even-toned sky areas: open the clone tool, select a broad brush size and the "lighter color" mode if dust specks are dark or "darker color" mode if dust specks are light, dab/sample a patch of sky (needn't be dust-free), displace the cursor very slightly, then click and "swab". All---and only---the dust spots get cloned over! Saves a ton of time and feels like doing magic! Can even be used for noise/grain reduction in even-toned areas of high-ISO shots---except for starry skies, of course.
I'll have to try that! Ingenious approach.
 
Funny thing about this last photo--it reminds me of a home listing I looked at in southwestern Utah yesterday, which had a handful of partially dilapidated outbuildings that looked almost like this.
 
Charles, I really like the muted range of this interpretation, conveying the somber nature of the subject. I have a knee-jerk tendency to reach for autolevels in PS to expand the tonal range to full black to full white a la Ansel Adams Zone System (though he did it with chemistry, exposure, burning, dodging, expert previsualization and slavish devotion!, the opposite of knee-jerk!). This gives me pause.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I had a bit of fun recently shooting with some old German glass in Exakta mount, but on my Canon F-1n using what Canon calls a "Lens Converter E". Perhaps a bit of heresy, but fun and the F-1n is a lot nicer to work with than my old Exakta bodies.
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58 f2 Zeiss Biotar
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50 f3.5 Zeiss Tessar (as seen in first image) - tiny little thing and either "absurd" or "cute" on the big body depending upon your perspective. I've shot with the faster f2.8 version and it was just "ok", but the f3.5 to my eye just oozes character.
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35 f4.5 Meyer Primagon. As slow as molasses running uphill in January, both worth it.
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