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Wednesday, 26 August 2009


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Hey, a terrific-looking brand new antique! (Whew, a somewhat expensive new antique, too!) Have fun with that mf folder, Fazal. Don't pay any attention to the kids snapping their face-detecting p&s camera at you using that "antique" Fuji camera. They don't understand.


What a beautiful specimen.

An exquisite instrument to be sure (but I rather have a Plaubel Makina w/55mm.).

Got mine (Bessa III) two days ago. Everything you need and nothing you don't!

I got a wonderful MF film camera already this year; it would make no sense whatsoever to buy this one too. I still want one something fierce...

Long live medium format film! (Fuji, Kodak, Ilford :)

Two mikedottings in a day, oh my! I uploaded some 2400dpi Noritsu scans from my first test roll here:

I love this camera. It is compact enough to toss into a messenger bag, unlike my Hasselblad 500C/M. I'd also rather have a Plauble Makina with its wonderful Nikkor (not that Fujinons are chopped liver), but this one will be less finicky

Now I just need to book a trip to Tokyo so I can be featured on Tokyo Camera Style.

I wonder why Fuji doesn't use the EBC designation on their digicams.

Oy vey!

I'm turning color with envy...Enjoy (sob).

I saw this beautiful beast recently at my favorite camera dealer. I'm on the verge of beeing converted back to film. How long will I be able to resist?

The Fuji folders are fun to use. There is something to be said about cameras that are "easy to use in low-light." I had a Fuji GS645 that I used for weddings and with its bright-line rangefinder I could quickly focus the camera in a dark bar or reception hall. It was small enough to fold up and fit in my coat pocket. These are great cameras.

I really want one of these cameras. The only problem is I have no use for one. 99% of my clients require digital files.


Fazal hung some samples from his first roll here.

I don't know why, but I was expecting B&W pics :-)

Pace Stan B., it took me back to my old Plaubel Makina days (yes, with the Nikkor 55mm fitted), when men were men and dinosaurs walked the earth (according to Creationists, that is ...).

same for me. Plaubel W67 since years.

Can't they make a digital version, for the rest of us? That would just be...too cool!!

I had Fuji GS645 for years, but it kept developing bellows leaks at corners, and I ended up getting very few usable photos out of it. Finally sold it as part of the last push eliminating film cameras. It was a great idea, but never quite worked out for me. I hope the 6x7 version works well for those who got one!

My daughter put one on order for me at Bic Camera's Shinjuku station store in May, but has yet to hear that it's come in. Now that I'm seeing evidence of a few showing up, I've asked her to go back and see if I've moved toward the front of the queue.

Ed's comment "you can pretty much duplicate the film 'look' by degrading a digital image" strikes me as a bit harsh considering that the Fuji GF670 will likely trounce the image quality of everything digital that's less than medium format.

Digital's great. Film's great. And film does have it's strengths. One thing I especially like about film is that it's easier to design and manufacturer innovative film cameras, like the Fuji GF670.

The featured comment by Ed Taylor is imagining things, just as an excuse to wax on about digital vs. analog. The photographs he links to don't demonstrate anything more than that the camera is in proper working order.

"...Of course, you can pretty much duplicate the film 'look' by degrading a digital image..."

One can attempt to duplicate the look of film on a purely digital image by manipulating it, but in my opinion use of the word "degrade" to describe that manipulation is inappropriate.

I suggest Ed Taylor and "most of the younger generation" compare a silver gelatin 8x10 contact print to the best digital output they can find. Then they can busy themselves with degrading the *film* image so it looks like digital. ;-)

Regarding Ed Taylor's comment:

I noticed, among friends, a reverence towards film in that it is not post-processed: scan the film, or print, and leave it alone. In this sense, the film serves as a sensor and fixed-post-processing in "one go." These same friends will post-process to their heart's content any digital negative. I think this "untouched" approach to film makes it dated, and hardly exhausting its capability.

In general, the film (aside from "quirky" film, such as Polaroid) and digital look should be the same as we present what we have in our imagination, and any difference is mainly the differences in optics — say Medium Format film versus 35mm digital (full-frame or not).

The featured Ed Taylor comment is perfect really...I've been trying to articulate those same sentiments and having no luck...probably because I'm one of those guys that clings to old technology and truly enjoys it, not because it's inferior, but because the "inferior" results are pleasing to me.
Funny how that is...I have an mp3 player the size of a credit card but prefer a vinyl album of music recorded on 2" tape, played back through an amp the size of a microwave oven that was probably first brought home in a Vega.
Why, why, why???

Enjoy that camera, sir. ...and do stock up on film.

Ed Taylor,

I can't help but think that perhaps one reason Fazal's photos look like antiques is the subject matter. San Francisco seems to just look retro and I bet it's been a while since that dinner was remodeled, and on top of that, none of the automobiles in the photos look all that new. I know what you mean about the clean look of digital but the content of these photographs sure seems to add to that "antique look."

Rob griffin

To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee,"Call that a camera? This is a camera."
Well, with a name like that he must have been a snapper!

Looks like I am shooting with my Bessa II this weekend. There is nothing like putting 6x9 chromes on the light box.


The featured comment reminded me of something that I realized earlier this year.

I was having a discussion with a non-photographer (a potter, actually) and used the phrase "alternative process". A well known phrase to most people who use cameras, but unknown to her. I had to explain what it meant. I found myself partway through stopping and saying "Well, I guess film is an alternative process now, isn't it?".

I'm not very old, but old enough to have started with film (after the D30's release, actually), and it was an interesting realization.

Interestingly, what first strikes me about Fazal's samples is that they look almost digital in their cleanness. I guess that's what happens when you print 6x7 to a few hundred pixels across :-). That's certainly what attracted me about medium format all along; it's just, it was too expensive, not versatile enough, and didn't work so well in my primary low-light environment.

I guess the negative response I received to my comment was somewaht predictable. I was aware that the word "degrade" might be controversial. My purpose was not to offend anyone, but only to accurately report my personal observation. Personally, I do believe that you must "degrade" a digital image to make it look like film. When done well, detail is lost and grain is added. I do not believe for a second that photos from this film camera "will likely trounce the image quality of everything digital that's less than medium format." I believe that the proof is in the pudding. Just look at the images posted. I still use my Mamiya RB67 on an occasional basis. I like some of the images I get, but they do not compare well technically to the images I routinely get from my 1DsMKIII or 5dMKII. I fully realize that there are people who prefer typewriters to word processors. I have no problem with that, but I don't agree with it. You can write a great book with a typewriter or make amazing photographs with film, but I don't understand why you would want to in this day and age, unless much of your enjoyment is in the process or the ritual of it. Sometimes the means is more important than the end, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I love film and I love film cameras, but not because they make the best images - but because they are what they are. For the best technical images, go digital. Isn't that what just about everyone else is doing?

Ed Taylor:

"Isn't that what just about everyone else is doing?"

Not round here. I print exhibitions professionally for others, and occasionally my own work. About half the work I get originates on film. The best shows I've done and most satisfying larger prints have pretty well all been film, especially if I'm allowed (paid) to do the scans. This could also say something about the photographer's focus on getting the images they want rather than having the latest digital wonder.

Personally I don't have a bias either way and have been impressed with the files I've seen from the 1Dsmk3 and 5Dmk2. There's any number of reasons to choose these over film cameras (new or old) ... but print quality on the wall (especially of images that connect with the viewer on an emotional level) isn't one of them.

Stephen Best
Macquarie Editions

"After reviewing some of the photos taken with this camera, ..."

You saw the originals--the developed Velvia? Or maybe an original print? And one not done by a lab whose print process includes a digital intermediary transfer?

If not, I have 3 short paragraphs I can follow-up with, if my point here isn't already obvious.

Well to me most of the posted photos that Ed Taylor referenced were what I'd call mediocre to bad snapshots at best. Look like the kind of thing you shoot just to fire the shutter on something you just pulled out of the box and stuck a roll in. I still see plenty of film work done today that is beauteous and not dated. Let's see some photos made with real touch, and then decide what this camera can do. After all, it is still just a camera...

OK, there is a persistent confusing conflation going on. People are lumping photograph-making and print-making together. You can't do that. It leads to fallacies.

This is not a new conflation; film photographers did all the time, with equal error. Even into the 1980s, for example, Kodak literature claimed that color negative films had poorer color rendition and less exposure range than color slide films. This was patently false, obviously so just from looking at the technical curves for the products.

What was happening was that people were looking at typical prints from color negatives and comparing the color and tonal qualities to slide film. Now you might say, well isn't that what you had to do to look at a negative? The answer to that was no. Custom labs could routinely get a lot more tonal range into a chromogenic print than your typical mass photofinisher. Display transparency materials, like Duratrans and Ektachrome Print Film, also rendered a much, much longer tonal range from the negative and had much better color fidelity than a chromogenic print. And then there was dye transfer, of course.

More modernly, when digital printing came on the scene, all sorts of people discovered that their color negatives made much, much better prints than they ever imagined.

The same lesson applies today. You can make digital prints from film. You can make darkroom prints from digital files. Lots of people go both ways. Trying to talk about the characteristics of film versus digital when you're also comparing a darkroom-made print to a digital printer print just confuses the topic. It doesn't tell you anything about the recording media and their inherent virtues and vices.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

"Of course, you can pretty much duplicate the film 'look' by degrading a digital image"

That'll be adding the detail back into the blown out highlights then will it? :-)

I use both film and digital and I enjoy both. I won't enter the debate as to which is better (the degrade word) beyond observing that they do have different qualities. However, I think and recently blogged briefly on the idea that film based images can (often?) look dated - of course, I'm basing this in part on using 35mm film for documentary purposes and my point was to question whether present day documentary work should favour digital over film to avoid presenting a particular 'old fashioned' impression (I have had various discussions with friends over a glass of whisky).

Vive la difference, and it'll be a sad day when we can no longer buy film in 35mm cassettes and 120 rolls.


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