Tag Archives: spur SLD

The weirdest camera – the Noblex 150u Pro

I write here before about my endeavors with the old horizon panorama camera. The odyssey continued since the next role I shot had light leaks again. However, I didn’t want to miss that film format. I started looking for all kinds of panorama cameras on eBay. There were some new horizons on the market but I hesitated because there i already one in the household. The Noblex 135 for a decent price are mostly “sport” versions without a level inside the viewfinder. One day I saw a Noblex 150, the medium format version for a decent price. I wrote the guy that he will never sell for this price but I’m willing to go for €100 less. He agreed, started a new buy-it-now and I got the camera. 

The camera arrived in a nice aluminum case it seemed to work as well, but of course I’m not that lucky. Exposing the first real film, I discovered that the camera doesn’t always fire or when it does it’s way to slow. The price I paid was too high to just take the loss. Therefore my first reaction was to return it. Thinking about, I still had such an attractive price that it might be ok to get it fixed. So, I postponed this decision after getting the opinion of my favorite if not the only camera repair guy I know. He told me that it’s most likely the rubber belts driving the movement of the lens that a dry and loose after so many years. The €100 he charged to fix it made the decision easy. 

I ran the first roll through the camera on the same day. I still struggled a bit with loading the film and keeping the 1.8kg heavy thing straight. The horizontal level is inside the viewfinder while the vertical tilt can be seen only outside. The camera was originally developed for landscape photography assuming the camera is mounted on a tripod. However, I think it’s much more fun to use it in urban or suburban places using to camera tilt as means of expression especially in narrow places.

I was wonderung what exposure speeds are possible handheld. The rotation of the lens seems even at 1/250 awfully slow. Online I’ve found the information that it’s safe to hold 1/250 or 1/125 of a second and I didn’t have any problems with it. I guess it’s always good to choose a fast film to be able to do that. The images are extremely sharp. There is just a little bit of distortion in the extreme corners of the image. The model I have has a built in 5mm lens shift upwards. That helps with the composition without tilting the camera. Another cool feature is the three step zone focus. One meter, five and infinity can be chosen. I haven’t tried it yet but I always find it more interesting to have a limited depth of field.

There are two things that I didn’t get used to yet: the fingers need to stay away from the orbit of the lens. Otherwise, you have them on the negative. Also the camera back opens fairly easily. You will loose at least two of the 6 frames of a film.

It’s truly a cool camera. A bit heavy for sure but the five times twelve centimeter negative covering an angle of one hundred and fourth six degree is worth hauling that thing around. Stay tuned. There will be more soon.

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Fomapan 100 is the new Acros

After ranting about the digital camera manufactures and their pixel dreams of growth, i’m going to talk about …

Baumkuchen

Thinking about it there isn’t a cake being more German than Baumkuchen. Somehow it’s complicated to make since it’s built later by layer with some filling in between. It might come with chocolate or other frosting. But most importantly the pride of German baking tradition tastes mostly dry. If there wasn’t the Japanese. I found a Japanese bakery in the takashimaya department store in Singapore that makes the most delicious Baumkuchen on earth. I quickly got addicted to the Kuchen and the long queues told me I wasn’t alone.

So, what’s the point?

There was someone Japanese who took on this dull German thing and made it a modern and great tasting desert. It’s still the same old thing conceptionally but at the same time it’s something brand new and exciting attracting new customers and markets

Let’s talk about Fuji Acros

I think Fuji did a similar thing with developing Fuji Acros 100. Technically, it’s a black&white film. It even has the feel and touch of one. However, looking at the scanned image it doesn’t look like analog anymore. However, it doesn’t look like a digital picture either. The dynamic range is way bigger than a digital sensor could handle but the absence of grain let’s one wonder. The film handles underexposure quite well. The contrast is rather high but shadows are still beautifully detailed. To make it short, the film is perfect just like the Baumkuchen I was talking about. And while I liked the Baumkuchen a lot, I never shot a roll of Acros in my life. It is interesting to observe that the ingredients that make the perfect desert don’t interest me in a photographic film. While the perfect taste seems to be an achievable goal, the perfect look is not and needs to be placed one step ahead, permanently.

Now that Fuji Acros won’t be around much longer

many are trying to build a little stock. Prices for the remaining material in the market are going up already. Here in Germany the medium format seems already sold out. I admit I also got some rolls right after Fuji’s announcement to discontinue the film. Finally, I can try knowing all perfection has an ending. I also haven’t eaten the Japanese Baumkuchen for over five years now. However, I’m glad to find Juchheim’s Baumkuchen still around. The company was founded by the German Karl Juchheim in Tsingtao, China in 1909. Later the company moved to Japan and after WWII the Japanese employees took over the company and have run it since. 

In the meantime …

I ordered lots of Fomapan 100 for the summer. Developed in the correct chemicals the film can deliver awesome results. The grain is subtile, contrast is high, the image is sharp and shadow detail is there as well. So, it’s just like Acros at a fraction of the price. Although, this was kind of unexpected. Before I developed most ISO 100 films in Rodinal and results were ok. However, I’m always looking to find the perfect match of film and chemistry. I already decided that Fomapan 100 isn’t my cup of tea but I found the roll in the fridge and needed some slow film to go with sun and snow. I also just acquired a bottle of Spur SLD high speed developer and gave it a trial. The developer allows to shoot at nominal speed or even faster. Also an additive was developed to achieve even higher speeds and still keep the contrast increase and loss of shadow details under control. I’ve been trying quite some film and speed combinations and the developer has not let me down yet. My favorites are Ilford HP5+ rated at ISO 800-1600 and the Fomapan 100 at boxspeed. Getting to high sensitivities isn’t the only advantage of the developer. For some film contrast can be controlled by one or two stops. That’s pretty cool considering a very moderate loss in the shadow areas as it’s often the case for push developers.

Let the results speak for themselves …

Some links … the Juchheim company making the amazing Baumkuchen … Spur SLD developerFomapan website

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