Category Archives: Photography

Shooting with Film- Part 6

As I posted earlier today the Leica M6 has arrived.  It is in like new condition and will be ready to shoot once I get the batteries for the meter tomorrow.

This has been quite an adventure and a great learning process.  I wanted to give you all some specific figures in case you would like to try your hand at shooting film.

Here is what it initially cost me to begin this process:

Yashica Electro 35 Camera- $51.99 (Ebay includes shipping)

(2) Camera batteries- $23.08 (Walgreens)

DVD/CD player- $82.95 (Bought this from Apple as my Macbook Pro doesn’t have one.  Needed it to download the CD’s)

(4) rolls of Arista Premium ISO 400- $18.55 (includes shipping)

Processing for the 4 rolls- $60 (includes shipping)

Total- $236.57.

There is a good chance your computer already has a player for the CD’s so that would drop the expense quite a bit to $153.62.

So to try four rolls of film, including processing the negatives and putting them on CD, you would be at $153.62.  I think this is reasonable to try out something new.  My goal was to see if I liked the process and results- I do.

If you want to try the Ilford you can even buy a little disposable camera loaded with it.  There are many ways to try film if you want to.

Next up will be shooting a roll with the M6 and a Leica 35 2.5 Summarit lens.  It will probably take a while as I will be more choosy about what I am taking pics of.  I have a project I am working on so some of the pics will be saved for that.  More about that to come in the future.

I hope this has been informative for you all.  For me personally, I am trying to expand my horizons this year.  This is all part of that process.  If you haven’t had a chance to read Part 5 of this series please do and don’t forget to vote in the poll at the bottom of the post.

Quick Update- It is here!

I will have more to say tonight but I wanted you to know that the Leica M6 arrived today!  I won’t have the batteries for the meter until tomorrow but it is beautiful, in perfect shape and functions perfectly.  

More tonight and some figures about how much it will cost to begin shooting film, if you desire to do so.

Shooting with Film- Part 5

As promised I have taken some time today during my lunch hour to shoot a roll of the Ilford XP2 B&W film.  I have had it processed at Costco and put on a CD and am looking at the results on my computer.

I also have the digital file I took with my Leica M8 which is a B&W jpeg out of camera and I have the pic I took last week with the Arista Premium that I had to send to The Darkroom in California.

Before we look at the results it will definitely help you to read Shooting with Film- Parts 1-4 to get a background on this series, if you haven’t already.

None of these pics have had any processing done to them in LR5.  Now for the results:

First is the Leica M8 digital file.

M8- Digital

Second is the Arista Premium.

Arista Premium,Third is the Ilford XP2.

Ilford C41

I was comparing the pics on my computer when my youngest daughter, who is an adult, came by the house.  I asked her to look at all three, noticing the shadows and details etc.  Then I asked which one she liked best.

She picked the middle one hands down.  Of course it is the more expensive of the two film types to process but the film is much cheaper.  I buy it here- Freestyle Photographic Supplies.

I have to say I feel the same way.  The Arista 400 wins hands down.  Take some time to look at the walls, bricks and sidewalk and you will probably agree.  It is richer and more detailed and I haven’t done any processing on it!

Please vote in the poll below to let me know your opinion.

Shooting with Film- Part 4

The black Leica M6 is on the way and I have ordered new batteries for its meter.  I bought strap eyelets today for it so I am ready to go.  Now I wait.

In the meantime I have learned something about the film that is available today – specifically B&W.  The first four rolls I bought were Premium Arista ISO 400.  I shot the 36 exposures and went to Costco last week as they said they could process them quickly and cheaply.  Unfortunately I ran into a problem.  They, as well as many others, only process C41 B&W film.  I have been away from film for many decades so I had to do some research on the internet to find out the difference.

C41 film is easier to process as it is processed the same way and with the same chemicals as color film  This makes it easier for the processing facility and cuts down on the different chemicals they have to use.  Costco is set up this way.

So, in light of this, I bought one roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 B&W film today.  It is developed using the C41 process. I will shoot it tomorrow and drop it by Costco after.  I should have the pics tomorrow or Tuesday.  I will be using my Yashica camera and be shooting some of the same scenes that I shot with the first roll of Arista 400.  My main reason for doing this is to compare the difference between the two types of film. Will they have the same “look” or will one have less grain or contrast than the other?  From what I have read on the internet the XP2 is top-notch with a finer grain.  I will have more answers in the next couple of days.

The lesson here is that if you want your local drug store to process your film buy one that can be developed using the C41 process.  If you shoot a traditional film you can send it to The Darkroom and have access to your pics online in a couple of days.  I wrote about this in part 3 of this series.

Once I figure out which film I like best I will be buying quite a few rolls to store in my frig.  By the way, the C41 is more expensive than the Arista.  I bought the Arista online for $2.89.  The best I can find the XP2 for is around $5.  The processing for it is cheaper though.  At Costco they will process the negatives and put them on a CD for about $5.  I will have exact figures for both in a few days.

I only want the negatives as I will download them into my computer to Lightroom 5.  I can further process them there by adjusting exposure and contrast etc.

I can’t wait to get the M6 and begin shooting.  I have three more rolls of the Arista. After that, who knows what I will try?  Stay tuned.

Shooting with Film- Part 3

I posted a pic last night because I was so excited about the results but I wanted to address Part 3 a little more in-depth so you all know where things stand in my adventure to shoot film again.

After receiving my Yashica film camera last Wednesday, shooting 36 exposures of ISO 400 B&W film that same day and sending them to The Darkroom with a prepaid mailing label, I continued to research Leica film cameras while I waited to see how the pics turned out.

I went by my local camera store, Ace Photo in Ashburn, and spent 1.5 hours yesterday talking to the staff and one of their Leica customers about what my options were for purchasing a Leica film camera.  Bottom line was- Which one would work best and be affordable?  The general consensus, after trying out 4-5 cameras with my Leica Summarit 35 2.5 lens, was that the M6 would fill my needs best.  It is an all manual camera but does have a meter built in.  They did not have any available without an auto winder so I continued my search on Ebay while I waited for my pics.

I had no idea The Darkroom would receive, process and post my pics on the web on Friday.  Two days after I sent them!  To say I was excited would be an understatement.  I viewed them and downloaded a couple.  After some very basic adjustments in LR5 I posted the pic last night.

I liked the results.  In fact I liked them so much I bought a mint, black M6 last night.  It is in Hong Kong so I will receive it next week.

I have done some side by side comparisons with a digital pic and film pic of the same scene and I really like them both.  The film has a special look.  

Needless to say I am learning more day by day in this adventure called photography with Leica.  Yesterday I learned  a lot more about the Leica brand as we looked at everything from an M2 to an M7.  

Once I receive the camera I will be out and about shooting and posting an update. 

I am posting a pic that I took with the Yashica.  I just processed it and I have already learned a couple of things:

1.  This camera overexposes the highlights.

2.  There is no need to sharpen a converted film pic in LR5.  

Stay tuned.  


Shooting with Film- Part 2

An hour  after I posted yesterday’s blog my film camera arrived.  It is a Yashica Electro 35 GSN.  With shipping it cost me $50, on Ebay, which I think is a bargain.  If I like the process of shooting with and processing film I will purchase a Leica, probably an M6.  I wanted to begin with an inexpensive camera first to see how the process goes and to see if I like it.

I took the camera and ISO 400 film to downtown Leesburg and worked my way through the 36 exposures.  My main goal for this first roll is to get it scanned so I can download the files into LR5.  I want to see what kind of latitude I have with them when processing and I want to see how they look compared to files out of my digital Leicas.

I quickly took the roll to Costco but found out they only process C41 B&W film.  This is a new process that many labs are using but my film uses the old way of processing.  I ended up mailing it to The Darkroom in California.  Through them it will cost $15 for processing, a CD and shipping.  I think that is reasonable.

I will update you as soon as I receive the negatives and CD back.  Meanwhile I am still checking out Ebay for Leica M6’s.

There will be a part 3- I promise. 🙂