Over the past week I’ve sorted and filed the negatives from dozens of rolls of film. Most of the latest batch have been from color film. I already had a scan of the two sisters. Not satisfied, I dug out the negative for a better scan now that I have VueScan installed.
This image is better. The lady on the left is my mother, the baby sister. My late aunt Martie Ann is on the right. I took this candid portrait of the Sisters during a family get together over the holidays in 2003 with a Pentax Spotmatic and 50mm Takumar lens I had just won in an ebay auction. I’m pretty sure the lens was wide open (or close to it) for this hand held available light shot.
I used Kodak Porta 400BW, a black and white chromogenic (C-41 color process) film at 400 ISO box speed. I’m lucky that my shots were in reasonable focus because I discovered that I couldn’t get proper infinity focus. I took the spotty to the shop and they corrected the problems and gave it a good CLA in the bargain to bring it up to spec.
The built in meter was DOA but I expected that. Otherwise, the Spotmatic works as good as new. They built that camera like a tank. I remember reading an article with a title something like “Camera as a hockey puck” where the author talked about the ruggedness of the Pentax Spotmatic and the Nikon F. He said you could drop it on the floor, kick it around (like a hockey puck), then pick it up and it would keep on shooting.
I have a couple rolls of the latest Kodak B&W chromogenic film in my refrigerator. I’m anxious to try the new stuff. This film has an entirely different look from traditional silver B&W film. It’s not as sharp, but it’s virtually grainless and has a smoothness that makes it ideal for portraits.
Couple this film with the 50mm f/1.4 Tak and you have a superb combination for available light candid portraits. I bought a new body, a Bessaflex, about 5 or 6 years ago so I would have a modern body for my screw mount lenses. Aside from the built in stop down metering, the camera is 100% mechanical.
I use it instead of the Spotmatic because the Bessa’s viewfinder is much brighter and I can see the entire image while wearing my glasses. Shutter speed goes up to 1/2000 of a second and it’s lighter and smaller than the Spotty.
Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.