Leica M Typ 240

I recently acquired a Leica M Typ 240 after having watched a video by a photographer called Dotan Saguy.  I already owned a few Leica's including one of my favourites; the M7.  But after having watched his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgCOyDKXhow  I became intrigued and wanted to try one for myself.  Plus, the positive thing was I could use all my existing lenses on it too.  So after doing my research and slowly establishing which digital Leica to invest in, I chose the M Type 240.  Leica had recently released the the M10 and the M9 was well out and established and already at very good prices on eBay.  However, when I considered all the pros and cons, the M Typ 240 made the most sense.

I have been using it for a  little over a month now and it is quite the quirky beast to use.  The first thing I was advised to do was to upload the latest firmware, so after doing that I went out and started shooting.  My first trip did not go too well and I came back with little to nothing to show for it.  I then reset the camera to all factory defaults and started reading up and doing more research.  It was also a huge help talking with Peter too, as he had the M9 and between us we figured out  a few things that made a huge difference.  

The first thing was the film mode settings, I had originally had them set to vivid colour, which I thought would emulate some of the Velvia and Provia films.  Some of the shots would indeed do this, but in some cases they would also be very contrasty and saturated, resulting in a lot of loss of data and tone.

I quickly read up and discovered that the camera is best set to DNG with fine jpeg and black and white film mode.  This leaves you with a colour DNG file and a black and white jpeg file.  Kind of the best of both worlds.

I am still working with this camera and overall, it is very quirky and high maintenance, nothing like sticking a roll of tax in the M7 and off you go.  I will push through and when I have time will share more, but for now these are a few of the shots I have taken so far...

Thanks for reading and we'd love to hear from you guys too on your experiences so drop us a line on our Facebook page too.

Thanks and happy shooting..

 

Photograph taken at a book fair in Saint Louis, with camera set to black and white mode.  i spotted this chap sat alone at the top of the bleachers with the cardboard boxes in front of him.  I also like to contrast of all the rigid squares of the windows and panels again the chaotic patterns and geometry of the boxes.

Photograph taken at a book fair in Saint Louis, with camera set to black and white mode.  i spotted this chap sat alone at the top of the bleachers with the cardboard boxes in front of him.  I also like to contrast of all the rigid squares of the windows and panels again the chaotic patterns and geometry of the boxes.

 
I could not resist his shot, this guy looked like he was in heaven amongst all the books and on his own.

I could not resist his shot, this guy looked like he was in heaven amongst all the books and on his own.

 
I wanted to get a closer shot here, but was one row too far way and would of run the risk of being noticed, it's hard to capture those moments before someone notices you.  Once they do it's all over.

I wanted to get a closer shot here, but was one row too far way and would of run the risk of being noticed, it's hard to capture those moments before someone notices you.  Once they do it's all over.

 
I photographed this lady watching the solar eclipse this year and it looked like she was praying for something, not sure what but pleased with the shot.

I photographed this lady watching the solar eclipse this year and it looked like she was praying for something, not sure what but pleased with the shot.

 
This was a colour shot I converted to black and white to compare.  I later learned you can get both and don't need to convert.  I now have the camera set to DNG with fine jpeg.

This was a colour shot I converted to black and white to compare.  I later learned you can get both and don't need to convert.  I now have the camera set to DNG with fine jpeg.

 
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Much happier with the results here, this is the jpeg set to fine, with no conversion and straight off the camera with no photoshop.  Much happier.

Much happier with the results here, this is the jpeg set to fine, with no conversion and straight off the camera with no photoshop.  Much happier.

 
This is the DNG file with no Photoshop too, i cropped it for framing, but no adjustments.  Though I wish Photoshop had an ironing board....

This is the DNG file with no Photoshop too, i cropped it for framing, but no adjustments.  Though I wish Photoshop had an ironing board....

Solar Eclipse on Film

This year I plan on photographing the Solar Eclipse using Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative film.   I scanned the internet for a blog or article on film and the solar eclipse but could not find one.  I thought I would venture forth and write one myself for anyone crazy enough to attempt this.

The first choice was what camera to use, that actually came quickly for me as I love my trusty Hasselblad 500CM and decided to use that.  There are many other equally as great film cameras, but I wanted to shoot medium format and the 6X6 aspect ration made all the sense in the world to me.  

Next was the type of lens choice.  i did not have too much extra cash to splurge on this, so  I found a relative cost effective way to get to the size lens I wanted.  To really do a good job photographing the solar eclipse and filling the 6X6 frame I would need something at 500mm to even get into the game.  So i picked up a good used 500mm Tele-Tessar F8 lens and bought a 2x Tele-Convertor to bring it up to 1000mm.  I know this loses me some f-stops, but I thought I would give this a go and see what happened.

Next was the most important piece of all; the filter.  because I wanted to photograph the lead up as well as the total eclipse i was going to need a good quality filter.  For this I used a Star Guy 105-135mm White Light Adjustable Solar Filter.  It cost $79.00 plus shipping and is something I can use again if I ever find myself in the path of totality.  My first Eclipse was in 1999 and I drove with my buddy Chris from Nottingham in the UK to some random little village in Northern France to get the best shot at taking a photograph.  We drove all the way there and when totality happened we had huge clouds wander through and block your view.  Fortunately I managed to pick up a photograph that the ferry driver took on his camera and had developed on the ferry.

This year, clouds and weather permitting I hope to be in the right spot at the right time and not miss the experience.  

Earlier this month I took a test shot with the above set-up and this is what I got: This photograph was taken using the following settings.

F16 @1/60th of a second using a cable release and sturdy tripod.  Be mindful to use mirror lock-up if you have it and be sure to let you camera come to a complete rest before firing the release.

 

Taken using a Hasselblad 500CM with a 500mm Tele-Tessar and  2xTele-Convertor.  Also used in conjunction with Kodak Ektar 100 Colour Negative film and a Star Guy White Light Adjustable Solar Filter on Tripod with cable release and mirror lock-up enabled.

Taken using a Hasselblad 500CM with a 500mm Tele-Tessar and  2xTele-Convertor.  Also used in conjunction with Kodak Ektar 100 Colour Negative film and a Star Guy White Light Adjustable Solar Filter on Tripod with cable release and mirror lock-up enabled.

Here's the set-up minus the Solar Filter.  Be sure to use a sturdy tripod as the Sun will be high and  if like me you are tall you will want to the tripod set up at it's highest height.  I also used a really sturdy ball head, but am considering using a 3 axis geared head to eliminate any movement.  

Here's the set-up minus the Solar Filter.  Be sure to use a sturdy tripod as the Sun will be high and  if like me you are tall you will want to the tripod set up at it's highest height.  I also used a really sturdy ball head, but am considering using a 3 axis geared head to eliminate any movement.  

Here's another I took using my digital SLR and a Tamron 150-600 mm and a 2x Tele-Convertor also.  I used the same filter and got a different look and feel here, much sharper and warmer, but honestly I prefer the result I got from the Kodak Ektar.

Here's another I took using my digital SLR and a Tamron 150-600 mm and a 2x Tele-Convertor also.  I used the same filter and got a different look and feel here, much sharper and warmer, but honestly I prefer the result I got from the Kodak Ektar.

 
Taken using the Hasselblad 500CM with a 500 mm Tele-Tessar and a 2xTele-Convertor by my youngest son using cable release and tripod.

Taken using the Hasselblad 500CM with a 500 mm Tele-Tessar and a 2xTele-Convertor by my youngest son using cable release and tripod.

Where I am located I am only going to get 58 seconds of totality and have not metered or tested for this, so I will be shooting blind.  All settings I shared on this post are minus the lost f-stops due to the tele-convertors, so please be mindful of that.  I think in conclusion I will be shooting somewhere around F11-16 at either 1/60th or 1/125th of  second with the filter on during the lead up to the total eclipse and then without the filter during my 58 seconds of totality most likely F8 at 1/30th.  I plan on using my digital SLR too and will use the light meter in that to guide my film settings.  

I hope this was somewhat helpful to all you film photographers and that you are successful in your quest to get a shot.  Please ensure you use a safe and quality filter, there are many eclipses all over the world but only one set of eyes...

Have fun and I will share my results on here as a follow up post.

SIncerely

Gary

Black & White Development

This last month I thought I would turn my hand to trying some film developing.  This impulse was fueled further by the fact New55 had produced a new type of film developer called R5 Monobath.  You can find the developer here: https://shop.new55.net/collections/frontpage/products/r5-monobath-developer

The Monobath from New55 is super simple to use and really loves 35mm.  I never really got to give it a fair run on 120 film and plan on doing so later next month.  I developed several types of film through it, Kodak TX400, Kodak TMax and some Ilford HP5 400 Plus too.  I managed to get about 6 rolls in total out of it on the last roll the developing was really flat and I had to modify it a lot in Photoshop to compensate.

It's super simple to use and produced some good results, i am going to explore the Kodak D76 developer next month and will try to write about that on here too. 

I have been reading up on the D76 Developing and it seems to be a lot more involved compared to the R5, but cannot compare the finished results yet.  It will be interesting to see how they contrast and compare.

I shot all of the following photographs on my Leica M7 with a 40mm f2 lens.  I did experience a strange situation with the Leica and the Ilford HP5 film; it kept jamming up at frame 20/25 on a 36 exposure roll.  At first I thought there was something wrong with the camera, but when I ran Kodak film through it, it worked seamlessly.  Not sure if anyone else has experienced this, if so, please share as I still have not ascertained what is happening.

Thanks for following and hope you give the New55 a go, it's about $25 per container, shipping is a little high, so I think i will save up and buy a few more containers to make the shipping worth it.

You can see more of the images I developed on my Instagram page @relevantlens

Thanks

Gary

 

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W I D E L U X

Peter and I decided to start a small project per month called The Power of ONE Challenge.  A simple project where we would use one camera with one film for one month. We decided to do this to develop deeper understanding for some of the cameras we own, as well as enabling us to share and pass on the learning to those who follow. Aside from the cameras, it also allowed us to really get to know some of the film we use too.

My choice of camera for January was the Widelux F7 and I used it in conjunction with some Ilford XP2 400 speed. I was really pleased with the combination and learned a lot along the way. I chose XP2 film because it had a higher ISO rating and would allow me to shoot at higher f stops. Due to it using C41 developing, I was also able to get the filmed processed faster than I would if i were using traditional black and white.

The film was actually lovely to use and responded well in the Widelux,  Obviously it loved the natural daylight of outside, but also faired reasonably well indoors too when i tried it.  I found it to be a little grainy, which for a black and white film I did not mind.  Had it of been colour, I would of probably not been pleased with the grain. All in all, a lovely film and one that I will return too later on with other challenges.

As for the Widelux, it was a complete joy to use, once I got used to the idiosyncrasies it has. Firstly, due to it's lens and nature of the camera, it has a lot of distortion. Sometimes the distortion can work for you depending on subject matter, but there are a few rules of the road. If you are like me and shoot organically, expect to get a lot of distortion as it likes to be kept level. I went back and forth with this and in the end learned to read the subject and zero in on whether it would distort or not. I found that man-made objects like building and other structural things will display the distortion a lot. As I said, in some cases it can really play to your advantage, but in other instances, it can be a royal pain in the arse. 

Next the f-stops, the Widelux has a limited set of f-stops; f2.8 -f11 and if you shoot at lower stops, it produces blurred images unless you have a rock solid tripod and the camera is steady. Even then with the tripod, it will be more blurred than shooting with the F11 setting. I know this is really common sense, but you can easily forget when metering the light and slip back into the lower f-stops.

What I was surprised at is that it produced some really great shots at 1/15 of a second shutter speed. I thought this would result in blurred photographs, but it did not and I was able to get some great indoor results.

The cold weather, for some reason, this camera did not like extreme cold weather. I took it out a couple of times when it snowed and the mechanism jammed a few times, I decided to bring it back in and wait for a warmer day. I found that because I was shooting a lot of film through the camera, that a residue of the film built up on the inside and would sometimes drop down onto the negatives, I learned quickly to give the inside a clean after I had ran a few rolls through it to stop this from happening.

There is also a discrepancy between the viewfinder and what you get.  I never really managed to figure this out, but if you decide to use one, be aware that there is both a horizontal and vertical shift the closer you get to the subject. I suppose again, this is blindingly obvious as it is a rangefinder of sorts, but still something to keep in mind. It does come with a lovely set of filters that clip in too, and I used the yellow filter a few times and this really helped with the contrast of the XP2.

Overall a really great combination of film and camera and I already miss using them, but now we are focused on using the Hasselblad 500 series in conjunction with some Kodak Ektar 100, so stay tuned for that post in a month or so....

Please also feel free to join in the challenges and stay tuned on our Instagram page On Roads and Cameras.

Thanks for reading.

Gary

 

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Shooting with the wrong exposure readings

I shot these a few weeks ago in Portugal...it was early in the morning before the sun had risen and so was still a little misty. I was using Kodak Portra 400 with my Hasselblad 500cxi, but like an idiot I had forgotten to change the little cardboard tab on the back, so I was in fact shooting with Portra 100 not 400.
All of my light meter readings were wrong, and to add to my woes I forgot to wind the film on fully before opening up the back...this comes from shooting with two backs and wanting to catch the mist before the sun came through the clouds.

I have to learn to slow down and be more careful. I'll post these photos and wonder what could have been...and hope I get better at this photography thing.

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100 Strangers

I wanted to start another project that would bridge the gap between our road trips, so i started 100 Strangers.  Essentially I am photographing 100 people I have never met before when I am on the road.

These are the first 6 of 100, as I take more I will add them to the 100 Strangers page under the On Roads tab on our web site.

Thanks for following

Gary

 


The Mamiya 37mm Fisheye Lens

I took the first two photography somewhere on the road between Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon on our roadtrip in April.
It was my first attempt at trying out my newly acquired Mamiya 37mm Fisheye lens for the first time. I have a slight distortion in the first image, but the second one isn't as noticable (mainly in the foreground).

But you can really see the distortion here at a veiwing point at the Grand Canyon.

This is Gary at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, I seemed to have had a light leak on this roll of film.

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And finally an image taken at the Sequoia National Forest in California, I tried to catch the shaft of light hitting the trees. You can see how the trees either side of the main tree curve.

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So, overall impression would be that I liked the lens a lot, but I have to find the right subject matter to shoot. If I'm honest I didn't you the lens as much as I thought I would becasue of the distortion, but I'm going to stick with it and give it another go soon.

The Fog

This summer I was lucky enough to find myself in Cape Cod on family vacation and even luckier to find that a huge wall of fog was moving in over the sea inland.  i had always wanted to shoot fog before, but never really had the chance to do it in such a great setting as this.

Here are a few shots from the roll I shot, more to come.  I used the Hasselblad 500CM with a 80mm lens.  The fog moved quickly and also was tough to shoot due to it misting up the lens and camera ll the time.  Next time i would recommend a large Zip-Lock bag and see if that helps.

 

The Goose (6OOSE)

I recently I purchased a Polaroid 600SE AKA The Goose.  It earned its name due to a mis-print in a magazine when it was first introduced to the market.  I must admit, of all my Polaroids, this one has the sharpest and clearest resolution of all.  It was made by Mamiya in Japan and as well as using Fuji FP3000B and C it also uses 120 and 220 film too.

Such a great camera and such a shame that Fuji has stopped making its instant film. We will add this camera to the list on our website and ensure we add the photographs we shoot with it.

Thanks for following.

Gary



Fuji Instant Film

These are only a few of the test Polaroids and in no particular order. I shall be sending the film off next week to be developed...getting excited to see the results.

Films used on the trip by me (Peter) were as follows:

35mm Film
- Rollei RPX 100 x 7 rolls b/w
- Rollei RPX 400 x 2 rolls b/w
- Kodak 400TX x 6 rolls b/w
- FujiFilm Neopan 400 x 1 roll b/w
- FujiFilm Neopan 1600 x 1 roll b/w
- Unbranded 200 x 2 rolls colour
Total 19 rolls of film

120 Film
- Rollei RPX   25 x 1 roll b/w
- Rollei RPX 100 x 3 rolls b/w
- Rollei RPX 400 x 6 rolls b/w
- Kodak Portra 160 x 18 rolls colour
- Kodak Ektar 100 x 13 rolls colour
- Kodak Portra 400 x 3 rolls colour
- Kodak 400TX x 4 rolls b/w
- Kodak 400TX x 1 roll b/w (but shot at 160)
- FujiChrome 120 x 1 roll colour  
Total 50 rolls of film

220 Film
- Kodak Portra 400 x 9 rolls colour
- Kodak Portra 400 x 1 roll colour  (but needs +1)
- Kodak Portra 400 x 1 roll b/w  (but shot at 100)
- FujiChrome 100D x 1 roll colour  
- FujiChrome 100F x 1 roll colour  
Total 13 rolls of film

So a grand total of:
19 rolls of 35 (17 b/w and 2 colour)
63 Rolls of 120/200 (16 b/w and 47 colour)

Post Road Trip Blues

Well, I'm back home now in Switzerland and have a lot of film to get developed 35, 120 and 220. I ended up using the Mamiya RZ67, Hasselblad 500c and the Hasselblad Xpan. Keeping my fingers crossed some of my photos will be okay as I didn't use my digital camera on the 10 day road trip or the other 2 weeks in the US.
Sadly I lost my little Voigtlander VC Meter, so I'm going to be looking for either another Voigtlander meter...or maybe it's time for something more accurate...any suggestions?

On a separate but related note, on my last day or so in Chicago I managed to find (and buy) a copy of 'Route 66' a photographic essay. Dated about 1988, with photos from it's peak to it's decline...but best of all, I found a signed copy of a limited edition Stephen Shore book called 'A Road Trip Journal'. My copy is numbered 1218 out of a total of 3300 produced.

Stories

Sometimes all that it takes to take a good picture is having the courage to ask. Ask someone that is, if they'd let you take their photograph. It's really hard to ask a stranger if you could take their picture. Especially when it's not instant and is film. People have become so used to instant gratification and the concept of waiting and is lost.

I was on my lunch break this afternoon and on my way back to work I stopped off to snap a photograph of the old Eat Rite building at the corner of 7th and 100. The building itself is pretty cool, but when a lady named Tina came out dressed in a pink 50's style diner outfit I had to get the photograph. 

So I asked and she said yes. We chatted for a while and it turns out her dad owns the place. I took the shot and thanked her. I gave her the name of the website and blog, and said that it'd be a while before I finished the roll and got it developed. Oh, she said, it's film..I felt a little bad that I had nothing to show, but I promised to post it as soon as it had been processed.

Peter and I both set off in two days and both need to practise the exercise of asking. I wonder who we will meet along the way and what stories they will tell?

Thanks for following

Gary and Peter

 

Prepping for the big trip

April the 2nd is drawing ever closer and Peter and I have checked off all the major stuff we had to do; flights back, rental car etc.  Now all that's left is the small stuff, but it's the small stuff that's important right?  Like what play list shall we take?  What emergency supplies will we need? The list goes on...

Which brings me to the purpose of this post.  As well as being a vehicle for sharing our stories, photographs and adventures we wanted this to be a dialogue that encourages people to provide input and feedback along the way.  This is my first major road trip, with Peter having done several before me we both wanted to connect to people along the way and gain advice and input.

Apart from the obvious stuff like road food, first aid kits, water, tech stuff, film, cameras and credit cards what else might we take?

What things have you taken on your road trips?  What things did you forget that you wish you'd of had?

We would love to hear from you and please pass along the link to this website and blog.  We know it's not perfect and there's lots to do in terms of making it look and function better, but more than anything we simply wanted it up and running rather than us having nothing...

Thanks for following us on this journey and hopefully more through the years...

 

Gary & Peter