12.09.2015

Pulled a Pen F out of the drawer today. Why don't modern cameras have rotary titanium shutters that sync at all speeds?


I pulled this Pen F out of the equipment cabinet today and, after coming to grips with the realization that it would have been a much better camera with an integral EVF, realized how cool the technology of this camera was in the early 1970s. That, and the fact that it still works well today.

The finder could be improved but I think that age tends to yellow the mirrors a bit and the focusing screen could probably use a good cleaning. I put the 40mm f1.4 lens on the front and loaded a roll of Agfapan APX 100 that I'd stashed in the freezer. I shot a bit while I was out for coffee but the fun test will be a portrait session tomorrow. Yes, yes, I'll have some sort of digital camera there as well, but I'm willing to bet that this combo, supplemented with the 60mm f1.5 will have a vastly different visual signature than what we're used to. It will also be interesting to see how the B&W film reacts to LED lighting.

I figured it was shameful to have a brace of these in an equipment cabinet and not take them out and experiment from time to time.

72 half frame images on a roll of film. A shutter that syncs with anything all the way up to 1/500th. Some titanium tech inside an all metal body. And a vertical frame orientation. What's not to like?

Do you still shoot film from time to time? What do you use for interesting film shoots? 

25 comments:

Michael Ferron said...

I shoot film often, mostly B&W and develop here at home. Cameras used might be my Nikkormat metal brick, a very cool little Olympus RC rangefinder or my 55 year old Yashicamat TLR. I also go "modern" with a Canon Elan 7 and that wonderful 40mm 2.8 they came out with a few years ago. Not a pro here so this is just hobby, occasional attempt at art and fun for me. Tri-x and Tmax films are most often used.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

I still have and love my OM-2N, but I don't shoot it that often anymore. The reasons are that firstly the local drugstore *only' has that Agfapan film, and I'd much prefer to get some Ilford films I used when we were (much) younger. The second reason is that I only have the nifty fifty (1.4 and 1.8), but no portrait lens - and the good ones (like the 90mm macro f/2 or a 100mm f/2) are still expensive. And the third reason is that it doesn't trigger my radio remote for the studio strobes very reliably - you end up with a lot of (costly) dark frames. A second OM-1 does that also so it isn't the camera.

All that said, if you'd drop me somewhere in the desert or the jungle and I could have only one, this one would probably be it.

Paul Glover said...

Just about all the time, black and white mostly in a brace of cameras.

Currently have Ilford HP5+ in an Olympus XA, some Eastman 5222 double-X in a Minolta 5000AF, Tri-X in both a Yashica-A TLR and a Voigtlander Brillant TLR-ish, and Pan F+ in my main camera, the Pentax 645. Oh yeah and there's still some FP4+ in a plastic lensed "Vista View 35" which I *really* need to just finish out, the toy camera thing isn't quite my cup-o-tea as it turns out.

The Canon F-1 and Prohibition-era Ansco box camera probably feel left out. Haven't used either in a while.

You know...I might have a problem of some sort here! ;-) But am trying to settle on one or two films and one or two cameras depending on what I'm planning to shoot.

All end up in the darkroom for proofing and maybe some prints.

I may well be mad. But I'm enjoying the madness, every frame of it!

Jean Marc Schwartz said...

Hello Kirk,
I take two weeks of vacation for Christmas and new Year holidays with my family in the South of France. On this occasion, I make a cure of argentic shots with Yashica GSN 35 with its lens 40 mm 1.7 and Olympus RC 35 Automatic. Movies, ILFORD delta 100 N*B and FUJI pro 400 H for the color. Camera are both rangefinders, of which to slow down every moment during this time of break.
Cheers.

Anders said...

Yes. My Nikon 35Ti comes out from time to time with some Fuji Velvia. Superior 35mm f/2.8 lens and titanium body. Great view finder.

Omer said...

My favorite camera of all time is the original, mechanical Canon F-1. I used that camera in manual mode, which helped me learn the craft of photography back in the '70s. The first one I owned was destroyed when my camera bag fell off the back of my motorcycle while tooling down a highway. I now have a used one which I look at now and then and become nostalgic for the simplicity of the design and use. But even though I have stored film there is a disconnect to when my discovery of photography was revelatory for me. Film photography should be used with a chemical darkroom, complete with an enlarger and silver paper. I gave mine away years ago and no longer have the energy to build another one. To me, using film and then scanning it to process in a computer seems antithetical. Still, it is great fun to pick up that cold, heavy, all metal, angular F-1, wind and trip the shutter, especially at slow shutter speeds when the mechanical timer is audible, and marvel at the simplicity of the camera. So few distractions!

John Krumm said...

I have an OM4 that I love but it kills batteries. I also love my daughter's underused Nikon FM2n that will use the same battery forever so lately I've been taking that (with her permission).

Steve Mack said...

I also shoot film often. I use a Leica CL, Nikon FM2n, a Canon EOS 1n and a Yeshiva MAT 124G. Sometimes I process the film myself, and sometimes I send it out to the local camera store for processing and prints. I use black-and-white film, and Kodak Ektar 100 fro color. Oh, and I own a Nikon D7000. I do this as a hobby, and as a mild lunacy as well.

Steve Renwick said...

Still shooting film with a Nikon and a Hassy. The film type is Tri-X, of course --- why, are there other types? :-)

Gato said...

I sold my last Pen F many years ago. It was a great little camera, and one of the few film cameras I really miss.

Will be wanting to see how your portrait session comes out. Looking forward to your posting it.

But sorry - I doubt I'll ever shoot film again. Though I do still have my 4x5 Deardorff and sometimes have a fleeting thought of using it one more round.

Peter Wright said...

This past year I shot about 120 films (mostly Delta 400, but some Neopan Acros 100 and Provia 100 as well). Now I realize that this was about what you shot in an afternoon during your film hay-day, but hey, I have to pay for this stuff myself! I develop and scan at home as this seems the only way to keep costs reasonable. Most shooting is done with a Leica MP, or one of my Nikons. (I have a beautiful F2 Titan, which is out for CLA at the moment, and is a wonderful match for my Zeiss lenses – like the 135 f2.0 – I think you should order one soon!)

I also use digital some of the time, but I find that when I show projections from scans, or prints from film at the club I belong to, or take part in exhibitions again using prints from film, no one – and I mean absolutely no one – has ever asked if I was using film. Everyone either assumes that I was using a Canon 5DIII, or Nikon D810, like them, or they know my habits already. Quite often I even manage to win a prize or two against these same digital camera wielding enthusiasts. For those of us who don't do this for a living, there is effectively no practical difference in output between a good 40 year old film camera and a modern digital camera.

Just to be clear, I'm not a "film nut". I enjoy switching the media as the urge takes me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I shoot regularly with a Pentax LX and P3n combo. Unless I want medium format deliciousness, where the Bronica ETRSi comes out to play. I love having flash sync up to 1/500 on all of those Bronica lenses.

Anthony Collins said...

We always take an Olympus mju2 (Stylus Epic in US) on trips supplementing our m43 kits; G3,G6 EM1 and an arsenal of lenses. Loaded with Fuji 200 print film it is used for souvenir photos of us mainly. Selected prints go in albums. It was the last film camera sold by our local big box store, a discounted display model. It developed a light leak through the rear film speed window cured with black electrical tape. If it dies we have another, an immaculate flea market find, laid down in reserve. It replaced a pair of XA2s which we still have.

Mike Shwarts said...

Yes. Some Olympus OM bodies with the great Zuiko lenses. Mix of rangefinders (nothing outstanding except the Olympus XA). Some other odds and ends 35mm SLRs and other 35mm cameras. I even use the Zuiko lenses on digital bodies. Oh the shame. :)

John Krill said...

I like to think that everything I shoot is INTERESTING. Therefore when shooting with film I use the Contax G1 with it's standard lens, a Planar 45mm f2.

When Kodak announced Kodachrome's retirement it was with the Contax G1 that I shot 8 rolls Kodachrome in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Now if I could only convert someplace in the house into a small darkroom for film processing I would do a lot more b/w film photography but the lady boss says don't even think about it.

Don't tell her but I think about it everyday.

TMJ said...

Leicas III, M4 and M6. Ilford Delta 100 or HP5+ in IDII.

Zeiss Super Ikonta (6x6cm) Fuji Provia 100F

Carlo Santin said...

I shot quite a bit of film in 2015. I still have quite a backlog of undeveloped rolls that I am slowly getting through. Doing 2 more tonight, c-41. I have settled on Kodak Ektar 100 for colour work. BW I'm all over the place. I currently have a 100ft roll of Ilford HP5 that I will probably shoot at 800 or 1600 in the winter months here in Canada. During summer I will switch to Ilford Pan F or even the Rollei Retro 80s. Many film cameras lying about, all of which I love. So at the moment I have a roll of HP5 in a Konica Hexar, another roll in my F100, and a third in my tiny Olympus Mju II, so I need to get out there and do some shooting. I have a family portrait shoot set up for next weekend, and while it will mostly be digital, I will do a couple of rolls of bw film. Looking forward to it, and to finding out what I currently have on all my undeveloped film because I've long forgotten.

Joe V said...

A Soviet-era Zorki IV with the requisite Jupiter 8 lens; an Olympus Pen-D; Minolta SRT-101; Minolta X-700; several auto-everything film P&S; a brace of plastic Holgas; Bronica ETRS; WWII-era Anniversary Speed Graphic with modern Fujinon lens.

Art in LA said...

I'll shoot a roll of film about once a year. I love the electromechanical buzzing and whirring of my old gear. So cool!

I'm much more deliberate with my film shots since the marginal cost of each frame is at least 20 cents. This is so different from my trigger happy digital shooting.

I use Ilford XP2 Super ... C-41 process that I can take to Costco or Walgreens. Easy peasy.

Anthony Bridges said...

I have a Canon EOS-1. I rarely shoot with it. When I do, I place my more modern EF 40 f/2.8 on it and shoot Velvia 100. LOVE VELVIA. If not the Velvia, it's Tri-X. I prefer the super colors of the Velvia though.

Noons said...

Still use film. Used to be E6, but the recent price hikes by Fuji killed it.
Now it's mostly b&w (various), fuji xtra400 or kodak portra for colourneg and some Ilford xp2 which is stunning for scanning.
Not as often as I'd like, but still very much used.
Gearwise, Nikon fm3a, f2as and f6, ZI and konika hexar rangefinders. Also a Mamiya 645 pro tl and a Arax 6X6. Yes, I love them all and use them all! And have done so for many decades!

Anonymous said...

I still use several 35mm films over the year, with mostly positive film such as the Kodak Ektar and Afga Vista 100. I own a whole collection of older cameras. The one's that have used recently are the Minolta Maxxum AF 7000, the Exakta Varex (with a hand held meter), the Nikon FM, Olympus OM2. I have also used in recent years my Pentacon six 6x6 camera with Kodak Ektacolor film. I have a whole collection of Kiev rangefinder cameras (Contax ll clones) and also own a 1937 Contax II and II that still work perfectly. Just too many cameras (not counting all of the folding cameras that I own),and not enough time. However, most of the time I use my digital camera (Olympus, Nikon, Sony).

Gordon Coale said...

I've not shot film in a while but am about to load up another Olympus Pen with Fuji Natura 1600. It's an Olympus Pen W. I am also loading 4x5 film holders with Portra 400 for a Wanderlust Travelwide 90.

Kirk Tuck said...

So Happy to see that many people have not given up on film. I love some of these old cameras. So much more fun than many of their digital counterparts.

Isaac Turner said...

Hi Kirk,

I've just had processed the roll that came in my new to me silver Pen F with 42mm f/1.2 but it's muddy as so I'm going to have another crack with a much fresher roll. A beautiful camera to use though, and once I've tested it properly I'll definitely be looking for some new lenses for it...

Generally I use an F5 with a 50D or a 35-80, or my grandfather's Nikkormat FTn with 50, 28 and an AI 70-200 - I much prefer using the Nikkormat, however it has a broken meter and I'm not hugely confident with sunny 16. There's also a Pentax MZ50, K100 and ME Super, an Olympus point and shoot and a Lomo Diana Mini that get a bit of occasional use.

Filmwise, generally HP5 and Acros for black and white (I found a few rolls of Rollei Pan 25 years ago and loved it, but am assuming it's been discontinued cause I can't find it any more.) XP2 is awesome, but I can't find it too often around here. I don't go through a lot of C41, mainly just Kodak Gold and Ultra. I love slides though and use Agfa CT Precisa, mainly cause it's all I can afford at the moment. I used to use Kodak E100G and really like Velvia too.