Vintage Camera Review: Mamiya 6 Medium Format Rangefinder (120 Format, 6×6 Square Format)

The Mamiya 6 is a camera that I’ve lusted after for many years; and when the opportunity to get one with two lenses for an absolutely unheard of price, I knew that I needed to spring for it. As one of the few great compact interchangeable lens rangefinders that use medium format film, the Mamiya 6 is in my mind one of the most perfect square format cameras ever made. While some may pledge allegiance to Hasselblad and other to Bronica when it comes to SLR cameras, still other will stand by some of the best TLR options on the market that shoot 6×6 format. In many ways, I want you to imagine a Leica M series camera but bigger and plastic. On top of that, this camera is collapsible and has a few features to it that could be considered quirks but in other ways are fail safes.

If you’re the type of photographer that needs a compact medium format shooter the way that I do, then there is almost nothing better.

Continue reading…

Film Emulsion Review: Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (35mm)

For some odd reason, I first picked up Ilford HP5 Plus because I was told it would be the perfect film for street photography. Why was I told this? I’m honestly not sure, but besides the work that I’m doing with film this year in 2017, I haven’t shot with Ilford HP5 since 2012. I’ve always had more of a liking for Ilford Delta and Kodak Tri-X; but my tastes have evolved over the years. Ilford HP5 Plus is a low contrast film–one that I’d like to equate to Kodak Portra 400. In fact, if you’re shooting in black and white then I’d like to call Ilford HP5 the Kodak Portra 400 of black and white film. That’s bound to either make you fall madly in love with it, or run for the hills looking for something else. Personally I think it’s fantastic for portraits, but when it comes to street photography I prefer something more raw, gritty, and contrasty.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Lomography Lady Grey 400 Black and White (35mm and 120)

With Lomography Lady Grey 400 Black and White film, photographers have yet another choice for black and white film photography. Indeed, the look that it delivers is also something pretty special. It’s not quite Ilford Delta, not at all like Kodak Tri-X 400, doesn’t even work like Agfa APX 400 and looks nothing really like Ilford HP5. Instead Lomography repackages film from FomaPan for Lomography Lady Grey 400, but earlier emulsions were apparently Kodak T-Max 400. The film has been on the market for a number of years now and has received not only a revamp but also more and more praise as we’ve delved deeper into the analog film photography world. With that said, I can say with confidence that Lomography Lady Grey 400 can be used to get great effects by many photographers out there for a variety of reasons.

Continue reading…

We’ve Updated Our CineStill 800T Review; Now Includes 120 Emulsion Tests

Hey folks,

This is an update to tell you we’ve finished reviewing CineStill 800T in both 35mm and 120. Our CineStill 800T Review has been updated accordingly. Besides obviously being a larger format of the film, we find CineStill 800T to be more forgiving with actual daylight. CineStill 800T is a tungsten based film and for that reason I believe it to be best for indoor usage and nighttime photography. It remains, in my mind, to be one of the best color films out there at the moment.

For the uninitiated, CineStill 800T is a tungsten film. It’s more or less Kodak Movie Film that was reformatted for C41 film processing. And it clearly delivers a look digital can’t give us.

Film Review: Fujifilm Superia (200, 400, 800 and 1600)

Fujifilm Superia is oddly enough considered a consumer film. Why? I’m not exactly sure–especially considering that it wasn’t so long ago in history that every photojournalist swore by Superia 800. But nevertheless, Fujifilm Superia isn’t considered to be one of the more professional grade films as something like say Fujifilm Pro400H. But if you head into various Flickr and Facebook groups, lots of photographers still pledge allegiance to Fujifilm Superia. The film comes in a variety of speeds including ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1600. In some ways, you can perhaps liken it to being a bit like Ilford Delta–except that it’s color and from Fujifilm.

But one thing is for sure, if you want great general use film, Fujifilm Superia is a fantastic option.

Continue reading…

Film Emulsion Review: Kodak Portra 160 (35mm and 120 Formats)

When you work with a film like Kodak Portra 160, you get a pretty fine detailed film designed to be used more or less with controlled lighting. Though interestingly enough, I’ve personally had much better results working with many other films using controlled lighting and instead found that this film is one of the best to be used with natural light. Designed for skin tones in portraiture, Kodak Portra 160 has a very muted color palette but not as pastel as Fujifilm’s Pro 160 NS–its closest competitor which is now discontinued. Like many other films, it is available in both 120 and 35mm. But if you’re reading this website, then you’re probably only using it in 120.

I’ve been using Kodak Portra 160 for years; and even though I prefer to work with 400, 160 is surely a nice film in the right settings.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Lomography Earl Grey 100 Black and White (35mm and 120)

Years ago, Lomography introduced Lomography Earl Grey 100 black and white film and added yet another entry into a market looking for more 100 ISO black and white films. There are a few from Ilford, none from Kodak except for T-Max, one from Fujifilm and a few other manufacturers producing them. But slower ISO black and white films aren’t really spoken of except for Acros. Black and white ISO 100 films are great for studio and portraiture work but in many cases have the versatility to deliver great results when pushed.

Lomography’s Earl Grey 100 used to be an older emulsion of Kodak T-Max 100. But that’s changed over the years. It’s now a Fomapan emulsion. But in the end, who cares? All that matters is the results.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Lomography Color Negative 400 (35mm and 120)

Lomography Color Negative 400 is one of those alternative color films that unfortunately isn’t spoken about enough. And for some of us, that’s perfectly fine. I’m okay with all the haters of Lomography refusing to understand what the company is doing and saving more film for me. Walking into the West Village store in NYC to be greeted warmly by the employees and always having the ability to buy some simply makes me happier. And all the folks who only shoot digital and only care about shooting digital can keep doing so. They’ll never understand the awesome secret that the rest of us know that is ironically being published on one of the biggest indie photo blogs on the web.

That’s all just fine.

Continue reading…

Vintage Camera Review: Pentax 67 (67 Format)

The Pentax 67 has to be one of the most drooled over medium format SLR cameras ever made. For great reasons too! The Pentax 67 is a film SLR that is more or less designed to be portable and shot handheld by fashion photographers and portrait photographers. For many years it was well regarded and even today, there is some fantastic work that is often done with the camera. Between this, the Pentax 67 II and the Mamiya RB67/RZ67, lots of photographers really have a tough choice figuring out what they want.

The truth is that it really depends on your style and it also really depends on how good you are at being able to create photos.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Fujifilm Provia 100f (35mm and 120 Formats)

There’s been a big personal void in my life when it comes to slide film since the first death of Kodak Ektachrome, and I haven’t been able to fill for a while. But perhaps the closest thing to filling that gap is Fujifilm Provia 100f. Lots of folks love negative film; but I’ve always been more partial to slide film. Slide film is sort of like a badge of honor: you have to get the exposure perfectly right and most of the time the camera doesn’t really do it. With negative film and the development process, you’ve got a lot more versatility. But with slide film, you have maybe one stop extra in either direction. Perhaps this is one of the trademarks of what makes film so fun–you have to get the image right and the editing process isn’t as simple as it is in digital.

But either way, I’m genuinely in love with Fujifilm Provia 100. Like any other film though, I adore it in medium format much more than in 35mm.

Continue reading…

Review: Polaroid Snap Touch

It took a while for me to wrap my head around the Polaroid Snap Touch–and it’s not because I’m not accepting to what they’re doing. It’s more because of the fact that they’re finding a way to appeal to the Snapchat generation in the form of a camera. Personally, I don’t use Snapchat and never used it for anything else besides dating. When it comes to instant film cameras, I prefer, well, instant film. That’s one of the biggest issues right here. The Polaroid Snap Touch doesn’t use actual Polaroid film or even anything close to it. Instead, it uses zInk paper and has a printer built into the camera. You could say that it helped influence the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10. And even then, I’m really not the customer for a camera like that simply because I know what’s possible with the actual film.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m one of the mods for R/Polaroid–and without a doubt we’re a bunch that don’t really accept what Polaroid has become. Make no mistake, all that the Polaroid Snap Touch is is a camera with a printer inside of it. It isn’t a true Polaroid in any right.

Continue reading…

Vintage Camera Review: Canon EOS 33 (Canon EF Mount)

If you were to look at any of the best Canon EOS film cameras made, you probably wouldn’t think immediately about the Canon EOS 33. But indeed, it and the Canon Elan 7 are surely some of the best. These cameras incorporate features that make a whole lot of sense for most modern film shooters and don’t cater to the film shooting sports photographer–if even such a thing exists. One of the best things about the Canon EOS 33 is not only its price point but also just how reliable it is.

Continue reading…

Vintage Film Camera Review: Pentacon Six TL (6×6 Square Format)

There are only a few cameras that have been coined “an SLR on steroids” in the medium format camera world, and one of those is the Pentacon Six TL. The Pentacon Six TL is a medium format SLR camera similar in style to its more famous rival the Pentax 67. It doesn’t use interchangeable backs but instead opts for one of the quirkiest ways of loading a camera perhaps ever. Shooting square format 6×6 images, it’s also prone to problems like frame overlap unless you’re careful. Though if you can work with its quirks, you’ll have yourself a solid SLR camera that is reliable otherwise.

Continue reading…

Brock Saddler Shows You How to Hack the Bronica ETRS to Shoot Fujifilm Instax Mini Film

“Not for the Bronica unfortunately, unless you could possibly bring the tripod mount into it, rigging something to the back to hold it in place,” says photographer Brock Saddler (follow him on Instagram) about his Bronica ETRS hack when I asked him about whether or not he’d still need to use the rubber bands. “…something for the next person to think about.” Brock is amongst the many photographers and hackers we’ve interviewed here on the Phoblographer. His hack specifically has to do with the Bronica ETRS. Last year, we interviewed him about hacking his Bronica ETRS to shoot Fujifilm Instax mini film and he was still in the process of refining it. But he got really close to making it absolutely perfect.

Brock, unfortunately, has no plans to make it commercially viable. “This was just something to do on a rainy day,” he tells us. And to that end, he’s given us permission to share his post on how he did it.

Continue reading…

Film Camera Review: Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera

Ilford has been making their Ilford XP2 super single use camera for a while now, but with the resurgence that the industry is seeing in using disposable cameras, I figured I’d review them. Call it a disposable camera if you will, but they’re the only black and white disposable cameras on the market with the exception of the new offerings from Lomography. Oddly enough, they were also designed to be developed C41 vs black and white. Well, that’s odd for some–Ilford XP2 can typically be shot at around ISO 50 to ISO 800 on the same roll and due to the process, the images will come out pretty well. The Ilford XP2 super single use camera makes a whole lot of sense for fun, but there’s also quite an interesting quality that would please me if it were used for concerts, documentary work, or even just weekend shenanigans.

Indeed, the Ilford XP2 super single use camera is very much the antithesis of what a lot of film photographers strive for with absolutely perfect quality and sharp lenses. Instead, this camera is a slap in the face to them–and instead it’s just about a look and getting a different reaction from your subjects.

Continue reading…

Film Review: Lomography Color Negative 100 (120 and 35mm Formats)

“It’s Kodak Gold,” I’m often told by Lomography reps about Lomography Color Negative 100. The film is one of the offerings from Lomography that is also a more affordable option at times in both 35mm and 120. Now, some folks may scoff at the idea of shooting Kodak Gold since for years, it was designed for being shot by just consumers. But in truth, it’s capable of delivering some seriously lovely colors. To that end, so too is Lomography Color Negative 100. At times, I genuinely feel like Lomography Color Negative 100 sometimes just intensifies whatever scene is just in front of you. But either way, if you’re looking for a low ISO alternative because you don’t like Kodak Ektar’s colors, then Lomography Color Negative 100 is a very viable option.

Continue reading…

Vintage Camera Review: Pentax Spotmatic (M42 Screwmount)

Pentax has has a number of great cameras over the years, but if you’re going to get something cheap and reliable, one of the best options has to be the Pentax Spotmatic. The little camera is one of the first options to offer a TTL (through the lens) light meter though otherwise is completely mechanical. With that said, it still truthfully doesn’t need a battery or the light meter to operate–which is a lot light many Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders. That means that even if the battery dies, you can still shoot and get perfectly usable photos if you’ve got just a bit of light metering knowledge. The Pentax Spotmatic was designed during a time when folks typically shot photos in full shutter speeds vs 1/3rd options of today. So with that said, you’ll want to pay close attention to the film that you’re loading up and your own intentions when it comes to shooting.

Continue reading…

Review: Kodak TMax 400 (35mm and 120)

Kodak T-Max 400 doesn’t get all the love, love letters, and overall adoration that Kodak Tri-X 400 does simply because of the fact that a ton of the most iconic photos in the world were shot on Tri-X 400 vs T-Max 400. However, part of that has to do with the fact that Tri-X has been around for a longer period of time and T-Max 400 is designed to do something much different. While Tri-X 400 is known for its characteristic midtones and grain, T-Max 400 is instead known for its fairly high contrast (in the highlights and shadows), its incredibly fine grain and its overall sharpness. It’s touted to be the sharpest black and white 400 speed film in the world. Indeed, there has been a movement in the black and white photography world towards the high contrast, crispy, sharp look. And that’s essentially what Kodak T-Max 400 can do while still retaining a fair amount of details in the midtones. It does it in a much different way from a film like Japan Camera Hunter Street Pan 400–which is a near infrared film. Yet it also differs from many of the Ilford emulsions.Before you go on, more of the specific technical details of using Kodak T-Max 400 can be found in this Kodak PDF file.

Continue reading…

Zine Review: She Shoots Film No. 1

A while back we wrote about She Shoots Film: a special analog photography zine put together by a number of designers and photographers using money from an IndieGoGo campaign. The magazine, which has won quite a bit of acclaim thus far, is a continuation of the underground photography culture’s progression into moving off of the social web and back into a distraction free environment. Spearheaded by four women, She Shoots Film may excite some photographers and turn others off simply because, well, we live in a marginalized world. Though if you remove the fact that the magazine is put together by women and features exclusively women, then you’re bound to be amazed by not only the quality of work presented in the first edition, but the very subtle details put into the actual production of the zine itself.

Continue reading…

Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan answers the prayers and wishes of almost every Fujifilm Instax Mini film user–and it’s arguably one of the absolute best cameras shooting the format on the market. Obviously, part of this appeal is the glass lens on the front of the camera. This lens is the same optic used on the company’s Lomography LCA 120–and so it is the sharpest and the fastest aperture lens available for use on any Instax camera (at the time of publishing this review.) That quality will appeal to a lot of photographers; and though there are a number of shooters who still want manual controls, you’d be shocked at how great the photos are from the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan.

And if you don’t care about any of that stuff: then this is the absolute ultimate Instax Mini camera on the market.

Continue reading…

Vintage Camera Review: Minolta Maxxum 7 (Minolta a7)

No, this isn’t the Sony a7, but the Minolta a7 is perhaps one of the best film Alpha mount cameras that you can still get your hands on used. While the Minolta a9 is considered the flagship, there are features built into the Minolta a7 that can make it much more appealing. For starters, it’s much lighter. And there is also a built in data back that lets you change a whole lot of parameters in a very simple way.

And to be honest, it’s one of the best autofocusing film SLR cameras I’ve ever used–completely putting a lot of what Canon and Nikon created to shame.

Continue reading…