The past revisted

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bobtodrick, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. I started my career in photography in 1975 and in 1977 purchased the first Nikon FSAs sold in Edmonton, Alberta.
    In the early 90's I liquidated all my 35mm SLR gear to fund medium format which my work demanded . For personal work used a Leica M4.
    Like nearly everyone switched to digital over 10 years ago.
    Over the last few years I found my interest in photography waning. I'm one of those old luddites who find working in a darkroom far more satisfying than sitting in front of a computer...but that's what my work demanded. The timeflo of todays world just doesn't work with the darkroom. Just couldn't see running two workflos, so, as I say my personal interest in photography waned.
    Last Friday was my 60th b-day and a friend of mine told be he had a special gift for me.
    Don't know where he got it but he showed up Friday evening with an absolutely mint black body F2As with the venerable 43-86 (thankfully the 2nd it's bad but not terrible).
    For the first time in 10 years I bought some film...can't wait to give her a run this coming weekend.
    I feel more excitement photography wise than I have in ages.
  2. Wow! Nice gift! You might be surprised at the performance of the 43-86--have fun and enjoy both.
  3. Sounds great, Bob. I did not grow up in the era of manual focus film cameras, but I have enjoyed using an FE and FE2 over the last few years. I have heard great things about the F2. These old cameras are a pleasure to operate! It sounds like you got rid of your old MF Nikkors - now you can experience the joy of acquiring a whole new set.
  4. Resonates with me for sure. I have fond memories, and many pictures on the walls here, that came from quality time in the darkroom. Good stuff, and I need to get back in there.
    Enjoy your new F2.
  5. You are going to enjoy the bleep out of that thing. Welcome to the Luddites! (I shoot lots of digital too.)
  6. SCL


    It is great to revisit an old love, and it sounds like you will have some wonderful times ahead.
  7. My experience has been the exact opposite. After 40 years of using film, from the age of 11, I got totally frustrated with the lack of detail and tonality shown by 35mm B&W at ISO speeds over 100, the expense and limitations of medium and large format film. Hours spent in a smelly darkroom. Not to mention the variability of commercial processing for colour film. Then digital scanning came along and thankfully alleviated some of film's limitations. Finally, with the purchase of my first amateur and comparatively low resolution digital camera, I discovered a new-found enthusiasm and liberation. And things have improved by leaps and bounds since then.
    Experimentation without cost or waiting to see the result, low light ability and dynamic range that makes a joke of any film, colour that's consistent (and customisable via image editing), precise control over tone curves, and dodging and burning control beyond the wildest dreams of the most skilled enlarger operator.
    I'm now living the dream with digital. Go back to gritty ole film if you must, but I'm glad to see the back of the stuff! And if I want to revisit the past I'll just dig out my Minolta A2 and those 64 Megabyte CF cards.
    Now if only they made a decent quality A3 B&W inkjet printer at a reasonable price.
  8. After not using film since 2005, I got back into old cameras (really old cameras) three years ago. My Leica IIIc is more fun to use than my D800E. I'm currently looking for a Nikon F3/T and AiS 28mm/f2, 50mm f1.2, 105mm f2.5. The old cameras have put fun back into photography for me.
    Kent in SD
  9. I'm currently looking for a Nikon F3/T and AiS 28mm/f2, 50mm f1.2, 105mm f2.5.​
    The 28/2 and 105/2.5 are wonderful on digital. [I don't have the 50/1.2.] You will like. The finder on the F3 is like a picture window in your living room, big as life. My biggest wish for Nikon's DSLRs is that bodies at the D810 level could have a finder like /that/.
  10. I got my F2AS in 1980 (it was literally the last F2 my camera shop had, as the F3 at that time was introduced) together with a.o. a 43-86 zoom (last version, so the IQ was pretty good). Still have them, even if I haven't used them for a long while since switching to digital.
    From a practical point of view I find digital a blessing (no more 36 shots per film, nor lugging along at least two bodies - one color, one b/w - , no more '400 ASA is the limit', no more endless hours developing fim, or printing in the darkroom).
    But for nostalgic reasons I still cherish certain aspects of shooting film. Being a long time user of Tri-X, I still love the grain when pushed one (or more ) stops, never cared much for getting the 'sharpest' picture possible.
  11. This has been my experience almost exactly. Digital has almost become work to me, something photography has never been. I'll still keep using digital, you have to these days but I started working more in film last year and re-discovered all the things I enjoyed doing back in the bad old newspaper days and so much else. Rodeo Joe by all means to each his own but I like everything about the B&W film process from shooting to editing negs to making a mess in an actual darkroom. It was and is a great process for me front to back. I know what process one uses ought not matter in the same way what camera one uses ought not matter but that's simply not so. After being involved in this business since the age of 15, if I didn't have film when I want it I'd be doing something else altogether.

    Rick H.
  12. It will be fun to get back in the seat for a while.
  13. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.....;-)
    +1 RJ.
  14. I love using my film cameras but I do so for the experience, not the results. When Reala 100 was available my film scans mixed with digital very well but now all we have is 200 speed consumer film (and the hard to scan Ektar 100 which I no longer use) my film cameras don't get much use sadly - and this is from someone who saved for and bought an F6 at full price.
  15. Funny you should mention it... it's bluebell season, so I'll be out again with some of the Velvia that's still in my fridge to try to get the colours right - although, while I'm not quite sure, I think my D810 (which took the image on this post) might have responded a bit differently than my D800 did. Thom Hogan did report a slight response difference. I've always maintained that Velvia did something different with bluebell colours than digital did, though I'm not a huge fan of how it turns some grass bluish. One of these days I'll get that 5x4. I'm still happy to use my Pentax 645, but I can't say my F5 is doing much (nice though it is to have it - the rolling dollar signs as it eats film is too painful for me to use it at its intended purpose - I'm still bracing myself to get a load of old film processed). I'll see how I feel after the weekend. Like RJ, though, I'm not a fan of how grainy colour film can be, and I was never a dark room person, but I do like handling large transparencies.
  16. Just to balance my previous anti-film post.
    Since processing chemicals are becoming rare and expensive: Here's a way to make Rodinal from "household" chemicals - or at least chemicals that are fairly cheap and easy to obtain.
    There's a strong chemical similarity between P-aminophenol (the active ingredient in Rodinal) and the common painkiller Paracetamol or Acetaminophen in the US. All that's required to transform Paracetamol/Acetaminophen into P-aminophenol is the addition of Sodium Hydroxide (caustic soda or NaOH). Both of these are commonly available. The painkiller from a pharmacy or druggist obviously, and the caustic soda as drain-cleaner pellets.
    Anyway, to cut to the chase. If you mix 15 grams of paracetamol with 4 gms of sodium hydroxide in solution, then you'll end up with the equivalent of 10.9 gms of P-aminophenol. (Actually the more correct ratio is 15.118 gms of paracetamol to 4 gms NaOH, but we're talking photo chemistry here, and a slight excess of NaOH in a Rodinal developer isn't going to hurt.)
    The slight drawback is that paracetamol/acetaminophen isn't easily soluble, so you have to boil it in about 200ml of water until it forms a transparent solution. Let the solution cool to the point that the painkiller starts to precipitate again and then add the caustic soda and stir until the solution clears again. Don't use a bare aluminium pan for this because the NaOH will dissolve aluminium. A non-stick treated pan should be fine though.
    You could probably have done the above procedure in the time it's taken me to type this, so it's not as complicated as it sounds.
    The only other ingredient needed for Rodinal is Sodium or Potassium Metabisulphite. These are used as food preservatives or cleansers in the brewing industry or for home-brewing or winemaking. I believe the Potassium salt is more readily available in North America. Here in the UK, only the Sodium salt is obtainable over the counter. The Potassium salt is to be preferred, because of its higher solubility, allowing a true Rodinal strength "brew" to be made.
    Various Rodinal, or Rodinal-like formulae can be found here:
    The amounts will have to be adjusted slightly, since 10 gms of base P-aminophenol are equal in developing strength to 13.34 gms of the hydrochloride. So the 20 gms of P-aminophenolHCl used in the Digitaltruth formula needs you to start with 20.63 gms of painkiller tablets and 5.46 gms of caustic soda. If you call that 20 gms of painkiller and 5.3 gms of NaOH it'll be close enough.
    My own "Rodinal" formula is:
    7 gms Paracetamol / Acetaminophen
    10 gms Sodium Hydroxide
    13.4 gms Sodium Metabisulphite
    All dissolved in as little water as possible ~ 150ml.
    Prepare the Paracetamol and NaOH by boiling as described above and add the metabisulphite when cool.
    Beware! A hot caustic soda solution is very corrosive.
    The above formula is based on one given in an old British Journal of Photography Almanac. IMO the Digital truth dilution is far too weak to emulate true Rodinal.
    Edit: There should be no need to weigh out the painkiller tablets, each one will normally contain 500mg of active ingredient
  17. I'll admit to not loving that lens, but the F2AS, that's a heck of a camera. Enjoy and post some photos.
  18. Good for you mate! I'm going towards digital at this moment because film is getting all kinds of expensive but if your wallet can take it, do it!
  19. "I'm currently looking for a Nikon F3/T"
    Kent, why a "T"?
  20. T for Titanium. I also have a few.
  21. Why titanium? Mostly because it's cool. At one time this was a very expensive camera--the "hot" camera of the day. It's still pretty cool.
    Kent in SD
  22. "It's still pretty cool." yes, but about the same weight, almost indistinguishable from the regular F3 (only old connaisseurs will notice), and still quite expensive.
  23. "processing chemicals are becoming rare and expensive"

    No, you can't buy photo chemicals at the corner drugstore anymore. But I can still buy a gallon of D-76 and fixer from B&H for about $20 and have it show day after tomorrow. Or get a one-liter C-41 press kit for about the same price.

    I will have my first F2 (the one with the match-needle meter in the prism, whichever letter that is after F2), plus three more, an FM, motors and winders and a dozen or so primes. The don't get used much (neither does my Omega D2) but glad to know they're there.
  24. Thanks Rodeo Joe for that 'recipe' and the link. I used rodinal a lot in the 70's and 80's, and will try your recipe out. Any advice on starting dilutions and times (I mainly use FP4). Like most posters, I use a digital (D7100), but have three lovely F2's and 2 Nikkormats, which are regularly exercised. Sover Wong recently serviced one, and I'll progressively, and hopefully, get him to service the other two. The F2's are just so classic - almost extensions of your hands, and with a re-assuring feel of solidity. Enjoy yours Bob, and post some photos.
  25. "venerable 43-86"​
    I like this lense, dont remember what version I have had, but it was a lense with great color rendition, just some days ago I saw some of my old 12x16 prints from this lense and I loved the colors.
    Good luck
  26. @Arthur. Thanks for the feedback Arthur. The times I got with my recipe were slightly longer than the published Rodinal times (as packed with the original Agfa Rodinal developer). I put this down to the fact that I couldn't easily get Potassium metabisulphite and used the Sodium salt which is less soluble. Hence I had to make a slightly more dilute stock solution than the commercial product. The activity could probably be increased by slightly increasing the weight of Sodium Hydroxide used, but I didn't experiment with that at all. Increasing the amount of NaOH runs the risk of increased grain size - but then Rodinal is never going to be a fine-grain developer!
    I'm also a bit dubious about using dilutions much in excess of 1+25, because the pH of the solution will then be quite dependent on your water supply. Many UK domestic supplies are "contaminated" by the addition of hypochlorite, fluorine salts and phosphates, as well as pH buffer agents and any natural minerals. This means that at high dilutions, the Sodium hydroxide alkali in any Rodinal concoction is likely to be overpowered by whatever the local water supply pH happens to be. The alternative is to use distilled water to dilute your developer.
    If you're into home-brew developers, you might like to try this ID-11/D76 alternative:
    Ascorbic Acid ................ 10 gm (i.e Vitamin C from Health food stores)
    Penidone ...................... 0.25 gm - no common substitute for this I'm afraid
    Sodium hydroxide ......... 10.5 gm
    Sodium metabisulphite ... 40 gm
    Borax ........................... 2 gm
    Water to make .............. 1 litre
    Developing times and results are pretty much identical to ID-11/D76. It's a re-usable formula good for around 6 films/litre with time extended by 10% per film.
    Caution! Do not add the metabisulphite to the ascorbic acid solution before adding the sodium hydroxide. Doing so will release sulphur dioxide which could bring on an asthma attack, even if you don't normally suffer from asthma.
    BTW, I know that Sodium hydroxide isn't an ingredient in D76. It's there to convert the sodium metabisulphite into sulphite, and to convert the Ascorbic acid into sodium ascorbate. It's a marvellously versatile chemical!
  27. Oooops! The quantity of Sodium hydroxide in my Phenidone-Ascorbate developer formula above should be 19 gm, not 10.5. Sorry! It just won't work otherwise, and I was too late to edit the post.
    I lost my original formula in a laptop crash and had to recalculate the quantities, missing out a factor of two to neutralise the metabisulphite. Apologies again.
  28. I have an F2S, and many other Nikon F bodies. To me, digital never "replaced" film. Nor was it ever an "either/or" proposition. Different tools for different purposes. And yes, I do shoot digitally as well, with a D300. Very much a love/hate relationship with it. But the F2? Pure love.
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Oooops! The quantity of Sodium hydroxide in my Phenidone-Ascorbate developer formula above should be 19 gm, not 10.5.​
    Oh no, Rodeo Joe's incorrect chemical formula is now responsible for a bunch of ruined precious images. :)
  30. Well, I shot one (120) roll of Velvia, but general nerves about the cost, along with not being able to find my normal lens, dissuaded me from shooting more than that with my 645. The D810 took more images. Scarily, because I was trying to keep the D810 at ISO 64, and because the Velvia I have these days is the 100 variety, I was more worried about the light for my DSLR than for the film one. Hopping between lenses was also annoying. Maybe I really should have just put something on my F5 and taken that along as well - but I already nearly throttled myself with multiple camera straps, and I know I've gone a funny colour in the past with that trick. Even at current prices, at least for E6 film, I'm not going to risk developing it myself. Maybe if I get the 5x4 and shoot more black and white...

    RJ, does the filler in analgesics not cause a problem? I've no idea what they put in, but I doubt everyone uses the same filler, and the only requirement for human consumption is that it isn't poisonous. Although you can't do much worse than paracetemol anyway - I've still not forgiven Scrubs for suggesting that a medical student "throw Tylenol at the patient and see what sticks". It takes alarmingly little to kill you (and a lot less to kill a cat...) which is why in the UK you can only generally buy 8g of paracetemol in one shopping trip. Which is a bit pointless given that you can give yourself terminal liver damage with 3g, but I'm still glad that your recipe doesn't need much!

    Digital is much better. Unless you get the arsenic on you...

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