I have seldom used telephoto lenses with my film cameras, usually really as a novelty, as the situations that require a telephoto tend to have me reaching my my digital. Whether its wildlife or sport generally the need for fast focusing and rapid fire generally mean I feel like its a waste of film. However the Whitchurch Young Farmer ploughing match provided a good opportunity to try out my reasonably new Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D on film with some slow moving targets. One of the things that is great about the Nikon system is the great interchangeability of lenses and bodies, and this lens works great with the F3. It does however feel a little unbalanced due to the weight of the lens and the lack of full handgrip like on later SLRs. I particularly like the colour rendition of this lens with Kodak Ektar (especially the brown of the soil). As for the manual focus, 3/4 of the shots from here were keepers, which I didn’t think was too bad.
Category: nikon f3
In 2012 I took a vacation to Rio with my F3 loaded with Fuji Provia and a FM with Ektar. By this point I was fully enamored with shooting film, so much so that I decided to exclusively take film cameras on this trip (my first time doing so). I was also very much enjoying using these two manual focus Ai Nikon Bodies and took a lens selection of the 24mm f2.8 (non-ai version Ai’d), 35mm f2.8 Ai and a 50mm f1.8 Series E. I find this to be a decent travel set-up (so much so I took almost the same gear on my 2017 trip to Utah save for the 24mm which I decided to swap out for a 20mm), although the bodies are made out of metal, the lenses are so small and relatively light, that overall its less weight then I’d have normally taken with digital gear.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy about not taking my DSLR (which was a D90 at the time). What if the X-Rays fogged my film? What if I didn’t nail the shot and didn’t realise until later? These fears proved to be misguided (the film went through 6 X-Ray scanners to no visible detriment) and my decision was also helped by the fact that the year before when traveling with a friend in Belize we had a load of camera gear stolen. He had all of his digital gear taken, whereas I lucked out, in the sense that they only went in the top of my bag and stole my F100 and another 50mm Series E lens. If they’d have rummaged further they’d have found my D90 and lenses. I figured taking older film cameras would make them less desirable to steal and make me stand out a bit less.
One thing I completely misjudged was how much film I should take. I can’t remember exactly how many rolls I’d bought, but put it this way, now in 2017 I still have rolls left from this trip sitting in my freezer. This error I guess was all part of the transition to shooting film. The limitations of the number of shots per roll has made me have a higher value on each shutter press. So naturally I take less photos. But hopefully a better percentage of good ones. I estimated the quantity of film needed based on the digital shots I’d taken on a similar trip which proved a schoolboy error.
As for the photos, looking back on them I enjoy them greatly. The fantastic sunlight of Rio brought out the best of the Ektar, especially around sunset. I love the gradient of how the highlights are blown out as the sun is setting on the mountains of Rio in two of the pictures below. I find this behaviour much more pleasing than digital. As for the Provia – well I’ve had pretty inconsistent results with slide film in general, really down to me not exposing it well (see last picture in the below series). I took it on this trip as a bit of a trial, and to be honest my only regret is not choosing to take some black and white film instead.
This B&W film is a near infra-red (i.e. extended red sensitivity towards IR wavelengths) film made by Ilford. I’d wanted to try it out for a while and decided to take a chance on it by taking it on my trip round Utah’s National (Bryce, Arches and Zion) and State (Snow Canyon) parks. I’d been somewhat inspired by the completely black skies in this post and thought I’d be able to get some good detail in the foreground and some silhouetted rocks with a completely black sky when using my Nikon R60 red filter. Reading more after the fact a deeper filter such as an R72 may have been a better choice to achieve this effect.
Above was one of the first shots from the roll. As you can see the sky is nowhere near the black I’d hoped, but not too big of an issue on this shot as that wasn’t the focus. A few of the ones below are better. Overall the contrast turned out low which is disappointing, but to be fair logistical reasons in getting to the parks (as being memorial day weekend it was hard to camp near the parks) limited the availability of good light (i.e. early morning and evening before sunset). However I still, perhaps naively, hoped for the images to come out better. They seem grainier than I’d expected and the sky was not as dark (though this may be due to the filter and unremarkable-poor light). In addition this roll of film has made me stop and tell myself I should read up once more on the zone system for better B&W exposures.
Ah yes, the purple tones of underexposed velvia…
This was taken with my F3 hooked up with a waist level finder. I’d wanted to get one for a while because I really like the ergonomics of taking photos with one, and finally got one early this year. Even though the focussing screen is really small for 35mm cameras compared to a medium format SLR, I still find it a very engaging way to take photos. I’ve also not had too big of a problem focusing with it either. And as a final bonus it shaves a noticeable amount of weight from the camera, as opposed to using the normal finder!
A highlight of Coney island is riding this sweet coaster.
Door by the canal in Hackney. I bought an old slide projector on ebay to see what this roll of Provia looked like huge. There is nothing like it.
Whilst living in Walthamstow in North East London I walked past this garage every day. I found the colours very interesting in the bright spring morning sunlight.
Nothing like a sunny day to make you notice interesting everyday colours.
This photo was captured after taking the cable car up Sugarloaf near sunset. I just love the way the highlights of the sunset are rendered on this film, almost like a haze hanging across the back of the city. Most often I scan my film myself on an affordable Epson v500 flatbed, but for the film from this trip I got them scanned professionally by mail order lab Peak Imaging. I regret not getting a higher resolution; I wanted to print this photo A4 in a photobook of my trip, but the resolution of the scan was not good enough (would only really print 5×7 well). So I tried myself (my scan on a v500 below), but it really pales in comparison in terms of vibrance and punch, particularly of the sunlight in the top left.