Ah, scanning. If you're not printing in the darkroom, it's a necessary evil when dealing with film. You could argue that outside of the moment of exposure, scanning carries the most weight in determining the quality of the final image. For those that choose to develop their film at home, scanning is the next step in our workflow. Most of us want to get in, get the best scan we can, and get out to the greener pastures of Photoshop to make our final edits. Your choice of software has a lot to do with how efficient and how tolerable it will be to get your negatives into the computer. It's through that lens that we take a look at VueScan.
Articles written by Hans Rosemond
Yesterday Canon announced the 6D Mark II, the long awaited update to the almost five year old original 6D. Although a massive update from the original, some of the features (or lack thereof) are leaving many scratching their heads. Chief among them is the omission of 4K video. The internet has noticed.
After losing almost my entire photo kit due to blatant stupidity on my part (yay insurance), I was put in the unenviable position of rebuilding a camera system from scratch. Being a portrait photographer, I immediately gravitated towards full-frame bodies. I was close to pulling the trigger on one when it hit me: Why not try a crop sensor? I'm glad I did.
It's been a month or so since I started printing in the darkroom, and what a ride it has been! After going through tons of paper and chemicals, making a mountain of bad prints, and generally messing up in every way possible, I've managed to be able to make some decent prints. Here are a few of most important lessons I've learned so far in my darkroom adventure.
As the phone rings, I breathe easy to calm my nerves. I'm about to interview one of the most successful modern portrait photographers in the world. I'm halfway through leaving a stuttering mess of a message when he cuts in. "Hello? Hi, I had the music going and didn't hear the phone ring..." Buck has built a career over the past 30-plus years photographing some of the biggest names in Hollywood and politics. He has carved out a space for himself in the upper echelon of photographers working today. And he has a land line. Somehow, given his old school, dogged approach to portraiture and his recent switch to digital, I think that's just perfect.
As I delve deeper into teaching myself how to print in the darkroom, I find myself constantly scouring YouTube for videos on the subject. In trying to relay the things I've learned to you, I realized that there's a lot about printing in the darkroom that I had no clue about. In this video, Andrea Calabresi, an educator based in Italy, does a wonderful job of giving an overview of what it takes to get a good print.
The Intrepid Camera Co. is on a roll. With the lofty goal of bringing low-cost large format film photography to the masses, they launched their initial 4x5 model's Kickstarter in the fall of 2014. Although plagued with fulfillment issues and mixed reviews (You can see our review of the original model here), enough attention was garnered to warrant a follow up of a much more refined model in 2016. Now, Intrepid is stepping up and hoping to swing for the fences with a big boy: an 8x10 camera.
Although I've professed my love for film many times in many articles, I've always been missing a key ingredient to the analog experience. Namely, I've never learned to print my own film in the darkroom. Sad, I know. Well, no more! My journey to teaching myself to use a darkroom starts now and, whether you like it or not, I'm taking you with me. First things first: Where the hell am I going to put a darkroom?
Browsing YouTube can be an exercise in either frustration or bliss, depending on the day. Today, though, I happened upon something that truly speaks to me. If you are a portrait photographer, or anything resembling one, you owe it to yourself to check out the documentary, "Darkness and Light," a part of the American Masters Series, produced by PBS.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on my favorite camera, the Mamiya RZ67. Even though such a camera sells for peanuts compared to its original cost decades ago, buying into a new system can be costly. Well, in celebration of May the 4th, KEH, a used camera gear reseller, is having a fantastic sale on Mamiya gear.
As one of our site's regular film shooters, I naturally tend to post a lot of articles on the subject. Without fail, I'll get a few comments to the effect of digital being so much better than film or vice-versa. I've always laughed off such remarks, but since they keep on coming I figured I'd address them. Maybe the mediums have more in common than some would like to admit.
One of the beautiful things about film is the variety of cameras out there. You could shoot a different one every day and seemingly never get to the end of them. With that variety, though, comes a lot of quirkiness. A new generation of photographers has embraced one of the quirkiest cameras of all: The Nishika N8000. Although no technical marvel, its resurgence in the photography community is because of one unexpected trick, creating 3D animated GIFs.
Presets are awesome. They've sped up my workflow by an order of magnitude since I first started using them back when I switched to Lightroom years ago. They save time and, therefore, money! But, to quote every action movie ever made: "Is that all you got?"
Everyone has their baby. You know, that one camera that speaks to them in a way that all other cameras fall short. Of course, saying something like, "best portrait camera ever" is pretty loaded, but I calls it how I sees it! The Mamiya RZ67 is, for a variety of reasons, one of the best cameras ever made. In this article and accompanying video I'll give a birds eye view of the camera and its features, show a little work produced by it, and give you some insight into why this camera is at the top of the heap for me.
What a tangled, twisted road this has been. When I finally built up the courage to try out large-format photography a little more than half a year ago, I knew that I was in for a bit of a rough ride. But with a healthy serving of ruined film, swear words, and YouTube lessons under my belt, I've come out semi-clean on the other side. Here are the most useful lessons I've learned thus far. Hopefully I can stave off some frustration for those of you who feel like taking the plunge.
Last fall I reviewed the Intrepid Camera, a low-cost 4x5 large-format film camera. Although the sentiment behind the camera was admirable, I found it lacking in finish and functionality. Well now Intrepid has come out with their second version which aims to correct many of the flaws of their first generation. Were they successful? In a word: Yes!
Although words like "best" and "ultimate" are fun to throw around, of course there is no objectively best camera out there for a beginner. But to me, the Yashica Mat 124G is pretty close for a variety of reasons. From its handling to price, there is a lot to appreciate in this little gem. Here are some of my favorite features and why I think a person starting out in film photography might be in hog heaven with the little Yashica.
Shooting portraits in large format film is extremely rewarding. There's a simplicity of the process, from the posing to the static camera position, that helps ground both the photographer and the subject in the moment. Beautiful images may be your reward for such patience, but it's not without its challenges. For me, the biggest challenge shooting portraiture is not working with the camera, but the insane amount of light you need to throw at it. For the uninitiated, here are some facts about the format and its light-eating characteristics that you may need to consider.
It sits there on your shelf, looking at you: that old camera that you were so excited about a few years back. Now, it's not even worth the trouble of listing it on eBay or Craigslist. Or is it? Recently I picked up my old Fuji X-E1 and put it through its paces. I was surprised to find out that it's still an enjoyable camera, but not for the reasons that it originally was. Sometimes, a camera's flaws hold a certain charm that can only be appreciated with some distance.