Union Station on Film
I only took 2 shots on film inside the Union Station in LA when I was taking the photo workshop with Sam Abell.
I should have taken more as I like this photo better than the ones I took of the same location with digital.
Olympus XA2, Ilford XP2, this roll metered variously between ISO200 and 800 depending on the light.
I am pretty sure this was ISO400.
Vertical window lines dimly reflected in wet pavement, a very strong, tall photo, completely successful.
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Thanks Mario. One minor detail, which is interesting in itself, is that this is indoors and that is decades of wax or other coatings making making the floor so shiny.
That’s a beautiful shot – and can you explain again what we’re seeing here? Do you get the film developed somewhere, and you get a digital copy with prints, and that’s what you posted here? I’m ignorant about film!
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Hi Lynn. The answer is various. I don’t develop my own film at the moment, though I do have all the gear I need but no chemistry. So, I get it commercially developed and then sometimes I scan the negatives myself, and sometimes I get the store to scan them. This year I have not had time to scan so all are commercial scans, done at low resolution which is quite a lot cheaper and usually fine for my needs.
I don’t bother with prints as I have little use for them, and can make small prints at home if I want.
Victoria has quite a few places that will process c41 film – colour print film, and also this Ilford XP2 which is black and white that uses c41 chemistry. There is only one place in town that will do normal black and white and E6 (colour slide) processing. Both are quite a bit more expensive than c41, as is the film.
Thanks for explaining. I’m tempted from time to time, but don’t even have a film camera, and I still feel have much to learn about the camera I do use. But maybe one day I’ll see an older film camera at a thrift store and pick it up.
Thrift stores are the place as far as I am concerned. I use point and shoot cameras a lot, and some are very good. They are liberating in that there is little to think about other than framing the shot.
If you are looking at point and shoot cameras avoid those with zoom lenses – there are only a few that have good optics and are not horribly slow (like f11 or 15 when zoomed!). I quite often look up a camera on my phone before buying, that can really help. Just about anything with fixed focal length in the mid-30mm range by Olympus or Canon is good to very good, as are many of the Yashicas, especially older ones, some of the Pentax, Ricoh, Konica (very mixed bag though for those ones so you need to do research) and for some reason I haven’t a clue about Nikons other than that there are some very good ones, and some pretty poor ones.
I would also avoid cameras with selenium cell light meters (they are the lumpy glass ones, often encircling the lens) as they very often no longer work.
Batteries can be a problem – if it takes one of the button mercury batteries then replacement is difficult, though not impossible. Speaking of batteries, always check the battery compartment for leakage.
If looking at an SLR, then it might depend on what you already shoot, if you have a DSLR, or a mirrorless camera. The lens on the SLR might be worth the purchase even if the camera doesn’t work. The most problematic if you have a DSLR are the older Canons with FD mount lenses – they just don’t work on nearly every DSLR (but do work on Micro 4/3 and include some of the best lenses made in the 60s and 70s).
For Canon shooters with EOS mount lenses, I would suggest you look for an EOS mount SLR, body only if you can find one. The Elan IIs and 7Ns are very competent cameras, not very heavy, and take all modern full frame Canon lenses (EOS EF lenses, but not EFS lenses for the crop frame sensors). I use them a lot and really like them. All of my Elans have cost in the mid $20 range, with and without lenses, which is one hell of a bargain. There are higher end Canons like the EOS3 but they are hard to find and bodies can still fetch a couple of hundred dollars.
The same applies to the Nikons, there is a lot of backward compatibility with lenses, though the auto focus and so on won’t work on an older body, the lenses from older bodies will usually work on a DSLR body, with need for manual focus and manual aperture.
The Olympus film cameras are very nice often with superb glass, but the lenses might be tricky or impossible to adapt to a DSLR (but not to Micro 4/3!).
Pentax bayonet mount cameras and lenses are compatible with Pentax DSLR cameras and lenses. Pentax/Takumar screw mount (m42) lenses can often be adapted cheaply for modern DSLRs – I use my old Takumars I bought in the 70s and 80s for use on Pentax Spotmatics on my Canon DSLR a lot – they are fully manual, but nice lenses with good optics. A few of the wide angle Takumars cannot be adapted to some of the full frame Canon DSLRs as they interfere with the mirror.
Minolta made some very fine lenses that render colours in a lovely way, and they are mostly forward compatible with Sony DSLRs (Sony bought Minolta).
So, I would suggest for an SLR that a buyer looking at a film camera consider what they are currently shooting as a DSLR or a mirrorless camera and look for something similar/compatible in a late production film SLR and lens.
Ha! After writing all that I looked at your website and see you are using a mirrorless micro 4/3 mount. You like it for ease of operation so probably you would be best off with a good quality point and shoot and with luck you can find a good one for $5-$10 and at that price you can try a few if the first one is not satisfactory – though there is a trap in there, hard to stop once you start 🙂
But the micro 4/3 mount is great because many lens mounts from the past as well as current can be adapted for use. An older SLR with lens, especially the main brand names become reasonable purchases. If the lens is a good one you will almost certainly be able to get an adapter and use it on your digital camera as well. Again, as a general principle for neophytes I would avoid the older zoom lenses, it is a rare zoom from the 60s and 70s that is good quality. Also, I would look for a camera body with a well known brand wearing a lens of the same brand. People often bought (and buy) a body and then put a cheap lens on it. Some of those cheap lenses are good, but that is not easy to learn. But nearly all of the Canon/Nikon-Nikkor/Olympus-Zuiko/Pentax-Takumar/Minolta-Rokkor etc are good to excellent lenses. This includes the older Canon FD mount lenses, and premium glass like Leica and Voigtlander and so on which can be used on micro 4/3. If the camera turns out not work then the lens might still be useful – shooting in manual mode teaches quite a lot about how things work, and slows you down as well, which is usually an advantage. Keep in mind that because the Micro 4/3 sensor is exactly half the size of 35mm film that the focal length of the lens will be effectively doubled when used on the Micro 4/3 camera. Thus a 50mm lens will behave as a 100mm lens on a full frame camera.
I guess one last bit of advice, for an SLR I would look for one that can be used without a battery in full manual mode. Light meters are often the first thing to go wrong, and electronic aperture control and sometime shutters rely on the light meter and battery.
It is pretty easy to take photos without a light meter if the camera will let you and if you learn a few rules, or if you use your digital camera as a light meter, or download a light meter app to your phone. So, if the film will advance, the shutter will fire at different speeds, and the aperture can be set manually all without a battery then the camera will be useful, with a bit of a learning curve, but a useful one for greater understanding of photographic method.
Anyway, have fun! Your first purchase might be a bust, as lots of the cameras no longer (or never) work(ed) all that well , but if so, give it another try!