16. desember 2013

Digital infrared mystifications

Glowing tree
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L
After checking out the film-based infrared universe in Infrared - Shooting what you can't see  and Infrared - Shooting what you can't see part II, revelations , I felt it was time to look into what the digital realm had to offer concerning this.

I've known about digital IR for quite a few years already, the issue with it, is that you will have to convert (ruin) a perfectly happy digital camera at places like http://www.lifepixel.com/ .

Earlier, my thoughts were that I needed a really good camera for this (meaning good ISO performance, 16+ megapixels, low noise, good resolution, full size sensor), but back then, such a "really good camera" did cost an arm and a leg.

- I know, I bought the 1ds mk II, and I sure wasn't ready to "ruin" that one  :P

So, it was put on hold, until this fall.

These days, the entry-level cameras from Canon (or Nikon), have reached some staggering specs, even with the 1.6x cropped sensors; Resolution is high, the pixel-count is more than you need for most work, ISO performance is phenomenal, compared to what you would get only 5 years ago.

(I have Canon-glass, so no point looking at another brand)

So, basically I found, and bought, a used Canon 550D, 18 megapixel "toy camera", which was already converted by Lifepixel.
I got a good deal on it, all things considered. A new camera, would had to be bought, shipped, converted and shipped back -with the added expenses.

Cold desire
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L
The camera I have is a "standard IR" camera. IMO I could probably be better off with a enhanced IR or a full-spectrum one, since they give better separation in the color-channels, this makes the IR-processing much easier and more versatile.

But as a starter-camera, this one is great! =)

The next shot, was altered to look like the old Kodak EIR film, this film gave foliage a red color.

Kodak EIR-interpretation
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

I had two whole trips (wow) before the Autumn sat in, so I need to use it some more and perfect the conversion techniques next summer ^^

Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

The conversion process, is "fluent", meaning, I don't have a set technique yet. It is a creative decision, depending on the shot I am working at, which way the pendulum swings.
Because the camera is standard IR, the separation in the channels  can be tough to work with, and there is always a danger of ending up with a completely two-tone shot.

Hopefully, next summer, with all the leaves, flowers etc, there will be more "colors" to work with.

A River between
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

 The last shot is my favorite, here I've used a mix of Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, to create something cool, I like how the sky "crawls" over the trees and the straws, partly in focus, mimic the shape of the tree-line in the background.

Coming storm
Canon 550D IR, Canon 24-105 F4 L

My feeble first attempts hasn't really shown me how the light quality, time of day and time of the year influence the color spectrum yet.

It is very cool to shoot with this camera, as you don't need a filter on your lens, You just shoot normally - and at just about normal speeds as well and check the preview screen.

I can even film in Infrared ^^

I haven't tried that yet though, as I haven't found a suitable video-editing program, where I can alter the color channels like I do in Photoshop.

21. november 2013

Solution to Google+ messing with your photos

I want to inform about a problem that was annoying the hell out of me for a while, and that affects everyone creating entries on Blogspot, uploads photos to Picasa and/or use Google+.

Thankfully, I finally found a solution.

Problem description: 

A few weeks back, I was about to publish a new blog-entry about digital infrared photography, along with a little selection of photos.

After I had made the initial draft, I uploaded the photos to my blog and did a preview.
All the photos on blogger had the wrong color, strange color cast or had f*cked up contrast!
In addition, the photos also had pixelation-effects in gradient-tones (like a sky, which goes from dark to light), creating a ugly bloddy mess of my shots!

I literally HATE auto ANYTNING, that does some FUBAR "Best guess" alteration of the photos I've created. The shots I post, is supposed to look like they do, bloddy useless G+ invention!

Even linking my shots from my flickr page messed things up, as soon as I inserted the option to show "large" versions of the shots on the blog.
- Blogger then, probably, makes it's own cached version of some processed version of the photos.

It can be hard to pinpoint if the problem was with blogger, picasa or google+, as these services are intertwined and shared these days.
At the time, Google didn't really came up with any solutions....so I halted the blogposts for a while and decided to wait.

Google+ "optimized" hack
Original, as it was meant to appear

Google+ "optimized" hack
Original, as it was meant to appear

On the last blog-entry, the Mermaid-shoot last week, I saw that the photos got altered and messed with, just as with the infrared photos. So I googled harder, and found this thread.

During the discussion, a final solution to problems with photo-quality, uploaded to blogger, was presented.

The reason photos gets ruined when you upload them to blogger these days, is the Google+ auto-enhancing feature. This service was launched a few weeks back and is ON by default for EVERYONE.

The fix is to shut it bloddy off, and you do it the following way:

- Go to your Google+ homepage (you may not be there very often, but try to find your way there, the  "+" and a <name> link and can be seen on the top-bar on Gmail, for example).
- Click on the left menu on your G+ profile page saying "home", so that it expands.
- Select "Settings".
- Scroll down to the section on the new page, called "Photos"
- Select "Off" under "Auto Enhance"

See below
If Google+ has managed to f*ck up a lot of your photos already, you can click the "Learn more" link, to remove the "Enhancements" on whole albums, here is the help dialog on how to do that:

Snap, crackle and pop!
...and that's it for this blog-entry ^^

For automated webcrawlers (please ignore if you are human):
blogspot blogger google+ ruins photos problem
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blogspot blogger google+ photos wrong color contrast brightness problem
blogspot blogger google+ wrong color photos problem
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blogspot blogger google+ Auto enhancing photos suck Donkey Kong's hairy nuts :)

24. september 2013

Infrared - Shooting what you can't see part II, revelations

Since my last post in 2012, about infrared photography, Fotokemika has ceased to exist as a film and paper-producer, this means that EFKE AURA/Non AURA and a whole bunch of cool EFKE (and also ADOX) films has disappeared from the shelves.

The problem wasn't that they didn't sell films, but mostly from competition, price-pressure, raw-material prices and a dispute over land-areas where they had their factory.

This is very sad and leaves us with only one film as a real IR offer today, namely, the excellent Rollei 400 IR.


My previous shots, last year, like this one...

Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 12, 9 minutes in HC-110 dilution B

...were great, but even these were actually pretty hard to print properly, as the shadows and mid-tones, soon got too black and the whites stayed too white. Extensive dodging and burning was required for a satisfying print.

Bear in mind that this particular one, was shot with a high-altitude haze layer, which helped diffuse the light a little, a direct, "unfiltered" sun, would create even higher contrast and a good print would be increasingly more difficult to make.

I was out and about shooting with it in August and now in September, and I found that my earlier attempts, last year, at ISO 12, still gave pretty good results at 9 minutes in HC-110 B.

Like these horses:

Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 12, 9 minutes in HC-110 dilution B
However: Upon inspecting the negatives of the horses, I found that they lacked shadow detail and the highlights were pretty hot/blown when the sun was shining from a clear sky.

In short, the negatives showed excess contrast.

So, back to the think-tank a little then.....

I was pondering over a week or so. First, pondering if I should shoot the film at EI24, to prevent the highlights from blowing out. This would cause underexposure of the middle/shadows and they will be very hard to recover during printing. This would also probably cause the negatives to be too thin, causing very short printing times, which, in turn, would create problems controlling dodging and burning.

But.....what about an increase in exposure?
If I increased exposure with 1 stop and shot the film at ISO 6 instead, the shadows should have detail. A proper development for ISO 6, would yield a normal negative as well.

"Yeah, but what about your highlights? They were already at the limit at ISO 12, at ISO 6, they would be blown for sure" you may say.....



By researching a proper development-time for ISO6 from my working ISO 12 times, I could also establish an additional reduction-time, to prevent the highlights from blowing out.


This is called "pulling" (film....!).

In this case. I was, in other words, interested in shooting and develop the film as ISO 6, with an additional 1 stop pull processing. This 1 stop pull would serve as a starter, to see where I landed, regarding the highlights, this is also called N-1 development.

This is where some of the beauty of shooting film lies IMO; The ability to separately control your shadows and your highlights trough exposure and trough development. (Yey! \o/ ).

You can't really to that with digital, you get what you get. But the sensors and cameras, usually are impressively versatile in keeping information and contrast under control.

The current RAW processing tools, are also very very good in helping you recover lost shadows and highlights after the fact with digital, by simulating information in a "broken channel" by utilizing data from intact channels..

....but anyway, I digress.....

During film development processing, the shadows always finish FIRST, after that, the highlights keep on getting denser and denser, until they block up. After the initial development, the shadow part (mostly from  zone 3 and below) hardly move at all for the remainder of the time.

You can simplify the thought, by comparing it to a sun-burn; The areas of your skin which was covered by clothing or other light protective materials, would maybe just get some color, but your unprotected areas, initially looking pretty normal, will keep on getting redder and redder as the evening moves on.

- This means, as one would already know, that longer development time (or more agitation during development, as this moves fresh developer into exposed areas of the film) increase the contrast.
Most zones from zone IV and onwards, will keep on moving up towards white, while zones I, II and III more or less stay put.

- This also means that if you develop LESS, you reduce the overall contrast of the negative, as you prevent the lighter tones from moving too far.

- This also means that, by using methods like stand development (little or no agitation), you can maximize shadow-detail while preventing the whites from blocking up too badly.

This explains how agitation influence contrast: Because highlight-areas on a negative, tend to "use up" the developer in that area faster than the shadow areas, if you don't agitate and bring in fresh developer to those areas, activity tend to grind to a halt. If you agitate like a crazy-person, the highlights will block very fast and you end up with some high-contrast....thing.

Now, back to the IR film.
Concluding with the above film 1-on-1 theory; By increasing the exposure, rating the film as ISO 6 instead of 12, and then reducing the development time by one additional stop from the ISO 6 time, - and agitate the film gently.
- I should be able to get BOTH my shadows and also my highlights where I wanted them!

My ISO 6 time was calculated as an average rule-of-thumb, 20% reduction from my 9 minute ISO 12 time.
After that, I reduced the time again by around 20%, to see what time the N-1 development would be.

Answer; 5.7 minutes, which I rounded up to 6 minutes and using the same, gentle, agitation scheme as the ISO 12 development.

I tried that on a low-angle sun, setting over a farm landscape on a Sunday evening. The scene proved to have several good "problem areas";
- White, sun-lit "tractor-eggs"
- Shadows on the sloping hills
- IR-reflected light from the trees and foliage.
- A person in the scene (this time, I used myself as a model :P ), where the facial features needed to be visible and not blown.


Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 6, 6 minutes in HC-110 dilution B

Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 6, 6 minutes in HC-110 dilution B

Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 6, 6 minutes in HC-110 dilution B

Rollei 400IR
Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II with Hoya R72 filter
EI 6, 6 minutes in HC-110 dilution B

Awesome success! (imo)
Negatives look very nice, the blue sky will graduate towards black (neg thin/transparent), shadows are thin'ish but have detail, a few blocked-up areas on the tractor-eggs (to be expected).

I have detail in my face on the self-portrait shot and the strange IR-effect on the trees and foliage is present, complete with shadow detail where the sun-light isn't really hitting foliage directly.

So, my new scheme now for Rollei 400IR, is rate it at ISO 6 with a Hoya r72 filter, in HC-110 dilution B, then dev for 6 minutes, one minute gentle inversion of the tank, then 2 slow and gentle inversions every minute.

- 6 minutes is short, so additional experimentation will probably require a starting-point at 12 minutes, using HC-110 dilution H (which is half the strength of B). This dilution will have more room for fine-tuning the process even more.

The chlorophyll is starting to leave the foliage now, and the foliage the trees, as Autumn is setting in, so the wood-effect is diminishing pretty soon.

So, next summer, I will try my new times even more and at various times of the day, to see if it is solid. I suspect that it will be more solid than ISO 12 at 9 minutes, time will tell. ^^

In the next entry, I will continue my publication of completed model-shoots. ^^

That's it for this entry, may Google be with you :)

13. mars 2013

Trip to the Russian federation

Kremlin star
Canon 5D mark III, Canon 24-105 F4 L
Warning, picture-heavy post.

Early in March, I took a weekend-trip to Moscow, to see a city I've only heard about since I was a kid.

I don't know many people who've actually been there, strange really, as it is a beautiful city, even in cold winter-weather.

I stayed at the Golden Apple hotel, a fair hotel, in terms of standard and price, but it had a pretty awesome location.

It only took about 15 minutes to walk down to the red square from there.

I brought with me my 5D Mark III and my Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 (from around 1954).
I wanted to shoot some Kodak Ektar 100, but also brought some Provia 400 and Fuji Neopan 400 for low-light situations.

I never got to use my 400's, as I brought with my my 5D Mark III the day I really had use for some low-light excellence and the 5DMark III sure did a fine job indeed.

During my short stay, I mostly hovered around the parts of the city surrounding the Kremlin and the Red Square.

I got to shoot with my Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 the first day, it was bitter-cold and windy, but I had no issues with the camera, results were good too, look:

St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100

The only subway-station I shot with my Rolleiflex
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100
Camera placed on floor and fingers crossed

The Kremlin with tower and walls
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100
Flower-girl in Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM) department store next to the Red Square
Party successful handheld indoor shot.
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100
Ressurection gate
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100

Cathedral of Christ the saviour
Viewed across the Moscow river
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100

Small church I passed while walking about
Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 with Kodak Ektar 100
Amazing what you can get when you couple a modern emulsion like the Kodak Ektar 100 with proven German tech from the mid-fifties isn't it?
The outdoor exposure was calculated using the sunny-16 rule, (1/ISO @f16) and lo and behold, it worked, this film rules, good latitude also!

I processed the film at home in C-41 developer and scanned, any issues with color-shifts is due to my lack of skill concerning scanning. :)

And I (finally) got to test my Canon 5D Mark III for real; Cold conditions, darkness, harsh light conditions etc.

It held up very very well! So glad I bought it, it's lighter and a real upgrade to my trusty old 1ds mk II, both in ISO preformance, autofocus and sheer image-quality.

Basically, it rules as well. ^^

St. Basil's with the red square clock-tower
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS

The Kremlin with water reflection.
Taken from across the Moscow river.
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS and SR Polarizer

A central subway platform (can't really remember the name)
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 6400
Revolution square station
Very famous statues decorate the station and it's said it's good luck to touch the statues.
The nose of this dog is polished to a high-shine because of this.
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 5000

There's one subway-commuter touching it, cool! :)
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 6400
Serving tea(?). Outside a large shopping-mall in the Kremlin area
(they sold fur-coats there that cost $50 000!)
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS

And here's a HDR shot using the built-in HDR function (3 shots +-2 stops), the edit has been done in PS, as I personally didn't find the in-camera processed HDR's to my liking.

Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM) department store HDR-shot
Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 24-105 F4 L
Church of Christ the savior as twilight appears
Compression-shot at 104mm
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 1600
Frozen Moscow river, twilight looking East from the Kremlin.
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 1600

Compression-shot of the Kremlin wall towers as the sunset gave some nice color
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 1600
Panorama from the Church of Christ the savior, Moscow-river and the Kremlin
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 F4 L IS @ ISO 1600

 I need to go back, missed a lot of those really-really nice metro-stations.....
- And I need to buy another bottle of Black Vodka anyway!


14. februar 2013

Supertechnicolorexperience extravaganza ^^

The royal castle with the statue of Karl Johan III
Kodak Ektar 100, shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit

The cool thing about home-processing, is that you can experiment and fail without anyone blaming you. (then again, you can't blame anyone either if/when you cock-up ^^)

You also learn a whole heap by doing stuff on your own.
- using Google and forums, usually helps solving most issues and clarifying stuff you wonder about.

I've pondered about getting into color-development for a while now, first I thought about E-6 processing (positive slide film processing), but after a fellow analog shooter got arrested and faced charges for importing GHB, after he bought a Tetenal E6 kit from Germany, I instantly put those plans on the shelf.

- He was acquitted of any charges, as the police-lab (off course) never found any GHB, only chemicals for developing film. The customs strip-tests are flawed and cause false positives.

The customs service has since changed it's testing methods, but I am still skeptical ordering a kit for $150, just to have the customs-service ruining the chemicals by opening the cans.

Last week, I found that I could buy a C-41 processing kit, 1 liter, for about $40, (C-41 processing, creates color negatives), from fotoimport and since I had a bunch of color films sitting in my freezer, I thought, why the hell not.

The only problem these days, is that the cold and short winter days, really doesn't have all that much color to have fun with, but I strolled around Oslo a Saturday and took a few test shots to play with.

Royal castle main entrance
Kodak Ektar 100, shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit

Late afternoon, baloons at Karl-Johans street
Kodak Ektar 100, shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit
I also wanted to test Fuji Reala 100, and luckily I had 1 kg (!) of M&M's sitting at home which I was never going to eat anyway (don't know why I bought it, I don't like it, I think I ate two before giving up ^^).

A pretty good test-subject though.
I opted to shoot the reala at EI 80, which proved to be ok, Reala seems to be more neutral in color, while the Ektar is slightly warmer.

M&M's in a wine-glass, contrast setting
Fuji Reala 100 at EI 80, shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit
Chilly morning
Fuji Reala 100 at EI 80, shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit
(Never mind the dust in the upper right corner, I was to laz to remove it)

Book sale
Fuji Pro 400h, shot with Yashicaflex C.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit

Iron horse
(Interesting rendering of red colors here)
Fuji Pro 400h, shot with Yashicaflex C.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit

Your average statue
Fuji Pro 400h, shot with Yashicaflex C.
Processed with the Tetenal C-41 rapid kit
Both E6 and C-41  are very temperature sensitive, so one really has to plan everything beforehand and be very careful keeping the temperature within +-0.5 degrees celsius all the time.

This means that the temperature of everything must be calibrated before you start, even pre-heating the processing tank and the film. This helps keeping the temperature stable during the 3 minute 15 seconds first development stage.
The other stages, there are 3 with this kit, have room for a larger variation in temperature (38 +-5 degrees for the BLIX (bleach and fix) and 30-40 degrees for the last STAB (stabilizer) stage.).
A good practice, is to watch the thermometer pretty closely during the process and keep the chemicals in a warm water-bath until they are used.

I am actually very pleased with the resulting photos, I also got to try my Rolleiflex more \o/.
- And also my  Yaschicaflex C

Next project concerning color, will be to cross process some Fuji Provia 100 E6 film in C-41 and see what kind of strangeness I end up with. ^^

Oh, and also try and capture something more interesting than these boring test photos, sorry about that =)

28. januar 2013

Rolling with Rolleiflex 2.8F ^^

While in Japan in late September 2012, I combed Tokyo for those small shops carrying the good old stuff.

There are still a good number of smaller shops in Tokyo, selling stuff like Leicas, Hasselblads, Mamiyas, Rolleiflexes and a number of other analog quality photograhy-brands, from 35mm to large format.

 They can be a bit hard to find though, so extensive use of the Internet, as well as google-earth was needed, as Tokyo can be a very confusing place to navigate.

I actually missed one of the shops (Alps), because it was "camouflaged" in Japanese letters, no western signs what-so-ever and no store front, I know I passed it twice without seeing it.
- and when I finally figured it out, it was closed for the day =)

This is what it looks like in the jungle:

Alps-Do main entrance in Shinjuku

Here is a nice three-part guide to the photo-stores in Tokyo, I was in all of the shops in Ginza and found a couple in the mayhem of Shinjuku, I didn't have time left to check out the stores in the Northern part of Tokyo, unfortunately.

Shinjuku camera-shop guide
Ginza camera-shop guide
Northern Tokyo camera-shop guide

I was actually looking for a Voigtländer Bessa II at the time, but didn't pull the plug on any, because I could not find a reasonably priced dual 6*4.5 / 6*9 version and I didn't know how to check it properly.

In Sankyo camera, while browsing, I saw two TLR cameras that I found interesting, a Yaschicaflex C and a Rolleiflex 3.5, both were old and pretty beaten up, but the pricetag was interesting.
- I'd noticed that (nice 2.8F) Rolleiflexes were very expensive in Japan, so I decided against buying anything while I was there and rather look on eBay for a sweet deal.

A TLR (Twin reflex camera) has two lenses stacked ontop each other, one is used for viewing and focusing (viewing lens) , while the other exposes the film. (taking lens)

Like this:  
Anyway, at Sankyo, I got a pretty good deal on the two cameras; I got the Rolleiflex Automat for $25, pretty beaten up and fungus infected, although the taking lens is pretty clean. (later I've found it to be a Rolleiflex MX-EVS)
I got the Yaschicaflex for about $50, it was actually pretty clean and nice cosmetically and I've tested it and it works nicely (a bit off on the slower speeds, but that is normal for old cameras). 

Both cameras are from the 50's or so.

My Yashicaflex C and my Rolleiflex Automat 3.5
Shot with my Hasselblad 503CW.
Tri-X in HC-110 B
After testing both cameras, and adjusting the focus on the Rolleiflex myself (wasn't worth sending it away for a CLA anyway), I was extremely impressed by  the performance of the Rolleiflex.
The photos were crisp and the taking lens was very VERY sharp, wow!

- I wonder how a Rolleiflex 2.8F is like, when this "consumer" version is THIS GOOD?

So I scouted out eBay for a few weeks and read some forums, so see what was what. (there are many models and versions and quite difficult to get a grip).

I landed on the decision to go for a well taken cared of Rolleiflex 2.8F, which came in 4 distinct versions, but seems to be the most "normal best" version out there.

So, long story short, I bought one from eBay from a reputable seller, who had lots of information on the camera, lots of photos and a serial number to check.
The camera also came with the ever-ready case (never ready case actually), a lens-shade and a yellow filter. (the diffuser for the light-meter was placed inside the holding compartment of the ever-ready case).

So it was complete, very few marks, no known errors and the glass had no known issues or marks on them either.

The serial-number, place the production-year for the camera around the mid 60's. I wasn't looking for a collectors item, but a camera I could use (the cameras from Japan will be display-items though, even though they both actually work).

Here's some Rolleiflex-porn for you to look at:

Rolleiflex 2.8F inside the ever ready case with the pouches for the lens-shade and the yellow filter.

Left side of the case, with the various control-knobs available

Right side of the case with the crank and the frame number available for use.
Notice the lock-lever on the top, this locks the case
to the camera, so that it doesn't fall out of the casing when the lid is off.

Removal of the case-lid completely, enables you to use the camera more freely during shooting.

My Rolleiflex 2.8F sitting ready in the case.

Viewfinder open for shooting

Bare-bone camera without the lid, huge lens elements compared to my Automat 3.5

Notice how the viewing lens gets bright when you pop the viewfinder open

Half profile shot, showing the film-roller knobs,
the light-meter, focusing knob and the exposure-compensation knob.

The Rolleiflex 2.8F (and others) do have
a "sports finder" (lower hole in the viewfinder).
This enables the photographer to hold the camera
up against the eye like a normal camera.

I wonder if my cameras will look this good in 50 years....

Crank-winder and the frame-counter.

The light-meter sensor, located just below "ROLLEIFLEX", is normally way off after this much time.
I think mine is about 1 stop off, but can be used as a incident meter with the diffuser in a pinch.

Shutter and aperture settings (controlled by the two front-wheels between the lenses)

Left side is the shutter (with lock-switch)
Rigth side is flash-sync port (lock is not active only X-sync, my Automat 3.5 can be set at X or M)

The knob to the left of the lens is the self-timer switch.
Self-timer is loaded every time you crank the winder.

This is the yellow-filter that came with the camera, I need to check eBay and find myself a blue, red and orange one as well
Maybe a green, maybe not (I rarely use the one I have for my Canon-lenses)

Focusing knob and the light meter.
The meter has a little edge scuff mark, but I don't care, it's not that bad really.

The lens-shade for the taking lens.

Camera mounted in the case with the lens-shade attached.
(Coincidently, all of the above photos, were shot with my new Canon 5D Mark III, my replacement for my excellent 1ds mark II, more on that in a later blog-entry.)
The camera was really in ship-shape, but the controllers were a bit tough (crank, adjustment for the aperture and shutter). The film-feeler mechanism, meant to trigger automatically when you load 120 film in the camera, didn't trigger properly with Acros or Tri-X, only Foma (which has quite thick backing paper). I knew (and more or less expected) that I had to send the camera off to a CLA (Cleaning, Lubrication and Adjustment).

Luckily, the Rolleiflex-community have nice lists of reputable service-men around the world, so finding one wasn't too hard.

The east and west coast US-based service-guru's (Harry Fleenor and Krikor Maralian ) comes up a lot in forums and they are probably the best of the bunch, but Fleenor had a 11 week(!) turn-around.
Mr. Maralian could take the camera with a shorter turn-around, but I was hesitant shipping the camera that far.

I ended up sending my Rolleiflex to Mr. Brian Mickleboro in London.
He was very fast, did a bang-up job and was reasonably priced as well.
We encountered a few snags concerning shipping the camera to the UK, but after a few angry phone calls from me to the Norwegian postal-office, UPS-Norway and UPS-UK, Mr. Mickelboro was finally able to perform a CLA on my camera.

If you need your Rolleiflex checked, I recommend him warmly.

If you live somewhere else, then here's a typical list of people that still do service on these cameras. don't send them to "anyone", use the immense experience these guys possess (many of them have decades experience working for and with Rolleiflex).


I have yet to shoot properly with my camera (only test shots so far), but I promise to come back with some shots (color, B&W) from this camera, as the winter and sub-zero temperatures go away. =)

The camera I got, was in generally a REALLY NICE condition, almost as though I am a bit afraid using it (hell it cost me a total of £1500 with CLA), so I will do my best to take care of it, while still use it as it was made for.

The engineering behind these machines is incredible, a real pre-computer, non-electrical item and the last in it's long line, a pedigree lasting for over 40 years. (not counting the current analog, but electronic GX and FX models).

My camera is 50 years old, but with the great CLA-job from Mr. Mickelboro, and sensible use from me, the camera should have decades of extended life and joy. ^^