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Critique Shot on B&W F-I-L-M with Canon AE-1

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by billtils, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Decades ago my fiancee, now wife, bought me a Canon AE-1 as a birthday present. It hasn't been used since the mid-70s when digital point and shoots made family photos (too) easy. However, it had been safely packed away and I decided it was time to let it see daylight again. The early efforts were scary with a screeching noise every time I pressed the shutter, followed by a disaster when trying to rewind the first roll of film. Result was no images + a visit to the local repair shop.

    Noise taken care of and a fresh roll of Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) B&W film and all that remained was to identify suitable photo opportunities and remember to pack the AE-1 with the rest of the gear. This meant no birding or macro shots and there were more than a few outings where the camera stayed home.

    However, the last frame was shot a week ago, the film successfully rewound, and posted off to AG labs in Birmingham (England not AL) to develop and digitise.

    The results obeyed the "Rule of thirds" with approximately 12 of the 36 going straight into the trash, about a third being sort of OK, and about a third sort of encouraging. The main problem was focusing - I found it quite difficult to get it right in poor light - followed by exposure - not quite the dynamic range of the D810
    smile.png
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    . It took a bit of time to get into the swing of the general operation too, remembering to wind on the film after each shot and not look at the back to check the histogram ...

    All of the images were grainy, and I'm not sure how much that is just because I've forgotten about film grain, or whether it was my choice of settings for the development as I elected for medium resolution scanning (4MB images).

    Here are a few of the resulting images:

    Canon AE-1 1.jpg
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    Canon AE-1.jpg
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    Canon AE-1 8.jpg
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    Canon AE-1 9.jpg
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    Canon AE-1 10.jpg
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    Canon AE-1 11.jpg
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    Being analogue film, there is no digital data file with the shots and the "EXIF" information refers to the equipment used in the digitisation.
     
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  2. These are really great b&w's, Bill!

    I only switched to digital around 2007 and for quite some time, I kept trying to advance the film after I took a shot :) 
    I still shoot a few rolls of film each year, for nostalgia :) 
    I'm a bit surprised you find focussing more difficult than on the DSLRs. I find the focussing aids on the film cameras quite a bit better.
    Granted, I never had a Canon so, I have no idea about these.

    As for the grain, I believe a lot depends on the developing techniques applied.
    This does look rather grainy for this film.
    You could contact the lab and ask about this. You could also ask in the Film forum here.
     
  3. Thanks Bart. I think that the ambient light was the main factor in the focus issue - it was fine in the shots taken in good light and not si good in those taken in poor light.

    The worst shots re grain are the snow ones, and it's probably a processing issue as I tweaked the structure slider in the clarity tab to try and introduce some texture to the snow.

    More film has been ordered and I'll go whole hog on the resolution when it goes for developing and digitisation.
     
  4. Enjoyable series!

    The appearance of the sky makes me think you did that to the whole image rather than using a mask that limited the affect to the snow. Even so, consider selecting the snow and adjusting the tone curve rather than structure and clarity to create more interest in that area.
     
  5. Thanks Mike. Indeed I did not use a mask, naughty me :oops: . Bit like a kid with a new toy with this visit to an old timer.
     
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