noun: monochrome; plural noun: monochromes
A photograph or picture developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one color.
I’ve been a life long analog (film) shooter. Ninety percent of the film I shoot is black and white. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated shooting in black and white. There is something about seeing an image and visualizing it in bw. Since moving to shooting digital, I’ve lost some of that sense of visualizing the image in bw. I never lost it but shooting so much in digital (color) it was not part of my daily routine. It’s been about 3-4 years now that I’ve seriously gotten back into shooting bw film.
I’ve had several personal year long projects the last few years where I shoot with my collection of analog cameras with film. In my collection I have many 35mm, several medium format, 2 4×5 Graflex’s and a 5×7 1908 Seneca camera. I won’t go very far without an analog camera.
What I’m doing is not a new thing I know, but I recently combined my love of shooting in bw with my daily routine of shooting with a digital camera. Each and every day I intentionally look for an image to shoot in monochrome, I go into the menu setting on my camera, Photo Shooting Menu, Set Picture Control, MC Monochrome and create the image.
I’ve been hesitant to announce or post this blog, but I’ve been shooting nearly three months straight & I’ve been getting some fun shots. Most of my posts will be on Instagram & Twitter, it’s a little easier BUT here are a few images …
Please let me know your comments on my newest project A Monochrome a day.
It did not take long to figure out that it was going to be a long year if I could only shoot and document 12 cameras. I decided to shoot 2 cameras a month of 26 cameras total (every 2 weeks).
SO … next up is the classic Yashica GSN. It’s a classy stylish 35mm rangefinder. I’m looking forward to putting another roll of film in this camera. I was going to change this image into BW put the colors in the classic 70’s camera strap kept me from doing so.
I had a great time with the Pentax K-1000, it is such an easy camera to use. I will keep the Pentax close and ready for service. I’m looking forward to showing some results.
Seneca 5×7 6B circa 1902
How did I acquire this camera?
About 2-3 years ago I was contacted by an elderly friend, he brought me 2 boxes of camera’s in a sizes. He told some stories about some of the cameras. As he left, he said I could do anything I wanted with all the cameras but asked that I keep the Seneca 5×7. He told me how it was his fathers and how it had been a special camera to him.
I could give you all the information (in layman’s terms) but this is the best description from Historic Camera I found on the web (they know a lot about these cameras) :
“The Seneca Camera Number 6 was manufactured in circa 1902. This camera was made in two styles. Style A is fitted with the Uno Shutter and Seneca rapid rectilinear lens and style B is fitted with the Duo Double Valve (dust proof) shutter for a wider range of work. Constructed with dovetail corners and covered with walrus grain leather. a solid Mahogany bed with ebony finish. Nickel plated brass and highly polished metal parts. Black Russian leather bellows lined with gossamer cloth. Rising and falling front with rack and pinion focusing, removable lens board and a revolving reversible back with spring actuated ground glass panel for focusing. A brilliant view finder, spirit level and one tripod socket. Came with a carry case, plate holder and manual of photography instruction book. Available in 4 x 5, 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 (postcard), 4 1/4 x 6 1/2, or 5 x 7 inch sizes. Priced from $15.00 to $20.00.”
The info above can be viewed here …
I’m fascinated about the photographer that would buy this camera in the early 1900’s. It stated the difference between the A & B was the shutter for a wider range of “WORK”. This camera was not cheap back in the day. I did a quick inflation calculator search on the web and this camera would be about $540 in 2013. One hundred and eleven years later it’s a little beat up around its edges and everything is not working to it’s finest abilities but it still works. The Black Russian leather bellows is in great condition.
The rack & pinion focusing gear works great.
The lens, shutter & aperture is Seneca Rapid Rectilinear 5×7 (f8-f256) in Seneca Duo Dustproof shutter (T, B, 1-1/100), made by Wollensack, Rochester, NY
In the several times I shot with the camera so far this week, I’ve had to learn my way around this camera. The aperture does not work the best on the higher end of the shutter scale and actually lags open even in the slower scale, so I have to shoot it on Bulb, which is not a problem when you shoot at an aperture of f/256. That’s right … the aperture range is f8, f/16, f/32, f/64, f128, f/256 > they are in two stop increments.
The revolving revolving back & ground glass will not lock properly in all four corners, so in order for me to be able to use the camera and take pictures, I used some gaffers tape on the edges to hold the back to the camera body. Could it hinder the quality of the camera? Yes, I suppose but I’d much rather be able to use the camera and get beautiful results from the 5×7 negatives than having it sit on my shelf collecting dust.
It was a good week with great results. I was pleased to find that the bellows is light tight with no stray light. I had a great time shooting with the 5×7 camera. It was not the easiest to shoot with, I had to take my time in the process of photographing.
Sadly, the scanner was not big enough to scan the entire 5×7 negative BUT I plan on making 5×7 contact prints of all the negs I shot.
I’m amazed with the f/128 depth of field of inside Stoney Creek! AMAZING!
Yashica Electro 35 GSN 35mm
The GSN model was one of the the most popular Electro 35’s made in Japan. It was made from 1971-77. It was built as a consumer camera, it
has an all metal body, it was designed as an aperture priority camera.
I really have enjoyed shooting with the camera, it has a nice clean square body with a large 45mm f/1.7 lens. It sports a standard
aperture sequence of f/1.7, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16.
I had a hard time letting (allowing) the camera control the exposure since I was only able to set the aperture. It was also hard setting the aperture to f/2 or 1.7 without “really” focusing the camera but using the rangefinder indicator. I guess I’ll see how it all worked out when I process the film. I know I’m done with the camera on Sunday (with this project) BUT I’m really considering saving a few exposures to shoot in the studio with the PC sync and seeing how that works.
With exception to shooting these images on a DSLR, I’ve not used my DSLR camera the whole week! I’ve been on vacation this week and it’s been very freeing just shooting with the Yashica analog camera … and my iPhone (of course). As I said at the start, I’ve really enjoyed shooting with this camera. I am excited to see what results I get from the camera.
A much more thorough detailed review can be found here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/yashica/electro-35.htm
Argus Argoflex E TLR
The Argoflex is a medium format TLR (twin lens reflex) waist level camera. From my research, the Argus Argoflex E was made American made from 1940-48. The suggested film is the old school 620. The only difference between 620 film & 120 film is the film reel on the 620 is much smaller. Most 120 rolls will not fit in 620 cameras. The good news is that the loading area and takeup area in the Argoflex will allow (has room for) a roll of 120 film. I’m glad I did not have to re-roll 120 film onto a 620 reel. It’s possible, but not easy. I have another 620 camera I’ll be shooting later in the summer. Stay tuned.
The Argoflex I have has a nice fairly clean brown leather case. The case can remain attached on the camera while shooting since it has a hole opening for the film advance knob & a hole opening to view for when you advance the film to the next number.
The camera has a simple easy to use shutter speed & aperture. The aperture goes from f4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.7, 18 … yes kind of odd if you ask me, so much for the standard aperture settings. The shutter speeds range from 1/10th, 25, 50, 100, 1/300th, B & T. The lens is a Argus Varex 75mm f/4.5 Anastigmat.
The waist level viewer does not work properly, it seems like a spring is not set correctly. It does not hinder the shooting part of the camera, just the fine tune focusing. I will also have to say that it is a bit awkward focusing with your left hand and clicking the shutter with the right hand while holding the camera. It is possible to do, just takes some getting used to or at least through 12 exposures.
I’m really interested in seeing the results of shooting with the Argoflex, I enjoy shooting with the larger 120 film and processing the film in the darkroom. The 120 film is much bigger than the 35mm film.
Vacation is happening next week, so I am not sure when I’ll get to processing the film. I will however, be shooting with another camera next week.
Come back Monday to see what I’m shooting next week and the results from the Argoflex.