Sunday, 11 April 2021

And a Couple Film Milestones Too

Mamiya 645 Super, Ilford PanF (expired) stand developed in Rodinal, lens unrecorded but probably the 80/1.9 C

I passed two milestones on my film shooting this week, recording my 800th roll of 35mm film since I started shooting film as an adult in 2003, and my 600th roll of B&W film over the same period. That also puts me at 12 rolls shot this year, the most I've shot since 2016, I didn't break 10 rolls in 2017 or 2020 and shot no film at all in 2018 & 2019. 

I also cleared out the last of my B&W backlog, developing the last roll of 120 I had leftover from my days with the 645 Super, a roll of HP5+ pushed to EI800 that had been sitting since 2012. The only roll of B&W in my to-develop pile is the roll of HP5+ in 135 that I shot yesterday on my daily walk. Now I need to work on clearing out the colour and slide backlog. I've still got two rolls of 120 E-6 to get developed and 8 rolls of colour 135, mostly from the FG and FE, as well as 4 rolls of E-6 135 dating back to the Maxxum 7 and 2012 or so. I think I'll start dropping them off 2 at a time over the coming weeks. 

That reminds me that I do miss my Maxxum 7's. I had 3 of them, originally a very beat up one with an equally beat up 24-105D, then later a NOS one and a spare, plus a single VC-7 grip with a decent selection of lenses (17-35D, 24-105, 24/2.8, Sony 50/1.4 D, Sony 85/2.8 SAM). Think I even still have the remote release for them. If I was to get back into AF film shooting, I'd really be tempted by another Maxxum 7 even though an F100 would make FAR more sense as I already have a great selection of Nikon glass, and all but 3 of my Nikon lenses work on the F100 (two of course aren't in F mount, the Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4 LTM and the Z 24-50 f4-6.3, and my 24/2.8 K is not AI Converted so can't mount on the F100). A mount glass is getting cheap these days as well.  

With regards to the Maxxum 7, I liked the smaller size and lower weight of the body, without giving up too much performance compared to the F100. The F80 for me was always a fun body, but without AI compatibility it can only use two lenses I own, both 50mm (the 50/1.8D and 50/1.8G), that's fine as a near-P&S, but not for serious shooting. Nikon never really did anything comparable to the Maxxum 7 and that's a pity, it sits perfectly between the F80 and F100 in capability.

Frankly, I've also been wanting to get something to shoot my M42 lenses on film, and just remembered the Maxxum 7 does very well with that and I still have an adapter handy. Hmm, that's a two birds with one stone kinda solution. Beats buying a cheap Cosina SLR in K mount and then tracking down an M42 adapter for K mount.

That said, there's some gaps in my lens kit that need filling before I add any new bodies or mounts. A 20mm (to replace the 20/2.8 AF I sold), probably the f3.5 AI-S version as it's good, tiny and has a 52mm filter thread like most of my other Nikkors. I also want an 85/90mm and a 135mm to gap fill, right now I only have the 105mm in the 55mm to 200mm gap. I also need to get a lens wrench so I can tear down my 200/4 and properly clean the oil off the aperture blades. It's got a really sticky aperture. I'm thinking the 85/90 and the 135 are priorities here.

Further out, I'd like to add the 35 and 100mm Series E lenses as compact & lightweight alternatives to my current options at those focal lengths. A 200/4 Micro would be good as well for bugging. Probably should see my eye out for either the AI ring for my current 24/2.8 or an AI or AI-S version so I'm not as limited in what cameras I can use the 24 on and the 28/2.8 AI-S would pair nicely with my old 28/3.5 to give a couple options at a favourite focal length. 

Long term, Zeiss ZF and ZF.2 primes are on my radar, they're getting cheap enough to consider now and while larger & heavier than the Nikkors, they bring some quality gains I'd like. Might even start with the 25/2.8 as an alternative to getting another Nikkor 24. The 25/2.8 is generally tied with the 50/1.4 as the cheapest ZF series lens and its excellent close focus performance is well suited to my style.

Finally on the 35mm side, I'd love to use my Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4 on film again. That means I'd need to acquire an LTM or M mount rangefinder. I've got a soft spot for the Bessa R, but I've always wanted a Canadian-made M4-2 or M4-P (my real dream is to own one of the few late M4's made in Canada, but that's extremely unlikely for me to find or be able to afford, these are the only really collectible Midland M's). Maybe a Christmas present for myself, but given the Bessa R was only an occasional shooter the last time around, I'm not going to put a lot of budget into getting one. 

I've also found the MF bug hitting me again. I do just love those big negs and smooth tones. I've been working on printing a Dora Goodman Zone 2.0, a 3D printed 6x6/6x7 camera that uses Mamiya Press lenses or LF lenses in a helical and either RB67 Pro S backs or a printed 6x6 back, and can be focused either by zone focusing or a nifty little groundless back (actually it uses either mylar sheet or tracing paper instead of glass). Here I think I'll spring for a cheap Press lens, 110mm or 127mm likely and an RB back, then see how it works out for me. If I dig it, I might parlay that into an RB setup paired with the Zone for a heavy/light system. Not sure I want to go back to 645, a TLR or the Zone will do light MF better and as a better than 35mm landscape setup 6x6+ or digital makes sense.


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