Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bronica ETRSi Test Roll

I wanted to shoot more film this year, so I decided to find a new medium format camera. After some research, I chose a Bronica ETRSi. It shoots 120 film and what sold me on it was the fact that you can change out film as often as you like in the middle of the roll. Oh, and it also has an attachment to shoot Polaroid peel apart film. Score!

I found a great listing on Etsy where the entire lot was purchased from the estate of a pro photographer and was being sold as a set. This camera is pimped out! It has so many extras included, I actually feel pretty spoiled: Zenza Bronica ETRSi Body, Zenza Bronica AE-II Prism Finder E /w Instructions, Zenza Bronica speed grip, Zenza Bronica Zenzanon EII Lens 75mm f 2.8, Zenza Bronica Zenzanon MC Lens 50mm f 2.8, Zenza Bronica Zenzanon MC Lens 105mm f 3.5, Zenza Bronica 120 film back, Zenza Bronica 220 film back, Polaroid Land Pack film back E /w Instructions, Zenza Bronica 120 film cartridge with leather case, Zenza Bronica 220 film cartridge with leather case, Zenza Bronica Focusing screen E with box, (installed in camera), Zenza Bronica 2 Eye correction lens, one on camera, other in box. Take a look at my new baby!

My test roll of film was Ilford PANF50, which has beautiful tones. I sent the film out to my new buddies at Old School Photo Lab for processing and I tried out my new Canon 9000F Mark II Scanner. I need to play around with the dust removal settings, but I thought they came out pretty darn good. I'm excited to go back to some of my old negatives and scan them. I might even bring Throwback Thursdays back to the blog!

The Bronica is a tank of a camera and makes this awesome KUH-CHUNK! sound when you press the shutter. (Not so great when you want to use it at an acoustic concert, but otherwise very satisfying.) I had a little slip up at the beginning of the roll with the mirror lock up, so I lost a few frames, but otherwise, I'm totally smitten with this camera. I've added a close up filter to the 75mm lens and plan on playing with that next.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kevin Devine, Into It. Over It., Laura Stevenson at Center Church, New Haven, CT 02.05.15

Welcome to the first concert I covered in 2015! One of my goals this year is to post photos in a much more timely manner. I wrote up this review and processed the photos the day after this show. Not too shabby! There is a full write up over on Surviving the Golden Age if you'd like to read about that. Otherwise, this post is going to talk about an issue I discovered with Adobe Lightroom.

I'm going to talk a little bit about how I achieved the color in my photos: custom white balance. The photo below shows you how the camera wanted to shoot on auto white balance. While I don't mind a bit of stage lighting color, when it's this obnoxious, I want to try to correct for it. The acoustics here are amazing, but hey, it's a church and it isn't set up for great lighting. Two sets of LED floods are set up, spilling the magenta/bluish tones you see over everything. I would've turned the majority of these shots into black and whites, but I wanted to salvage some color.

Preview straight out of camera, no processing at all.

The good thing about Center Church is that there is a big ol stage set in the same light that I know is white. To set a custom white balance, you take a photo with what is supposed to be white in the center of your frame. You tell the camera that this should be white and change your settings to custom white balance. The results I was seeing in camera gave me nearly perfect skin tones to the left, and a pretty strong green tone on the right. I was all right with that. When I got home and loaded the photos into Lightroom for processing (I'm still using version 4) the fun really started. While Lightroom is normally a great tool for photographers, it has limitations.

Left: what I saw in camera after setting the custom white balance. Right: the maxed out temperature and tint version Lightroom produced

The shot on the left is what I was seeing in camera after my custom white balance. The image on the right is what Lightroom defaulted it as. It tried to hold my settings, but Lightroom actually errors out. The temperature and tint settings can only go so far, even if you set it in camera. After some research online, I was able to find another photographer with this issue. I don't know why Lightroom hasn't been updated to fix this problem, but luckily Canon's software can handle it. I installed their Digital Photo Professional software, which is clunky and does not allow you to batch process the images, however, it held my custom white balance settings. It took a lot longer to sort through my photos this way, but I grabbed my color shots then returned to Lightroom to process the black and white. It just goes to show you, you learn something new every shoot.

Ok, enough technical talk, enjoy the photos.

Laura Stevenson

Kevin Devine

Into It. Over It.