The Art of Engineering, Part II

I wrote a post in October 2018 (originally written in 2016 on Medium site) on the Gibellini ACN45 4×5 large format camera. My ACN45 was one of the first cameras made by Alessandro Gibellini. It’s solid, works great, and just beautiful to look at and to use. It’s a bit heavy so when I was traveling, I usually took the lighter weight Chamonix F1 4×5. About a year and half ago, as the Chamonix F1 had some difficulties handling the large Cooke PS945 lens (which is the lens I use the most), I decided to sell the Chamonix and bought […]

Guillotine vs. Packard Shutters

So with nothing much else to do (who am I kidding? there are plenty of Things That Need To Be Done, but I don’t wanna…), I built myself a guillotine shutter for the Pinkham and Smith Visual Quality IV No.2 lens. Notes: a Guillotine shutter works by gravity – a blade with a slot opening drops and the film is exposed during the time the open slot is traveling down in front of the lens. A Packard Shutter is one of the other few ways to use a shutter with these larger lens (the PS VQ IV is 3 1/2″ […]

Using Hasselblad Flextight Scanners on Windows 10

While the Hasselblad Flextight scanners still produce some of the best scans available, it is unfortunately a product line that had been discontinued. The software has not been updated for nearly a decade, and there have been a number of people asking for help to get their units with Firewire interface working under Windows 10, with no definitive answer that I can find. I have recently gotten a new PC running Windows 10 Pro. The good news is that my Flextight 848 scanner works perfectly after some digging around in the new setup. There are different models of Flextight scanners […]

PS Visual Quality vs. PS945

The Cooke Portrait PS945 is a modern classic large format lens, designed to recreate the soft focus look of the classic lens of old. At an aperture between F8 and F11, it is sharp where it counts, with a 3-D rendering that rolls off into the out of focus area like butter. Of course the soft focus effect is best demonstrated with a large aperture opening, something at F4.5 to F5.6: Dreamy… but wait, that’s not an image from the Cooke PS945! What is this? It’s a Pinkham and Smith Visual Quality Series IV (PSVQ IV from now on) No. […]

Sheltering in Place with Expired 4×5 Films

My friend visited from a land-of-far and gifted me some boxes of 2012-2013 Arista 100 (rebadged Foma 100). So, with nothing much else to do, other than dayjob, cleaning, filing for Small Business Disaster loan, taking care of a departed friend’s estate as I am the executor, cooking, cleaning, dog walking,… anyway, I have some times on my hands. Luckily, now I have a lot of films, and a reluctant but mostly cooperative model. First up is the incomparable Cooke PS945. First effort was a MEH, because my XTOL just went up and died on me. Sadly, I have not […]

Samples From The Hasselblad CFV II 50C

This is not a review of the new Hasselblad CFV II 50C digital back. For a quick introduction to what the CFV II 50C is all about, see the promotional video from Hasselblad below. Currently the CFV II 50C is only available as part of the “907X Special Edition” package, which is already sold out. At a list price of $7995, and even at half the price, the 907x Special Edition is not affordable for me. Fortunately, I have friends. In this case, Godfrey received his 907x package recently and he generously allowed me to ogle and fondle the back. […]

The Negative Is The Score…

“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” – Ansel Adams When I shoot film (which is most of the time), I generally use the film’s “box speed” (e.g. where Tri-X is rated at ISO400) and occasionally push the film as needed. One school of thought is to deliberately overexpose the film and then develop it normally (e.g. effectively rating Tri-X at ISO200, but then developing it as if it has been shot at ISO400). This produces a “dense negative”, with the histogram pushed far to the right. This blog http://www.johnnypatience.com/the-zone-system-is-dead/ explains the technique […]

Into the Woods

(Panoramic XPan photo, drag the screen/mouse to see the full image) Regular view:

Scanning XPan Negatives

The Hasselblad XPan is one of my favorite cameras. In fact, many of my scanner purchase decisions have been influenced by being able to scan XPan images quickly and, also when needed, at the highest quality. If your budget is limited, a modern flatbed scanner such as the Epson V600 or its derivatives will do a good enough job; however, you can do better. My current workflow involves using a fast Pakon F335 scanner for quick scans, including creating contact sheets. The Pakon can scan a roll of 35mm film in about a minute. The quality is quite decent as […]

New Project: “Americans”

Take three guesses on what style of photo portraits I am going after, and the first two don’t count. In 2019, what does it means to be an American? As an immigrant myself, I have always been fascinated by this subject. Now with the country being divided politically, this question is even more important than ever. In this project, I aim to make portraits of “Americans”, people that have stories to tell. For this project, I will be using an 8×10 camera and photograph solely in B&W. 8×10 B&W films are expensive and 8×10 color films are just impossibly expensive. […]