Bencini Carbonara

Discussion in 'Film, developing & other non-digital stuff' started by moroseduck, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Adam likes this.
  2. (It's the same with that £2 camera I just posted the pictures from, the images that have come out well have a feel that is distinctly different to them from my digital that is impossible to quantify. After spending an evening scanning those shots in whilst trying to process 160 shots from my sons birthday on the 30D I would say that the crop sensor digital pictures feel flatter).

    Interesting. There are three variables worthy of consideration:
    1). The scanning - were the Bencini Koroll prints changed in the scanning process? I'm sure you've critically compared the prints to the above images. Was there any difference at all?
    2). The equipment - Of course they will have a different feel - different gear, format, technology and subject. Your mission, should you wish to accept it Mr Duck, is to shoot the same subject, under the same conditions at the same time and as near as you can get to the same viewpoint with the Bencini Koroll and 30D side by side. Then stick 'em up here for us to take a gander. No idea why the 30D shots should look flatter.
    3). Your personal interpretation - The problem with personal interpretation is that it's a personal interpretation, which is often subject to confirmation bias. I don't even want to go there.

    Always been a bit too lazy myself to get into the darker analogue side of this game, but that article on the front page, and now the thought of comparing some results has started to pique my interest - only a very little bit though.
    moroseduck likes this.
  3. Great points Rob Edwards, I'll reply properly when I get back later as I think that this is an interesting topic to chat about, and try and investigate.
  4. I might try Rob's challenge as well. For me the difference is that the digital is more technically accurate but that, in being so, somehow loses the feel of what I want to capture. My new film snapshots make me feel great even though there is less detail and the colours are less real.
    moroseduck likes this.
  5. Ok, I'm back.

    1)You are quite correct in that choices made when scanning, exposing, developing, post processing all affect the end result, as does the medium they are viewed on. I do not have prints from these pics, I developed the negatives, scanned them in, then they went into light room for some level tweaking. The images that are posted are small (500kb or less mostly) files for flickr. The process is essentially identical to digital, except the part of the work that the sensor and camera processor does is replaced by film and developing choices.

    2) Well exactly. I personally believe that the main difference comes from the film, and to a lesser extent the lens. I could have take the same exact pictures with a different film in the camera and got different results again. I think the things that give me the greater feeling of, well, whatever it is from the few shots that came out okay have far more to do with the tonality range, film grain etc than comes from the the fact the the negative is substantially larger than the sensor on my camera, but who knows. I am looking at them larger at home, and scanning them in at 2400 dpi gives me much more detailed (although definitely not as sharp) images than I get from my 30D - 24mb files as opposed to 7.

    As for doing a comparison shoot, I'm well up for it, but to be honest comparing the Bencini with the 30D is like comparing apples with toasters, especially as it's tough to guarantee making a successful shot with the Bencini. What might be worth doing is a more direct comparison between 35mm film and digital SLR. The big problem is that a 35mm negative already has half the post processing work done, however silver fx has most black and white film appearances as presets, so I could shoot raw, dump straight into that and apply the film effect to give a comparable grain level and contrast, then back into lightroom to give both versions the same level adjustments as needed.

    That said, if someone wants to by me a good quality medium format camera for this experiment, that would be just fine :)

    3) Yup, personal interpretation is just that, but as you have already pointed out that when using two wildly different set ups we would expect to see different results, so really the debate isn't about are there differences, but what the difference is, and what the cause is, and would this disappear with more comparable equipment. As for confirmation bias, well of course. I have a far deeper relationship with an image that has required so much more physical involvement with it than simply plugging it into the computer and hitting go, and it is not only plausible, but likely that this colours my interpretation, and the feelings ascribed to these pictures, and all of my film photography and especially the home developed shots. Controlled research is the only logical way to proceed!
  6. Bugger, I didn't even sodding well know that you could scan negatives and work them from Lightroom! My only analogue experience was about 45 years ago with an older brother who made all his own gear. It actually put me off photography.........all that messing about with film and chemicals. I thought the early Polaroid tech was brilliant, but only the digital revolution brought me back into the fold.

    I see what you mean about doing a comparison - why bother when they were always going to be so different anyway? and any attempt at trying to make them comparable, is perhaps defeating the object (at least as I laid it out) and merely gilding the lily. So, I have to postulate that it can only be a meaningful exercise for the individual conducting the exercise; the end result of that person's experience, expectations, thought processes and comparisons being the ultimate goal, i.e a better understanding and appreciation of both formats. It only remains for me to apologise for wasting our time.

    Now then, what sort of film camera to start with I wonder.......................................................?
  7. Never time wasted, not when it gets my brain in gear to actually think about what I'm saying for once, and it was good to realise that a significant part of my love for my film shots comes from the process of obtaining them rather than any inherent quality. I have yet to delete a negative scan off my hard drive, even when it's utter crap, but I wield the hammer of doom over my digital shots. It just goes to show that, for me at least, a large part of the enjoyment I derive from photography has nothing whatsoever to do with the end result (which is lucky).

    Case in point, I still look back fondly upon an evening spent shooting at the bike meetup. As you may recall, I failed to load the film into my camera correctly and so not a single shot was actually captured, but still I had all the fun of faux taking peoples pictures, making the connections and just being out there doing it. It would have been pretty great to have something to show for it, but at least this way I can imagine that they would have been way greater than they probably would have been.

    I really think you'd get some enjoyment from shooting some film, including the developing part, which is really quick and easy (well, once that film is loaded onto a reel that is). From the moment you pour in the developer to the time that you pull out your negatives to admire, only takes about 25 minutes, and a few ridiculously easy steps. The part that can really start to get interesting is when you realise that it's as much art as science, and that by tweaking the way you do things you can have an effect on the negative you're producing.

    As for a camera, I can see you having a lot of fun with a nice Olympus OM1, or perhaps a medium format camera like the Bronica's or Mamiya's would suit your style of photography well - that's what I'm hankering after.

    In the meantime though I'm going to get me some film for my "new" Polaroid. Polaroids.
    Rob Edwards likes this.
  8. Boy, are you in trouble! The wife reckons this has all the hallmarks of another obsession. Just got this lot in a car boot for £3 - £4 each. Already got some film coming for the Kodak with the bellows and I'm working on the others.

    IMG_6269_9739-2 by Rob. Edwards., on Flickr
    moroseduck likes this.
  9. YAY! You got some bargains there, and they look to be in great condition, especially finding a Bencini that still has it's lens cover. What's the one on the bottom left, I think I've seen one on ebay recently but I can't make out the name.

    I've got one of those Brownie 127's, need to get some film for it but it's a more tricky size to source. Hopefully this guy: will have some in soon.
  10. The bottom left one is a Kodak Sterling II. The bellows is in good nick and even came with the manual. The Finetta and Bencini came with nice leather cases, and they all seem to be in good order, so I spent this morning cleaning them all up as they were quite filthy. Interestingly, the Bencini had a visiting member token attached, for the Singapore Turf Club Gold Cup meeting from 1959, so I had to look up the winner - it was Lord Arrogance. Geekdom and a history lesson, what more could you want?

    I ordered some 620 black and white film from that site last night!

    Next job: to start looking at negative developing tanks.

    IMG_6271_9740 by Rob. Edwards., on Flickr
  11. Well godammit, that's both a faster lens, and has more shutter speeds than any of my medium format cameras. The Prontor shutters are nice and reliable as well. The 620 film is the one annoyance of Kodak cameras - there only difference between that and 120 is that Kodak use a slightly smaller spool, just so that they could make people buy proprietary kodak film. Because of that it's apparently no big deal to simply respool it onto 620 reels (or cut down 120 reels as I've done with the one roll I've used), provided you either have a dark room of film change bag.

    I love the history of the Bencini, that makes the camera so much more interesting, one of my cameras had the store label from where it was sold, and I was able to find an old photo of the place from 50 years ago.

    With regards to developing tanks, the Paterson system works nicely, and the reels can be adjusted for either 120 or 35mm. Apart from that all you'll need is 2 or 3 measuring gauges or jugs, a thermometer, something to hang up the film (I use bulldog clips and hang them over the bath to dry) and some chems and you're good to go.

    With developing in mind, it would be worth dropping the film supplier an email to find out which film exactly it is - if it's Fuji Neopan Acros 100 which I think it is, that's the same as I used above. It's great stuff.
  12. Having just pulled out my Kodak Brownie 127, I think I'm going to (and this is a technical term so be prepared) jam in a roll of 35mm film and shoot that.
  13. Got two cameras loaded up with film, and bought a Paterson Super System 4 developing tank. What chemicals do you recommend? This is getting exciting.
    moroseduck likes this.
  14. Awesome stuff!

    I've been using Ilfords Ilfosol 3 developer for most of my films. It's liquid, easy to use and has given me good results. For the above shots, taken on Fuji neopan Acros 100 I used FX-39, partly because using the Ilfosol would have given me a shorter development time than I would have liked, but mostly because I wanted to experiment with something new. I wouldn't recommend it as a general developer though.

    I own, but have yet to use Ilford Stop bath. As most of my developing times run to over 7 minutes, water works well enough for the stop bath stage. If I need to do any shorter times I'll use it as the timing gets more critical.

    Ilford Rapid fixer, which is re-usable, and the other thing I have found very helpful is Ilford (you can see what my local guy stocks) Ilfotol, added as the very last stage to help prevent streaking and water marks. You use very little so a bottle will last a bloody lifetime.

    I'm sure that IainK has more suggestions. Just be warned, loading 120 film onto those reels is and absolute ******** of a job to do. It's worth writing off a cheap roll to practise with beforehand. 35mm is a doddle by comparison. If you have somewhere that you can make totally light tight, then that's perfect for loading reels, but if even the smallest amount can sneak in, you'll have to use a change bag, or as I did the first time, do it under your duvet in a pitch black room.

    Don't do that, it was awful. I nearly died from over-heating.
  15. Ilfosol 3 is a good one to start with. I like Ilfotec LC29 as well, and at the uni darkroom we used D76, which is a nice one as well but only comes as a powder so is a bit more of a faff. I haven't really experimented with different chems/films that much, I found I like the look of FP4/HP5 in LC29 and have pretty much stuck with those. These combinations are pretty forgiving of minor variances in temperature and development times as well. I don't bother either with stop for developing film. just a decent wash in water does the trick to halt development. Fix choice for film isn't nearly as critical as it is for paper, so any will do really.

    As Mr Duck says, the trickiest bit is loading the reels and it's worthwhile practicing in daylight with scrap film until you can do it before running the risk of ruining an exposed spool.
  16. I'm getting towards the end of my Ilfosol 3, is Ilfotec LC29 a good choice to move to next? I'm predominantly going shooting HP5+, some Neopan 100 and 1600 and probably some more Delta 3200. I've got a roll of FP4 nearly finished, be interested to see how that compares to the Neopan Acros 100.
  17. Cheers guys, should get my chems delivered in a couple of days..........what larks!!
  18. LC29 is a good one to try with slower film, gives nice sharp negs and reasonable development times. You can reuse it for multiple films as well which you can't do with Ilfosol so it's quite economical to use. I very rarely shoot higher speed film than 400 so I'm not sure how it copes with those.
  19. YAAAAAAAAY............My chemicals have just arrived and tomorrow is forecast to be a sunny f/16 day - hope I can remember what ISO film I used!
    moroseduck likes this.
  20. Well, just shot a roll in each of the Kodak Sterling and the Bencini.....why was that so much fun? It was so basic it was rediculous! yet maddeningly difficult to remember everything......I found what threw me the most was having to remember to wind the damn film on, so I'm not expecting to get anything.

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