Review: Hasselblad 503CW medium format film camera

There are just a handful of camera brands that have achieved truly legendary, truly iconic status, and for me, at least, there are just three: Rollei, Leica, and Hasselblad. Of those, only Leica doesn’t (yet) grace my camera collection; I’ve not been bitten by that bug enough yet to overcome the price points. But Hasselblad? Hasselblads have been the camera in my mind for decades, and I frankly never thought I’d be able to hold one, let alone actually use one. And now, I not only use one, I own one. So, has it lived-up to its reputation in my own mind?

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Diagnosing light edges on images (dark edges on negatives)

Since I’ve started developing my own film, I’m pleased to say I have yet to ruin any of the dozens of rolls of film I’ve processed at home — every single roll has resulted in usable negatives, with seemingly proper density. However, something has been dogging me, and I only recently discovered that it was my own fault: Images with light edges (on the positives), dark edges (on the negatives).

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Review: CatLABS X FILM 80 black and white film (120)

One film I don’t hear that much about — which is a shame — is an interesting one from CatLABS, called X FILM 80. This traditional slow-speed film is supposedly modeled after Kodak’s iconic Panatomic-X black and white film, which has been discontinued for decades now. Many forum posts seem to effectively dismiss this film as an imposter — Shanghai GP3 in a different box — but it’s among my favorites at the moment.

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How to identify and use Rolleinar lens attachment sets

One of the great things about film photography is just how much information there is on the internet about various esoterica related to cameras, accessories, film development, and more. But it’s sometimes surprising just how much information is not actually available, and the Rolleinar close-up attachment system for Rolleiflex cameras is a prime example of that.

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Color filters in black and white photography: An introduction and examples

When I was first into film photography and shooting a lot of black and white (which was about 35 years ago), I never explored the use of color filters for image enhancement — in part because I didn’t know anything about it, in part because we weren’t taught anything about it in high school photography class, and finally in part because I couldn’t have afforded the filters anyway. With my renewed interest in film, and in shooting a ton of black and white, I’ve become interested in ways to achieve better, more interesting photos — especially in situations where things seem washed out, or when subjects fail to “pop” in the image. That’s where color (and other) filters come-in.

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Edge fog: Oh, those smoky rebates…

We’ve all read the admonitions on the film boxes, the data sheets, and the manuals for our medium format cameras (you did read that, right?): load and unload in subdued light. So you do. And then you get a roll of film back from the lab, or you start to unspool a wet strip from your Paterson tank, and there it is… The dreaded edge fog, smoky little mountains emerging from the very edges of the film and extending well into the rebate, or perhaps even into your image area. In my case, I mutter a few choice words, and start to wonder if it’s just me.

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Review: Mamiya C220 twin lens reflex (TLR) medium format camera

I recently acquired (yet) another medium format camera: a Mamiya C220 TLR. It was offered on eBay (a place I normally avoid like the plague), but the fact it was fully complete — including boxes, manuals, all body and lens caps, etc. — and in great condition made it sort of a no-brainer to take the risk. I’m glad I did, because what arrived was every bit as good (or better) than the eBay listing photos. Full-form reviews on this camera are virtually non-existent, so it also seemed like a no-brainer to take a deep dive and explore its allure in detail.

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Accidental cross-processing: Outstanding (and unexpected) results

On a recent trip to New Jersey, I picked-up a Hasselblad 503CW (a story all of its own, which I’ll highlight in its own post soon). Because I didn’t have any film with me, the camera shop kindly threw-in a few rolls of 120 so I could immediately start shooting. Since they also let me choose what I wanted from their film fridge, I opted for three Kodak rolls: Portra 160, Portra 400, and Tri-X. It was a beautiful day, lots of sunlight, so the Portra 160 went into the magazine as my first-ever roll of film in the new Hassy. When I got home, I took it for processing as usual to Englewood Camera. But the results were nothing I was expecting.

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