Dialing it in ………

April 21, 2010 at 11:36 pm Leave a comment

I’m finally starting to see results from my Autocord. I bought it on E Bay for an amazing price. The camera is like new, not even scratches on the flash bracket……..

One thing though, was the focusing. Focusing was VERY stiff and I knew that the focusing lever on these cameras was it’s one weak spot. They break easily and are very hard to repair. I brought the camera to Stan at International Photo and told him about the stiffness and also to do a C L A (clean, lube and adjustment). When I picked up the camera, it worked like a charm. Focus was smooth, shutter and f stop lever worked well. A few days later, the focus was stiff again. Stan told me to bring it back and he’d take a look. I left it with him and picked it up a week later. Focus was amazing. Two days later, stiff again. This was a puzzle and Stan told me to bring it in once more. He looked at it and was puzzled. I don’t think he believed me when I told him it was stiff again so when he saw it for himself, he was surprised. I left it with him again and he decided to strip the entire mechanism and rebuild it from scratch. The focus is like velvet, even now.

Also, during this time I had shot a few pics to try it out. My first roll came out with the negatives covered in scratches……

All the rollers in the camera were rolling smoothly so I couldn’t figure out what was happening. I mentioned it to Stan when he did the focus repair and all I can say is that I have no more scratched negatives.

The next obstacle was to dial in the proper exposures and learn to read the light meter and the scene. My first attempts resulted in really ugly tones and contrasts.

This was a tricky time. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on and I had lot’s of pictures that were like this.  When I finally started to adjust, I went way over to the other end, too much contrast and ended up with photos like this…………………..

My first set of reasonable shots were taken in Montreal. On a sunny, snow filled scene I managed to get this shot………………….

I was pleased with this since it was so bright and the light reflecting off the snow made it hard to figure out the exposure.

My next set of problems was shooting with close up lenses attached to the camera. I was using them to create some intense bokeh but the flare was horrific. ……

I had to figure out where this was coming from. Was it the camera ????? After asking questions on many forums I finally figured out why this happened. I had put the viewing close up lens on the taking lens of the camera and the taking close up lens on the viewing lens of the camera. There is a prism in the viewing close up lens that corrects for parallax error. That is a problem that any cameras that do not view through the taking lens. The closer you get to the subject, the offset of the viewing lens to the taking lens becomes more apparent and what you see in the viewing lens is not what the taking lens is recording. Anyhow, the prism was causing majour flare in the taking lens. problem finally solved.

I took a few more rolls and they progressivley improved (at least I think so)  ………

Contrast was great, focus was good. I was very pleased.  A few more shots on the same roll were very good as well.

My last two rolls were GREAT , as far as I am concerned. I have dialed in the exposure, getting close to optimum developing times and the orange filter is producing exactly what I want…..

The last roll was even better as far as I am concerned. The sharpness is great, focusing great, exposure good and developing getting there……………and I LOVE the contrast

It took awhile and lots of frustration (where I currently am with my Crown Graflex) but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What I am starting to think is that all these challenges are what’s keeping me interested in shooting film. With my Crown Graflex, I am just starting to solve all the issues and if you’ve read my previous entry, you’ll see all the things that you need to keep track of. One thing, as each photo gets better, it makes you want to get out and shoot even more.

I hope to produce images like this in large format. I just need to keep at it.

When I first started shooting with it I found scratches on the negative and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from.

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Large Format – A Love / Hate Relationship Nikon Back

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April 2010

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