On a recent trip to Wales I decided to take 3 cameras with me. I must admit this isn’t something I would recommend but rather than follow my own advice of simplifying your equipment, I just had to take all three. The Canon 5D because it’s my main camera and produces high quality images, the LX5 because it fits in my pocket and produces great images, and my XPan because it’s a panoramic camera and it’s been a while since I used it.
For the XPan I decided I wanted to shoot both colour slide (Velvia) an Black and White film. When shooting with slide film on an XPan you need to ensure you have the centre ND filter fitted as the centre of the lens is around 2 stops brighter than the edges. Slide film isn’t very tolerant of these things and it would end up with quite a severe vignette. I also needed to use the correct ND Grad to get the balance between the sky and ground. Whilst this isn’t a problem with the black and white film due to its latitude I needed to use a yellow filter with that to add contrast to the image. Metering was also a little tricky as I needed to ensure with the slide film that it was spot on and with the black and white, set the exposure manually as the camera couldn’t cope with ISO10 (yes that’s 10 and not 100) as well as picking my midtone value. These are all things I have largely forgotten about (except for the ND Grad on the sky) when shooting digital.
Despite all these limitations and extra steps, I still managed to capture some pleasing images with the XPan using Velvia. I decided I wanted to scan these so that I could adjust, print and archive. Whilst I generally know what I’m doing with scanning and have a good Minolta 5400 scanner, the results still failed to impress me and there was a lot of trial and error. Editing the resulting file in Photoshop I found it coped with adjustment much less than the images converted from my RAW files. The images from my digital cameras seem to allow much more flexibility when editing and retain their quality much better than the scanned images. I definitely feel this allows me to be much more creative in the final image and produce more dramatic photography.
In the final analysis I must conclude that digital has made photography much easier and enabled good photographers to produce great work. Roll on the next 10 years of development and whilst my use of film isn’t’ quite at an end, I won’t be using it as much going forward.
focal length: unknown
posted by rnwhalley April 16, 2011 8:55