Thursday, May 28, 2009

What a difference a lab makes!

Earlier this week I had a roll of Fuji Superia 400 ASA film developed. It was shot with my 53 year-old Kodak Retina SLR. You can read the background story behind the camera here.
To put it mildly, I was absolutely blown away. The f2 Schneider-Kreuznach lens did a phenomenal job of extracting detail in the images. In my initial article I said I was somewhat disappointed and that the lens could not hold a candle to my Nikon glass. It seemed a bit soft.
I have now completely changed my opinion. What has changed? Why the sudden improvement? I believe the reason for my initial view was largely the result of the output of the lab I used to process and scan the film.
This week's roll of film was processed by a different lab and the improved quality is astounding. The two images displayed here are a fair representation of the other pictures on the roll. Exposure for all images was set manually, using the camera's built-in selenium exposure meter, with the white incident disk clipped in place.

This allowed me to measure the light falling onto the subject, rather than the light being reflected by it. It is, without doubt, the most accurate way of determining exposure. Click here to read about taking incident meter readings.
I am loving this old camera. I would imagine I'd get the same feeling driving a '54 Gull Wing Mercedes!

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