Been playing with that new (antique) lens doing a lot of test shots of stupid crap in preparation for my brand spanking new epic portrait project. I do a lot of testing and preparation work - also known as a way to rationalize procrastination and feel "busy" and "productive". At the end of the day I would be just as busy and way more productive if I did my crappy test shots of the subject of my actual project. Maybe I will try that someday. Is there really a big difference wasting time with testing things vs. wasting time testing with the actual subject of a project? You will figure out the same things but there is a chance that you will actually make some work that you wanted to make even if by accident. Some how there is a psychological advantage to screwing up shots of crappy stupid stuff than screwing up shots of your actual project.
Moving on - In addition to my procrastination obstacle I am facing a couple of real obstacles that I need to deal with. My new lens has the rendering that I want - not to harsh and not soft focus either. Perfect. What is not perfect is that the longer shutter speeds on this old beast are nowhere near accurate - worse yet they are random. Sometimes 1/2 second other times they are 2 seconds. Hmmm - got deal with that. Worse yet there is no flash sync so I will have to figure that out as well. If I go with holding the shutter open and popping the flash I may need two different films - not my intention. If I go with all natural light I have the shutter speed thing to deal with. Don't worry I will figure it out, even if I have to tape an Ilex syncro #5 to the front of it. On top of all that this thing flares like crazy in high key lighting scenes.
Why am I going through this trouble? Easy - because large format 8x10 has a "look" and contact prints have a "look" that is unique and oh so wonderful. The quality even from substandard crappy equipment has it's own look and is really hard to duplicate with anything else. Take the image at the top of the post - even at web size I can tell it's large format from a mile away and that is only 4x5 scanned at 1200dpi on my crappy flatbedscanner. As you probably know there is a ton more detail in the film and that detail in a contact print means tones that are spectacular. Heck here is a "100%" view, well not really 100% but about 12x magnification (the equivalent of a 5 foot wide print from this tiny little 4x5) Even with a crappy out of focus scan (the dust isn't even sharp) you can get an idea of what sheet film does. Oh - this hasen't been sharpened digitally either - a matter of course for scans because of their inherent blurriness. Just like AA filters on digital only worse.
Wish me luck - anyone have a good shutter they want to part with?