Not Quite the Hassle I Expected

I am giving medium format photography a serious try.

This isn’t my first time shooting 120 film by any means.  I have toyed with Holgas before as well as carted around my behemoth Mamiya RB67 a few times.

But I was able to convince a few relatives of mine (thanks Dad and Uncle!) to pass on a family heirloom to me, a pretty complete Hasselblad 500C system.

It was in great cosmetic shape, but it all needed a good cleaning and some basic repair.  I took the body, one lens and one film back to my friend Manfred at International Camera Technicians in Mountain View, CA and they have come back to me in tip top shape.

While much easier to take around than the RB67, it still calls for a very different style of shooting than my 35mm cameras and will take some getting used to.  But I am having a blast figuring it out!

Seeing Stars

Canon IV-S rangefinder camera, Jupiter-11 135mm f/4 lens, Fuji NPZ 800 film

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?

The good news?  Alright, that is easy: I loaded my Canon IV-S with film today, shot the entire roll, and had it developed across the street.

I have no idea what I was doing wrong before when I had trouble loading the Canon.  I think I did everything the same this time around as I did last time.

In fact I did it three times right today, loading it twice with a test roll of junk film and a third time with a good roll.  All three times it advanced just fine, without a hitch.

The bad news?  Do you really want to know?  OK, if I have to…

It is still showing many, many light leaks despite my attempted repair through its cloth shutter.  (You probably guessed that from the above shot…)

My Dear Sweet Wife thinks that the light leaks create an attractive ethereal effect.  But she has been known for picking her preferred Holga based on its leaks, so I am not sure she is a neutral party here.

So if I credit myself for the loading, but give the Canon a nod for the unresolved leaks, I guess that makes the score to date:

Canon: 2 – Me: 1

Canon: 1 – Me: 0

Nikon FA, Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5, deep red filter, Ilford HP5 Plus via dr5 process

Q: What is more difficult than trying to get a stand of flamingos to pose for a photograph?

A: Loading film into an early rangefinder.

I tried loading some film into my Canon IV-S last night.  I used to think loading my Nikomat FTN was tough, but I have been humbled by this recent experience.

If you recall I tried repairing some holes in the Canon’s cloth shutter a month back.  I still need to take some pictures with it and see if I sealed the light leaks or not.

This camera has a very old-school design with a solid back and removable base plate.  In order to load the film you actually have to pull it slightly out of the 35mm cartridge, slip it under a clip on the camera’s removable take-up spool, and then slot both of them with film strung in between into the upside-down body.

(Don’t forget to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time too!)

The real trick is that it has to have some slack to pass over the sprocket mechanism, but then once it is in place you tighten it up over the sprockets to make for a solid film advance.  I thought I was doing this right after reading some tips, but multiple attempts later I still could not get the film advance knob to actually move the film.

Ugh… I mauled the start of a nice fresh roll of Ilford B&W film in the process.  I think for my next attempt I will work with an old roll of some junk film so that I can play around without fear.