After my initial whirlwind test of the Diana Mini, I wanted to slow down a bit, so I popped in a roll of Labeauratoire-rolled Kodak Hawkeye 400 and went at it a bit more slowly this time. 37 half frame shots, from a 20 exposure roll: not bad!
First a little background…
While Mom and Hana were busy picking up cameras and other toys for me, I was busy ordering film and supplies from some small, independent-type places. In particular, Labeauratoire and (finally) the Film Photography Project.
Leslie Lazenby posted a picture of the united colors of film photography or something that I happened to see on Flickr, and down in the comments posted a link to Lance Rothstein’s online store. I’d never heard of Labeauratoire or Mr. Rothstein before, but I put his store on the list of places to buy some unusual films from, and my birthday seemed like a good time to do just that.
Like the Film Photography Project, Labeauratoire has too many films to choose from… I get a bit paralyzed at both by the choice, and so I had to narrow it down some.
From the FPP, I picked up their E6 beginners kit (a Rapid E6 at-home slide developing kit, 2 rolls of FPP’s own Retro Chrome (Government Surplus Kodak Ektachrome) and some slide holders) and their C-41 beginners kit (a Unicolor/Tetanol kit, 2 rolls of Svema Color 125, and 3 liter jugs for mixing chemicals in). (Neither of these are available at time of writing, but they come around from time to time.)
So I’m stocked with film and chemicals, for a little bit, anyway, but I digress.
The Labeauratoire are all shortish, from 12-20 rolls, mostly, and so I wanted a half-frame camera to test them with, and the Diana Mini seemed like a good enough choice, so right after I finished the roll of HD 400, I slid in a roll of Kodak Hawkeye, set the camera in half frame mode, and went to shooting, still in testing mode, but trying to be a bit more careful and a bit more purposeful…
1/60th (or 1/100th) isn’t fast enough to freeze a flying pigeon or still a quick-grab from the hip during a brisk walk to the masjid for salat. And I left the sprockets and all in this to show off the rather lopsided, uneven mask. It’s more obvious in overlapping panoramas, but the image is slightly skewed and the frame is nothing like straight. This isn’t a complaint at all: I’ve yet to encounter a perfectly square mask in any camera, and it’s sometimes nice to leave in a bit of a jagged border.
Everything went find during shooting: I sorta left it on the cloudy setting and in the normal shutter speed, and tried to be conscious of framing and all. The winder worked as expected most of the pictures are evenly spaced, though, this being a Lomography product, some unintentional overlapping and slightly-off winding is to be expected.
Well, the Hawkeye has a bit of grain to it. I have an idea that my temperatures may be a bit hot, but with current equipment, it’s about as close as I can get it and I see no issues with 200 speed films.
The color is good, and sharpness—which is primarily dependent on the lens, which, in the Diana Mini is a sliver of plastic produced with variable precision—is fine, especially given this negative is merely 17x24mm.
Speaking of the lens, again, 1/60th or whatever it is really isn’t fast enough to freeze anything moving. The UPS truck was probably traveling about 60, 65mph (on a tollway with a 70mph limit)… I wonder if I can use that to determine true shutter speed?
One problem with scanning your negatives with a Digital Camera is that you have no idea what the manufacturer intended. A minilab at a drugstore or something would probably get closer, given the relative standardization of those machines, but all of the local minilabs are gone and all the drugstores mail off film to be developed, scanned and printed overnight, and then they don’t return your negatives, and mail away businesses like The Darkroom and others are a bit expensive for the volume of film that I shoot.
All of that to say that I don’t really know if I got close to what the Hawkeye is expected to render, I only know that I got close enough to be happy enough with for my eyes on my machines, so I guess I can’t really comment on the color that you see here, except to say that I hope my monitors are calibrated properly.
Due to the dim lens, I tried a couple of things to maybe help capture shots indoors and in deep shade. For one shot—of my wife, sans hijab, in the kitchen after dinner—I switched to ‘B’ mode and just pressed and released the shutter, however quickly (and steadily) I could. The speed was slow enough for normal breathing/blood flow caused a bit of motion blur (the background is sharp, but my darling adorable wife is blurry) and to get enough light to expose the scene properly.
Apologies, but I won’t share that picture here.
For another shot, in the parking garage after work one day, I left the Mini in N mode and tripped the shutter two times in quick succession. That worked fine enough, but I need a far steadier hand…
If I could control that, something nice could come of it, I think. Alas, I tend to shake a bit, especially while walking, and with my briefcase slung over my shoulder and banging against my leg.
I have no idea what happened here. It’s like the shutter stuttered or something, right in the middle of the frame.
It’s almost as if the picture was double or triple exposed, but only in the middle 1/3rd of the scene, and I have no idea how that happened, or why. It’s very strange. The other pictures in that part of the roll all had some strangeness in the middle of the frame. I wasn’t going to share these, but they both have a blur in roughly the same spot.
I didn’t see the same thing in other pictures, or if I did, it’s not as pronounced.
On the Hawkeye, I’m glad to have several additional rolls of it, and look forward to putting them through the FE and/or FG to see what kind of results it gives with more finely calibrated mechanical cameras and glass lenses.
And on the Diana Mini, it’s still fun to play with, and I really need to get the Ultimate Exposure Computer up and running or at least get a reasonable understanding of the Sunny Sixteen rule so that I judge if 1/60th and f/8 or f/11 will be better in some given conditions, or if I would be better served with some sort of support.
I’ll also have to keep a look out for blurred areas in the middle of the frame and try to determine why that happens so I can prevent or limit it in the future. That shot of the pink roses might’ve been a bit better, and I’ve yet to get a decent picture of the State
After the Hawkeye finished, I shot a roll of Imation Scotch Color HP100, also from Labeauratoire. It was probably manufactured in Oklahoma by the Ferrania factory in Weatherford. Look forward to that, and a wrap up of my initial thoughts on the Diana Mini tomorrow.