Old lenses, and film simulations

I love my old manual lenses from the film SLR cameras, like my Olympus OM-2n. I have two 50mm lenses (f/1.4 and f/1.8), and Mitchie has another 50mm/3.5 macro. Zuleikha has a fourth 50mm/1.8 on her OM-1 film camera. Plus I also have a 135mm/2.8 lens which is quite wonderful.

The difference between these lenses and more modern ones is that they are manual (no autofocus), they aren’t as “bitingly” sharp – so more forgiving for portraits which is a good thing IMO, and they’re also less contrasty and often deliver a more pleasing look when compared to the more clinical modern counterparts.

I also loved using film when we were younger, mostly Kodak Ektachrome 400 colour slides, and Ilford HP5+ black & white film. I still do that today from time to time, but time hasn’t stood still, and film and those chemicals have some costs which add up quickly. So let me show you how I sometimes use those old lenses on a modern digital camera, and then simulate those films. Here are two examples:

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Zuleikha, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

That is a photo of Zuleikha, taken with my 135mm/2.8 lens fully open, mounted (via adapter) to my OM-D E-M10 Mark 2 camera with ISO3200. I used an Ektachrome 400 simulation from Color Efex Pro on this one, and I will show you the differences in a moment.

Here’s another one:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

That is of course Tuna the cat, taken with my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 lens at f/2.8, mounted (via adapter) to my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 2 camera which took ISO6400 for this one. I used an Ilford HP5+ film simulation from Silver Efex Pro for this. Plus I midtoned this as usual with RawTherapee.

The differences to digital images? Have a look at the thumbnails in my file browser (Nautilus of the Gnome desktop):

The black & white photo preview has more contrast, tho I reduced that about 10% in SFX already. And the colour preview shows that even in those ancient times, people knew about colour science, didn’t they? That simulated film image looks a lot less dull and boring than its “digital” counterpart (and yes, of course they’re all digital, but still I hope you’ll get my point).

I should do this much more often. I love manually focusing such nice lenses, and I also love the results.

Thanks for viewing, and for reading.

Cat on girl

Took this with two of my studio strobes last evening:

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Cat on girl, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

Thanks for viewing.

In-camera black & white

Yes, the Olympus in-camera black & white mode is great. I also love the fact that with modern cameras of the “mirrorless” category you can have a preview of the outcoming image right in your viewfinder or on the rear display, in black & white. And if you use the camera makers’ raw converter program, you *could* still have it in colour, but you *don’t have to* even see colour once in the whole process. Which I’ll describe for this photo of our cat from today:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

So the first thing of course is to take a photo. For this one I used the black & white mode of my camera, and ISO 200 at an aperture of f/2 – which meant 2 seconds exposure time, and a tripod.

Then I loaded the raw .orf image into the Olympus Viewer 3 raw converter on a virtualized Windows 7 machine, but only to check exposure, sharpness and contrast, and then to convert it into a 16 bit .tif image.

This resulting .tif I loaded into Silver Efex Pro 2 (still on Windows) to use its “019 Fine Art” preset, and to create a white border (no. 14) around the image. Saved again as a .tif (Silver Efex makes this a .TIFF)

Back in Linux, I then use RawTherapee with my self-produced and saved midtoning, which leaves the blacks & whites alone but tones those mid grey levels to a brownish tone – looks much nicer than just grey. In RawTherapee I also set the title, correct some Exif error from Silver Efex, and add some keywords like “cat portrait”, or “b&w” (you can see those in Flickr).

Final step: I used The Gimp to add the image title to the white border as well – good for prints or if you’ll have the image out of context somewhere.

So this is my routine for black & white photos, which I still love since my brother Willi and me developed our own Ilford films and made “prints” with his Durst enlarger and some chemicals in our parents’ bathroom…

Thanks for reading.

“Explored”

Well – I didn’t have that since a while. But the photo I took of Tuna (our cat) yesterday evening was somehow “explored” in Flickr today, which usually results in lots of views, and also “faves”:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

Somehow I find this cool – happening on the same day that I got my new camera. 🙂 And the fact that even with a cat photo you can become “explored” shows that it’s still both the subject and the photographer – tho the cuteness factor surely helps 🙂

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Sunday morning photo, mixed light, b&w

Now that I finally have a camera of my own again, I’m always on the lookout for photo opportunities. So when Tuna the cat decided to lay down on a warm spot of our heated floor just in front of our kitchen entry, I took two quick shots. And in the first of the two she was looking directly into the camera with a very intense stare.

This was in mixed light – natural daylight from outside, and artificial light from our kitchen which sadly doesn’t have any window. And although Olympus cameras do a very good auto white balance, they can’t of course correct for two totally different light temperatures – so I knew the end result would have to be in black & white (the only sensible resolution if you don’t use flash on your background).

And this is what I did. First I switched to black & white with a simulated yellow filter in Olympus Viewer 3 (same as if I had done this inside of the camera before even taking the photo). Then I checked and compared with the “fine art” preset no. #19 in Silver Efex Pro2 (and sfx won). And the final touches and the midrange colour toning (from grey to brown) were done in RawTherapee 5 in Linux as always.

So this is the result, cropped to a 3:2 format:


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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

About these Flickr embeds: I decided to use the new “block” from WordPress 5’s “Gutenberg” editor from now on. The difference for you is that I can’t alter the resulting HTML code to let the photo open in another tab or window anymore, so if you simply left-click on such a photo you will be directed to Flickr (and away from my site). If you don’t want that, then from now on you’ll have to right-click the image and select to open it in a new frame yourself.

As always, thanks for reading and viewing. Have a nice Sunday!

Another photo of Tuna with my new camera

That Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 2 is a terrific little camera. I only have it since a few hours, but I love it already. So when I saw Tuna on her favourite chair in our living room, I switched on two of my studio strobes, and took her photo again:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

As always, thanks for viewing.

An exceedingly generous offer

Almost a month ago, my camera stopped working. The technicians from its maker said it’s an issue with the mainboard which would have to be replaced, and the cost for that including work would be ~ 160€. Considering the cost for a replacement which was 3 times that amount, I agreed upon the repair offer.

But as it turned out, they needed a part for my camera which they couldn’t get anymore. And so they came up with another offer: for that calculated repair cost they would instead send me the camera’s successor (see above, usually 3x the repair cost).

Wow. Of course I just couldn’t refuse that. And after some waiting, today my shiny new toy arrived, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 2. And of course I had to check it immediately, first with mixed daylight and artificial light:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

And a bit later with two of my studio strobes:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

So finally I can take photos with an own device again. Cool.

And wow, what a generous deal! Now I have to make the device mine, and set up everything like I had it before.

Cool.

Still no camera…

I’m still waiting for my camera, so in the mean time I used Mitchie’s again today to take another photo of the cat. Used Rawtherapee on Linux only this time to “develop” it from the raw file:

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2018

I’m writing this with the new editor in WordPress 5, new from this evening.

Interesting…

A photo of Tuna from yesterday

I still don’t have my camera back from repair, so yesterday I took Tuna’s picture with Mitchie’s E-M5 Mk2 camera. She had the 45mm/1.8 lens on it:

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It’s an in-camera black & white picture with a simulated yellow filter, but I mid-toned it in post with RawTherapee.

Thanks for viewing.

Using Mitchie’s camera

My camera which broke almost 2 weeks ago will be repaired at Olympus – it will be a heart-and-brain transplant (mainboard) which will cost about one third of a camera replacement, so it’s the reasonable thing to do.

Until then I can sometimes borrow a camera from Mitchie or from Zuleikha, so today I used 2 of my studio strobes and Mitchie’s E-M5 Mk2 to take this photo:

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Thanks for viewing.