"New" camera, looking for film recommendations

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by CDG, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. CDG

    CDG TPF Noob!

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    OK, so I know that the guys who shoot medium and large format are supposed to be the super film-geeks... :hail: However, please bear with me as photography is one of my more "minor" hobbies. I love all things mechanical, and recently came into a deal I couldn't miss- a Spartus Full Vue TLR box camera, with flashgun, origional literature, and bulbs. Judging from the front facia of the camera, it's one of the "newer" ones made through the 1950s. This camera uses standard 120 medium format film. It appears to be fully functional.

    Now the most basic question is, which film to start with on this camera? It's a box camera. I've read from extremely uncredited sources that shutter speed is around 1/45, however I don't know that for sure. Watching the shutter, it is certainly no faster than 1/60th.

    Next I want to complicate things up a bit- I've been thinking about just investing in a tank and some spools of my own. I like to shoot black and white film a lot in my 35 mm Nikon. Specifically, I used to get free film from my high school photo class- Ilford process 400 ISO. It seems like Ilford B&W is fairly common, and fairly cheap to buy chemicals for.

    The question I'm getting at is whether or not it is possible to share chemicals and tanks (obviously one would need different spools) for an Ilford lab.

    Lastly, how does the process type impact the cost of development? I was looking online and was noticing that while film is pretty cheap, development can run 15 bucks or more per roll. Who is a reputable company to develop medium format film?

    Now obviously as I said, I am not really taking medium format too seriously. The Spartus Full Vue is an old TLR box camera, known to have light leaks. I've seen some really neat shots taken with one, however, and thought that buying this camera would not only satisfy my urge for the weird and wonderful, but might also give me the perfect excuse to get those developing tanks I've been talking about for some time now. Might also give me a good segway to eventually invest in some nice medium format gear sometime too. A fully equipped chemical darkroom with enlargers would be nice too, but one steup at a time... :)

    Your thoughts and wisdom are appreciated. I'm most interested in film recommendations, but your thoughts on home-developing are also appreciated. Thanks! :)
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You can probably get the same Ilford film that you are used to using in 120, although ISO 400 would have been pretty fast in the 50's. If you are going to be shooting outside on a sunny day you might go with an ISO 100 or 125 film. You've said it has a single shutter speed; does it have any adjustable aperture? Sometimes it's just a lever labeled with a sun and a cloud, or something like that. You're going to have to figure out (or find someone who already has) what kind of exposure it's giving you, and base your film speed choice on the lighting.

    Or there is C-41 process BW film. It's labeled ISO 400, but it actually does a decent job at any ISO between 100 and 1600. C-41 is the standard color process so it's probably not what you are doing in your school darkroom. It should cost the same to have developed as a roll of color 120. If you think you'll be running into changing lighting conditions this might be the way to go.

    Any brand of traditional process BW film can be developed with any brand traditional BW process chems. You can use Ilford or Kodak film with Ilford or Kodak BW processing. There are lots of other good brands too.

    If you are using steel tanks you will need to get 120 size reels. Some plastic reels are expandable from 35mm to 120.

    Not counting the value of your time, doing your own BW development is usually much cheaper than having a full service/pro lab do it.
     
  3. CDG

    CDG TPF Noob!

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    The Spartus Full Vue is typical of the cheap TLR box cameras of their era- fixed aperature. The shutter has two settings- instant (between 1/35 and 1/60 say) and an infinite speed (this might be useful for creative effects). Basically though this is a typical point and shoot camera- bakelite plastic, although I believe the lenses are glass. I'm interested in snapping some photos with it for possible lomography. And who knows- it might turn out to take really high quality photographs!

    I will look into the C41 B&W suggestion, and perhaps some 100 ISO color film of some sort...
     
  4. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    Ilford Pan F if you can find it in 120; you'll probably have to order it. The ISO 50 rating is close enough to your shutter speed that you won't have to do any math while you're out with it. I used it in a Zeiss box camera and it came out just great.
     
  5. myopia

    myopia TPF Noob!

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    vgc. very good call.
     

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