1940s style photos with Argus C3 help


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Oct 19, 2010
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Hi, I want to take 1940 style photos with my Argus C3 "Brick." I have ISO400 B&W film. What settings (apperature, shutter speed) should I use for sunny/outdoors setting? I want my pictures to come out like this:
If you want your photos to look older don't use iso 400 film, film that fast didn't exist back in the 40's. The photo above looks like it was taken with 50 or 100 iso film. Notice that the background is a bit out of focus, yet it is daylight, which means the film must have been slow, or more likely a large format camera was used.

For calculating the exposure, just use the "sunny 16" rule. Which means that in direct sunlight, you use F16 with a shutter speed equal to the iso of the film. So with iso 400 film you'd shoot at F16 at 1/400th, or F22 at 1/200th.

Of course this will give you a very wide DOF which won't really look like old time photos, as they didn't have film fast enough to allow them to stop down to f16 or f22.

Also, some Argus cameras don't have standard shutter speeds. If your camera has 5 numbers and they are 4,5,6,7 and 8, you have a Matchmatic C3. The numbers corrispond to:

4 = 10 (1/10)
5 = 25 (1/25)
6 = 50 (1/50)
7 = 100 (1/100)
8 = 300 (1/300)
You can also rig up a ND [neutral density] filter to artificially 'slow' the film.

An orange filter used with ASA 125 films is another approach.
Try a roll of this:

Adox CHS 100 Art 35mm x 36 exposure | Freestyle Photographic Supplies

Product Details:
These films are old school emulsions which are still produced according to the old ADOX formulations which were introduced in the 1950s.

Using ADOX CHS films, your view on the world is the one of the 50s and 60s. It has a great tonal range, color separation and modulates differently from modern films. ADOX CHS films have their own feel and look to them.
Especially when pictures are dominated by blue sky the areas in the sky produce a very nice darker grey compared to more modern films giving the images a different depth and look.

The film has an ultra high silver content enabling it to produce rich grey scales and many tonal differences between black and white.
Pictures captured with ADOX film "come to life" in the print.

If developed in sharp working developers such as ADOX APH 09 the film develops a visible edge effect and very high accutance and detail depth.
Because of its low diffusion single layer technology the film is ultra sharp compared to modern multi layer films where the light will be diffused when penetrating through the different layers.

CHS stands for Cubiccrystal Heterodispers Single-Layer, which means the emulsion is made up of classic cubic crystals which are mixed in different sizes and coated in one layer.

The 25 speed film is the finest grain film with a classical behavior of low speed films. This means for example the film is generous against under exposure or reciprocity effect but can't cope with over exposure because it
can't shield itself from too much light. Also it's latidute is not as high as those of faster films.

For beginners we recommend the ADOX CHS 50 or 100. The 50 has almost the flexibility of the 100 yet almost as fine a grain as the 25.
This makes the ADOX 50 the preferred film out of the range. It has finer grain and better tonalities than modern 100 ASA films, yet almost the same effective speed in certain developers.

The CHS 100 is the highest speed film which can be made based on this old technology. In the 1950ss it was called a "high speed film".

Being the fastest film it has the widest exposure latitude and contrast range but also develops the largest film grain out of the ADOX family.
So especially with this film you might want to use ADOX ATM49 developer because it will yield a much smaller grain than Rodinal or APH09.

If you use Pyro developers the ADOX CHS100 can reproduce almost one full more zone of copy range compared to more modern films.

All roll films (120 films) are supplied in dust proof light protecting black plastic containers.

Tips for use:
Put used roll films back into dust proof light protecting black plastic containers to avoid penetration of light.

Prewash sheet films to evenly dissolve the super coating to avoid developer-streaks.

Handle the wet emulsion with extreme care. It is softer than the emulsion of modern films. If necessary add a hardening bath (either put some hardener in the stop bath/fixer or dilute 5ml of hardener to 1 Liter of water and pre-harden the sheetfilms before putting them in the tray.

Readjust your developing time after pre-hardening.
You can also rig up a ND [neutral density] filter to artificially 'slow' the film.

An orange filter used with ASA 125 films is another approach.

True, but he's likely better off just saving the 400 film darker conditions, and buying some iso 100 or iso 50 to shoot with.

One thing about old-time photos is that they were typically taken with 4x5 or 2x3 cameras, which made them extremely fine grained when printed. To replicate this look with 35mm film, you'll need some fine-grain film.

ISO 400 will give you more of a 60's/70's street photography look, due to it's larger grain.
The picture you show appears to have been shot on a 4x5 format camera, which has that nifty 4x5 aspect ratio. it also appears to have had the right hand side of the frame burned in rather heavily--almost clumsily,you might say. Slower-speed B&W traditional film would probably look the closest to what you are showing as a sample, although it will not have the same clarity and impact as a 4x5 shot. If you like old 4x5 B&W stuff from the 30's and 40's , the Shorpy.com web site has lots of photos from back in the day. Most 35mm stuff done in the 1930's looks quite grainy and inferior, compared with 4x5 stuff shot at that same time period. I like to use a medium yellow filter over the lens when exposing B&W film, as a normal,everyday filter. My other favorites are orange,red,and green filters.
Just a curious Question,can you develop this Film In Id11?i plan to use this as a little bit of an experiment to see the difference between different makers of film,ect.
The picture you show appears to have been shot on a 4x5 format camera

Exactly what I was thinking. This image has the look of large format.

If you want to achieve that look, you'll need to put the C3 back on the shelf and get a 4x5 Speed Graphic. Even with the slowest, finest grain film & developer, you most likely won't get the same smooth tones and detail. There is a pretty massive difference between the inexpensive consumer grade C3, and professional 4x5 camera with twenty square inches of negative available per exposure.
I shot Adox Chs 100 today,only shot 10,cut the roll to keep for another day(long story) but the prints ive got so far look Amazing,i know im new to film and only had experience with Ilford delta 400,but i have noticed the difference,in A)Grain and B) a more Classic looking image. Im going to order a few rolls soon and hit up some derilict buildings :)

I'll post some photos when there dry and scanned in,maybe i can get some feed back?:)

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