7.17.2015

Film Fun Folio #2: Balda Lisette and Rollei RPX 25

Periodically, I'll be posting scans of some complete rolls of film on here, showing both the good and the bad, and giving some basic information as well a little write up of the shoot as well as the reasons why I selected each camera and film.  Enjoy the trip! 

Feature #2:
Camera: ca. 1938 Balda Lisette 645 120 folding camera
Film: Rollei RPX 25
Locale: Washington DC and Central Maryland
May and June of 2015

I really enjoyed the results of Rollei RPX in the Franka Solida, but when a shutter hang issue precluded its use not too long ago, I had to find an alternative for shooting this really great film.  The obvious default was the Balda Lisette, largely due to it being the only other 120 in my possession with a lens as fast (f/2.9) as the Franka.  Having only run one roll of film through the Lisette, I was a bit leery about the results I might get at wider apertures, particularly given how much I liked the results from the Schneider lens on the Franka, but I had to take the chance to see how this Trioplan could perform with this stunning slow speed film!


1 - Washington DC - f/2.9 1/100 - I started with a monochrome version of the very same shot that started off my Agfa roll last week.  As much a fan of color photography as I am, I have to say that I am far more partial to this shot, which carries a more powerful composition in shades of grey.




2 - Washington DC - f/4 1/250 - What was I thinking with these settings? It is overexposed by only about a stop, but the result, even after some massaging in post processing, leans towards washed out highlights.  Still a mostly salvageable image though.

3 - Washington DC f/4 1/50 - Folding cameras don't typically work well for hasty grab shots and this only serves to prove that.  While riding home on the Metro, I noticed a parlor car on the rear of the Capitol Limited that was passing us.  This was my quick and dirty effort to get a photo.  Better luck next time. 

4 - Washington DC f/2.9 1/100 - Disappointing. Despite focusing properly, the subject of the image is particularly soft, and the hoped for bokeh from the shooting wide open with the lit tree leaves behind really didn't materialize at all. 

5 - Washington DC f/2.9 1/100 - In some ways this succeeds and in other ways not so much.  The main focal point, the street lamp in the foreground, is badly washed out in this image.  Otherwise, the overall feeling of the photo evokes that it could have been taken around the time this camera was made.  

6 - Washington DC - f/2.9 1/250 - Another overexposed image with variable lighting, this one was actually brought back to life with some post processing.  Generally, I like the results. 

7 - Washington DC - f/2.9 1/50 - A very tough exposure with bad back lighting, and a reflective wall that I'd hoped to focus upon.  Overall, it isn't bad, but the emphasis gets lost in this one.

8 - Montreal QC - f/7.1 1/100 - Have camera, will travel.  Sadly, this was one of only two film images I shot while on a business trip.  It came out overexposed, but I managed to get it to be somewhat tamer through some massaging. Sharpness is really quite good at this aperture.


9 - Montreal QC -  f/7.1 1/50 - The other film shot from this trip looks and feels like a simple grab shot.  Sadly, I had hoped to get an entire roll of shots on this trip. 


10 - Frederick MD - f/2.9 1/100 - Nice Jug! A re-positioned old landmark that once adorned a bridge east of town makes for an interesting subject on an lightly overcast day.  


11 - Frederick MD - f/2.9 1/100 - I had hoped for less depth of field than this, but in the end, this shot of a classic car still looks silky smooth on the RPX25 film stock.


12 - Fulton MD - f/2.9 1/100 - A tough shot on a folder thanks to a low perspective, and in hindsight, I feel I have far too much foreground in this one.  The "framed" element as a result doesn't quite stand out.


13 - Fulton MD - f/2.9 1/100 - I love when I see a desired shot, hope it will come out a certain way, can guess the distance to focus, shoot wide open, and get an image with focus, composition, and tone EXACTLY how I'd hoped.  I just love the results of this attempt.


14 - Fulton MD - f/ 2.9 1/100 - Unlike my last try to isolate a subject with limited depth of field, this one is less successful, primarily because the intended subject, the woeful corn cob, is partially obscured by a stalk in foreground.  Chalk this one up to parallax error.


15 - Fulton MD - f/5.6 1/100 - Missed the mark a little bit with this one, though I can't clearly recall if I wanted the pole in foreground in focus or not.  


16 - Sykesville MD - f/2.9 1/100 - A somewhat cluttered scene that somewhat works.  Focus is pretty much where I wanted it, and tone and exposure look good.


Thoughts: I'm lamenting the loss of use of the Franka a little less after shooting this roll of RPX25 through the "Baby Balda."  Though there is still quite a bit of trial and error that I still need to employ in getting comfortable at shooting scenes wide open, I did see some promising results in this batch that makes me look forward to my next roll of fine grained black and white shots through this rugged old folder.