Triple Take Thursday 1: Plates, Film, and Digital

Variety is the slice of life.  While I continue to shoot traditional film stocks lately, I've been dabbling in some other mediums at the same time.  I've become increasingly involved in the use of dry plates coated by Jason Lane, that have allowed me to use a number of cameras designed for such plates, while also improvising their use into a many other roll film cameras as well. 

I'm also doing a little bit more with digital cameras, between early models with decent specifications and more recent ones with more bells and whistles.  While it's no replacement for a film camera, it does make a pretty easy tag along on my film (and now plate) photo outings.  

Here and there, as I shoot some plates, I'll be supplementing them with the same scene shot on both film and digital to allow for an interesting comparison between the blue sensitive media of the plates, the panchromatic or color media of the film, and one or more settings on a digital camera that may mimic or differ from that of the non-digital media.  

First up in a scene taken in Patterson Park in Baltimore.  I'd known for some time that there was a small lake there, but had never taken the time to visit it until earlier this week.  Along with me for my visit were a Kodak Recomar 33 plate camera that shoots 9x12cm size plates, a Kodak Signet 35 kindly lent to me by Mike Eckman, and a Nikon J1 that I recently picked up.  As a gentle drizzle began to threaten, I managed to shoot a closely focused scene along the banks of this small pond on all three cameras to compare.  

Kodak Recomar 33: 9x12 J. Lane Dry Plate developed in HC-110 and printed on Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper.  Shot at f/8 for 4 seconds

Kodak Signet 35: Kentmere 100 developed in HC-110, and scanned.  f/4 at 1/50 second. 

Nikon J1 with Nikon 10-30mm lens: Vivid Photo setting, ISO 100, f/5 at 1/200

Looking at the three images, the plate image is my definite favorite.  The smaller sensor of the Nikon doesn't do much to differentiate depth of field on the limbs in the foreground, while the use of the muted color actually detracts a bit.  The Signet 35 certainly does better in the regard of narrowing depth of field, and offers a really sharp rendering, but it falls short of the rendering put forth by the Recomar 33, which delivers a very creamy print with great toning and definition.  

Though all three cameras did a commendable job, the medal count after this first round is:
Plates: 1 Gold
Film: 1 Silver
Digital: 1 Bronze

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