Film Shoot day 2016

Should you reconsider using film in 2016? There is an increasing trend to buy vintage film equipment and shoot street photography and portraits with film. Prices are rising for quality film cameras, particularly for medium format but also iconic quality 35mm cameras from the major manufacturers. At Brighton & Hove Camera Club we have an annual “film day” where we spend the day taking film walking around Brighton taking pictures with film cameras and then show and judge the images at a subsequent meeting.

Both images below won their categories and the “man with the clothes” won the overall competition. ( The prize was a Reuters Press photography book).

Brightn Street Film day-2Brightn Street Film day

Shooting film compared to digital 

I have in the passed compared shooting film with digital in terms of resolution and ability for shooting in low light (digital wins easily). However I enjoyed shooting film again. I used Ilford XP2 Super which is very forgiving of exposure, and most importantly being a Chromogenic film with no silver particles, can easily be scanned

It is difficult to blow the highlights of this compared with digital. I scanned at approximately 4000 dpi for approximately a 24MP equivalent output. I was pleased with the results – inevitable grainy, somewhat soft look with lovely smooth tonality. Looking at 100% on the screen the scanned images look terribly grainy but once printed this is much less noticeable and really rather pleasant I think. I printed these at A3 and they looked superb.

Cameras for film photography

The camera I used for these images  was the Canon EOS 3. Introduced in 1997 as a professional body, with a price to match, it had extraordinary technology including a 45 point autofocus system that could be controlled with the eye! It also had 9 point multi spot metering, up to 7 frames per second – all features that exceed the 2009 Canon EOS 5D mk2 for example. The EOS 3 is available for around £120 on ebay in mint condition, or around 160-200 with the extra battery grip. I have 3 these bodies now as I really enjoy using them. Coming from a 5D mk3, everything seems so “right” about this camera especially the handling, feel, grip (which I prefer to later Canon’s). The plastic body might put you off but it shouldn’t – this does not feel like a cheep entry level plastic DSLR.

Reasons for buying an EOS 3

1. It works with all my EOS lenses with full AF functionality and image stabilisation

2. Retains ETTL flash with 550EX and later flashguns

3. Price – at £120-200 these are excellent value.

4. Robust high quality body but much lighter than a DSLR

I typically use the Cano 24-70 f2.8 mk2 which is a great combination. A zoom that is sharper than anything available in the film era gives really excellent results. I have also use the Zeiss 21mm f2.8, Canon 50mm f1.4, 100mm f2.8 etc.

The bottom line is that if you are thinking about a film camera and you have Canon full frame lenses, this is a no brainer as it offers such great value for money.

Reasons not to buy an EOS 3

  1. It is not compatible with Infra Red film – it uses an infra red sensor in the film transport which will fog IR film.
  2. It doesn’t look like a vintage camera – some prefer the look of a 70’s silver metal bodied camera.

Why did I not buy an EOS 1V?

The EOS 1V was the top of the range in Canon’s lineup and the best film camera Canon made. It loses the eye control focus, but retains the 45 point AF system. It gains a more robust aluminium body, and it became the model for Canon’s pro 1DX models. The 1V is also compatible with infra red film. However it has three disadvantages over the EOS 3.

  1. It does not have eye controlled focus – I really like this.
  2. It is considerably heavier than the EOS3
  3. It is much more expensive than the EOS3 £350-450 vs £120-200

Mirror! Mirror! -a guide to choosing and using Mirror lenses PART 2

After several years in the making, I have published the second part of my mammoth mirror lens test. This time I have tested the Sigma 600mm f8 in detail and pitched it against the Zeiss Mirotar 500mm f8 and the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 LIS ll. 

I have also answered some critical questions about the viability of mirror lenses on todays cameras.

Included is a brief test of the the Vivitar 600mm f8 Solid Cat and the Vivitar 500mm f8.

Contax Zeiss 500mm f8 – Sigma 600mm f8 – Canon 100-400 mkll f4-5.6




Lightroom Corruption Problem on Import Solved.


Yesterday evening when downloading the latest images in my long running Mirror lens test review, I was faced with this as Lightroom corrupted the images after transferring to my MacPro and during the preview build and /or DNG conversion. You can see that the images initially appeared OK but then as the previews built, bizarre lines and colours appeared.

The solution was to delete Lightroom preferences, like this.

Restart Lightroom,



The problem then is that you have to reset all your preferences such as the location of cache, export file format etc. But at least it solved the problem.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.51.31


Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition 2015 and 2015 Biennial

I recently found out that I have had two images selected for the RPS International Print Exhibition, from 5000 entries entered, only 100 were chosen.

See the shortlisted entries here

Clowns&Mist for Blog
Clowns & The Mist, Brighton Beach

In addirion  image “The Volleyballers” has been selected for the RPS Biennial Exhibition.

See the final exhibition here

Clowns&Mist for Blog-2
Clowns & The Mist, Brighton Beach

All three pictures were taken in my home town, proving that you don’t need to pay thousands of pounds to go to foreign destinations to get international standard images!

Photoshop CS6 Problem with Yosemite and Wacom Tablet

I had a great day photographing the MODS at the annual Brighton MOD Weekender. Previously one of my pictures was chosen by the Brighton Dome as one of the posters for the Club Exhibition.

Brighton Dome Exhibition Poster
Brighton Dome Exhibition Poster

A couple of shots from this year…

MOD Weekender Brighton 2015
MOD Weekender Brighton 2015


I then had a frustrating day editing pictures, after I upgraded my MacPro to Yosemite. All sorts of problems with tools like the lasso, quick selection and the cursor disappearing etc. I found out that this is a known problem, and Adobe have created a plugin for it.

More info from Adobe here.

10th Anniversary of the Boscastle Flood – 16th August 2014

I was called by the BBC News yesterday to ask if they can use my Boscastle Flood footage again, as it is the 10th anniversary this Saturday! I can’t believe 10 years has passed so quickly – I can remember every aspect of it like it was yesterday – the shock of seeing it, and narrowly missing being swept away in my own car, the soaking wet people in their shorts and T-shirts – (it was unexpected that 3″ or rain would fall in 1 hour), the interview with Sky news and seeing the footage on the 10 o’clock news. (It was the first video I’d ever shot! taken on a Canon Ixus – long before camera phone video capability of course). It was all caused by the bridge in the image below which couldn’t cope with the capacity of water – note it looks like a giant hosepipe, the water had to find an alternative path, so it flooded the car park and the high street, and out went the cars. I left the water droplets on deliberately! Watch out for the videos this weekend, and you can see stills here

 Boscastle flood-2

Boscastle flood-0402