On my last photo outing, documented here I took along the camera that got me back to photograpy, my Kiev medium format. That camera along with three lenses was gifted to me by a dying relative a few years ago. I gave up trying to use it after several rolls of over or underexposed film, flared, out of focus shots and alot of expense. I bought a canon 350d instead and that’s what ignited my passion for photography.
Now, four or five years later I understand alot more about photography and after meeting one of my wifes friends who uses a Hassleblad I decided to try the Kiev once more to see whether it was actually broken or whether it was my incompetence back then that stopped me getting any decent exposures.
So back to the abandoned building….I thought Id take the Kiev and may be try to take a similar shot with my iPHONE to see how they compared. My Kiev has the optional TTL spot meter like the one in the picture on the linked website. I put new batteries in it but still couldn’t get it to work so I took my light meter I bought a year ago to work with my flash and studio lighting. This, it turns out, was a good idea. The Kiev is mechanically complex with lots of procedures that must be followed in order to cock the shutter and roll on the film. If you do not follow it all the thing will not let you take a picture. After my first shot the thing basically failed. It would not let me insert the back plate that would allow me to roll on the film. In frustration I twiddled the wrong dials and accidentally wound on 5 more shots before I managed to get the thing to cock the shutter and wind on to allow me to actually take another shot. So it got the better of me again. I had no idea whether it would now actually work but I took four more pictures anyway just in case.
Before we see the result let me talk a little about the different experience of shooting with each camera. With the film camera I used its TTL spot meter viewfinder. This actually creates a big problem for me. I wear glasses and its impossible for me to get my eye close enough to the viewfinder to see the actual full field of view. So composing the final image is a bit hit or miss compared to the easy live view of the iPhone. Getting exposure correct meant using the external light meter (As the ttl meter with the camera appears to be broken). The awkward design of the camera also meant that I had to use a tripod in order to make sure the images weren’t going to come out blurry with the 1/4 second to half second exposures I was doing. I’m sure the iPhone just ramped the iso up to make sure shutter speed was faster. So for ease of use the phone wins every time.
What do the images look like. Well I processed the iPhone image using filmlabs ilford delta100 filter and the b+w film I used was ilford delta film. I had Ilford themselves develop and scan the negatives as I have no experience of that and wanted them to be as good as they could be for this comparison. Both images we put in to photoshop and cropped to 1500 x 1500 pixels and then saved at max quality. It seems to me that the film camera has much better tonal gradation and a more analogue look to it. I would say that you could process the film to look like the phone but you can’t process the phone to look like the film.
The good news for me is that it turns out my film camera works though, so I can press ahead with yet another on-going project.
Anyone want to guess which is which? FILM OR FONE