I was curious to see how the film camera worked out for doing portraits. The reviews say that because of the 1 m minimum focussing distance and slightly wider than "normal" field of view, it isn't good for tight head and shoulders shots, so I was looking to see how much background there was. My thinking was a portrait of a person in their setting. With any luck an interesting background can enhance the interest in the person.
This matches up to one of the original purposes for the camera, back in the day. Part of the tourist industry in Japan was to have a bus pull up at scenic location. Photographers using this or a similar camera would line up groups and include the scenic background. Then the film would be developed and the tourists would be able to buy a photo of themselves at the various locations. There was even a special roll of 120 film with only 4 exposures, so I'm guessing they did one group, changed the roll, then another group. It seems a pretty safe assumption they got really good at changing film.
But you've got to walk before you run. Once again I'm grateful that Michelle was willing to pose as I figured out settings, and for the indoors portion, lighting. Her (and my) friend Antje came along as well. I took some digital photos along the way, just to see how they looked, but not with the intention to be directly comparable to the film shots. In one specific case, I wanted to see how the red fringe on a costume mask would look on film compared to digital. I've never been happy with how digital handles the particular red of our peony, and the mask is a similar colour.
The outdoor shots turned out fine, using Portra 160. The sunlight was pretty harsh, so a translucent reflector to soften the light would be good, or maybe a white one to fill shadows. Then again, I could have moved us into the trees. I just missed focus on a couple of shots, but learned a trick to help with that. I got them to hold a finger vertically right beside their eyes. That makes it easy for rangefinder focussing, and the only remaining thing is to ensure there's enough depth of field to include hair and the tip of the nose.
1. This was the harsh sunlight shot. I might be a bit overexposed here, since the grass is quite a bit more gold than the film shows.
2. Michelle suggested a climbing out of the valley shot. I was getting set up for it when there was a squawk from the hidden model. She was about to lie down on a busy ant hill. We moved a few feet along the hill and it all worked out.
3. I'm standing about as close as possible to them, using the widest aperture my shutter speed would allow. (Max 1/500 sec). I wanted to see how the trees in the background looked out of focus. The effect is nice, but I think the trees should be a bit greener. Perhaps there is a bit of over exposure here.
4. The red test, film first.
4A Digital. Look at the difference in the red!
5. It looks a little like they were photoshopped into the background, but I assure you, there really is a bench in front of those trees.
5/6 A Digital. I think the digital captured the gold grass better, but then again, when I look at the original, the grass is much the same colour as film. I think it has their complexions a bit more ruddy than they really are Or maybe that's a reflection from Antje's jacket. My experience so far is that digital offers much more latitude for editing than film. I've found pushing the Lightroom sliders for a film shot can get weird really fast.
Then indoors, using Portra 400. This was considerably more challenging, deliberately so. They were sitting on a black leather couch, with a dark background. I wanted the background to essentially disappear, leaving them nicely lighted. I actually measured to ensure the lens would focus, and all these are cropped a little bit.
Overall it didn't work out as well as I had hoped. The LED lighting was a bit harsh on their skin, and I think I over exposed a bit more than the film liked. I'm pretty sure this was a metering error on my part. I'd intended to meter for their faces, but I think there was too much background and it gave me an average number.
7. Loving how that red turned out!
9. These two are not a mistake. The 690 makes it essentially impossible to take a double exposure photo, so I figured out a cheat. This is a 5 second exposure, with me covering the lens at about 2.5 seconds, letting them turn their heads to face the camera, then uncovering it. At 5 seconds I covered the lens again and changed the shutter speed to close the lens. I need to do some changes to the light and timing to get the exact effect I have in mind, but this is a great start.