preview and review

before (at least i thought so)


expectations were high…

i got a chinese seagull 4B-1 twin lens reflex camera as a birthday present! yay! i have to admit this is really quite a tough thing to handle. about 1 kg in weight, quite clunky in my hands but it looks really cool and feels quite well built. the shutter is almost silent (i wasn’t really sure that it worked correctly).

i haven’t been able to get one sharp shot from that camera yet, though. here are two pictures from my first roll of medium film. as you can see, i forgot to remove the frame from inside the camera that allows to take pictures in 6×4,5 format (instead of the more common (and actually intended) 6×6 square format).

moreover you can see there is quite a lot of headroom in at least:

  1.  choice of subject
  2.  focusing skills
  3.  understanding the framing of the viewfinder
  4.  my digitizing skills…

in (4) i opted for handheld macro shots in front of a white computer monitor… (see the picture below) i think i could do much better e.g. by more closely following paulo ricca’s great tutorial. regarding (3) i’m quite clueless now, because i thought the first picture of the viewfinder showed the preview of the respective shot below… and this does not really make sense to me now. (2) is somewhat tricky. i was quite sure i nailed focus at least in say 5 of the 14 shots i got from the roll. but that does not seem to be the case. probably i should have used a tripod… maybe i shouldn’t have shot wide open. i have to try this out again obviously. and finally (1) we had so bad weather conditions here for at least three weeks after i got the film for the camera that one day i was tired of waiting and went out in light drizzle to the playground 50 metres away, finished the roll and went back home. there will be more and better opportunities throughout this year, i’m sure. i have two rolls b&w film left and then i think i’ll go and try colour.

quick and dirty digitizing


    1. ciao! that’s quite an honour and i’m a bit flattered to receive this award. i’ll see how i can fit this into one of the future posts.
      thank you so much!

  1. Oh cool. Your first roll! I heard the lenses can be hit and miss. Mine does focus properly (on infinity focus anyway). I was told they are only good or portraits, close up large aperture, but I am pretty happy with long range shots through mine.

      1. that really sounds encouraging ;)
        how do you digitize your negatives (or positives?) by the way? i guess you have a scanner available?

      2. Well, let’s wait for the results but the taking photos was definitely easier!

        I used to get the film processing people to scan it. Now my boyfriend has a high quality scanner and I get him to do it ;)

    1. thank you, john.
      i tried to illustrate my “digitizing” process in the post… it’s not even close to a scanner, but i will try to improve the procedure next time ;)
      what are you using?

    1. i think the digitizing process does not really help but as far as i can see (with a loupe) the negatives are not already not very well in focus. i’ll keep on trying ;)

  2. These look like Instagram shots :)
    I like the out-of-focus aspect — a nice change of pace from the sharp focus we’re always seeing. The ironic thing is that
    this effect is very hard to reproduce using quality equipment.

    1. you’re of course right that this lack of technical perfection could potentially lead to interesting results. and i am absolutely willing to accept the limits of the gear if they turn out to really be limits of the gear and not the result of more or less incorrect handling by inexperienced me. so i’ll keep on trying for a while to get the stuff in focus ;)

    1. cool, thank you! have you seen my other seagull related post (in case you want to see more of it, of course)? it’s from last thursday (one seagull doesn’t make a summer).

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