This instructive video provides a useful technique for making your very own, personalized rangefinder for the purposes of better focus accuracy with camera systems like a Rollei 35 and 35 S, Olympus XA 2, 3 and 4 as well as the LOMO LCA and Diana + camera systems… basically if you have to scale-focus your camera then this video is for you!
Below find new artworks from my recent photographic trip to Italy. All of the images below were shot on an XA 4 using Kodak Ektar film. I am still scanning and editing my film and anticipate finishing this body of work in a month or two, at which time I will post a complete portfolio. No titles yet; just basic information with each image for identification purposes. The last image in the series however is a photograph of a finished printed artwork from this series and as such has additional information.
The fourth installment of the One Minute Rant. Each audio is one minute or less and focuses on a very specific topic to engage readers here on the FR to comment and start a dialogue! Just click on the RANT logo to listen.
Everything I post here on the Figital Revolution is- in one way or another- part of a test I am running for my own Artworks, or for a client at Indian Hill Imageworks. Over the last few months I have been testing the Olympus XA, the LOMO LCA, the Olympus XA 4, Kodak Ektar 100, alternative printing paper, perfecting my carry solution (BBB) and new methods for hanging artwork. Now it is time to put everything into action! I am leaving for Italy in a few days (note the Italian Flag) and all of the works and testing will finally get full use. Below is a new image I just made called Winter Leaves, Vermont. 2009. It is made using the Olympus XA 4 using an in-camera multi exposure, overlapping-negative technique I have been refining for the last few months. The film: Kodak Ektar 100…I am taking 40 rolls of it with me to Italy! The paper/ image: printed on an uncoated sheet of Arches Rough 22″ x 30″, 640 gsm as a d’Vinci Print (12 color).
Note: I am about to test a similar style paper with some different sizing properties made by Fabriano… since my new artworks will be from Italy it only seemed right to look at Italian paper. Hey, they’ve been making paper for over 700 years… they have to be doing something right!
Winter Leaves, Vermont. 2009
Edition size: One
Image Size: 25″ x 9″
Paper Size: 22″ x 30″
Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2009
Finally, I will be working on additional articles while traveling so get ready for new and exciting things here on FR once I return.
The Olympus XA 4 is a wonderful merger of Zone / Scale Focus, sophisticated photographic creative control and an amazing 28mm macro lens… released in 1985! In a previous video blog I compared the Olympus XA to the LOMO LCA and LCA+ for the purposes of pointing out strengths and weaknesses to both systems- the Olympus XA 4 strikes the perfect balance between these two very different cameras and has now found itself as my everyday carry camera.
TEST EXPOSURE…Olympus XA 4 focused at 1′. Exposed on Kodak Ektar 100… exposure was hand held at under 1/30th of a second (interior light glows at exposures under 1/30th) at F5.6 (at the 1′ focus setting the minimum f stop is f 5.6. Note the nice crisp detail and beautiful out of focus (OOF) rendering. Yes I know it is not “Leica Sharp” but damn it is really good for a Point and Shoot from 1985! One additional thought… I love the new Kodak Ektar 100!
Fantastic sites with lots of information on the XA line…
I’ve just started a film test in preparation for my trip to Italy next month– the two films in consideration are Kodak Ektar 100 and Agfa Precia CT cross processed. Thus far, most of the artworks from my current series A New Eden are either XPRO (cross processed- E6 film in C41 chem) or expired film. However- after much testing here on FR I have recently fallen in love with the new Kodak Ektar …SO I decided to do a quick comparison test and find out: does the XPRO effect really have to be actual cross-processed film?
So what do YOU think? Look at the snapshots below and see if you can pick out the one that is the Agfa Precia CT XPRO…only one is true XPRO…the others are all Kodak Ektar in Photoshop using Alien Skin Exposure 2!
Think you have the right answer? Then give a listen to the Audio portion of this post for additional thoughts on cross processing / Xpro… as well as the answer!
This is part 2 of my review of the new Kodak Ektar 100 film- click HERE to read part one. In this test I decided to compare the same scene photographed side by side, one shot with the new Kodak Ektar 100 and one with Kodak 100UC.
Camera: 2 Olympus XA cameras both just calibrated and shot at F8, focused at infinity.
Film: Kodak Ektar 100 rated at box speed (100) and Kodak 100UC also rated at box speed (100).
Scanned on an Imacon scanner (dry) at 3000 PPI so around a 68MB 16 Bit RGB file.
Color Space: sRGB
No sharpening applied in the scan or in Photoshop. All scanner settings were set for Standard RGB Negative with full auto applied.
In Photoshop only AUTO settings were used (levels, contrast and color)- no additional image manipulation was applied. Test files were then down sampled to 8 Bit and reduced to 10″ x 6.5″ for faster download- saved as a JPEG, Level 10.
Please only download the sample files if you have a high speed internet connection as they are around 3MB each compressed.
The Kodak 100 UC has a better exposure latitude, especially at box speed than Ektar 100 does but the grain is a bit more pronounced and the color is somewhat muted whereas the new Kodak Ektar 100 at box speed is a bit thin but has nice saturated colors and somewhat finer grain. Exposing the new Kodak Ektar at an EI of 50/ 64 will make this film very hard to beat.
Overall both films are quite nice but I tend to like the look of the Ektar best, especially when exposed at an EI of 50/ 64. I find scanning the new Kodak Ektar film quite easy and possible enlargements from a good sharp capture lens and a good quality scanner with a bit of work in Photoshop can produce some amazing quality prints even at sizes up to say 20″ x 30″… remember this is 35mm! Note: If you want to try this film be sure to rate it at an EI of 50/ 64 otherwise your shadows will be thin and you will not be seeing all that is possible from this new offering. Yes, I like this film!
Please note that the sample files are for personal use only and are Copyright Stephen Schaub, 2009.
Please watch this video first for a discussion on the pros and cons of the Olympus XA vs the LOMO LCA and LCA+. Please note that the video is of high quality and may take a few seconds to load depending on your connection speed.
General Info: All test images were shot at F 2.8 on Kodak TX, processed in Diafine Developer, scanned on an Imacon with no sharpening applied, natural light. Please be sure to click on the images to see them larger.
LCA: Notice the general soft focus/ appearance…I shot this image 10 times and this was the sharpest. I changed my lens to subject distance and I changed my zone focus setting but in the end this was the best. It is not real sharp but does have a nice soft visual quality with some subtle vignetting.
XA: Very sharp at the point of focus (glasses)… and this sharpness is at F 2.8! The XA achieves its best sharpness around F 5.6 – F 8. The OOF (out of focus) quality is nice in the background and general illumination is pretty good edge to edge.
XA+: This is the same negative as the XA sample image above with the addition of a bit of a vignette and a bit of a general surface blur applied in Photoshop…I feel this hits the mark perfectly for my visual needs.
A New Eden – Artworks by yours truly made on the LCA and XA (the new XA artworks can be found on the home page). This overlapping negative technique is possible with both the XA and the LCA and it the subject of a future post here on the Figital Revolution…stay tuned!
Notes: The Olympus XA came in other later versions such as the XA 1, XA 2, XA 3 and the XA 4 all of which are Zone Focus cameras. My favorite and the most collected and used is the original XA followed by the XA 4.
Final Thoughts: I will be posting additional articles regarding the XA with info on fill flash, long bulb exposures and additional tips and techniques in the coming weeks so again stay tuned!
Viva la Revolution- Stephen
UPDATE: I was wrong on the current price of the Lomo LCA+…it is not $199 US as I state in the video but rather $250 US…the XA is now a real bargain!