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Thread: Super Speed Graphic...

  1. #1

    Super Speed Graphic...

    OK, so I had my first outing with my Super Speed graphic and I think my images came out rather sucky.

    Equipment:

    Super Speed Graphic
    Original Optar 135mm lens
    Film: Fuji Provia 100

    Environment:

    Very sunny day
    Light clouds







    These were originally shot in color but the look better in B&W. can anyone look at these and have a suggestion on how to improve? Maybe a better lens?

    Thanks as always.... Joe.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    2,557

    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    Well specifically why do you think they're sucky? Are you unhappy with composition, contrast, sharpness...?

  3. #3

    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    To begin with they're boring I think. I had to do a lot of dodging and burning to get the sky/clouds as you see them. I had to adjust the histogram in photoshop to correct the exposure; there was drop off on the light and dark ends. The original photos were color but were flat and very unattractive I thought. I converted to B&W and felt they're somewhat improved.

    I'm just wondering how these images might look with better glass.

  4. #4
    Peter J. De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    The subject brightness range seems to have been a little extreme for your materials, with a loss of detail in the shadows and some blown out highlights. That isn't a fault of the lens. If you like BW you might try BW film. Not only will it have a much greater range of tones that it can capture, you can also change development according to the SBR of the image.
    "Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome." -- Samuel Johnson
    www.peterdesmidt.com/blog

  5. #5

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    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    By the time something color gets scanned in, converted to bw, futzed with in PS, uploaded to the computer and viewed on someone else's computer screen, there's no telling how different the image looks from the original. I see burnt out highlights and plugged up shadows - is that due to the scan? The BW conversion? Who knows!
    The old lenses on press cameras had some vignetting but I would use bw film first, and perhaps a subject that doesn't have such a large contrast range first, before I plunked down more $$ for a lens. Like any other tool you have to get used to the camera and get to know it! Some very great photographers have used these cameras to make some wonderful images.

  6. #6

    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    Another thing that just occurred to me; I haven't explored the use of filters yet. Maybe I would have achieved a more dramatic/exciting sky if I had used them this first time out.

    Any recommendations for filters for LF B&W and color or can some one point me to a good article on the topic?

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    Your pics look very much like my early pics with 4x5! Strive to improve but don't beat yourself up for "sucky" images.

    The suggestions above are good ones, in my experience, so I not repeat them. For filters, consider getting the series filter adapter to fit the lens and a few filters... and a hood. Check out a guy aclled "Macintoshcat" on ebay for the series adapters. He has lots of them and he is inexpensive and reliable. Measure your lens (outside to outside) since I can't recall which adapter size that lens is.

    Good source of info on filters is (believe it or not) Wikipedia. Another great source is the B+W filter handbook. Google for it; I think it is accessable from the Schneider web site. The Tiffen book, available at their web site, is pretty good too.

    Other thing to consider is how you are metering. To my eye it looks like you average metered. A spot meter is something to grow into and with that you can make more knowledgable trades on exposure.

  8. #8

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    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    p.s. I shoot a lot with a Super Graphic and 135 Optar... and after 20+ years of using that combination I'm still happy with it. There are definitely benefits to cameras with mroe movements and "newer" lenses with bigger image circles. When you want movements that might become important to you. Until then, have fun with what you are using. It works well for me in many, many situations.

  9. #9

    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    Looks pretty good.....I agree on the subject matter...boring! An I am the king of boring

    the provia does not have enough range to cover all of your lighting. B+W or clr neg would have done a better job with both highlights and shadows

    On B+W a yellow or red filter would help the skies a bunch. On clr search here for a ton of info on clr balancing. I have gone a bit cray with the clr meter and a pile of filters.
    Critique always welcome


    david

    www.dearbornphoto.com

  10. #10

    Re: Super Speed Graphic...

    Quote Originally Posted by atlcruiser View Post
    the provia does not have enough range to cover all of your lighting. B+W or clr neg would have done a better job with both highlights and shadows

    On clr search here for a ton of info on clr balancing.
    I'm limited to provia because I'm using Quickloads. The scene may be to contrasty for that particular film you think? When I was shooting, I metered with a 1 degree Sekonic spot meter: the sky and then the darkest area to be sure they weren't more than 5 stops apart. From my reading, if your scene's shadows and highlights are more than 5 EV's apart then the highlights will be blown out. When i metered the scenes above they fell within 5.

    For instance on this one the sky and dark tree appeared to be within 5 stops, I think the tree being 1/30th and the sky was maybe 1/250 or possibly 1/500:




    I then metered the village area in the photo at around 1/60 and then set the shutter speed to 1/125 so that part (which I felt most important) wouldn't be medium grey. Any blown out highlights are the result of me maybe going dodge and burn crazy a little. I need to adjust the brush and intensity in photo shop. Does any of this make sense or am I just butchering the principles of photography?

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