Medium Format is Dead…

LLMF-5

…Long live Medium Format.

LLMF-1

These were taken some time ago on my (sniff…sniff…) Hasselblad.

I just got the files back from TheFindLab today.

I wanted something a little closer (and a little more cost effective…) than RPL.

Unfortunately, the results are fantastic.

The problem is, it cost me $19.10 to ship five rolls.  Including developing and scanning (still very reasonable for the job they do…) these photos worked out to about $1.40 CAD–each (film extra).  If you take out missed shots, the cost rises slightly.

As much as I loved shooting these (and getting them back!) Medium Format has really become untenable for me.  And so, the Hasselblad has since left me.

At this point, it is either develop and scan your own B&W (then spend hours picking dust and cleaning files…) or develop and scan your own color, and put up with less-than-satisfactory sharpness and color balance.  Shipping them off to be processed by these wizards is just not a viable long-term option (especially from Canada).  For one: the cost is exorbitant; and two, the shipping hassle and turnaround time is just a real pain.

LLMF-2

And so, I shall miss thee, Hasselblad.

(No really…I shall.  I miss thee already and want thee back…)

I am looking on the forums for another, um, of thee…

(Now the trick will be to follow my own advice…)

LLMF-3

LLMF-4

LLMF-6

Because the question will inevitably come: (RPL, TheFindLab…if you’re listening…PLEASE!!) what these places all need is a four-roll prefab box for shipping.  Prepaid.  No standing in line at the post-office…no address labels to print…no customs forms to fill out…nothing.

You fire your four rolls of 120 into the little box, and seal it up with your little tag.  You drop it in the mailbox…and ba-zam!  There your files are four days later.

I would actually pay extra for that convenience–Any outfit that comes up with such an arrangement would definitely have me back in Hassy.

But alas…I know ’tis but a dream.

17 thoughts on “Medium Format is Dead…

    • mewanchuk says:

      Thanks Stephan!

      Developing color 135 is still feasible, due to the color correction and dust reduction inherently present in many of the dedicated film scanners (The Pakon F135, for example…)

      Scanning (and color correcting) MF is a whole different ball of wax, I am afraid…

      Hope you’re well,
      Mark

  1. serialphotographer says:

    I could never let my 501cm go it renders like nothing else, I shoot only b&w anyway but scan via the epson v600 which is incredible value for money. When I think what it cost me its peanuts compared to the highbrow digital offerings. My 50 and 150 date to the late 70’s and still perform faultlessly. The kicker is when I look through that gorgeous WL viewfinder it looks like I’m gazing through an open window compared to my om2n and Panasonic kit.

    I had a similar experience to you and sold my original 500cm luckily I found another which will have to be prized from my dead hands.

    If you ever feel in need of a fix pop over to the blog the blad shots are easy to see as they are full frame complete with those delicious v cutouts.

    The pics posted show beautifully why you should get another

    • mewanchuk says:

      Alas–you are totally correct.

      BTW: you have many, many beautiful shots…and I do like the simplicity of your site.

      Thanks for stopping in, and for your comments.

      (Now to find another 5-oh-something…)

      -M.

  2. jkjod says:

    This are great, as usual from the medium format stuff you lost. I almost said that this seems like a camera you should probably never sell when you posted the shot of grandpa some time ago. You just seem to mesh with the Hassy, not that you don’t with the 35mm stuff, but just something different about your 120 stuff.

    Have you considered these guys for help with the color? I’ve read very good things about using their software…

    http://www.colorneg.com/colorperfect.html?lang=en

    • mewanchuk says:

      Thanks very much Jordan.

      Truth be told, this camera and I may yet meet again…

      🙂

      As for Colorperfect, I have indeed been using it. It is not immediately intuitive (and each file requires several time-consuming steps…) but it does yield some pleasing results.

      The main difficulty I am encountering is probably scanner-related: the results are unfortunately just so variable. If I do decide to “give it another go” I may well have to look at other (dedicated) hardware options.

      All the best,
      Mark

  3. Karim D. Ghantous (@kdghantous) says:

    Well, we do have a problem. I’ve said it time and time again: the problem with shooting film is not the wait or the ISO limitations but the scanning. We just don’t have a scanner that makes you think, “Where has this been all my life?”.

    Flextight X5? It’s almost perfect, but costs… a lot. More than a MFD body. Epson V- flatbeds? The best compromise, but not as convenient as you’d want. Pakons are the best for simple, quick, hassle-free scanning, but like many scanners, accentuate grain. And they cost more than the better Epsons now. Probably thanks to Steve Huff!

    So what do you do? Buy a decent Mamiya AF-D with a 48x36mm sensor for under $5,000? Sure. I’ve thought of that. Pixel counts are around 20Mpx or so but the image quality is apparently amazing. And it’s cheaper than a Flextight. But this solution is not as charming as even a simple TLR loaded with Tri-X.

    • jkjod says:

      There is always the Plustek 120…It seems that these finally have all the kinks ironed out and are up and running again. I would LOVE a Plustek 120, but for me they are just a little out of my price range. I would love to see the price come down in the second hand market at some point, like the other Plustek scanners.

      • mewanchuk says:

        Jordan,

        I had some early experience with the Opticfilm 120–and HATED it. So so many quirks it was not even funny. Sometimes it would not start scanning. The software placement of the frames was not adjustable–even the physical middle 120 film holder frame itself was not adjustable. Software ICE was functionally impaired, and Silverfast is/was just a disaster. There were issues with banding. Quality control was a problem…

        On the whole, the scanner was a massive disappointment. I have sort of been following a number of groups and reviews all along, and have not heard that “Nirvana had been achieved”. I will have to take a closer look.

        I may have a bead on a used/mint Nikon Coolscan 9000–despite its age, it may well be the best remaining consumer option. What a shame…

        -M.

    • mewanchuk says:

      Karim,

      A Flextight would be like a DREAM–but costs more than my car.

      😉

      I am currently using an Epson V750, and definitely don’t get detail or color profiling like this. The results, unfortunately, are just so variable. And the digital backs just don’t have the same draw for me…

      And so, the search continues.

      -M.

  4. jkjod says:

    Reflecta MF5000??? I’m sure you have at least tried ViewScan (I would assume it can run the Plustek 120, but not sure) as well which I think is MUCH more intuitive than the Silverfast software…I know I’m not bringing up anything that is revolutionary, or more likely nothing you haven’t thought of already, just playing devils advocate to keep you shooting with the Hasselblad 🙂

    • mewanchuk says:

      That’s currently where I’m looking…except that the Reflecta MF5000 is unavailable in Canada.

      HOWEVER: from my (extensive…) reading the Reflecta 5000 is the Braun FS120, which is also the Pacific Film PF-120. All of them can scan a max of 1 frame at a time (i.e. no motor transport). The Braun is currently “coming” to B&H and is fairly well-reviewed in Europe. The Pacific Film is currently available from B&H at a slight discount(~1400 USD) but also seems to suffer from significant copy variation: You get a good one, and you love it–Get a bad one, and it’s a piece of junk.

      At the end of the day, it all seems a bit of a crap shoot: you take your chances with something and hope that it works out (making sure, of course, to buy from somewhere with a good return policy!)

      I may pull the trigger on a PF-120 and see…

      (If only Nikon still made the Coolscan, then we wouldn’t have a problem…blasted decline of film!!)

      😉

      -M.

  5. andygemmell says:

    Hi Mark

    Great photos in this set and really love some of the close up ones of J and also the The Swing scene with the whole crew!

    I’m hearing you on the MF front and I can even walk to the lab and pick the next day. However it’s b…..y expensive! It’s one of the reasons I’ll be parting ways with the Mamiya soon enough (just need to finish some film off!).

    Contemplating what the next move will be….might be my phone the way things are at the moment 🙂 By the way I just got the new Samsung S6 Edge and the camera in this thing is insane. Or maybe it’s just the screen on the phone.

    • mewanchuk says:

      Andy–

      You’re selling the 7II again?

      Which lenses do you have?

      Maybe you should look for an M8…best mix of B&W and colour, with no sensor issues…

      -M.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s