5 Frames… At a steam traction engine rally with Kodak T-MAX 400 (EI 400 / 120 format / Pentax 67II) – by Ian Folland

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I came back into film in 2016 after a ten-year break, initially resurrecting my 1981 Pentax ME Super which I’ve had from new. However, I wanted to try medium format and in 2018 I made an eBay purchase of a Pentax 67II, along with lenses etc. These days I mainly do street/documentary photography and use the Pentax 67II for this as well as 35mm cameras, mostly using Kodak Tri-X 400.

It happened though that I’d bought some 120 format Kodak T-MAX 400 by mistake but having previously tried the 35mm version — and been pleased with the results — I thought I’d take some to a large steam traction engine rally on a misty, late August morning.

With a roll loaded in the Pentax 67II and SMC-Pentax 105mm f/2.4 lens attached, my technique was the same as I normally use for street: wandering around seeing what turns up.

I usually use a wide aperture for shallow depth of field and with the Pentax 67II, you can divide the numbers by 2 to give an approximate 35mm equivalent. Hence the 105mm lens would give a similar field of view to 50mm in 35mm, etc. The day was surprisingly dull so I needed a wide aperture anyway, and I’ve found from experience that camera shake isn’t a problem with the 67 even down to 1/30th second, as long as you hold on to it properly.

I eventually finished the roll (I was using a Pentax LX with the Pentax 67 lenses adapted to it also) and sent it off for processing and scanning (I no longer process my own film).

I’m pleased with the results. The flat light undoubtedly helped give a vintage, perhaps almost large format look with smooth tones though the shallow depth of field helps, and the fine grain seems to complement Pentax’s 67II lenses.

So, will I buy some more? Maybe. I have another couple of rolls in the fridge, but I still like Tri-X 400!

~ Ian

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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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