PhotoDelusions

21 March 2008

Comparing a 1950s folding camera to a 21st century digital SLR

Continuing the retrophotography theme.

This is not a fair test as the folding camera pictures were taken on outdated roll films dating from the late 1980s. So there’s a great deal of loss of image quality. The camera is an Ensign Selfix 420

Ensign Selfix 420 and the film was FP4 (4th and 6th from left, below)

Media

A contact sheet was made at a commercial processor, scanned on a Canoscan 3200F scanner, tweaked with Picasa (‘I feel lucky’ and sharpness) and uploaded to Flickr.

Exposures were determined using a Sony A100 on a similar zoom setting (and set to 100 ASA, a slight overexposure). In camera JPGs were produced in black and white. Picnik has been used for post processing exposure and sharpness. A number of matching photos were produced, noted below.

Ensign Selfix on the left, A100 on the right; exposures are as for the Ensign.

Disraeli gravestone Disraeli gravestone

Disraeli’s grave: 1/25 s @ f/5.6

Hughendon church Hughendon church

Disraeli’s grave in context at Hughendon: 1/50s @ f/4.5

Hughendon church Hughendon church

Hughenden church: 1/50 s @ f/5.6

Hughendon church Hughendon church

Hughenden church: 1/100 s @ f/5.6

Hughendon Hughendon

Hughendon: 1/150 s @ f/5.6

Hughendon Hughendon

Hughendon: 1/25 s @ f/4.5

Hughendon Hughendon

Hughendon: 1/50 s @ f/5.6

Portrait

Portrait: 1/50 s @ f/5.6

Portrait

Portrait: 1/150 s @ f/5.6

Hughendon Hughendon

Hughendon: 1/100 s @ f/5.6

The Ensign is very soft by today’s standards but shows some promise. The old FP4 roll does not look like it was flat inside the camera, so it will be interesting to try a new film in the camera. Colour print film may have more latitude and may be more forgiving in processing.

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2 Comments »

  1. Very interesting but let me say that in this comparision the Ensign Selfix is strongly penalized by the contact print made on a low contrast paper to compensate the differences of contrast and exposure of every single frame on the same sheet. I’m sure that your camera gives much better pictures if the negatives are printed or scanned properly.

    Comment by Marco — 10 January 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  2. Yes, when I used a new transparency film I got better results – see this post.

    Comment by Howard — 10 January 2009 @ 5:58 pm


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