Two weeks ago, I took the Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic for a spin in the Gold Coast. It was a bright sunny day and I thought would be perfect to try out the machine with some el cheapo Shanghai film. Pointing towards the hotel as shown below, I was shooting at f11, 1/50. From my experience with the Polaroid 800, these Shanghai 4×5 film is light hungry. Even though it’s rated at iso 100, you have to compensate this by at least one click (shoot this at iso 50). Most cases, I even have to shoot at iso 25 for low light conditions. I got the most success when I compensate this by 1.5 clicks.
This unit is from 1955 and the ground glass is full of dirt. Right in the middle of the glass, the fresnel is coming off. I need to take the ground glass out and have a good cleaning of it and maybe replacing this. I didn’t have a focusing cloth and I just used my dark bag which worked ok. It was tough to focus in the 35C weather and the sun shining right at you. On top of that, you have to bandage your head with the focusing cloth. I should look at an angled viewfinder! The Graflok worked perfectly and so did the Grafmatic film holder.
After the shoot, I quickly developed the film at home with my Paterson system 4 tank which came with my Paterson Colourtherm machine. It was a really hot day and the water was at 28C. I developed the Shanghai film with Kodak HC110 dilution H in 14mins and Kodak Rapid Fix for another 4mins. I scanned the photo with my Epson V700.
When I looked at the negatives, it was fine. When I scanned it, I looked at the top part and I was like, it looks a lot more cloudy than it should? It was a bright sunny day. Looking closely I can see water bubbles! This was the first time I developed 4×5 with the taco method in the Paterson tank. The Paterson tank top is slanted, which allowed some movement of the 4×5 while developing. The AP tank that I used before, the top part was relatively flat and it was fine. Next time if I am using the Paterson tank, I have to use 900mL of solution rather than 650mL. It’s these unexpected “boo-boo”s that makes analog film interesting. The photo really has a vintage feel to it. I look forward to another shoot soon!