Film Photography

Same scene, different cameras and films

Sometimes I shoot the same things more than once with different cameras and films because I know the composition works. Recently I shot a scene with my Argus Argoflex Forty on Kodak Ektar 100, a few days after I shot it with my Olympus OM-1 and 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens on Kodak ColorPlus. Here are the two photos.

On the Circle
Copper roof redux

It’s remarkable to me how different these two photographs look even though they’re of the same thing.

First I see how the Argoflex Forty’s 75mm lens (for 620 film) is longer than the 50mm lens (for 35mm film) on the OM-1, which creates the effect of the copper-roofed Columbia Club building appearing to be different distances away.

The 1×1 and 3×2 aspect ratios also give different impressions of the scene.

The day I went out with the Argoflex Forty the sun was fully out, while the sun was behind a cloud at the moment I made the photo with the OM-1. This certainly influenced the way these lenses and films rendered the scene’s colors.

But those lenses and films have their own characteristics regardless of the light. I find ColorPlus to yield far warmer earth tones than Ektar under any circumstances.

I have no conclusions to draw. I just find this interesting.

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18 thoughts on “Same scene, different cameras and films

  1. Very interesting comparison Jim! If I hadn’t known from your description which photo was which (and I’m assuming from the order you’re written and the brighter light and evident shadows on the ground in the first, square image, that this was made with the Argus), I’d have definitely said the first image was made with the OM.

    On my screen it looks way sharper and better defined – the second image looks like it was made with a simple compact perhaps. I’m amazed it was made with the OM-1 and 50/1.8, a lens with an excellent reputation.

    I guess it goes to show we can’t assume the quality of image a camera will produce on any given day with any given conditions!

    • The 50/1.8 lens is plenty sharp, but there was something about how it rendered color onto the ColorPlus that heavily brought out the earth tones. It was quite something! The Argoflex’s old lens had more of a medium contrast, but lacked nothing in the sharpness department.

      • I think this is what we must do – let each camera/lens/(film) combo do its special thing and see how we like the results. Then pick the ones we love most and use them more!

        As opposed to trying to get the exact same “look” by endless post processing, whatever camera you happen to have used.

        • Yes, that’s it. I’m also seeing through my home developing adventure that it’s the whole process: film, lens/camera, developing, scanning.

        • The danger is (and I was certainly guilty of this for virtually every roll over three or four years!) to keep changing every variable, every time, so you never get to learn (or at least it takes so long) what those magical combinations are.

  2. I confess to this monument giving me an idea to get a couple of assistants to hold a large ‘black screen’ in front of it …
    But yes different equipment or even the same equipment on a different day can render subtle yet significant changes to a scene. Some people would do this in Photoshop, and possibly end up spending days tweaking colour and contrast by small amounts never finding that “just right” combination. When you do it in the field serendipity takes over and makes some of the decisions for you.

    • I like seeing what turns out. I don’t know that I’m ever going to be significantly interested in manipulating heavily in Photoshop to get a particular look.

  3. Beautiful shots! It looks like you were standing in the middle of Monument Circle, I think facing Northeast. The building on the left would be the Columbia Club, where I worked one summer in college; on the right was the old AFNB building, where my old dentist had his office.

  4. I think it’s great to take the same photo using different cameras/film. I really enjoy comparing the differences. Plus I find it also helps me decide which camera/film to use with a specific future project in mind 👍

  5. The differences are enlightening. The idea that reality can come across differently because of a bunch of small variables is an interesting one.

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