Axel Pähler


Going analog again?

Why shoot analog again? Well, there is these incredibly fine machined cameras like Leica, Rollei, Hasselblad etc. — Stop Dreaming! — And then there is this feel of exposing an image to film, getting exposure and framing correct (remember what a spot meter is?), let it develop and then wait to open the envelope in the mail to look at the negatives or transparencies. All manual, no batteries, lots of thinking, just focus on the image. I was struggling whether or not to go analog for a long time. Then, I read a lot of positive things about medium format cameras and film. If well developed and scanned, resolution and tonality of MF film was something that interested me a lot. So far so good. Forget it. No time. No money to spend. Back to digital. It’s fun enough. Lots of fun! — Until I came across this video of the „One Roll of Film“ Project.

Just imagine: You have a wonderful vintage camera. It shoots large 6x6 negatives. This is your favourite format for Black and White. The project plays in your favourite city, Tokyo. And it slows you down. One roll of FILM only. Twelve pictures only on a 6x6 camera. Sounds like a dream. Damn. Can’t resist. Need to get one!

Going analog again!

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OK, here we go. I found a Hasselblad 503 CW on eBay. It came from Tokyo, Japan! Hasselblad produced a special *-Series for the Japanese Market. The model I picked is from the mid 90ies. It came in a bundle with a f2.8 80 mm Zeiss lens. Nice! This page helped me quite a bit to figure out what to look for when buying a used Hasselblad. Also this was a good resource to learn how to load my first roll of Roll Film;-) One of my first 6x6 photos is the theme on top of this page. The Basel trade fair shot on Ilford Delta 400. Beautiful grain.
The image to the left was taken at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Jonas Salk invented the Polio vaccine and founded this terrific research institute. Concrete buildings and travertine stone plaza next to the Pacific. A foggy day. A dream in B&W. Fuji Acros 100, 80 mm Zeiss on Hasselblad 6x6.

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I am slowly getting into it. Ok, my first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 was largely underexposed. Thanks to the great work from the staff at Mein Film Lab. They rescued what was possible. Does not matter. I am more into B&W anyways. I was glad to see that the rolls of Ilford HP5 and Fuji Acros 100 were spot on. I ordered scans from Mein Film Lab together with the development. Holding the negatives in hand is an unbelievable experience. Seeing the fine tones and grain of the scanned negative makes me happy. I was never able to get something close to similar with B&W conversion from my digital files.
Salk Institute in La Jolla at the left with a view towards the Pacific. Ilford HP5. Same 80 mm Zeiss, Hasselblad 6x6.

Can’t wait to receive the next envelope with developed film. Next thing to try is shooting infrared film.