Making the Agfa Microflex ready for Provie and E100D

Making the Agfa Microflex ready for Provie and E100D

 

For some time now, one of my cameras piling up is a Agfa Microflex 100, which seems to be still working flawlessly. At the very least, test shots with expired, self-developed Moviechrome film have yielded impeccable results.

The Microflex with its metal case is very well made and with its small dimensions an ideal pocket camera to follow you anywhere. I was really eager to use it with up-to-date colour reversal material with 100 ASA sensitivity and daylight sensitization, but the Agfa Microflex 100 is only designed for use with 40 ASA tungsten films – the standard film material at the time:

The film sensitivity is fixed at 40 ASA, a sensor is missing in the cassette compartment for sensitivity detection or even the possibility of manual setting of film sensitivity.

Exposure measurement of the Microflex 100 is not happening through the lens but by an external exposure meter placed above the lens. I took advantage of this circumstance in order to be able to correctly expose 100 ASA films: By using a neutral density filter with a factor of 2 (ND2) in front of the lens, the amount of light entering is reduced by 50%, which corresponds to the use of a film with 50 ASA instead of 100 ASA. This comes close enough to the camera-based sensitivity of 40 ASA to be able to expect correctly exposed shots.

However, the camera lens does not have a filter thread and due to the focus adjustment design, there is also no way to use a snap-on filter.

I helped myself with a 35.5 mm (1.4″) diameter filter, which gets mounted reversed (flipped) on the lens and is fixed with tape, in such a way that the sharpness setting is still possible without hindrance.

A filter with a diameter of 35.5 mm (1.4″) fits on the lens of the Microflex 100 when mounted reversed
The neutral density filter, mounted flipepd, here still without adhesive tape fixation – if the sharpness setting was activated, it would fall down
Fixing the filter with a tape cut out – sharpness markings excluded

Now it was still necessary to outsmart the fixed “artificial light mode” of the camera and to pan out the daylight filter. The Microflex 100 also lacks a switch available for most other cameras. The filter can only be disabled in a cumbersome way if a contact is pressed at the bottom of the tripod thread with a sufficiently long screw. Appropriate screws are available in various versions in the online photo accessories stores.

Warning: The usual tripod filter screws are too short and do not disable the daylight filter reliably!

 

 

 

The three threaded screws to the left of the picture are sufficiently long with about 10 mm screw length each. Right for comparison a usual tripod screw with too short thread.

The first Fuji Provie meanwhile ran amazingly smoothly through this modded Agfa Microflex 100, without the film jamming not uncommon to this film stock. After the development of the film by Frank Bruinsma, it will become clear whether these measures have had the desired effect.

New hoses for the Lomo tank

New hoses for the Lomo tank

The hoses of the Lomo tanks often become brittle over time or have kinks that remain. Unfortunately, the hoses of all Lomo tanks do not have a standard measure, so replacement is often unsatisfactory. Although 0.5″ garden hoses can somehow be made attached to the smaller tanks, those are far too stiff and make a controlled outpouring of chemistry difficult.

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Cost-effective digitalization of Super 8 frames

Cost-effective digitalization of Super 8 frames

Various special lenses for 35 mm reflex cameras were offered “at the time” to photograph Super 8 individual images.

With these special macro lenses, the format-filling reproduction of Super 8- and/or 16 mm individual images on 35 mm film was possible. The connection is made via T2 thread adapters to the different camera mounts.

The Rondo Copy-Tube-8 is often offered on the internet
With this product from Fuji, Super 8 and 16mm individual images can be photographed using different long extension tubes and interchangeable film masks. Without a mask and with the 16mm extension tube, two Super 8 frames can be photographed including their sprocket holes (“Open Gate”)

I like to use individual images from Super 8 movies for handouts or movie covers. For editing on the computer with the usual image or layout programs, the analog 35 mm negative or slide is of course suboptimal.

However, when using these lenses on digital cameras with interchangeable lens mounts, there is the following problem: Only with expensive cameras with a full-format sensor, which corresponds in size to the 35 mm format, the film frame is completely captured. For all other digital cameras, only a cut-out magnification of the individual film image is possible with these lenses.

Also, these lenses are quite slow and require strong daylight for reasonably short exposure times.

I was therefore looking for a way to digitally photograph film frames or film strips with a sufficient quality for these purposes, or to be able to publish them on the Internet in a quick and easy way.

As a diehard analog photographer and filmmaker, I don’t own a “decent” digital camera. For a double-digit euro amount, I got the camera body of a slightly older digital SLR camera. In my case, this was a Nikon D100 — Nikon because my T2 adapter is intended for Nikon bayonet.

As a reproduction lens, I use a Hama slide duplicator with zoom magnification option, also available cheaply on the Internet. This duplicator was originally intended to make partial enlargements of 35 mm slides or negatives.

 

The slide mount with a matte glass screen is removed because it is in the way when inserting longer film strips.

An old Meopta enlarger serves as a repro tripod. For this, there used to be a special “repro arm” as accessory, which was screwed on instead of the magnifying head and to which the camera is attached.

The repro mount for Meopta enlargers — bought 20 years ago at “Foto Brenner”

 

As a light desk, I use a new but cheap model from “Dörr”.

Due to the magnifying factor of the duplicator together with the crop factor of the digital camera sensor, in theory, approximately format-filling images of Super 8 individual images are now possible.

Theoretically, because my “trial” setup shows a rather noticeable hot spot as of a zoom factor of about 1.6.

So I leave it with photographed film strips with an magnification to up to three Super 8 single images. It is precisely this series of individual frames in connection with the visible film perforation and possibly edge marks that also express the special aesthetics of the small format film in the still image. This representation seems, in a way, “authentic.”

Resolution is sufficient for publication on the Internet or for use for Handouts/Covers. For good enlargements in photo size, this combination of devices is not quite good enough. Here are a few more examples:

 

3D printed Super 8 cartridge opener

3D printed Super 8 cartridge opener

I opened my first cartridge in daylight with a saw…

Everybody developing Super 8 films on their own sooner or later faces the task of opening the Super 8 cartridge to get the film into the development tank. The latter goes with some practice, the Lomo tank and a turntable in less than 30 seconds. When opening cartridges, opinions differ: Some break the ratchet inside the cartridge by a counterclockwise 360° turn and then pull the film out of the cartridge. Others, (to which I belong) open the cartridge and take the film wind out all over, and load it into the Lomo reel.

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The built-in turntable

The built-in turntable

Everyone who works with the Lomo tanks probably knows the problem of film jamming and improper winding, often leading to double layers, which then do not get developed properly.

Using a turntable has been mentioned many times as a valuable help against these problems, since its much more uniform rotation makes it possible to easily load the Lomo reel within a few seconds.

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Einem 1972er ECN-1 Film bewegte Farben entlocken

Einem 1972er ECN-1 Film bewegte Farben entlocken

Kubrick schoß “Barry Lyndon” und Copolla den ersten Teil des “Paten” auf der 35mm Version 5254. Die Beatles drehten ihren letzten Film “Let It Be” inklusive des berühmten Dachkonzerts auf der 16mm Variante 7254. Und ich wollte ihn nun in Fotokameras und die Krasnogorsk füllen. Die Rede ist vom Eastman Color Negative 7254, einem ECN-1 Film, der von 1968 bis 1974 (und nochmals eingeführt bis 1976) hergestellt wurde.

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