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B&W From Color Neg
Re: making black-and-white prints from color negatives (March, 2011, issue of Shutterbug). I worked for years as a lab technician for the federal government. My duties included making black-and-white prints from color negatives. I finally found a good working solution. I used Panalure paper and my regular paper developer. The big change involved the use of a deep yellow filter. I dug into my camera bag and located a small filter that would rest on the back element of the enlarger lens. I had to make a test strip and develop in total darkness, but the results were outstanding. I was using a condenser enlarger. The prints were virtually identical to a good Plus-X print. I had to develop each print for exactly 11⁄2 minutes for consistency. The results were worth it. However, there were two downsides. First, I was stuck making all the Panalure prints. The second was forgetting the filter was in place and trying to make a conventional print. That made some of the flattest Polycontrast prints I’ve ever seen.
I too found the Panalure prints were sometimes lacking in contrast, but I did not discover the solution of using a yellow filter to achieve this end result. I would assume the yellow filter you used was the lighter K2 or Wratten #8 rather than the deeper-colored Wratten #15. It might be easier to use an adapter ring to hold the filter below the enlarging lens so it would be more noticeable when you switch back to conventional black-and-white printing. Since you had to develop Panalure prints by time for exactly 11⁄2 minutes (since you cannot use a safelight to actually see the image as it comes up in the tray) making a test strip first before making a full-sheet print was a good idea. I’ll pass on your comments/suggestions.
PEN FT Cable Release
Q. I recently purchased an Olympus PEN FT and was curious about which type of cable release would work with it. The shutter release button is rectangular, not a standard one. There is a threaded hole into which a conventional release will screw, but will not trip the shutter. Since it is threaded, I assume that some sort of release was available. Any suggestions?
Enrico A. Giovannini
A. I contacted the customer service folks at Olympus but they only had computerized records on products back until 1980 (this camera dates from 1966-’73) so they could not provide any information. There were 19 different models of this half-frame camera produced from 1959 until 1973. Some of my six manual cable releases have a longer throw (e.g., the plunger extends further out from the screw-in tip to trip the camera shutter) than others. Possibly your release just does not extend far enough to activate the tripping button located down inside the release button itself, thus it does not trip the shutter. You might want to try inserting a small metal wire or wooden stick (a wooden matchstick might do) down into the threaded hole to find out whether this will trip the shutter. If this works, maybe you can purchase another cable release with a longer throw. Possibly a reader who has an Olympus PEN FT, or has experience using one, will drop me an e-mail to say what they use for a cable release.
Rollei SL66 Extension Tube?
Q. What can you tell me about the use of an extension tube made by Rollei for the SL66 camera? It is 80mm in length and contains, near its front end, a concentrically placed minifying lens.
A. I contacted my friend Bob Salomon at HP Marketing Corp., the firm that handled Rollei products for many years. He was not familiar with the Rollei 80mm extension tube with a lens. He said there was a tele-converter tube for the Rollei SLX 6000 camera that had a lens, but there was nothing like that for the SL66 camera. The tube for the tele-converter was intended to be attached to the back of a camera lens for reverse mounting of the lens for close-up work, and had provisions for use with a dual cable release that would first stop down the lens then trip the camera shutter prior to making an exposure. So, if your tube has a cable release socket, it might actually be a tele-converter tube. If any of our Rollei medium format enthusiast readers have more input on this particular tube we will forward what they say to you.