Thursday, August 3rd, 2023
This topic brings often lots of emotion up. And honestly I was struggling myself buying lenses with scratches for some time. I still do. Thats why I wanted to take a closer look into this topic . Gary https://www.instagram.com/garygeezerphotoart/ sent me a scratched lens some time ago and therefore made this video possible. Thanks a lot for that!
But this is not the first scratched lens that I got, I bought a used canon 24mm lens a while ago from a shop for very little money. I knew already that the little scratches will not affect the image, but I still had a bad feeling. After Some years I can assure you, that all images that I shot with it looked great
You still are not sure if you should get a scratched lens for a good price? Then have a look at my video, where I show how I shoot the plates with a scratched lens. I discuss this topic with a fellow wet plate artist who is also a specialist in renovation of historic photographic equipment: Denis of wetplatedreams.com Denis started recently a YouTube channel where he spreads his knowledge of historic lenses.
As promised I posted the hires scans of the plates underneath. One plate is shot with the old Ross projection lens and one is shot with this very new Zeiss Epic projection lens.
Can you guess which plate was shot with the scratched lens? Click on the highres crops to see them in full resolution. You can use the chapters of the video to chump to the part where I explain what plate was shot with the scratched lens.
Shooting wet plates with this projection lenses can be very tough, because the dof is very thin. I also think that one of the lenses had some chromatic aberration. That means, that the blue light is focusing on a different distance than the visible light. This is sometimes also called chemical blurring or chemical miss focus with the wet collodion process, because the wet collodion process sees only some parts of the UV light spectrum (about 420 to 490nm).
I can only focus on the light I can see with my eyes, but some lenses focus because of the chromatic aberration the limages for wet plates on a different spot. Thats how a miss focus can happen. But you can see how extremely sharp both lenses performed anyway. To judge the sharpness for image A, have a look at the top and the right side of the cropped scan.
Even I knew what was the plate that was shot with the scratched lens, and I still mixed them up and was convinced I was right when I showed it to my intern, shows how similar the plates are. This was another point that went to the scratched lens. Scratches and fungus mostly cover only a small percentage of the lens and thats the reason it won’t affect the image that much as you would think.
If you want to support me and get deeper into topics like that, you always can book a workshop or join our Patreon team. Or just book a portrait session . Check also my Instagram channel for latest news: https://www.instagram.com/mhaustria/
So what does that mean, should you buy scratched lenses? From our perspective, you definitely can buy scratched lenses. You will save money and still get the same results. It only affects the value. As always, it depends how big the damage of the lens is. More about that in my video. If you buy lenses as an investment, you probably will look for a mint lens, but here you have to put lots more money on the table.
At the end, it all depends on your needs.
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023
Excited and proud to share this with you. Chad from Tin Questions interviewed me about my life and my portrait work. I had such a great time and I think it turned out wonderful. Read the intro in Chad’s words:
I recently went camping and got ate up by mosquitos. My next guest on “Tin Questions”, Austrian wetplate photographer Markus Hofstätter, lives in a town known for these pesky insects. Not only is Markus a well known European photographer, he is also a great resource to the wetplate community, sharing his knowledge, doing equipment reviews and similar to “Tin Questions”, conducting the occasional interview. Hear how a love of shooting pool with both sticks and cameras eventually turned into a desire to slow down and create beautiful images using a historic process.
Listen to “Tin Questions” on your favorite podcast provider.
Wednesday, July 12th, 2023
Many years ago I renovated the house of my grandma and with that came also a big garden full of trees. Every year I am lucky to harvest fresh raspberries, apples, pears, cherries and many other fruits. It’s so wonderful to wake up in the morning and get yourself some fresh breakfast from the garden.
The biggest and probably oldest tree of all is my cherry tree. I remember climbing it when I was little. It brings a wonderful big shade during the hot days and it’s fruits are so delicious.
I always thought this giant beauty will outlive me for sure. But after the last visit from a gardner I learned that the tree is probably completely hollow already and it it will be soon not save anymore to walk under it. That really made me sad, because I have so many memories with this tree. That was the moment, when I realised, that I want to capture a last memory on an ultra large format ambrotype. I captured already a tintype of some cherry blossoms of this tree many years ago. and I am really glad that I did.
I did a similar plate with the same setup last year, when I captured the rebirth of one of my apple trees.
The tree looked like It was dying, but it grew out of it self again. When I thought it was dying, I gave it another year. And exactly in this year it grew new branches. And yesterday I had the first of its apples again for breakfast.
But for the cherry tree I wanted to do things a bit differently. Thats why I used a very old collodion, old developer and a stronger fixer. With overexposing again, this should give me a warmer look with again lots of solarization.
Maybe you ask yourself why I exposed for the tree trunk on both of these images. If I would have exposed for the green leaves or thin branches, the ambrotypes would have been much more contrasty you may think. My thoughts are, that the trunk is one of the most important parts of the tree. If it gets hollow, there is a great chance, that the tree will die.
I chose these portrait of me here, because it fits in perfectly into this story. Some time ago I booked a portrait session with Michael Liebert. He knew that I am connected to my garden and to this tree, thats why he choose to take my portrait there. And now this portrait is the prefect fit for my story today.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2023
I am grateful and proud to have my art exhibited again in Freiluftgalerie Freiraum-Foto Persenbeug and Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo. In Persenbeug you can see my wet plate portraits from my Inspired Series and other favourites from this year. In Baden one of my drone images of Castle Schönbühel in Wachau is shown. It’s always nice to see your own work exhibited. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. Also thanks to my Patreon supporters! This video of my exhibitions is very different Thant my previous one. I wanted to integrate my creation process into it. What do you think?
Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
This two tintypes are going to Peter and Nolan. Two fellow wet plate artists who support me on http://patreon.mhaustria.com – Thanks a lot for your support guys. Want yourself one, follow the link ans support me there 🙂
Wednesday, May 10th, 2023
When shooting wet plates, you deal with a very light insensitive process (about iso 0.5). So most wet plate artists wants to get their hand on a fast lens. Wolfgang, a former participant of my wet plate workshop got his hand on a very fast lens and sent it over to me. For the first time, you can get the plates from this project on eBay, starting from 1 Euro – http://ebay.mhaustria.com
This Delta HD-6C ML lens is pretty huge and was used in vintage HD protectors many years ago. If you want to know more about this kind of lenses, check this blog post: blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2023/03/shooting-an-ultra-fast-lens-140mm-f1-with-an-ultra-large-format-camera/
See the full transformation in my video
The yellow part of the flower absorbs a lot of UV light and thats the reason it appears dark when I exposed the plate normally. Thats why I did this series of 4 different exposures. I think every single one of them has something special in it. Just for fun, I created a digital HDR image out of them
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023
With todays video I want to give you a glimpse how it is to travel with an ultra large format camera. This time I didn’t bring my darkroom tent, because I could use the shop on the farm. Traveling with my big camera is always a hassle and can bring some troubles with it. But this time it worked out great.
Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
In short words “this lens is something else”. It’s extremely fast, huge and has a strange focus distance. It was used in Sony CRT Projectors from 1997. I bought it some years ago from a very interesting guy. He had so many more great stuff in his shop and I regret that I did not buy more. It took me some time to find the right opportunity to use that lens. But I think it was worth the waiting. I am glad my friend and former workshop participant Alois Stingl came over with is wonderful ultra large format camera.
Before I could use it, it needed some cleaning, I used a cloth that was soaked with water and just put it on the lens without wiping to avoid more scratches.
I measured the lens at infinity to calculate the F-Stop. I measured 135mm and the front element was 145mm That is about a F0.9 lens. But a document I found on the internet told me its more an F 1.0 lens. Still crazy fast.
When I saw the yellow coating on the front element of the lens, I thought about Mathieu Stern’s video about radioactive lenses. If it really is made of Thorium, it is indeed radioactive, but only for a very small amount. Watch Mathieu’s video to learn more about this Material
Because the lens is very fast it is still dangerous. If it focuses the sun on something, it will start to burn immediately. That’s the reason you should not put the lens near a window and always put a lens cap on it.
I thought it would be interesting to calculate the crop factor of an 40x50cm ultra large format camera. If you use the common formula to calculate crop factors you will see that this plate size has a crop factor of 0.0067 compared to a full frame sensor. With that you also can calculate the comparable depth of field F-Stop. This would also be F 0.067 compared to F 1.0 on a full frame camera. When I tried to focus on the ground glass, I could barley find something in focus. Thats why you see me focusing for a very long time.
But there is more. a 140mm lens is a tele lens on a full frame camera, but it’s a wide angle lens on an ultra large format camera. This is because of the bigger plate size of the ULF camera. listen to my full explanation in the video.
To “connect” the lens to the camera, I designed and printed a basic flange in Tinkercad. It needed some pool line and tape, but eventually it worked out.
The next issue was the fact that my darkroom was not made for 40x50cm plates. only for 30x40cm ones. After some tests with smaller plates, we only had one cup of developer left. Beside that, everything starts to get unpleasantly expensive if you pour on plates with this size. So my goal was to make it work with only one attempt. I did some dry runs to get comfortable with everything. Not only the dark room work was something I had to prepare for, but also the camera. These old beauties all have some quirks. Besides that, Alois made a beautiful plate holder by himself. These holder needed also some special attention. But as explained in the video, I love these challenges. It makes the result at the end even more sweet.
To calculate the strobe power I needed, I used my wet plate strobe calculator that I created for my Patreon supporters. Since I made it, I use it all the time for myself, because it makes life much easier with the wet plate process. If you are a fan of analog photography and the wet plate process, have a look at our wet plate conversation magazine on Flipboard. Besides many great stories about our favourite process, you’ll wind there also work from other wet plate artists.
But this is not the end, because of some kind of funny coincidence, a former workshop participant sent me a very similar lens over. I am thinking to do a still life plate with that one. What do you guys think?
But there is more, I got also a very tiny lens. I guess I need to build a camera for this one
I hope you enjoyed that journey. It took me a long time to finish everything, but I am again glad that I worked through it.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023
More than 8 years ago I decided to go down this path.
Creating all the chemicals I need by myself, refurbishing cameras and lenses by myself, and sometimes creating new parts/recipes myself. This path can be very rewarding and enriching, but there are also dark moments that take a lot of energy. In these 8 years I have experienced and learned a lot.
But while working with this process I will never stop learning, it is a constant problem solving and listening to your gut feelings. I think that is also one of the reasons why I love doing portraits with it. Taking a lot of time for a single portrait is another reason.
People who have been portrayed by me will certainly be able to name many other reasons why this kind of art is so inspiring.
In today’s video you will get a better impression of what I have written.
It was a pleasure to immortalize you on pure silver dear Rita
Wednesday, December 28th, 2022
I’ve known Denis for a few years now and over time a nice friendship has developed. We met for the first time during the Camera Obscura Festival in Germany, but we were in contact several times before that.
From Denis I bought my current large format camera and some lenses. Also one of my more important lenses – the Dallmeyer 3b which I use a lot for this series is from Denis. Read more in this post https://blog.markus-hofstaetter.at/2021/03/inspired/
His knowledge of historical equipment is fascinating. His craftsmanship and restoration skills are also second to none. Check out his website here www.wetplatedreams.com.
Denis keeps historic history alive with his work.
I also captured a portrait with Denis and his Wife Sybille that I like a lot.