Framing Tintype photographs

Recently I decided to use Tintype D-Type Plate film for a series about cemetery architecture and stone work and after a number of photographs had gone through the post process, I realized how the image was being presented became an issue.

Normally all my web photographs are 590 pixels at there widest point, with an additional 10 pixels for a white border and somehow visually this was inadequate for photographs in which Tintype D-Type Plate film was employed due to its border. A solution needed to be found in order to do any justice not only for my photographs but also the Tintype D-Type Plate film, which has had great success among Hipstamatic photographers since its release.

Image 590, white border 10= 600 x 600 pixels

Discovering a combination with the right visual effect soon became a challenge and before too long I had nine different versions, with most being acceptable, but which one is right.

During the discovery process it also became apparent that I would need to resolve how the photographs would be presented in book form, including as a print, which is ultimately framed.

The actual photograph being used to test the various frame combinations also became an issue, further complicating matters on which set to settle upon, except for one fact, it was imperative to have a black background, even for exhibition print and book form. Undeterred I moved forward upon my quest.

Image 600, black border 350, white border 50= 1000 x 1000 pixels

Even though flawed, I starting with the one which was preferred from the start, for I liked the proportions between the black area and that of the photograph. In this example (shown above) the photograph is given dignity and an air of importance. Especially when considering the purpose of using Tintype D-Type Plate film for this project, is to emulate that these photographs were taken during the time when many of the mausoleum and crypts from 1870 to 1930 were build. 

Image 660, black border 40, grey strip 10, white border 290= 1000 x 1000 pixels

Apart from the image now being also larger by 60 pixels, we can clearly see that  the photograph has a much different appearance then in the previous example, especially how the eye reacts to the larger white border framing the photograph. I also a thin strip of grey no wider than 10 pixels to give the illusion of thickness as if the white border was a matt that was placed over the photograph. This would work well for book presentation, but still the balance between black border and the image felt out of sync.

Though previously all my web photographs are 600 pixels with a 10 pixel white border, now the decision was made to start all further test combinations with the image being 650 pixels and to expand the final presentation size to range anywhere from 700 to no more than 1000 pixels at its largest point.

Before settling on two versions, one for the web and the other that served for both exhibit print and book version, here are the following alternative combinations that were applied before coming to a conclusion.

Image 650, black border 40, grey stripe 10, white border 50= 750 x 750 pixels

Image 650, black border 40, grey stripe 10, white border 100= 800 x 800 pixels

Image 650, black border 80, grey stripe 20, white border 290= 750 x 750 pixels

Web presentation version

For the web presentation I finally settled on increasing the final presentation by 200 pixels, of which 130 pixels is dedicated for the black border and the balance of 20 pixels for the final framing, but what about the exhibition print and book format. Though I have a solution, it is more complex then just writing down a set of numbers, for what ever set numbers are chosen, in the end it comes down to the books page size, including that of the exhibition print.

Exhibition print version

You may have noticed that the exhibition print does not have a grey border, that is because it does not need one, because the print will be matted with a beveled matt. However for the book version, the black border will require a thin grey stripe to give the illusion of a beveled edge as the page serves as the matt.

Because a single image was used, it was a now time to test the frame combination with several other images from the cemetery series, making sure that regardless of the photographic border’s strength or the toning, this combination would be effective for all.


Gangster Squad FreePak is back

Due to popular demand, and to celebrate the opening weekend of the film Gangster Squad in theaters today, January 11th, Hipstamatic is re-releasing the Gangster Squad FreePak. Grab it in the HipstaMart for free, this weekend only!

And don’t be shy, let’s see those pics! Share your Gangster Squad photos on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. Who knows, they might just end up in the next issue of Hipstamatic Snap magazine.

TiPA note: When Hipstamatic released Gangster Squad FreePak, November of last year, I did a lens test with the GSquad lens applied to different Hipstamatic films. To see my report, click here.


Tintype Tinto 1848 lens test

Two weeks ago I published the Tintype D and C-Type Plate film tests and now the Tintype Tinto 1848 lens test, with 27 different Hipstamatic film cartridges with some interesting results.

Like the previous test, a still-life set was assembled on a table, located near a large window with northern light exposure. The iPhone 4S placed into a DIFFCase and mounted to a tripod. The set was fine-tuned, while viewing the shot through Hipstamatic’s enlarged precise view finder. Preliminary test shot were done using a Jane lens with DC film because of the lens and film rendition of the scene being even in lighting and focus with this combination.

Tinto 1848 and C-Type Plate film — No post process

The Tinto 1848 lens was designed to be paired with C-Type and D-Type Plate film and it does a most excellent job with this combination. When the lens is used with color film cartridges, the over all results remain consistent when compared between other color exposures. When Tinto 1848 is used with B/W film cartridges, the results were more varied.

One thing you will notice when viewing the test images, is that the Tinto 1848 lens adds a blue tint to the greys, but not when using Cano Cafenol, Alfred Infrared, Float, C-Type Plate films and all B/W film cartridges are immune. The bluish tinting is noticeable when viewing the Buddha face, which is a medium grey, while the white’s remain uneffected.

Tinto 1848 and D-Type Plate film — No post process

It was also noted that when the Tinto 1848 leans was used with C-Type Plate color film, the limited area that is to remain in short focus varies randomly, yet when using D-Type Plate black/white film the small focal area remains fixed. The films that depicted the random focal shift were, Blanko and W40 when viewing more closely the orchid flower branch.

When shooting in color, I particularly like the Tinto 1848 when it is paired with C-Type Plate film. There is a certain charm and beauty with colors that are muted that is precious, especially when the scene is nostalgic. With other color films, the Tinto 1848 lens renders the scene considerable more saturated and more contrasty, due to shadow areas retaining less detail and are considerable darker.

iPhone in-app purchase screenshot of Tintype SnapPak 

When the Tinto 1848 is paired with B/W film cartridges, you wll see a greater variety of differences then with the color film.

You will notice that with BlacKeys B+W film cartridge, the reds remain faintly visible. This is not the case with other B/W film cartridges. With Claunch 72 Monochrome, the film retains its trademark greenish tint.

All the B/W film prints lack pure whites, as the Tinto 1848 adds a layer of grunge grey, emulating lens impurities and other anomalies. 

          Tinto 1848 Lens with other Hipstamatic films  
          — No post processing

          Did you know . . .

Did you know you can set the focal point of your shot when using the Hipstamatic camera? 

Most will use Hipstamatic in its automated mode and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet when moving in close on an object, you may wish to make sure your focal point is in focus, as you will see with the next two examples.

Camera determined focal point
  Jane lens w/DC film — No post process

User determined focal point
 Jane lens w/DC film — No post process

The focal point is achieved by first double-tapping on the viewfinder, which will then enlarge to fill most of the iPhone’s screen. This is followed by a tap-and-hold and the Hipstamatic lens will reset to the new focal point that the user has assigned.

While the focal point can be adjusted when using the Tinto 1848 lens, it cannot be when using either the C-Type or D-Type Plate film cartridges because of the films unique design, since it would defeat the very purpose of its intentions.

          Finale thoughts

Of all the films Tinto 1848 was paired with, I especially like it with C-Type Plate film cartridge. When used with other color film cartridges, I was less enthusiastic because of the loss detail in the shadows, while the over saturation did not bother me so much. This does not mean it should be excluded from use. Remember, it all comes down to subject matter and the light source that will determine your results.

When it comes to the B/W film cartridges, there is more latitude and variation, even though the shadow areas have a shorter range and contain little detail just as with the color film. Yet in the end, Tinto 1848 works well with any B/W film cartridge, especially with BlacKeys B+W, Claunch 72 Monochrome, and BlacKeys Super Grain film cartridges, of course D-Type Plate film is it’s perfect companion.

During the initial film test, I encountered numerous crashes. After about 12 or 14 exposures, I began to experience Tinto 1848 crashing. I did not experience any crashes in the previous test when using the Tintype film cartridges with other lenses. However, the crashes continued randomly. To play to play it save, I took one image at a time, waiting for it to be processed before continuing. Unfortunately, there was one more crash and after relaunching Hipstamatic, the image continued to be processed with no further incident. Having used the Tinto 1848 lens for taking pictures since, I did not experienced any further crashes.

In short, I find the Tintype SnapPak the best update Hipstamatic has released in some months. When one can apply the Tinto 1848 with various film cartridges and either C-Type or D-Type film with other lenses, then you have a successful update. My only disappointment with the Tintype SnapPak is that Hipstamatic decided not to include an appropriate camera case. It would have been nice if a wooden case in the style of the late 1860s field camera, with worn brass fittings would have been included with the Tintype SnapPak.

John S lens w/D-Type Plate film — Post processed image

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