Death of a Lens

So photography class was last night. I eagerly waited since last week to get my first roll of black and white film back to look at. I was really excited to see if some of the effects and images that I wanted actually turned out. So I get to class and pull out the package and start going through. Almost every picture is horrible! Blown out, white, no contrast, nothing. I took a lot of shots of sunsets, but I bracketed carefully, tried with and without a yellow filter on, etc. I metered as well as I knew how, basing on a comparison between that of the sky near the sun and the fields in front (bracketed between and around those exposures).
In short, I had done most things right. It wasn’t just the sunsets either, but other random pictures were just horribly overexposed 🙁 In class I was sitting down and lamenting the fact I was obviously a horrible photographer when I thought to do a bit of mucking with the hardware. After comparing my 50mm (which was used in a couple of shots that roll) and my 28mm (which was used for the majority) I found that the aperture diaphram (or whatever it’s called) was broken. When you twiddled the thingy that poked out (technical term) it stopped down properly, but it didn’t when taking a shot on the camera. I confirmed this by setting to a 1 second exposure at f22 and watching through the lens while I tripped the shutter. On the 28mm nothing happened, but on the 50mm it stopped itself down for that second exposure. On my digital it will stop down properly when doing a manual exposure test (the green button stops down the lens to take a reading on older manual lenses), but not during the actual image taking. I’m glad a couple of the shots did come around, like the one to the left. Nothing exciting, but a nice contrast for the black and white I think, and the grain (Ilford ISO 400) is just awesome. Why is it that 99% of the time in digital you try to get rid of noise, but in black and white suddenly I want more of it!