Beginning of the year and excitement to try the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 that I am bulk loading, I am taking the odd camera from the treasure box.
A couple of weeks back it was the turn of the 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s. Actually the 7s was released in 1966 same year as me. The Himatic is a rangefinder camera with a sharp, fast 45mm F1.8 lens, and in-camera metering.
Ok I don’t quite like the the Himatic too much : it is heavy feels clunky compare to the German rangefinders; it is not that fast to operate, and also the metering died on mide during a bike tour.
I also the viewfinder to be not that bright and having too many signs inside; there are just three visible sides of the frame, so I always wonder how to frame the fourth.
BUT when I got the roll from the shop I must say that I am impressed by the result, the lens is fast and sharp and the 45mm give a bit of air to the shots.
This is my 3rd roll of the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 bulk and I quite like it. I am new to handrolling, the picture below is the last of the roll, so the first from the bulk that I attached to the canister and I think it was exposed to light. Pitty I like this shot.
I think I like the film, it is now 3 rolls I shot this year and 2 last years, it is on the contrasty side but nothing too extreme, so it makes a good replacement for TRI-X or TMY 400. The shot below is quite smooth as I like it. Actually tones quality reminds me of a proper wet paper print.
Mmm also I fell the Epson v800 gives immediately better results that the v500, but this may be just because I paid so much for it.
There will be no declugging for the Minolta, it belonged to one grand uncle, so that’s a keeper even if it goes out of the box only once a year.
Here we go again, here is my new year message to the world : happy new year to all go out and keep shooting film.
I think 2017 has been another very good year for film photography; the medium is getting more and more momentum. We saw a lot of new films released :Cinestill finally delivered the 120 version of 800T and 50D, Rollei gave us the Vario slide, Kodak is working on reviving Ektachrome, Japan Camera Hunter made more street pan and now has a second line, and more niche brands are creating or reviving special films. Of course Fuji keep on thinning his product line and Film Ferania is still not able to deliver its products. All in all the future of film is bright and it looks we are living more than just a fad. On the down side film camera prices are going up, but for most of it probably just from insanely low to still acceptable. The most expensive gear, Leica like, has not gone up much. Only the lenses that can be used on DSLR or four third cameras has seen unreasonably hikes.
As in the past (2015, 2016) lets see how I plaid my part this year.
I managed to beat my own record once again by shooting 65 rolls this year, 1 more that last year. With both 120 and 35 mm format that should be close to 2000 pictures. I would say that 1 roll per week is a good average, as I also shoot digital.
Below is breakdown of the rolls shot by camera:
Number of rolls
Last year rank
Agfa Isolette III
Kodak Autographic Jr 3a
Heineken Toy Camera
Clearly the Leica’s are the star of the year, now I shoot Leica digital, I always carry the M6 on holidays. Apart from a small issue on the winding side, this is a perfect image making machine and I now have a good set of lenses (28, 50, 90) that are foolproof and cover most situations. The Leica IIIc, is still my most used “lesser” camera, I invested in a beautiful 35mm F3.5 Summaron this year, and despite maybe a small intermittent curtain problem I can now use it without second hesitation. I still love the M4, but lacking meter it stayed home most of the year, until I dig it out this autumn, this one is faultless. I still love the Hasselblad, but I hardly carry it with me on holidays anymore, pity because my fridge is loaded with 120 rolls ,I have a long standing project of portraits that I may finally launch this year… The rest is done with my older cameras which for most have issues now, so I managed to make some odd nice shots but I would think twice before using them again.
This year again I offer you a breakdown of the films I shot :
Count of Film No
Rollei Retro 400s
Kodak TMY 400
Kodak TRI X
Fuji Fuji Xtra 800
Kodak Portra 160
Kodak TMX 100
Rollei Retro 80s
JCH 400 pan
Kodak Portra 400
Rollei Superpan 200
Fuji Superia 400
FilmNeverDies Shirokuro 400
Fuji Velvia 50
Rollei Retro 80s
Ilford Delta 100
Rollei ATP 32
This is a big variety; but as last year majority is 35mm, back and white; but there are about 20 colors rolls (10 last year) and a total of 16 120 format films (7 last year). The surprise may come at the Polypan 50 iso coming first with 9 rolls, these (and more) were given to me by my friend Ray, I like how it goes out and enjoy shooting at iso 50. Kodak and Rollei are still high up in the list.
The news was the Bergger Panchro, the Cinestill 50D and 800T in 120 format, but I did not made anything outstanding with them.
I confirmed this year my attachment to Leica systems, I nearly did not shoot any Nikon, apart on digital for some events. This year I plan to stick to the same program, camera and film wise, I have a bulk roll of Ultrafine Extreme 400, so this will give me 20 roll of 36 shots more or less, and the fridge is still stocked (around 50 rolls in there). I plan to upgrade my scanner, I have the Epson 500 for 8 years now, it served me well, I may have scanned, 300 rolls with it so that’s 1.5 $ a roll for scanning, I think it paid well for itself.
Rollei ATP (Advanced Technical Pan) 1.1 is advertised as an extremely high-resolution black and white fine grain film. This film is characterized by fine grain, high sharpness and variable contrast. It has a nominal sensitivity of ISO 32/16°.
The roll was shot with the Leica M6 and mostly a Summicron 28.
It is a (super) panchromatic film, ie have a sensibility to all the visible wavelength as opposed to orthochromatic which have a specific sensibility to red.
This is the second roll I shot in 35mm and as you can see from the label is has passed the expiration date by 2 years, but was kept in the fridge. As usual my rolls go to the shop (Ruby photo in Singapore) and do not get any special processing.
Back from the shop it is evident the roll is underexposed, blame the 2 years expiry or the failing batteries on the M6? I cannot say. But all in all a bit under.
The first 3 pictures were taken in the afternoon, on a rather sunny day, in Mac Ritchie reservoir in central Singapore. I really like the metallic rendering of these pictures, particularly the second one. The first one has something special in the richness of the grey tones which is very pleasing.
The picture above is very different, under midday sun a family scene a the skate park. Hard sun, not ideal conditions, but the contrast is not as harsh as with the Rollei 25 RPX. Very pleasing.
Same goes for the above; hard light, wide range of grey.
Above the heritage buildings on Petain Court. And below the Summicron wide open on an overcast day. Very nice definition.
Finally the last picture below, and the revelation of why I liked this roll very much : these negative scans (with the now outdated Epson v500) have a rendering close to a wet print. I think it is done to the total range but also something special in the depth of the blacks.
I checked the results of the first roll that I shot 3 years ago with the defunct NikonF4s. The pictures are showing the same smoothness, high resolution and deep darks, and a bit undeexposed. So, with the Rollei Retro 80s this is a very good choice of film for a change. I will order some Medium format rolls to check with the hassie.
Finally, what can you shoot at 32 ISO? On a sunny day with a F2 lens ? Anything. But when the sun goes out you better have another body at hand. So it can be quite frustrating at times.
Oh and where to get some? No idea where you can buy some in Singapore. In France I order mine from http://www.mx2boutique.com/ , there is also https://www.macodirect.de/en/ in Germany.
Last holidays trip was in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. This is my second trip there and I love place. This is the second time I travel with a Leica kit both Film and Digital. I have two bodies a M6 and a M262, a 28 Summicron, a 35 Summaron F2.8, an old Summilux 50 v2 and an Elmarit 90F2.8.
2 Bodies, 4 lens that sounds a lot and actually I packed the big Crumpler 8 Mio dollar bag. It is a bit over-sized, but then I have room for papers, wallet, reading and sun glasses and on the flight I can pack in a book, you can probably pack a tablet as well. I am proud I resisted the urge to buy a new bag.
I shot 4 rolls of film and a few hundred (but less than 1K) digital frames; this first set was done inside the Warorot market with the M6 and mainly the Summilux; film is the Kodak TMY 400.
I like the TMY400 for its low grain and slightly lower contrast that the Tri-x. I think all in all these shots turn out to be quite pleasant.
The Summilux is suffering from back focusing on the M262 but that does not show at all on the film shots.
People in the market are quite friendly, actually it is quite a touristic spot so the view of a tourist with a camera is not news.
I try to follow the advice of pro photographer Bobby Lee : let people know you are here, that you want to take a picture of them or their activity, but once they agree (or ignore you) don’t just snap and run away; as they don’t bother the least you can do is hang around until you have a good shot.
During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.
You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.
This does not look to be a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.
This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.
I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.
Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.
This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.
For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.
The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros
Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives nice gradation of grey.
Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.
All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.
JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.
This has been more than two years since I was offered the Lomo Konstruktor kit by my wife and my son. It took me 2 month to complete and shoot the first roll and actually it took another two years for me to shoot a second roll.
There are a couple of reasons for this none might be very good nor definitive, but here they are.
I first found the Konstruktor very flimsy. The winding is very hard (hence the frames overlapping, or extra spacing), the shutter mechanism is quite hard to press causing camera shake more often than not.
The F10 lens and 1/80s speed are only allow well lit scenes; my first roll for 400 ISO and a few of the pictures were underexposed. I had a try this time with a 800 ISO Fuji Extra, and some shots are over exposed but all in all that’s not too bad.
I found the framing and focusing difficult, ok focusing a F10 lens is not that critical after all.
Finally I have enough sh*t cameras a home and the Lomo does not bring anything really new. It’s back on the shelf now, it may stay there for a little while.
One of the pleasures of shooting film is trying different films when you come across some. When I was last in Melbourne, I stumbled by complete chance upon the shop / gallery of FilmNeverDie.com.
These are die shard film fans, with a collection of vintage cams on display, a fridge well stocked with various emulsions but I was also told by Gary, who looks to be the guy in charge, that they will soon launch their own film. Soon being very soon, Gary sold me two rolls and here are the results of the first one. I also bough a JapanCameraHunter JCH StreetPan roll, that will be for another day.
Apart from the label saying C41 and the indication “made in Belgium” the label of the lab and myself were not able to decipher what film it is. I am not aware of C41 films made by Agfa, the only Belgium factory, so this is news for me. But I am just an amateur so who knows.
The film turns out quite grainy and the negatives show low contrast (I mean there are no white areas, the lighter areas being 30% grey), the scans are looking quite ok though and maybe the exposition was not so great. I used the Nikon F with one of my prisms that does not meter and an old Goosen meter. I will shot my second film more carefully.
The result is quite interesting and will probably appeal to the crowd of street photographers that like grain and “gritty” look.
Shirokuro 400 – Black and White chromogenic film c-41 process 35mm 27 exposure film